Hell of a thing, pogs.
They come up around here now and then and my days banging slammers behind the roller rink come back in a flood, the storms and the strange kid and the wreckage. Wreckage of pogs and people.
Richter and I thought we could hash it out, you know, after the last time. Talk therapy or something, I don't know. We met up for some fine German beer and maybe a round or two of Barenjager. Nothing treats the soul like live accordian and drinking songs. It was game night, the perfect thing, maybe a pickup game of Catan could distract us if it got too real.
But it was game night. Splayed across fields of folding plastic was an array of tabletop ranging from simple card to complex miniature. They held the attention of bodies in steel chairs happily sipping on imported lager. Richter and I nodded our approvals. This would do, yeah, this would be fine.
We were insufficiently drunk to bring up the topic of pogs, of course, but every quarter hour or so one of us would look up at the other, just about ready to say it, then toss the dice again before we made such a dumb mistake. The other gamers were friendly and invited us to a few of their rounds, one guy in particular taking interest. He bought us drinks and clapped us on the back after good plays and we circled the place, sticking to the light stuff, nothing with collectible components.
It was maybe the third hour in that our new friend pulled us aside. Got a different kind of game going, guys, if you're interested. None of this casual shit. He reached into his pocket and before he could show us his hand I shoved him away. I grabbed Richter and moved us toward the exit but it was too late. As the guy stumbled back he dropped them and they made a telling soft sound, a dozen of them and then a clatter of something heavy.
It was too much for Richter. He ripped his arm free and turned and surveyed the room, the battlefield, the killing grounds. Honed instinct took him and the daze of booze drained from his eyes. Richter, I called, go someplace else. Go someplace else but too little, too little. When the first table fell and the various gamers drunkenly scrambled away I got out of there.
Never did hear about the aftermath. You don't look back with pogs.
Pogs, man. Hell of a thing.
My first job got lost to pogs.
I'd pulled my shit together after college - the summers of camp counselling during the pog resurgence of the early 2000's, and had got respectable. Then I had the BIG relapse
I was hucking mortgages with some hugeass firm, making a mint in commissions, and draining it all into stacked cardboard roundcrack at back tables in Denny's before the market fell apart in '08
I was betting whole stacks of slammers and not giving a damn, drunk on the oppulence of it all. My manager asked me about my numbers one day as I was truing up a stack at work - jsut for practice mind you. He got offended, and so I dropped a custom Samoan torpedo between his eyes. Lead weighted - stricktly non-reg - a hallmark of those who came up in public school back alley stackduels.
He lost consciousness, I lost a job. I wailed enough about stress and quotas to HR that no charges were pressed. Still out though. A year of deep rolling business, and not a single recomendation to show.
I got clean, got another job, and pulled my shit together.
Sure a little CCG or minigaming, but I kept to tabletop. all well and good. Then we went to the bar.
There were screams after the little incident EoC mentioned. Some millenial took exception to OLD SCHOOL play, and was letting my know about it.
"The fuck man! The FUCK! It ain't the 90's man! No one plays that way anymore! We know bet.."
I chipped the corner of a 6mm plastic slammer on an upturned table leg and slashed him down the face before he could finish. A juvvie - kid move, but it made my point. I get bored with the refrain of anyone who isn't going to be serious about their pogs.
"I'm here to play, not to hear you bitch."
His buddy was siddling up with a beer bottle, thinking I couldn't see him. EoC had my back though, and started cramming some Brony's stack of "rainbow dash limiteds" up his left nostril.
"POLITE company." he was telling the guy in an almost conciliatory tone. "POLITE."
The deviant dropped his bottle in favor of un-deviating his septum.
"We should go..." I managed, sensing gametime was well done as the door burst in and the police arrived.
That broke the tension. Like a snowbank giving way, or a and dune deciding to imitate a liquid the crowd stove in on itself. EoC backed out, and I hit the deck, amidst a rush of clambering hands and kicking boots. It would look better if I LOOKEd like I was getting the stomping. Picked up respectable dig to my scalp in addition to loosing the sharpened slammer, and wiping the blood off my hand in a puddle of beer.
Calm? Crazy? not exactly. I jsut had a very GOOD sense of priorities and consequences at the point.
Thing you learn with pogs; always build the stack in YOUR favor.