After David the Writer leaves Cameron de la Cruz for a night out at Dave and Busters in Manhattan, Cameron finds herself in a proverbial quarter-life crisis. Cameron, the naïve anti-heroine, must make a choice between doing what is best for her sanity or what is ultimately better for society. In between high-profile careers and men, she finds that the lines between what normally considered morally just versus what is ethically corrupt are blurring together. Love, lust, and money become entangled in these figurative, and occasionally literal, video games.
Read the first chapter:
Chapter One: She Chases Him.
“I have to meet my brother at Dave and Busters.”
“Sorry, is that a joke?” Cameron de la Cruz ripped apart a bagel with lox and cream cheese. She sat on a plastic chair on the High Line underneath the burning city sun of the concrete jungle. The Colombian writer who she was dating was named David Serna. He was twenty-seven, and he was cancelling plans for post-work drinks with her to go to the adult equivalent of Chuck E. Cheese’s. He was a marketing assistant for a middle market equity firm. He was a writer when they were younger and went to college together, when she was a resident and he was her RA.
Cameron wanted to be a lawyer, but when the prospects for a proper ROI for law school didn’t pan out, Cameron pursued the P.R. industry. She considered herself a professional blogger at night and a hotel executive during the day. Cameron was twenty-five, a general manager for a luxury boutique Manhattan property, and in her spare time she wrote about Manhattan restaurants for a blog—which, in the blogger community, is a pejorative term.
Bloggers preferred to be referred to as writers. This was the one aspect that Cameron and David had in common besides an undergraduate degree. It was her girlfriend’s blog, which her girlfriend called a lifestyle guide more than anything. Cameron was not subsidized for her time blogging, at least not monetarily. Instead, she
would reap in the benefits through exclusive product reviews and free drinks in the Meatpacking District.
“No, really,” insisted David, “I want to see my brother and my little nephew.”
“Okay David, that’s fine,” Cameron cooed over the phone. The whole conversation they were having was over their smartphones. Cameron and David grew up in a generation which thought it was perfectly normal to text and call more often than to see each in person. Cameron worked downtown and David was in midtown. They worked in the same city, but were barely seeing each other. They made it up with sweet text messages throughout the day with little picture emoticons, the kissy-faces, hearts, and virtual teddy bear hugs made up for any loss time.
“Cool, cool.” Cameron could tell David was nodding from twenty blocks away, most likely adjusting his pair of Ray-Ban prescription, thick-framed wayfarer glasses.
“So while I put down money on our hotel reservation in D.C., you go have wings and beer with your brother in Times Square.”
“Cameron, was that meant to sound so hostile?”
“Yes, David, because I’m pissed that you’re cancelling plans with me so you can go hang out in the very place you swore you would never set foot in.”
“Jesus, Cameron, it’s Dave and Busters, not a strip club. We’re going to drink some Stella’s and play foosball.”
“You made plans with me first. It’s like you don’t even care that you’re cancelling plans with me to go act like you’re a bridge and tunnel college boy.”
“First of all, you may have lived in the Bronx once, but you grew up in central New Jersey. Studies show that central New Jersey isn’t even real.”
“Well, David,” Cameron’s voice raised. She threw away the remainder of her wheat bagel into a trash can. “First of all, go fuck yourself because Bruce Springsteen put central Jersey on the map. Second of all, I understand that your family is a priority. I get that. I’m Filipino. Family is everything, but come on, David, when you make a promise with someone, you uphold those promises. You’re abandoning me for Donkey Kong.”
“Cameron, you have some abandonment and trust issues you need to work out.”
“You know what David,” now Cameron was shaking her head from fifteen blocks away as she walked further uptown on the High Line, “if you’re going to act like this, then I can’t do this anymore.”
“Well, Cameron, it’s not much of a loss considering you were never my girlfriend anyway. Remember? I wasn’t ready for anything serious. Listen, you’re a nice woman. You’ll find someone before you know it. ”
David hung up. Cameron stood in the middle of the High Line path. A male jogger swerved past her, sweaty and shirtless. A young couple excused themselves quietly as they swerved past her; she surmised that they must have been tourists. The couple held hands as one of them held a subway map and the other a chai latte from Starbucks. Cameron’s hands shook as she slowly accepted that she had wasted half of the year trying to keep a man who never wanted to be kept. She pulled her Chanel sunglasses out from her Tom Ford black leather bag. What would Carrie Bradshaw do?
Kelly Ann Gonzales is from the Class of 2014 at Fairleigh Dickinson University (College at Florham). She has formally studied Hotel and Restaurant Management and has an informal but passionate desire to learn more about feminism, female entrepreneurship, and making tomato sauce from scratch. Video Games is her first published novel. She lives in New Jersey with her loving parents and her loving brother: a Labrador retriever named Thor.