Your turn around and
get back to fiddling with the machine, confident that doing so will
result in a more pleasing arrangement of things in your basement. The
hissing you hear behind you is somewhat troubling, but you put your mind
at ease by reassuring yourself that it is just the sound of your sneaker
pumps deflating. God bless the Polynesian sweatshop that made them.
You run into a slight
snag: whereas before, the machine was content to whisk you away to an
exotic new basement in exchange for a sensual joystick/button massage
combo, it is now demanding that you deposit fifty cents. Unfortunately,
all you've got on you is 1/4 of a dollar. It all makes sense now: This
cursed arcade cabinet has teleported inconvenient and dangerous things
into your basement all in the hopes of extorting money from you. For all
you know, this cabinet could have been delivered to your house by your
ex-wife. Well, you haven't paid alimony before, and you're not about to
You scan the room and locate your trusty flathead screwdriver. Mankind
has developed countless technological marvels over the centuries, and
yet it seems like we all wind up falling back on the simpler ones. You
ponder this point as you jam the tip of the screwdriver into the
machine's coin slot. A few minutes of ruthless jimmying and finagling
eventually loosen the front of the apparatus, and you careful pull back
the door to look inside.
Upon closer examination
of the coin slot mechanism, you see that in the process of open the
hatch, you've gotten a quarter jammed in the change return mechanism.
Lucky you! Now all you need to do is pop that quarter out, close up the
machine, give it a few taps with your hammer to make sure it's working
again, and then you're home free. You reach out with your screwdriver
and jostle the coin a little.
It doesn't take much to get the coin loose, especially when you consider
the unnatural amount of force being put on it by the springs in the
mechanism. It's enormous enough, as it turns out, that the coin fires
out of the machine with a loud "ping" and heads straight for you! You
throw your hands up in front of your face, but relax when you hear the
coin bounce off of the wall some twenty feet behind you. That was close.
The stress is starting to give you a headache. You reach up to rub your
troubled brow, and feel a thin hole dug into your forehead. How odd. You
feel a sudden draft on your temporal lobe, and realize that the hole
goes all the way through your head. Man, that was one fast coin. You try
to speculate on the speed the coin would have had to have been
traveling, but that part of your brain is now impressed upon the
embossed, metallic likeness of George Washington. You decide to go with
idea #2: sleepy time.