Playing Hooky: Four Men and a Criminal

Needing some space from the office

[Ricky Namara was a bad, bad boy. So bad, he decided to take two days off of work to enjoy the finer things in life – video games! Join him in his roller coaster of emotions as he regales us with his tale of anticipation, heartache, and inevitable triumph as he tells work to eat it while he chows down on some FFXV. Wanna see your work featured by Destructoid? Be more like Ricky, and tell us of a time you played hooky for this month’s Bloggers Wanted. We promise not to tell anyone. Unless, of course, you get featured. Then we’re telling everyone. – Wes]

Our offices are situated in two different parts of town, and often times we would have to commute between them to attend meetings and get things done. The fastest route to get from one office to the other is to cut through this rather upscale shopping district. You know the type: It’s the place where every store displays their goods on the windows without fear of them being smashed by some thieving goons.

I was on my motorbike on the right-turn lane waiting for the light to turn green so I could attend some meeting at the other office, and my eyes wandered to distract myself from the unruly motorists honking their horns over some road rage matter. That’s when I saw her inside a shop’s window display case. The Queen of Temptations. The Mistress of the Dark. The Mother of Harlots beckoning me to her dark embrace.

“Hey, baby.”

I had completely forgotten that today was the release day of Final Fantasy XV, the game I had waited ten years plus six months to play, because all of my time and thoughts were invested on some contract over some client doing some dumb thing they weren’t supposed to be doing. I froze, remembering all those nights I practically licked the computer screen over any new, tiny morsel of news related to the game, and now that my obsession was within grasps I was practically tossing it into the wind. This would not stand, dammit! Not right now!

I weighed my options, gripped the handlebars, and swerved out of the turning lane at top speed.

With expected results.

Jokes aside, I rushed off the parking lot and into the store to purchase a copy, and within fifteen minutes the game of my heart’s desire was in my hands. I was sporting the biggest smile on my face, thinking of what kind of adventure this new Fantasy was going to offer me, for precisely ten seconds before it dawned on me: It’s Thursday (we get our new releases a bit later than you lucky westerners). It’s still in the middle of the workday. I still have to wait six more hours before my wait for Final Fantasy XV is finally, FINALLY over, and I have a meeting in twenty minutes on top of that as well.

This isn’t fair!, I thought, I’ve waited all this time! I’ve been a good boy and waited my turn and now that it’s finally here, I have to wait some MORE?! Why? Why hast thou forsaken me, Hajime Tabata?!

“Because thine bling is not the blingiest-eth.”

I sighed with a heavy sigh and was about to resign to my fate when I remembered something very important: I’m between offices right now. People often disappear out of our offices and nobody bothers to check for attendance since they just assume that they’re working at the other office at the moment, which was often the case. All you have to do is confirm with your boss and that’ll be the end of that. And since my boss is the kind of person who valued results and hitting deadlines more than seeing people physically sitting on their desks pretending to be working everyday, the solution became clear to me: Why not play hooky for a day or two?

I thought about that for a second though. I have never played hooky before, not even in college or high school. I’ve always had perfect attendance all through middle school and even got the award to show for it in elementary school. Now as a full-grown adult I’m about to commit my very first act of truancy in my whole life, ever. Should I do it? Dare I do it?

I picked up my phone and pressed the number for my boss. “Hello?” I spoke into the receiver, “Mr. Bossman?” (Name changed for protection.)

“Yes, this is Bossworth B. Bossington-Bossman the Third speaking.”

“Ah, I’ve been waiting for your call,” Mr. Bossman spoke on the other line. “Are you stuck in traffic somewhere? You don’t have to go speeding or anything, but it would be great if you could be here soon so we could get this client thing sorted out right away.”

“Yeah, uh, here’s the thing, sir,” I started, trying my best to stay calm. “I forgot that I’m supposed to attend a family event today. My sister is getting married, and I need to be helping her out sorting the details for the big day with the rest of our family. It’s going to take a while, so I won’t be attending work for today and tomorrow.” It wasn’t a total lie; there was a two-day family outing planned with my extended family to both get together and discuss the details of my sister’s wedding arrangements happening next month. Thing is, it already happened last weekend, and we already got the details sorted out.

“My plan is flawless! MUHAAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!”

“I see,” Mr. Bossman replied, before he perked up once more and said, “well that’s fine, then. Family is important, after all. Oh, but you have marked the points in the contract that need to be reviewed, right? I’d still like to review them for myself while you’re away.”

There was a sudden rush I felt when I heard Mr. Bossman spoke those words. He bought my story! What I thought was a long shot worked out better than I imagined. For those glorious few seconds I was Hannibal Smith from The A-Team, and I was truly loving it when a plan comes together!

Pictured: Me.

“Yes, sir,” I answered, feeling the weight dropping off of my chest, “I’ll give you my ID and login password so you can retrieve the files from my cloud drive.”

“You know what this means, don’t you?”

The weight was back the instant Mr. Bossman said that. Had he realized that I was lying? Was my excuse too lame to be a reality? So much for my victory dance as I braced myself for my immediate termination as I answered meekly, “What, what does this mean, sir?”

“This means you’ll have to ask I.T. to issue you a new ID and password once you come back on Monday,” Mr. Bossman answered. “Those nerds are real sticklers for rules, after all, and they’ll chew both of us out for this ‘breach in security’ nonsense if you don’t ask for a new ID.”

He ended the sentence with a laugh. I felt like laughing too. Partway between a victory laugh, a relieved chuckle, and a sinister mad cackle.

Also, some mustache twirling might’ve been involved.

“Well then, have a good long weekend! I’ll see you Monday!”

“Yes sir! Thank you, sir!” I hung up and gathered all of my willpower not to break out into a song and dance number like the cheesiest musical ever, before bounding towards the parking lot with a spring in my step and a happy little tune on my lips. The next few days leading into the weekend was spent with Teleport Strikes, Thundaga grenades, and Chocobo rides as I went on a bro-trip with Noctis and co all across the Kingdom of Lucis. My victories against Behemoths and Coeurls and the occasional Iron Giant felt all the more sweeter knowing that I’d won it through an (admittedly) bad boy method of not adhering to the rules.

For a stickler to the rules such as myself, breaking them was something decidedly new and fresh, and overwhelming in a good way. I was a rebel, man! I was sticking it to the law!

And like any good FFXV player will tell you, getting the best loot involves a lot of sticking something with something else until it explodes.

But then Monday comes, and with it the familiar anxiety of being discovered. I couldn’t sit still in my desk for the entire day, waiting for the moment somebody from HR would come up to my place and tell me they knew I’d been lying before handing me my termination slip. I waited the whole entire day for the hammer to fall, and yet…nothing.

The next day the anxiety was still there, though much less so than before. I kept on thinking that maybe HR thought it inhuman to toss somebody out to the streets on a Monday. Maybe they decided to have some common decency and wait until Tuesday before deciding to hurl my sorry butt onto the unemployment pile. After all, people hate Mondays, but nobody ever said anything bad about Tuesdays unless tacos were involved in there somewhere.

“Bring back Taco Tuesdays? Hah! Get real!”

Again, Tuesday came and went, and still nothing. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and finally it was the weekend again, and everything was smooth sailing. As I sat in front of my TV continuing my adventures with Noctis and co., I pondered about the events that transpired -or rather, the lack thereof. Could it be that I just got away with murder? I got to do something bad and didn’t get punished for it, so I should be feeling good that I managed to Ferris Bueller my way out of that sticky little situation.

Yet I wasn’t. I felt awful for betraying my super nice boss’ trust in me, and couldn’t help but wonder how furious he would get if the truth ever came out. I wrestled with these feelings for days, before finally resolving that I wouldn’t do that ever again. I would never, ever play hooky and risk my employment for a simple video game. I’m going to live in the straight and narrow from this point on. I started falling back into the same routine as ever, guilt free and conscious clear.

Until once again, on the way to the office, I passed the same game store and that Mother of Harlots tempted me into her dark embrace once more.

“Hey, baby.”

…well, since I already got away with it once, I guess I’ll only get better with even more practice, right?

Whoa, where did this weird mask and spiffy clothes come from?!

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Ricky Namara
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