No Console for Old Men

Posted on: January 15, 2015

Cliff watched in horror as his grandson stepped out of the car and jump kicked a scantily-clad woman in the spine, laughing maniacally as she plummeted to the ground. Once she was sprawled out on the pavement, he pulled out a baseball bat and proceeded to bash her skull in until money spilled out of her purse like the blood streaming out of her head. he collected the wad of cash and returned to his vehicle, but not before throwing a grenade at the lifeless body, extinguishing the flames with a round of ammunition from an automatic rifle.

“Tiffany, I don’t want Jacob playing that game any more,” Cliff said entering the kitchen.

Tiffany sighed and continued peeling potatoes, her charm bracelet jingling as the curls of coarse skin rained down on the garbage disposal.

“Save it, Dad.”

“No, Tiffany. It’s your son who needs to be saved.”

“He’s just a normal fifteen-year-old boy.”

“A fifteen-year-old boy who brutally murders prostitutes!”

“In a video game.”

“Does that make it any better?”


Tiffany turned around to face her father, tightening her fingers around the partially shaved vegetable like a prison shiv.

“You’re right,” Cliff conceded. “It’s certainly better on the TV than in the streets, but it’d be best if he didn’t do it at all.”

“Well, maybe you shouldn’t have bought him that game for Christmas.”

“THAT is the game I got him?”

Tiffany smirked and returned to her duties.


“Then I’m taking it away.”

“Good luck.”

Cliff returned to the living room to find Jacob’s eyes transfixed on the screen as a curvaceous woman wearing practically no clothing threw two blades into the torso of a man in a blue mask, sashayed across the room, grabbed his face, ripped off his head, and pulled down the thin purple veil covering her mouth to reveal a set of demonic teeth, which she then used to gnaw through his face like a competitive pie eater. Once her appetite was satisfied, she spiked what remained of his head into the ground and rubbed his blood all over her body, emitting moans of pleasure as her hands traveled below her navel.

“Jesus H. Christ,” Cliff uttered.

“GRANDDAD,” Jacob said, quickly covering the controller and his crotch with a throw pillow.

Cliff walked over to the gaming console and began searching for an off switch.

“Granddad, seriously, what are you doing?”

“How do you shut this damn thing off?”

“YOU don’t shut it off,” Jacob said, standing up from the couch.

Jacob grabbed hold of his granddad’s bicep, which maintained a surprising amount of the muscle he gained during three tours of duty and several decades of construction. Cliff ignored Jacob’s grasp and began unplugging the cords from the back of the machine.

“STOP,” Jacob yelled, tugging on Cliff’s arm with all of his might.

Cliff remained perfectly still, save for the hand he sent darting towards Jacob’s wrist. Jacob’s nostrils flared as Cliff’s fingers plucked his veins like guitar strings, forcing him to loosen his grip. Cliff began rotating his hand until Jacob was on his knees pleading for mercy.

“I SURRENDER,” Jacob yelled.

“You would,” Cliff responded, setting Jacob free to cower on the sofa.

Cliff finished unplugging the game console and tucked it beneath his arm.

“When you’re done crying, meet me in the car,” Cliff said as he marched out the door.

Tiffany poked her head out from the kitchen with a grin on her face.

“You heard him,” she said. “Get out there or I’ll tell all your friends you just got your butt kicked by a senior citizen.”

Her eyes followed Jacob to the door. He scowled back and shook the pain from his arm while reaching for the knob.

“I’m calling Social Services,” he threatened.

“So you can tell THEM a senior citizen kicked your ass?”

Jacob answered by slamming the door.

“Oh good,” Cliff shouted from behind the wheel. “I was afraid natural sunlight might kill you. You know, like a vampire.”

“I get it,” Jacob scoffed, climbing into the car.

“Oh, cheer up. Before you know it, I’ll be dead, and you can go back to beating up prostitutes and touching yourself to warrior women.”


“Sure you weren’t.”

Cliff put the Oldsmobile in reverse and pulled out of the driveway. They rode in silence all the way to the park where grandparents and grandchildren regularly fly kites together.

“SURPRISE,” Cliff said after pulling into the parking lot.


“Come on, give me an hour and you can kill all the hookers your heart desires.”

Jacob pulled his phone from his pocket and set a timer.

“Tick-tock,” he said, flashing his granddad the screen.

Cliff gathered the kites from the trunk and handed them to Jacob, along with the mission to find a patch of clean airspace while he takes a leak. Jacob walked towards the field with two kites beneath his left arm and a smartphone in his right hand.

Cliff exited the bathroom and scanned the sky for the Spongebob Squarepants kite he had given Jacob on his eighth birthday. To his surprise, he found the yellow and porous diamond fighting against the wind about fifty yards to his left.

He walked towards the spot and traced the string with his eyes, soon discovering that Jacob wasn’t manning the handle. He stopped and looked around the lawn until he saw another Spongebob kite facedown in the grass. Beside it was a scraggly-haired teenager with his head pointed straight down at a phone he was gripping with both of his hands.

When Cliff was close enough to see the screen he saw something he’d been trying to forget for the better part of his adult life. He saw an earth-toned helmet, he saw crosshairs, and then, he saw Jacob tap his thumb against the glass, making the helmet and its occupant vanish behind a puff of blood.

“I surrender,” Cliff murmured, gathering the kites and retreating to the car.

Written by: Mark Killian
Photograph By: Sophie Stuart

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