2024 Melinda Wyers
Welcome to Y2KQ!

Gamers on the Cusp of a New Millennium

Jessica Gleason

After a time, it was
not unusual to have one pink
sleeping bag amid the sea of
dark greens and blues, spread
out amidst the empty soda cans
and crinkled, but half-full, chip bags
on those basement floors.

It was not unusual,
in those houses,
for the overprotective and discerning
parents to pay me no notice
as I snored away on the floor,
nestled between all of their sons.

Often, we'd hole up entire weekends
listening to Weird Al records or playing pool,
drinking a half root beer, half fruit punch
concoction we'd dubbed 'fruit beer'.

Tube TVs stacked atop one another
and side-by-side so more of us could
plug in and play until our burning
red-ringed eyes slammed closed
like worn out roller shades.

At first, I wasn't allowed to play with the boys
after dark, excluded from the late-night bonding,
because of my feminine anatomy.
But, eventually, one parent took pity on the goose,
letting me stay with all those ducks.

Some of those parents took me in,
as one of their own,
accepting that I was awkward and boyish,
assuming I'd be no trouble.
And, I wasn't, not at first, not for years.

Did I kiss a few of them?
After I noticed they were boys,
absolutely. That never really changed
our dynamics. It wasn't unusual
to find us, still, button mashing
well into the night,
sleeping in innocent clumps
and caring only for composite
s-video and darkened rooms,
sinister enough for the parasites
stopping Leon Kennedy
from rescuing Ashley Graham
to thrill us in ways I've never
been able to recreate since those
easier, socially awkward, days.

Hawaiian-Italian author, Jessica Gleason, is a lover of horror and fantasy in their various shapes and forms and can usually be found penning gory tales deep into the night. She enjoys painting monsters with acrylics and singing a mean hair metal karaoke. Her daytime persona teaches college English and Communications in the American midwest. Her recent releases include ‚The Dangerous Miss Ventriloquist,and ""The Fabulous Miss Fortune'' (Evil Cookie Publishing, 2023) and ""Madison Murphy, Wisconsin Weirdo"" (Champagne Books Group, 2023). For information on her projects, follow her on Instagram (@j.g.writes) where she hosts a monthly horror writer challenge, #WeWriteHorror.

Back to Issues
Read More by this Author