It’s been a long winter at Far From Finished game studios and Cookie’s having a tough nut keeping it all together. The long awaited sequel in the Dragon Master franchise has been delayed, because some other title named Duke Nukem Forever resurfaced after 12 years of development time. That’s why we suffered a minor setback in publicity and sales. Shit happens. Can’t help it. I’m not getting paid any less because of it.
At any given company in any random country, there’s always that one employee that keeps you going during tough times. Not by actions, words or pheromones (I could tell where your mind was going), but by simply existing and being oneself. At Far From Finished, we call it ‘Carl’.
Carl is big. Not only that, but his dressing standard consists of ragged t-shirts imprinted with the word ‘ATARI’ (the print is in pristine condition, because it’s never been washed), dirty sneakers and stained jeans. If you’re imagining some kind of serial killer right now, hold on to that picture. Now, imagine that kind of person to have not bathed and/or showered in, say – this kind of estimation requires a keen sense of smell – three weeks and four days, a face that looks like it chews boulders for breakfast every morning and hair that’s been excavated by a pioneering archaeologist who probably cried out that ‘it’s alive’ when he held it aloft after exposing it to the first rays of sunlight in its lifetime. Add it all up, and you have Carl.
Despite Carl’s ogre-like appearance and his lack of verbal communication skills, he is actually somewhat of a nice guy.
On Mondays, when Cookie has meetings with the board of executives, Carl always strides into the conferencing room (read: shoves his gigantic body forward by leaning on a cart that he’s ‘pushing’) to pour coffee. It’s something we all do once in a while, but Carl always makes it look like some ancient, sacred ritual. He pours the coffee extremely slowly and carefully, as if he were washing a newborn baby. It’s just that people don’t dare look him in the eye, else they’d notice they are almost always bloodshot at that time. Carl’s a real party animal in the weekends.
Everyone at the office likes Carl. What’s not to like? He’s big, smells and resembles an ogre. He’s an inspiration to the entire story writing team. If it were not for him, our minds would have bled dry a long time ago. Sure, the occasional grunt from his cubicle scares off coworkers from time to time, who vigorously try to supply him with more paperwork for the day. But at lunch, everybody forgets the petty squabbles. You guessed it: watching Carl chew down his loaf of bread, home-cooked stew, half a roasted chicken, some McDonald’s and occasionally a chunk out of the lunch table (only when he’s really hungry) is a phenomenon on its own. You can try beating a ghost to death and likely be more successful than trying to get Carl to eat less and slower. It’s like witnessing a supernova from up-close. In space. Surrounded by babes. Hot ones.
Every season brings about its changes, and so does spring for Far From Finished. Because yesterday I was shocked to hear that Carl is leaving the studio. When I asked Cookie what the reason was for Carl’s resignation, he told me that it was a grunt. Because that was all he’d gotten as an answer to that very same question. At times like these, Cookie is the most easy-going person in the world. He’ll write you a recommendation, shove you outside of his office, put his feet up on his desk and light an expensive cigar. That way, everybody’s happy. But more importantly; still breathing and able to scratch one’s back without experiencing excrutiating pain.
A new nametag had already been placed at Carl’s desk.
It read ‘Stan’.
Every season brings about its changes. Hopefully we get to finish the latest Dragon Master title soon and keep our lunch table in once piece during the process.
(Vanquisher of ogres and water ninjas)