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level 4 walkthrough: the furniture

Some lunatics gave me a credit card. I don't know who these mad fuckers are, but their card says "Discover." Whoever they are they must not do any research. They must be handing these things out to whoever asks. If they'd done their homework they'd have "discover"ed that I'm a flight risk.

Twelve or so years ago a whole slew of these people let me have a bunch of these things. First time I pulled one out at the record store my buddy asked, "Hey, what the hell's that?"

"It's free money, dude!" I said. "They keep sending 'em to me in the mail!"

The cash register said "ka-ching" and I went home and listened to some Jethro Tull or something.

The most recent edition of the little piece of paper I get in the mail every month says that at this point I only owe another $3,000 or so on that CD. Awesome.

So maybe these "Discover" people just figure I'll use their piece of plastic for some more CDs and pay them like a couple hundred thousand bucks in ten years. I don't know. But hey, free money. It came in the mail.

Months ago my wife and I ordered some furniture. The lady at the store said it'd be delivered in four to six weeks. This was sometime in early September. Last Friday afternoon I got a phone call from a guy who said he had our stuff. He told me someone would be calling Monday night to tell me what time on Tuesday they'd be dropping the things off.

Sometime Monday evening the phone rang; the caller ID had some dude's name on it, like "Alan Smith" or something. Normally we don't answer that devil machine if someone we've never heard of is listed on that ID. It's always some crazy person, mispronouncing shit and talking about... well, I don't know what they talk about, I always scream at them and jerk the cord out of the wall before they've had a chance to whisper their voodoo spell into my ear. But this time we were waiting on this call from an unnamed contact, and I wasn't taking any chances. I only signed a couple of papers back when we picked this stuff out, and we didn't give them any kind of collateral. I thought those people traditionally wanted money; in this case they were letting us just swear to pay for them later. It was like that hamburger guy on Popeye opened a furniture store. So anyway, I didn't really read what was on those papers, so I figured there might've been something in there saying that failure to answer the telephone by the second ring would indicate our rejecting the delivery or something.

So I grabbed the receiver and shouted, "Yes, yes, I'm answering!"

A deep, husky male voice on the other end said, "Be home between 3pm and 7pm tomorrow." Then the line went dead.

So yesterday I worked from home. By a quarter to seven I was pretty sure we'd been duped. I was trying really hard to remember what exactly those papers said. In fact right then it became blindingly obvious that I was a sucker; not only that, I'd dragged my wife down with me. Who the hell ever heard of somebody giving away new furniture to a couple of morons who wander in off the street? Not only had I believed them, I'd convinced my wife to believe them, too.

At 7:00 I was getting ready to pack a grip and get the hell out of town. I'd have to call my wife on her cell phone from my car. If I didn't get through hopefully she'd notice that I wasn't home when she pulled up after work and she'd turn around and get to a safe place. I had given those fuckers our address.

At 7:01 I heard the pained, whining noises of what was either a heretofore assumed extinct bird creature, or a mammoth truck that was using a malfunctioning washing machine for brakes. I opened the front door and there was a big, white panel truck creeping down the street that leads to our parking lot. The same kind of truck everybody thought the DC sniper was driving back when I was wearing a helmet to the gas station. I felt sweat burst out on my forehead. Whoever these people were, they'd given me plenty of oppurtunity to get a head start before they chased me. But, as usual, I hadn't figured out the game until it was too late.

I ran out the front door as the truck pulled into the middle of the parking lot. I looked left, then right, unable to decide which way to bolt... there was nothing to hide behind. "Hold on!" I shouted. "I should've gone out the back door. Can I get a do-over?" My fingers were twitching to save the game before I got shot; I thought there might be a way out even after having made such a fundamental mistake so late in the mission, but I knew for sure I wouldn't get it right the first time. And if I had to start the level from the begining I'd have to go through that whole election thing again.

A guy stepped out of the back of the truck. "Guy" is as general a term as might possibly apply. This creature was massive. He must've been seven feet tall, over 350 pounds. In a low, quiet voice he mumbled something that I couldn't make out. I knew that the calm, hypnotic waves of his voice were meant to disarm me. I was taking a step backward, away from him, when I saw another dude step out of the driver's side door of the truck. This guy was even taller, but thin and wiry.

"Where's the fucking power-up?!" I screamed. "I don't even have a pistol!"

The guy from the back of the truck repeated what he had said, except this time he was closer so I understood him. "I've got to go inside and see where we're putting the couches," he said.

I showed the guy my living room. Twenty minutes later we had a new couch and a new loveseat (with the old couch shoved into a corner.) I only had to sign one more piece of paper. When I was doing it the guy was talking about how the lady before me had signed the wrong line, and could I sign the one she was supposed to sign, and he'd put arrows. So I scrawled something on a line, then put my pen away. Then he said, "Could I use the pen? I need to put arrows."

So beneath my scribble he put an arrow, pointing at this other scribbled mess that was supposedly some lady's signature. Then he put an arrow, pointing at mine, above her scribble. Then he handed me my pen and left. The other guy already had the truck running.

I'll be gone for a few days, temporarily unable to take your calls. If you hear a beep, please vacate whatever building you're in. Once these people realize I've got their "Discover" card and their furniture, and they've got nothing from me but some scribbles on paper, they're bound to take it out on somebody. Watch your backs.

I'll be back next week, if I can survive the impending battle at the end of this level. I hear that in that part you have to fight against six hundred thousand people driving cars on a total of about twenty lanes of highways all spiraling out from the center of the map. That's gonna be a tough one.

Have a turkey. Or a... whatever you have if you don't eat turkey.