A Satirical Interactive Fiction Commemorating 2020
This is the continuation of an interactive fiction series. To return to the start of the story, CLICK HERE.
“It doesn’t matter what device you were using,” the man on the phone says with a sudden rush of urgency. “None of them are safe from The Author. Quick! Log onto your Nintendo Switch!”
For some reason, you don’t remember whether you own a Switch or not. But you suddenly find one lying right next to your feet. You start to suspect the man on the phone really is Lawrence Fishburne.
“The Nintendo Switch is one of the most powerful devices in the world,” says the man. “But no one in the right mind would use it to surf the internet. You should be safe here.”
You boot up the console and log in.
“Ok,” says the man, “now meet me at the online address, DA-2020–7825–7277.”
You frown. “What kind of address is that?”
“My Animal Crossing: New Horizons dream address,” says the man. “Meet me on my Island, and I’ll tell you everything I know. My character’s a dog.”
You hesitate at first. This plan sounds incredibly stupid … Stupid enough to be the perfect cover …
You do as you were told. Within minutes you find your avatar settled onto an Animal Crossing island with its picturesque landscapes and adorable sprites.
You see a dog.
“Good,” says the man on the phone, “now I need you to plant a Bell tree right over there.”
You protest indignantly. This has nothing to do with the year 2020.
“We need to make it look like we’re playing Animal Crossing so The Author wouldn’t suspect us!” says the man.
That sounds reasonable enough. You open up the menu.
“Good,” says the man. “Now, build me a hammock and place it next to my beach house.”
“There’s no time to argue! He could be here any minute! Build me the bloody hammock!”
You acquiesce. But much to your dismay, you find yourself performing other Animal Crossing tasks for him. You build a flower garden. You dig for fossils. Then you go fishing.
“Now, look for messages in a bottle.”
You find yourself doing as you were told.
Then something strange begins to happen. You feel your resistance fading. This … is actually fun …
“I think we should visit the museum,” you tell the man on the phone.
He lets out a loud yawn. “Yeah. Cool.”
You let out a yawn too. It’s dark outside. Actually, it looks like the break of dawn.
“What time is it?” you ask the man on the phone.
“The hell if I know. We forgot to check our shops today.”
You open the menu. Then you get a nagging thought. “Hey … uh … Anthony Ray Parker?”
“Yeah?” says the man on the phone who sounds inebriated right now.
“What’s the deal with 2020 anyhow?”
“What’s the deal with what now?” he mutters.
“The year 2020. Didn’t you say the entire year was a messed up computer simulation?”
He pauses for a moment. He seems deep in thought. “About that, well —”
You jump up. “Wait! Isn’t that Isabelle?”
The man on the phone lets out a euphoric gasp. “It IS Isabelle! AWWWW!”
And so you and some random Black actor from the Matrix series play Animal Crossing for another few hours. A few hours turn into a few days. A few days turn into a few weeks.
Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to rage outside your window. The Pledge of Allegiance has been converted to a pledge to the MAGA corporation. And Medium gets overrun with a slew of Rick Astley videos.
And you were never happier.