Tasha Cotter

A Brief Index of Arcade Games and Fire (Time Crisis II)

Tasha Cotter

Heather was sitting there at the Writer’s Hall of Fame banquet and each inductee reminded her of an arcade game. She sat there, listening to excerpts of their work and all she could think about was global arcade classics: Target Toss Pro, Target Terror. All The Kings Men, someone said, and The House of the Dead. And she thought how poetry was like a room filled with smoke, or the only thing left after the world ends. A screen saying your hand in mine when it wasn’t. Elizabeth Maddox Ford or Mortal Kombat? She remembered the poster and the sword. How the explosions in the sky were the greatest thing of all time. Someone said champagne; let’s raise a glass to Terminator Salvation Arcade. But she wasn’t holding a glass just then and everyone made a clicking sound. Glassware warfare. Could it be anything else? She’d been in the back. Rural America. Her life was like that—a trip into a town, a tug of quarters for the NBA Jam and Street Fighter II. And then one day someone had ruined it for her. A message on the door. Closed until further notice, it said. Some ghosts, some ghouls set fire to my arcade. 

TASHA COTTER is the author of That Bird Your Heart (Finishing Line Press), and Some Churches (Gold Wake Press). Her work has appeared in journals such as Contrary Magazine, Country Dog Review, and Booth. Her fiction has been nominated for a storySouth Million Writers Award and her poetry was recently named a finalist for the Philip Booth Poetry Prize. You can find her online at www.tashacotter.com.

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