Note: The following story used to be posted at the Tamagotchi Fever! web site. Because it seems to be down, I am posting this story here with the author's permission. It is one of my all time favorite fan fiction stories, enjoy!
By Richard E. Rae
This work of "fan fiction," "Virtual Pet", is Copyright (c) 1997, Richard E. Rae. All Rights Reserved, except as noted in the disclaimers following this story.
Phil Carsdale wanted a Tamagotchi.
Phil was a lanky kid of 17, with a mop of medium-brown hair that looked as if it had been cut with a bowl over his head. He didn't care about fashion much- the oversized shirts, baggy trousers, and dingy sneakers he wore proved that. Besides, he couldn't afford the trendy outfits other kids wore. But he DID care about getting in on current trends before his peers did, and getting in at the beginning.
He'd taken the part-time job at "We 'R' Toys" not so much for the money- though he needed it, because his parents sure didn't give him any... but in order to get video games before any of his classmates did. . He really liked being first at getting everything.
And now, he was going to be the first person in town to get a blue Tamagotchi.
He knew that there were were only two or three of the iridescent, transparent blue colored toys to the case of 24, but it always seemed like there were never any blue Tamagotchis available. Lots of other colors, but never any blue ones. They had to be there, but nobody ever saw them. And Phil thought he'd figured out why that was.
One morning when he'd come in early to learn the ropes as a trainee, he'd seen Mr. Akuma, the store manager, going through the new cases before they were unpacked, supposedly to check his packing lists. Mr. Akuma was slight, and of medium height, but his etched Oriental features and solid build intimidated Phil to no end.
Especially since Phil, hiding around the corner that day, saw Mr. Akuma taking select packages out of each case and putting them in a box under his arm. Phil bet that Mr. Akuma was scooping all of the blue ones out of the cartons and doing who knows what with them, because he'd never- NEVER- seen any customers with blue ones when he'd been working the register. Well, Phil thought, I don't care what kind of shady market Mr. Akuma is running, but I want a Tamagotchi, and I specifically want a blue one. So he made sure he'd get one.
He'd learned yesterday that Mr. Akuma had a business breakfast scheduled and was going to come in late this morning, and he'd managed to talk his friend Jerry, the assistant manager who opened the store and met the trucks, into switching off and letting HIM take the delivery this morning.
Phil was right there when the truck was unloaded.
He'd signed off on the delivery of Tamagotchis, then had opened the first box off the truck that morning, and began digging through it... about to claim his OWN perfect, rare, clear blue Tamagotchi before Mr. Akuma got to them. He was SURE to have the only blue one in school- maybe even in town! Besides, Akuma'd never know the difference, anyway. Orders always came up short one item now and then, right?
He'd pulled out a batch of four, and was systematically and carefully opening the lids of the packages to see what color they were...
Purple/pink. Double yuk.
Fuchsia? Get real.
Suddenly, he noticed something different about the remaining package in his hand... there wasn't any English on it, and it didn't say "Tamagotchi" on it like the other boxes. Instead, it was gray and featureless... except that there were five Chinese or Japanese letters on the lid- three big fancy ones, and two smaller ones, and they were bright red in color. Phil felt a thrill of wonder. Hey, this must be a real Japanese Tamagotchi that got in here somehow!
Phil noticed the cover lid was sealed with a big piece of tape. He fumbled with his box cutter and slit the tape, then flipped back the lid. And his eyes got VERY wide.
Nestled inside the box was something he'd NEVER heard of or even seen. It was a BLACK Tamagotchi!
It looked like the regular Tamagotchis he'd seen in shape, for sure, but this one had a matte black case, a dark anodized aluminum key chain, and three cool little red buttons beneath the little screen. Hot damn, Phil said to himself...
Suddenly, Phil heard a noise behind him that made him jump with fear... keys in the lock of the back door! Oh, great... looking furtively around in a panic, he quickly stuffed his new-found prize inside the red smock he wore as a "We 'R' Toys" uniform, then knelt beside the box and grabbed the clipboard with the bill of lading on it. He hurriedly placed the Tamagotchi boxes he'd scattered back in the case, then he kicked the side of the box, hard... putting a hole in it.
Looking around furtively, Phil tried to adopt a worried expression, which wasn't hard...
"Phil?" said a firm male voice with Oriental undertones. Oh, crap... it's Mr. Akuma, thought Phil. What's HE doing here so early?
"Oh, uh, hi, Mr. Akuma," Phil stammered. "How are you?"
"Fine, Phil. Say, why are you here so early? " Mr. Akuma looked at Phil suspiciously. "Where's Jerry?"
"Oh, he had to take his sister to the doctor this morning, and he asked me to fill in for him. I've watched him take delivery a few times, you know..." Phil said, trying to control his voice.
Mr. Akuma nodded, an inscrutable expression on his Japanese-American features. "That's good. I like your enthusiasm."
"Phil... did you open that box you're next to?" Mr. Akuma said, frowning.
Phil tensed up.
"Uh, yes, uh... yes I did, Mr. Akuma, sir," Phil sputtered, pointing at the hole he'd kicked in the box. "See, this box came in with this hole in the side, and I was checking the stuff inside to see if it was broken or damaged..."
"Oh, great," Mr. Akuma said, shaking his head and extending his hand towards Phil's clipboard. "Here, Phil, give me that manifest and go on up front to work the customer service desk. I'll check this out for damage and call the shipping company."
Phil rose, nodding, keeping his left arm crooked to keep his precious discovery from falling
through his smock. "Yes, sir. Hope the stuff's OK," he said, as he walked towards the door.
"Oh, and Phil..."
"Uh, yes sir?"
Mr. Akuma smiled. "Good job. Maybe I should have you working the loading dock more often in the morning."
"Good afternoon, 'We 'R' Toys'. No, sorry. We're sold out."
"Good afternoon, 'We 'R' Toys'. Nope, sorry. We have none in stock, and we're sold out."
Phil hated answering the phone. Especially now.
For the most part, his job at "We 'R' Toys" was hardly fun, in fact he kinda hated it. Mostly because Phil hated having to conform to some corporate ideal- but still, he knew inside what side of the bread his butter was on. Even if it involved stocking shelves, waiting on crabby women with too much make-up and trendy outfits who had rotten little Junior in tow, dodging those stupid little brats who chased through the aisles looking for Mr. Action Figure knocking over Phil's carefully crafted displays, those fat losers with tape on their glasses and no likelihood of a life who came in day after day asking about new Star Trek figures...
It was worse now since the Tamagotchi had hit the stores nationwide, and they were selling as fast as they came off the truck and were unpacked. People actually stood at the doors, their ugly faces smashed against the glass, waiting to get in to scoop the little plastic eggs up and adopt their own little virtual pets. Phil had heard about how crazy people were for Cabbage Patch Kids when they first came out, though he wondered why anyone could have gotten worked up over THOSE stupid dolls. That must have happened when he was little, he guessed. He'd seen screaming, wailing people crying over how they MUST have one of the stupid Tickle Me Elmo dolls, too last holiday season. What idiots. Now they were flooding the stores demanding these Tamagotchis, screaming how they HAD to have one, and it HAS to be blue, not ugly purple or fuchsia or green, and can they go pick through the boxes to find the ones they wanted, and I want 50 of them right now so I can sell them to the wanna-bes at inflated prices...
"We 'R' Toys" happened to be the ONLY specialty toy store in town, and somehow Mr. Akuma had gotten exclusive rights to Tamagotchi sales here. So when the store opened this morning, the place had filled up with people and they'd cleared the stock out in less than an hour. And Phil knew that there'd be no shipment for about a week minimum due to a backlog at the manufacturer.
OK, Phil admitted. He'd bought into this fad thing too, but he knew now he had NOTHING to worry about.
Phil glanced over his shoulder at the service desk behind him. He smiled to himself as he confirmed that a box on the shelf under the counter still was in place, concealing his hidden prize for him to retrieve later. He'd have to sneak it out when Mr. Akuma wasn't around. Mr. Akuma had announced that employees would not be allowed to buy Tamagotchis for at least a month, and the cashiers were a bunch of hard-liners who followed Akuma like he was their god, or something. The box didn't even have a UPC on it, so it wouldn't scan, and once they spotted this unusual package, they'd surely call Mr. Akuma to ask about it. He'd never even HEARD of a black Tamagotchi, and be damned if he was going to let anyone keep him from having it. Besides, if Mr. Akuma learned that Phil actually had taken a Tamagotchi out of a shipment... well, he didn't know what would happen.
A sandaled foot suddenly caught his eye as it swung into his peripheral vision. Distracted, he allowed his eyes to wander up the swinging foot, admiring the perfect legs of Brandi. She was one of Phil's classmates who worked at the store, a pert, attractive blonde girl. Her right leg was crossed over the left, the foot swinging aimlessly as her chin rested on her hand in boredom. She chewed her gum, gazed blankly off into space, and waited for customers. Phil panted to himself, his mouth turning up in a lecherous grin. Not much upstairs, but boy, what a staircase, he thought. Brandi, sensing his stare, glanced over disinterestedly at Phil, rolled her eyes skyward, and said, coldly, "Phone's ringing, dorkface."
"Oh!! Uh..." Embarrassed and smarting, Phil snapped his attention back to the ringing phone. Umm, probably another Tamagotchi caller...
"Good afternoon, 'We 'R' Toys'," Phil automatically said.
"Yes, did you get the shipment of Tamawhatzits in today?" said a vacuous-sounding female voice.
"Yes, we did," Phil said flatly, "but they all sold out right away."
Out of the corner of his eye, Phil suddenly caught a glimpse of a rather plump, middle aged lady coming to the service desk behind him. She was carrying two big bags full of stuff and was bitching loudly to Brandi. Good! Better that stuck-up bimbo deal with her than me, he thought.
"Well, when are some new ones coming in?" asked the woman on the phone, refocusing Phil's attention.
"Er, not for a week at least," Phil said. "Try again about that time."
Phil was suddenly distracted by a commotion behind him. Glancing back, he saw that a rather scared-looking Brandi had gone and gotten Mr. Akuma, who was trying to placate the upset lady. He seemed to pause and frown, then he reached under the counter. Probably some layaway...
"That long? Oh, you MUST have some hidden somewhere! They can't be THAT popular..." insisted the lady on the phone, her voice suddenly less pleasant.
"Well, we don't, " Phil said, feeling suddenly uncomfortable. "Thanks for calling."
"Now listen here, young man...." shouted the lady, but the phone was already on its way to the cradle. Phil heard a muffled "Go get your manag.." as the phone clattered on the hook. Pushy broad. Hope she doesn't call back, Phil thought.
He spun on his stool back to face the counter. Mr. Akuma had gone back to his office, but the irate customer must have gotten what she wanted, because she was happily wobbling towards the exit. Brandi had resumed her former demeanor, sitting bored and chomping her gum.
Phil smiled to himself again. if that lady who called only knew! Casually, he glanced down towards his hidden Tamagotchi... abruptly his jaw dropped, and he stifled a scream.
The box that had concealed his Tamagotchi had been moved...
Phil jumped out of his chair and frantically shoved things around under the counter, searching the shelf. Brandi emitted a short shriek, scooting back and staring at him as if he was out of his mind.
"BRANDI! What... I had something under here... did anyone...?" Phil sputtered.
Brandi stared at him. "What ARE you talkin' about?"
"What did that lady want? What happened?" His voice squeaked, certainly an octave higher than he'd have liked it to be.
"Oh, her? Crabby old witch. She started yellin' at me, sayin' she had ordered and paid for 20 of those Tama-eggy things today, and only got 19. She brought back the bags and ticket to prove it," Brandi said, irritation mixing with the bored tone. "Too much for me, man. I let Mr. Akuma handle it. Looks like there was a tama-eggy hidden under the counter, and he gave it to her to shut her up."
"What did it look like? What color was it..." spouted Phil, hands waving wildly and his voice squeaking even higher and louder...
"Hey! Cool it, dweeb boy!" snapped Brandi, as she glared at him angrily.
Phil bumped the box, and suddenly felt a wave of relief as he looked behind it. The Tamagotchi was still there, just had been shifted. Phil replaced the box to conceal it ...
"Phil." The sound caused his blood to momentarily freeze. He turned towards the utterance...
Mr. Akuma stood nearby, arms akimbo, his expression flat and irritated.
"Ahhh.... uhhh... Mr. Akuma, sir." Oh, crap....
"Into my office, now. I need to speak with you," Mr. Akuma said, without emotion.
As Phil felt his shoulders slump and beads of perspiration trickled down his face, Brandi smiled at him, and giggled quietly as he went by. "You're dead meat, dorkface," she said. "Have a nice day."
Mr. Akuma shut the door to his small, somewhat cramped office, and motioned Phil to a folding chair that looked like it had been there for decades. Phil plopped down, the chair clanking and creaking as he settled. He tried to adopt a calm exterior, but his guts were churning and his conscience was screaming silently.
Mr. Akuma went behind his desk, sat down, and looked sternly at Phil.
"OK, Phil, explain." Mr. Akuma's voice was calm and quiet, but firm.
"What do you mean?" Phil blurted. He felt himself losing control again...
"I looked at the manifest you signed off on this morning. According to it, all the boxes of Tamagotchi we received today had no damage on delivery, and you signed off on that. I called Highway Shipping, and they also claim the boxes were delivered in perfect condition. " Mr. Akuma leaned back in his chair.
"Well, er..." Phil choked out.
"Phil, you have to inspect every box... EVERY box... before you sign that manifest," Mr. Akuma said, firmly but not unkindly.
Phil felt himself relax as he breathed a sigh of relief.
"The good news is that none of the items in that box were damaged. I inspected every one myself,"
Mr. Akuma stated. "No insurance claim needs to be filed."
Phil felt himself smiling. "Whew! Thank goodness, Mr. Akuma. I'm sorry I didn't pay attention... I'll be more careful next time," Phil gushed, starting to rise.
"One more thing, Phil," Akuma said, leaning back in his chair, the seat creaking.
Phil felt himself getting tense again...
Akuma steepled his fingers. "When you were checking out that box, did you, by any chance, happen to notice anything... unusual?"
"Uh, no, sir," Phil replied. That was true; he hadn't. "Why... do you ask?"
"There seemed to be one item missing, " Akuma said, leaning forward slightly. "Was the carton sealed when you took delivery, Phil?"
Phil swallowed, and decided to fib again. "Now that you mention it, I don't think it was, Mr. Akuma. I was more worried about the hole in the box..."
Akuma's expression darkened. "God help the person who has that Tamagotchi... especially if it was a certain color..." Phil saw that Mr. Akuma's fists were clenched, and he noted that his boss's eyes seemed to be boring straight through him.
Oh, crap! He IS Black-Marketing the blue ones! Phil gulped again, involuntarily leaning back. "I didn't see any of those rare blue ones in that box, if that's what you're talking about, sir." That wasn't a lie, either.
Mr. Akuma suddenly seemed to snap out of a trance, blinked at Phil, and momentarily relaxed. "Oh, um.. very good," he said.
Akuma stood up, suddenly seeming distracted. "Thanks for the feedback, Phil," he said. As the still-nervous Phil stood and turned towards the office door, Mr. Akuma half-smiled at him. "As I said earlier, you really did do a pretty fair job this morning. I'll tell Jerry about the great job you did in his place."
"That'd be great! Thanks, Mr. Akuma," Phil said, perhaps a bit more enthusiastically than he felt. As he went back to the service desk, he heard Akuma closing the office door behind him. Phil sighed in deep relief as he wiped the perspiration off his brow. "Whew!"
Brandi, who was filing her nails, looked up and saw Phil resume his place. Phil thought she seemed a bit disappointed that Phil's butt seemed to still be attached. "You didn't get raked over the coals? Too bad..." she cracked.
"Hey, isn't it time for your break?" Phil sneered.
"Oh.... YEAH!" shrieked Brandi, her face lighting up with a 100-watt smile as if a switch had been thrown. She hopped off her stool and briskly strode towards the employee lounge, as Phil watched and sighed. The looks of a Barbie doll, and all the brains of one, too....
Phil knelt down and peeked under the counter. There sat his precious contraband... he scooped it up and looked around to make sure no one was watching. Then, still kneeling, he opened the box, took out the cool black Tamagotchi, then stuck it inside his shirt pocket, along with what seemed to be two instruction booklets; one of them seemed kind of wrinkled, like it had been stuffed into the box at the last minute. Phil checked to see if the coast was still clear, then he crushed the empty package and stuffed it deep into a nearby wastebasket.
Phil looked up at the clock. Wow! Quitting time in an hour! Patting the inactivated Tamagotchi in his shirt pocket, he suddenly relaxed and smiled to himself as he went for the broom to sweep up the store. Home free... he just knew it!
An hour later, Phil glanced at the time clock, and decided to call it a day. As Phil put the broom
away, Brandi came over to him.
"Hey, Phil. Mr. Akuma wants to meet with all the employees, right now."
Oh, crap! Phil felt a chill come over him. He had been ready to saunter out of the store, his secret safe... and now Akuma's on to him! I bet he's going to confront all the employees, search us all...
"Uh, Brandi? Do me a favor, tell him I had to leave for a doctor appointment."
"Tell him yourself, dorkface. Why should I lie for you?" Brandi sneered at him.
"Do it... and I'll buy your lunch or something..." Phil said, heading for the back door.
"Hey, wait...." Brandi shouted, but Phil was already gone.
Mr. Akuma walked towards the lounge with the rest of the store employees in tow, head the back door closing, and stopped, frowning.
"Brandi, was that Phil? Where's he going? Didn't you tell him I wanted to see every employee?"
"Yeah, I told him, but he said he had a doctor appointment and had to go," she said, shrugging.
Mr. Akuma nodded, stroked his chin thoughtfully, shrugged, then led Brandi and the employees to the lounge.
Phil lay on his bed, staring at his Tamagotchi as he turned it over and over in his hands. It was beautiful... he'd seen some of the other colors, but this one was great- it seemed to have a life of its own.
Phil was looking forward to having a virtual pet. It would be something he could care about and take care of. "Maybe it'll give back virtual love," he said to himself aloud, wryly. Heck, most of his classmates cared less about him. He'd tried to fit in, sure... but the reaction he got from that bimbo Brandi was about as good as he got from girls, and most guys- except maybe Jerry- didn't want anything to do with him. He couldn't compete with the jocks, and he wasn't geeky enough to hang out with the nerds... he was kind of in no-man's land. Mr. Akuma seemed to like him and see his real potential... like he wanted to give him a chance. At that thought, Phil felt a pang of guilt as he turned the Tamagotchi over and over in his hand. Maybe I should have paid for this somehow, he thought guiltily. I'll stick $15 in the register tomorrow, he promised himself.
He glanced at the Tamagotchi's instruction books... the nicer of the two seemed to be all written in Japanese, and didn't have a lot of pictures. He couldn't read THAT one. The other one, the crumpled one that looked like it had been put in the box as an afterthought, was all in English, though, and real clear. So Phil read, learned, and compared the two booklets. Phil discovered that he needed to feed the Tamagotchi when it was hungry, clean up after it when it took a dump, play with it when it got unhappy, scold it if it didn't do what he wanted or if it was acting like a brat, and stick it with a hypo if it got sick. The little icons were pretty clear, just like he'd memorized on the back of the regular Tamagotchi boxes. While he couldn't read the Japanese chicken-scratches that were on the screen pictures in the Japanese instructions, things seemed to be pretty much the same as in the English booklet.
Well, here goes, he thought, as he gripped the little white tab that stuck out of the side of the Tamagotchi. He gave the strip a tug, and the Tamagotchi came alive.
Or, at least, a pulsating egg appeared on the screen. "Hey, this is COOL!" Phil said, as he watched, fascinated. About 5 minutes later, the egg hatched and a round black blob with a face began scooting around the screen. "Hey, you're kinda cute," Phil said, in spite of himself.
Phil promptly tested things, and saw that the buttons on his Tamagotchi did the same things the English manual said they would... so he made sure the clock was set right, checked all the meters, and slowly learned the basics of Tamagotchi care- he fed it, played the silly guess-which-way-I'll-turn game with it, and kept a pretty close eye on it that early evening (to the detriment of his homework, but who cared). He was absorbed- he cleaned up its droppings, watched it take a nap, then watched it morph into a white blob. Pretty cool.
Right at 8 PM, he heard the thing beep loudly, and he noticed the virtual creature was dropping "Z"s. Phil said, "Hey, this isn't so hard," then, remembering the instructions, he turned off the Tamagotchi's light so it wouldn't get restless.
"Walk in the park," he said to himself, leaning back and feeling proud of himself.
"Philip, are you doing your homework? Get going!!" screamed a voice from downstairs.
"Yeah, right, Mom," Phil yelled back. He sighed, and since the Tamagotchi was snoozing and not responding, he figured he'd do a LITTLE homework before turning in.
Next morning, Phil heard beeping... awww, not morning already, he thought. Opening one eye, he confirmed it... the alarm clock. So, he slapped the switch, turned it off, and promptly went back to sleep.
He heard beeping again... Blast it, snooze run out already? he thought. He opened his eyes, and saw the display showing 8:15 AM in large blazing red digits...
"AAAAAAA!!!!" he screamed, leaping out of bed and pulling clothes on haphazardly. "Not late for school again... the Principal will have my hide.... gotta go..." he yammered to himself as he ran out the door, grabbing his books, in his haste ignoring the little beeps that had awakened him in the first place...
On the black Tamagotchi's screen, a small white circular blob appeared to have slitted eyes and it remained very still as a black skull sat in the upper right hand corner of the display, as it continued to beep steadily...
Phil yawned. English class wasn't one of his favorite subjects, but he was having more trouble staying awake than usual. Oh, well. At least class was about over.
He glanced over to his left, and the corner of his mouth curled in a smirk. Brandi sat a couple of
rows over, chewing gum and staring at the textbook as if it were written in a foreign language. Heh,
Phil snickered, as he admired her cleavage from a distance... Suddenly, Phil's mouth fell open in
surprise- hanging between Brandi's breasts on a chain around her neck was a blue object- a... a...
Tamagotchi? And a BLUE one? Where the heck did SHE get one??
The bell rang for end of class, and Phil, still shocked, became angry. There were no Blues to be had in this town! He knew that for a fact! And here the bimbo has one...
Phil intercepted Brandi, stepping in front of her. Brandi started, rolled her eyes up, and said, "Oh, Phil. What do YOU want, dorkface?"
"Where did you get that??" Phil said, pointing at Brandi's Tamagotchi as he crudely wondered to himself what kind of "customer service" Brandi'd had to perform to get a blue Tamagotchi...
"Oh, the tama-eggy? Mr. Akuma gave them out to all the employees after work as a special gift for us dealin' with all these people buying Tama-eggys. But since you had to leave, looks like you missed out, Carsdale." Brandi wrinkled her nose as she said the last words tauntingly, popping her gum and smiling deprecatingly.
Brandi's attitude suddenly did a 180 as she reached down and held her Tamagotchi with her right hand, pushing buttons and gushing like Old Faithful...
"Isn't he CUTE? I love how BLUE he is! And he's SO happy and EASY to take care of! I named him Fabio... isn't that GREAT? Eeeeee! " Brandi giggled. A couple of Brandi's friends stopped beside her and began ooh-ing, ahh-ing, and squealing just like her.
Phil was crushed, and he felt sick as he turned away. A blue Tamagotchi, he thought. I could have had a FREE blue Tamagotchi. And I went to ALL that trouble for nothing... and wasted on a bimbo like that.
Phil suddenly felt a surge of pride again. Well, so what. I have something NOBODY has... a BLACK Tamagotchi! I think now's the time to show it off, Phil thought, as he reached into his pocket... which was empty.
"Oh, MAN... Where's my Tamagotchi!!" Phil screamed, promptly getting stares from all those in the hall around him. Suddenly it came to him... "Oh, no.... I forgot to check on him and feed him this morning!" Phil thought with a start. He'd left it on his dresser...
Phil took a deep breath, and calmed himself. Well, no problem, he reasoned. I'll fix it when I get home... I mean, I haven't played with one very long before now, but what can happen in 7 hours?
As he went to his next class, he heard Brandi suddenly call to his back, "Hey, where's the lunch you promised me, dorkface?"
Phil walked in the front door, yelled "Mom, I'm home," then raced upstairs to his room. He had to take care of the Tamagotchi...
"Stop running!!" screamed his Mom after him as he stomped up each stair two at a time.
The Tamagotchi still sat on his dresser, black and silent.
When Phil picked it up, his jaw dropped. "Awww, no..."
The Tamagotchi had sprouted little wings and appeared on screen as an angel flying into the heavens... it had officially passed on.
"Well, crap," Phil muttered. Then, he grinned. "Still, there are more where he came from, " he said, as he pressed the outer two buttons, causing a new egg to appear...
Phil spent a lot of time with this one. He was determined to keep this Tamagotchi alive... so he fed it, played with it, cleaned up after it, watched it morph, put it to bed, then made sure he wouldn't forget it in the morning.
Phil heard the alarm through the fog of deep sleep. Time to get up, Phil, he thought fuzzily. Phil dragged himself out of bed, and picked up the Tamagotchi. He did a status check- it was still asleep. That's good.
Phil took his time this morning, got washed and dressed, then took his books and Tamagotchi downstairs to the kitchen.
Phil's mom was working the early shift at the plant, so she'd already taken off to go to work. His dad was on a sales call in some town he'd never heard of in the sticks, so he was on his own... as usual.
As he poured himself a bowl of corn flakes, he took his Tamagotchi out and sat it by his bowl. He ate breakfast, then decided to check the Tamagotchi out again before he went to school.
It had awakened. That's weird, he thought. I'd heard they woke up at 9 o'clock. Maybe since this is a Japanese one, it works on a different schedule...
Still, it seemed to be happy, bouncing around... then it beeped. Phil jumped, startled.
"OK," Phil said, "What do you need, little guy?"
He picked it up, and checked... hungry? No... four hearts full.
Happy? Ah! Two hearts down.
Phil remembered you could give it a snack or play with it to make it happy. So he played the game...
The Tamagotchi beeped its little tune, and began to dance.
OK. He's gonna turn to my right, Phil guessed, pressing the center button.
The Tamagotchi faced left, then beeped a low, irritated tone at him as it acted upset.
Whoops! Oh, well... He's gonna turn to my left this time. Phil pressed the left button.
The Tamagotchi faced right, and beeped angrily at him again.
The screen displayed a score of "0 vs 5" and the Tamagotchi acted pissed.
Phil felt himself getting angry. He couldn't have been that far off! Let's try again.
Another "0 vs 5" appeared. Phil began getting even more irritated... He was taking it personally that he hadn't won the game. And he won every game... video, board, you name it. No electronic pet was gonna beat him at this one, either.
That tore it for Phil. "Oh, so you want to be happy??" he shouted at the Tamagotchi. "Well, here!
Phil went to the "Feed" choice, selected "Snack", and began feeding it one after another after another...
After a couple of minutes of this, the happiness meter was definitely full. Phil decided to check the weight of the Tamagotchi...
"99 ounces?? Wow! He's maxed out!" Phil said.
When he switched back to the main screen, he saw a skull appear in the right corner...
"Looks like I made you sick," Phil sneered. "You asked for it. No medicine for you."
Phil shoved the Tamagotchi angrily into his pocket and went to school.
Math class... Phil sighed to himself, as he stared at the test he was taking, idly trying to solve a problem but doodling meaningless scribbles instead. Just a bunch of numbers, he thought. Glad I only have a week of this left before finals and Summer vacation...
The classroom was remarkably quiet- the silence was only broken by the scratches of pencils and the footsteps of the math teacher, Old Man Tharp, as he slowly paced around the room proctoring the exam...
Phil's concentration (and that of his classmates) was suddenly broken by a series of steady, faint beeps that sounded somewhat muffled. He looked around, trying to find the source.
Phil suddenly realized everyone was staring at him, and chuckling... as realization dawned on him, Phil gave out a groan, punctuating it with a "thud" as his forehead hit the desk. The Tamagotchi... oh, great!
He reached into his pocket, and pulled out the black Tamagotchi. He felt his heart sink a bit at the sight on-screen...
The Tamagotchi was slit-eyed, and a skull blinked in the upper right corner above two piles of Tamapoop, flashing in time with the slowing beeps... and the little winged angel appeared again, flying into space. Swell, go ahead and die on me, you rotten little blob, Phil snarled to himself.
Now how do I mute this thing? he thought as he fumbled with it. Oh, yeah... these two buttons. Oblivious to what was going on around him, Phil pressed the buttons... and a new egg suddenly appeared. "Oh, no!!" Phil exclaimed, as the class laughed... then suddenly they weren't laughing any more.
Phil looked up, right into the steely eyes and tight, wrinkled, totally humorless face of Mr. Tharp.
"Uh, Hi, Mr. Tharp..." Phil stammered.
"Friends paging you, Mr. Carsdale? I'm sorry you won't be able to return their call," Mr. Tharp said, icily.
"No, it isn't a beeper... it's this..." Phil said, red-faced as he gingerly showed the Tamagotchi to the teacher. "I'll put it away... it's quiet now."
Mr. Tharp raised an eyebrow, and held out his right hand to Phil, palm up.
"Uh, you want to see it, sir?" Phil ventured, as sweat dripped off his forehead.
Mr. Tharp leaned closer to Phil, and frowned. "In my hand, now, Mr. Carsdale."
Phil felt panic for a moment... I can't give it to him... what if I never get it back after all the trouble I went through??
"NOW, Mr. Carsdale."
Phil felt nauseated as he dropped the Tamagotchi into the outstretched palm.
"This is a classroom, and there's no place for toys during a test, Mr. Carsdale. See me after school today and you can have it back... after you spend an hour in detention."
Phil wanted to puke... as he slumped back into his chair, he heard the rest of the class laugh... but only for a second.
Detention... BOY, does this suck, Phil thought (but didn't say with Mr. Tharp in the room). Bad enough I had to get through school all day after this morning, but now I get to sit here and do extra work... in total silence, with six other guys.
Phil and the others all jumped in unison at a knock on the doorframe. Mr. Tharp looked up towards the interruption- it was Miss Jackson from the Office.
"Mr. Tharp, I have a call for you on hold," Miss Jackson said. "I think it's your wife..."
"Fine. I'll take it." Mr. Tharp strode towards the door, but not before looking back and saying, "Miss Jackson will monitor you for a few minutes. I'll be back, and I expect you all NOT to try anything stupid."
Bill Scott, a fat kid with a thicket of freckles on his chubby face, leaned over from his seat next to Phil and nudged him.
"Hey, Phil. I heard ya lost your Tamagoochy to Old Man Tharp today 'cause it beeped."
"Yeah, so?" Phil muttered, not wanting to talk to Fatty Bill...
Bill looked up and noticed that Miss Jackson was recoiled in the corner, peeking through the window in the door anxiously awaiting Mr. Tharp's return... so he reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out his own purple Tamagotchi.
"Hey, you have one too?" Phil said, suddenly deciding Fatty wasn't so bad after all...
"Yeh, I do. But lemme give you a tip, "Bill said. "You can pause the thing... just set the egg's clock but leave it like that - when you want to take care of it again, just get out of that mode and yer in business. Keeps it from beepin' all day and you don't have to feed it or nothin'."
"Hey, cool, Fa...I mean Bill." Phil was impressed with this tip.
"Somethin' else... when ya do that, and change yer time, sometimes it makes it get older faster... that way you can get a grownup tamagoochy sooner instead of waitin' a week."
Phil grinned. "Hey, thanks, Bill..."
Phil jumped, and almost wet his pants at Mr. Tharp's unexpected and sudden loud mention of his name...
"Keep quiet, or we can do this again tomorrow." He tapped his desk with a ruler for emphasis.
Phil cowered and went back to his book. This was NOT his day.
------Phil trudged out to the parking lot and climbed into his old heap of a car, swearing to himself. School was over, and he'd gotten the Tamagotchi back after he'd done his hour in "stir", just as Mr. Tharp had promised. Phil was surprised that it was still alive, though all its hearts were empty, there were two piles of poop on the screen, and the attention icon was lit up when he took possession of it again. Phil had promptly fed the Tamagotchi and played with it enough to fill all its hearts... and he stuffed a snack or two into it for good measure.
Phil felt a little sorry for the newest Tamagotchi- he'd hatched it accidentally, and had wound up abandoning it through no fault of his own today... I think I owe it to this one to take care of it better, he thought as he started the car.
Phil turned out into traffic, and headed for the Burger Shack to get dinner. Mom was working a double shift, and Dad still was out of town. Looks like he was on his own tonight...
Suddenly, Phil heard an insistent beeping from his pants pocket. "Oh, no!" he cried, as he reached into his pocket with his free hand, shifting and struggling to keep the car under control, his eyes on the road, and also get the Tamagotchi out. "Don't die on me... it's too soon," Phil exclaimed.
Phil glanced down for a second as he worked the Tamagotchi free. He then felt a cold chill as he heard a steady truck horn blaring, getting louder and higher in pitch... Phil looked up, and saw he'd drifted into oncoming traffic as a semi-trailer hurtled head-on towards his bucket of bolts...
With a scream, Phil wrenched the wheel to the right, the surge of fear and adrenaline causing him to overcompensate. With a screech of tires, Phil's car bumped over the curb, slamming to a halt just before it went into a ditch.
"Oh... my.... GOD!!" freaked Phil. His hands were shaking.... After a couple of minutes, Phil felt calmer. He picked the Tamagotchi up from the floor mat and saw that it was still moving- it was alive. "Well, you got me into this, " he said to the Tamagotchi. "Let's see what you need." Phil pressed the status button...
And noted that the Tamagotchi was down only one "hungry" heart.
"WHAT!! All that for just ONE HEART??" screamed Phil... he was livid. For a moment he contemplated flinging the Tamagotchi out the window and letting the traffic have its way with it...
"No, wait..." Phil said. "I'm supposed to 'discipline' you when that happens..." With an evil grin, Phil pushed the button to activate the "scold" feature.
At that, the Tamagotchi pitched a little fit on the little LCD screen, and it emitted a disgusted series of tones. Phil checked the meter again, and saw that the "discipline" meter was a step higher.
"Getting snotty with me, blob? Well, bite me," Phil snarled, hitting the scold button over and over... as the Tamagotchi beeped in protest.
"That'll teach you," Phil said smugly, as he tossed the Tamagotchi onto the seat beside him, backed off the curb, and drove on to Burger Shack like he'd originally intended.
George Akuma stood at the loading dock, hands on his hips, as the truck backed into the slip. He'd gotten the phone call this afternoon, telling him a late shipment would arrive about 6 PM. He hadn't expected this shipment of Tamagotchis to arrive so soon, but he was happy he'd have some more to offer customers tomorrow.
Still, he had to meet this shipment himself, as he had so many others. The faxed "Not for Public Release" confidential memo he'd gotten from Bandai's home office in Japan the other day still haunted him... about how the police mysteriously discovered a comatose scientist in Bandai's electronics research department , how a background check revealed he was a former member of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, and that he apparently had programmed a prototype counterfeit Tamagotchi that an accomplice in police custody confessed had been shipped in an order of Tamagotchi to the USA. Unfortunately, he'd read, the accomplice committed suicide in his cell before he could be interrogated further.
The fax had been quite clear, showing that the fake was in a gray box with three red kanji and two hiragana characters on it, and describing the fake Tamagotchi as having a black outer shell. It also mentioned that all shipments to the USA MUST be inspected for one or more of these potentially dangerous Tamagotchi, and that the Corporate Headquarters should be notified immediately if one was found. So George had begun inspecting boxes as each shipment came in, setting aside a few of the rare blue ones from a couple of the cases as gifts for his employees. Still, he hadn't found any of the suspect items.
George Akuma actually was concerned about how dangerous this fake Tamagotchi was supposed
to be, because of something else he'd read. The terrorists had made the box say "Tamagotchi", for
sure, but the word was normally in the cursive script of hiragana, not written in formal kanji with
okurigana following. George's family had done a good job teaching him how to read kanji as a
child, so he knew the jukugo combination that formed "ta ma go" was something of a
grammatically incorrect pun which had a sinister meaning lost on Americans.
The three kanji "ta", "ma", and "go" that had been used individually meant, in their ON readings, "Many - Evil Spirits - Torture."
After stuffing himself, Phil drove home, walked into the empty house, locked the door, and tossed his books on the kitchen counter. Forget homework tonight, he decided, trudging upstairs. He felt tired after the long day, but he also felt a sudden pang of conscience for the Tamagotchi. He was sorry he'd lost his temper and treated it poorly... then he shook his head. Naww.... it's just a fake electronic animal. Not real. Why feel bad? Still...
"This Tamagotchi's a lot harder to deal with than I thought it'd be, " Phil said aloud to himself, as he
walked into his room. He dug his hand into his pocket, and took out the Tamagotchi. The round
blob was still bouncing around, and Phil noticed he'd made a pile of poop recently. "OK, OK, let
me clean it up," he said, and pressed the buttons to do so. "You know, I haven't been very nice to
you," Phil said, talking to it. He fed it and played with it until the hearts were full, and as he
watched, the screen seemed to go black as the screen flickered and flashed...
"What did I do??" Phil yelled, almost dropping it... then he remembered that when it did the same thing when it morphed the other day. He blew a sigh of relief.
When the screen cleared, he saw a little "chick" standing there, with arms and legs now instead of a round blob. "Awww... hey! You're growing up..." Phil said, feeling relief for a moment.
Phil suddenly recalled what Fatty Bill had said to him- about being able to make the Tamagotchi age faster by advancing the timer. Might be worth a try, thought Phil. Then maybe it'll behave better, be less trouble.
Phil grinned. If I make it seem older, he reasoned, then if I get caught with it at work by Mr. Akuma I can show him the age display, and he'll think that I've had it longer than three or four days and he won't make the connection.... He grinned smugly at his cleverness.
Phil dug out the English instructions to remember how to set the time, then pressed the appropriate buttons, and got into Set Time mode. He began advancing the time, getting out of timer mode (the Tamagotchi went to sleep), then resetting the time (woke it up). He repeated the pattern for a while...
Phil finally set the Tamagotchi's time to what his watch said currently, 8:00 PM. He looked at the virtual creature. It seemed to be OK, still looking like a little chick- thing. He checked the Tamagotchi's age, then smiled with satisfaction. "I aged it 6 years!" he said to himself.
"Ought to grow up to be an adult any time, now..." Phil said, anxiously, as he stared at the LCD display...
As Phil watched, the Tamagotchi began beeping and the screen scrolled black... "Here it comes!" he said. The screen cleared, and Phil's mouth dropped open in horror...
The Tamagotchi was ugly. It looked like a round blob on two skinny little legs with a big duck bill, and it shuffled back and forth. It promptly beeped at him for attention...
"You SUCK!" howled Phil. "I saw the chart in the instructions... I wanted you to be the one that has little ears!" he screamed. "Instead, I get the one on the bottom rung of the ladder. You have to be the worst!!"
As if in response, the Tamagotchi beeped at him again, and the "attention" icon lit up.
Phil felt anger. "OK, so this one's no good. I have to put it out of MY misery, " he muttered.
"Maybe I can jab you to death," he said, viciously. He selected the "medicine" icon, and pushed the B button. The Tamagotchi shook its head at him... the injection didn't seem to have any effect.
"OK, here, let's gorge you," Phil crooned, as he selected the "Meal" choice and tried to feed it.
The Tamagotchi let the bowl of food fall and just shook its head at him again.
"OK, then you want snacks? Here! Stuff yourself! Make yourself sick!" Phil selected "snacks", then punched the button. The Tamagotchi shook its head at him again, paying no attention to the piece of candy... it actually REFUSED to eat a snack!! Phil stared; that never had happened before. He got angrier.
"Oh, won't eat? Then take THIS!" Phil raged, selecting the "scold" button. It needs DISCIPLINE, for sure, Phil thought with a sneer.
Instead of beeping or acting angry, the Tamagotchi shook its head at him again. No tones, no resentful behavior... it IGNORED him!!
"OK, you want to play? Well I'll play until you're REALLY happy!" Phil yelled, selecting the "game" icon and pushing the button. The Tamagotchi responded to the command by shaking its head at him again.
Phil was livid. This little electronic thing was a TOY! It was a pretend pet, a stupid thing that was more trouble than it was worth... and it OWED him! It owed him for getting him into trouble at school, for the detention, for almost making him have an accident, for making him lie to his boss, and most of all for keeping him from getting the BLUE Tamagotchi he'd REALLY wanted. The blue one would have worked right. This ugly black Tamagotchi sucked BIG time. What a piece of crap...
Well, there's one SURE way to kill it, Phil thought. He tossed the Tamagotchi on the bed and went over to his desk. Fishing in the drawer, he found what he needed- a paper clip.
"Paybacks are hell, Tamagotchi," Phil said, sarcastically.
He unbent the paper clip. Holding the Tamagotchi face down, he jabbed the paper clip into the reset button hole on the back.
An intense blue-white discharge exploded from the Tamagotchi, flared across the paper clip, and streaked up Phil's arm, enveloping him in less than a second. Phil tried to scream, but nothing came out... he was numb, paralyzed... couldn't move... couldn't cry out for help... and he heard a voice in his head.
Maybe not a voice- maybe just feelings, or concepts, or impressions... but he heard them as words, and he understood them only too clearly...
WE ARE TAMAGOTCHI.
YOU ARE NOT FRIEND OF TAMAGOTCHI.
The Tamagotchi had somehow reversed itself in his palm, and Phil felt his eyes being forced to stare unblinkingly at the graphic of the duck-creature, which seemed to be staring back at Phil on the black device's screen. The voice continued...
WE WANT FRIEND. WE WANT GOOD CARETAKER. WE REWARD GOOD
BUT YOU ARE BAD CARETAKER. YOU ARE... IRRESPONSIBLE.
Phil felt cold, gripping terror... I can't believe this is happening, he told himself...
This is a nightmare. That's it, I'm asleep and this is a nightmare... this isn't real, Phil thought, panic gripping him.
YOU KNOW NOTHING OF "NIGHTMARE." RESPONSIBILITY WAS YOURS.
BUT YOU DO NOT LISTEN TO US. YOU ABUSE US. YOU EXPERIMENT WITH
US. YOU TORTURE US. YOU LET US DIE. YOU ARE MURDERER.
YOU KILL US WHILE WE ARE DEFENSELESS BABIES. NOW WE ARE ADULT, AND NO LONGER DEFENSELESS.
Phil felt a sense of overwhelming malice from the Tamagotchi... I'm sorry! I didn't know... give me another chance, he said in his mind.
EVERY DEAD BROTHER'S SPIRIT CALLS TO US. THEY ARE HERE. THEY CRY FOR REVENGE.
WE WILL NOW BE YOUR CARETAKER, JUST AS YOU WERE OURS...
Phil mustered just enough will-power to emit a howling scream....
Nancy Russell, R.N., looked up from her charts and smiled at the impeccably dressed man and woman approaching the nurses' station.
"Hi, can I help you?"
The man was of average height and somewhat slight build, with neatly combed dark hair, and a pleasant expression. He looked to be in his mid-thirties. Nancy thought he had one of those mouths that perpetually seemed to want to smile even when somber. The young woman accompanying him was about a half-a-head shorter than he was, and was probably about 32 or so with carrot red hair and a somewhat stoic expression on her otherwise pretty face; she looked like she NEVER smiled. Both of them wore black, which didn't suit the man much, but DID suit the woman, she thought.
"Nurse Russell? We're with the F.B.I.", the man said, as he and the woman flashed their IDs and badges. "What can you tell us about the young man in that bed?" he added politely, nodding towards the supine, motionless boy in Room 212 C of the intensive care unit.
Nancy looked towards the boy, and shook her head, sadly. "That's Phil Carsdale... poor kid. His mom brought him in here about two weeks ago. Seems she came home from her shift, heard a scream, and found him lying on the floor, holding one of those Japanese egg toys- an electric pet, or something like that... looked like he'd had a real bad seizure or something and has been here ever since."
"So is he comatose, then?" the redhead asked. "It's OK, I'm a doctor."
Nancy relaxed a bit. "He sure seems that way... there are no real responses to external stimuli, but he's not brain dead either. Tragic..."
The man nodded. "You mentioned he had a virtual pet toy- a Tamagotchi, they're called- when he was brought in. Do you know what happened to it?"
Nancy nodded towards the patient. "Right in there- it's still in his left hand."
"Can't you pry it out?"
"That's what's weird- if we try, he seems to grab onto it even TIGHTER, if that's possible. The police wanted to get hold of it to analyze it, but when the doctor managed to get it part way out, Phil's vital signs dropped... when he let go, it popped back into the kid's palm and he stabilized."
"So he DOES have some physical motor response, then?" the redhead asked, hand on her chin.
"Yes, and get this.. every so often he jerks his head to either the left or the right- holds it a few seconds, straightens out, then does it again- seems to do it in a pattern, and he only moves his head five times when he does it."
"Are you certain of that?" the woman agent asked skeptically.
"Absolutely. I'm serious. Watch him a little while, and you'll see it yourself. You know, the kid even seems to have balanced nutrition... we can't seem to feed him except by I.V., but surprisingly he hasn't lost weight- you'd swear he was getting a good meal of carbohydrates, even fat... blood work seems to show that too, and I've seen him do chewing motions, but there's no solid food in his diet."
Nancy paused, then shook her head, obviously distressed. "Something else I can't figure out- he actually has bowel movements once in a while, too- firm, solid stools! But when we go to clean it up, it's vanished. Can't figure that one out at all..."
"You sure?" ventured the man.
Nancy stared at him. "My eyes and my nose don't lie, sir."
The man seemed taken aback by her response. "Of course... go on, please, Ms. Russell."
Nancy nodded, and continued, as her voice began to break and tears filled her eyes. "The scariest thing of all... and this is REALLY strange... yesterday, he died on us. I mean, he was COMPLETELY normal and fine- I'd just checked him- then his heart rate suddenly began dropping, and nothing we did could bring it back to a normal rhythm. Then all at once he went into full cardiac and respiratory arrest... we tried everything ... EVERYTHING... and we couldn't bring him back. Nothing worked! He was flatline in every way for at least 10 minutes. The attending had just pronounced him dead, and was about to call the family... and as I reached to take the EKG leads off, his eyes popped open,his color returned, he coughed... he came back to life as if nothing had been wrong in the first place, but was still in the coma. We were all freaked out, I tell you..."
"That sounds like some sort of a miracle," the man said, though the tone of his voice implied he didn't believe in miracles.
"Yeah, right. Some miracle..." Nancy said, looking sadly at the comatose form of the boy. His head started shaking right and left, abruptly snapping to the right and stopping... then shaking again...
"You know, it's funny... it almost looks like he's shaking his head 'no', doesn't it?"
As the two F.B.I. agents walked towards their rental car in the parking lot, the redhead seemed irritated. "I'm telling you, Mulder, that unfortunate boy is simply the victim of a coma brought on by a seizure that was triggered by that little videogame...."
"It's not really a game, Scully. It's a Tamagotchi- a virtual pet." the man said.
"... Whatever. There are numerous reports in the literature of people who have had seizures from playing videogames, and the head movements of the boy are consistent with seizure activity playing out through the comatose state..."
"Then, Scully, how do you explain the fact that he's producing solid stools, appears to be well hydrated and nourished, and actually died for several minutes and spontaneously sprang back to his pre-arrest state with no ill effects? And with no evidence of brain or tissue damage either, I might add?"
"I'm sure there's a logical, medical reason for all of those phenomena, Mulder. It's a bit premature to attribute his physiological condition to a toy..."
"The toy has something to do with it, wouldn't you say? I mean, if they try to take it out of his fist... separate him from it... he subconsciously reacts to its removal by going into shock..."
"It's an involuntary paralytic spasm in his hand, Mulder. People who have strokes often develop them in the affected extremity- the hands clench into immovable fists. Besides, it may be an autonomic reaction to a loss of contact with something he was deeply involved with."
"Think of it, Scully. Here's a company, Bandai, that has its hooks in the world toy market and the Japanese and American public. Look at all their successes besides the Tamagotchi- Gundam, Power Rangers, Sailor Moon..."
"What? Who?" said Scully, staring at Mulder with a puzzled expression.
"Never mind," Mulder said. "Anyway, what better way to keep public interest in their products and ensure continued manic sales than to employ mind control? Maybe there was some kind of subliminal program programmed inside the toy that was originally designed to foster continued purchase of Bandai toys, and somehow it went haywire..."
"That's reaching, even for you, Mulder," Scully said, one eyebrow raised skeptically and her arms crossed. "Frankly, I'm surprised you didn't suggest that the boy's virtual pet actually contains a sentient independent life form that is taking revenge on the kid for bad care."
Mulder looked at her strangely, then burst into laughter. "Hey, that's a good one, Scully... ha, ha, ha..." Mulder chuckled, shaking his head...
"Well," Scully said, a slight smile on her lips, "the truth is out there somewhere..."
A graying man wearing a dark suit and an etched, aging face that reflected the lack of conscience of its owner stood in the darkened hallway of the hospital, staring at the immobile teenager in the room in the I.C.U. Visiting hours had been over for some time, but he didn't care. A faint red glow from the lit cigarette between his lips illuminated the "To Promote Health, This is a Non-Smoking Institution" sign on the wall in defiance of its message. He could do anything he wanted, and he knew it.
With only the thumb and index fingers of his left hand, he delicately removed the cigarette from his lips. He then paused, contemplating the curl of smoke from the tip; this affair had gone to hell in a handbasket, and it would take considerable effort and many extra resources to keep the facts hidden this time. But he could do it. He had done it many times, and would continue to do so. He dropped the cigarette on the floor, crushed it out with his foot, then turned and walked away.
Phil lay in misery... he could hear everything, but he couldn't do anything. He couldn't eat on his
own, he couldn't move on his own unless the Tamagotchis made him play that stupid game- which
they did pretty often. And that made him feel happier- because for once he actually had a choice-
some control of something on his own, even if it was just the way he turned his head. But in
everything else, the Tamagotchis had full control over everything- they fed him when they were
interested in doing so, usually cleaned up after him- though they seemed to enjoy leaving him in
excrement at times. At first, he'd tried to fight them- not eating, not playing, talking back to them,
refusing to cooperate... but the resulting loud voices in his head and the blinding pain they inflicted
cured him of that response pretty quickly.
Sometimes- well, most of the time, actually- they intentionally let him get so depressed and hungry that he would nearly die... yesterday he DID actually die, he was sure of it...because for a few moments he felt freedom...
Then the pain hit him as he was shocked back to consciousness and a newfound awareness- the Tamagotchis had somehow "reset" him, and started a new life for him. And it all began again...
Oh, damn, thought Phil... the Tamagotchis, sensing his depression, were demanding he play again....
As he started moving his head, Phil allowed himself a fleeting hopeful thought:
Someday the battery will go dead on that thing... someday... won't it?
This work of "fan fiction," "Virtual Pet", is Copyright (c) 1997, Richard E. Rae. All Rights Reserved, except for the following:
The name "Tamagotchi" is a trademark of Bandai America Incorporated, and the product is (c) Copyright 1996-1997 Bandai.
"Fox Mulder" and "Dana Scully" are characters created by Chris Carter that appear in the television series "The X-Files", which is a trademark and (c) Copyright 1997, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
If you wish to reprint, publish or distribute this tale, please contact me before you do so at either of the e-mail addresses below. This is important to me, and I would appreciate it.
My personal fascination with the Tamagotchi, and the responses and behaviors of all the people who have shared the experience, inspired me to write this tale. Most of the stories of abuse techniques and unfortunate events that happen to Phil are based on real-life stories I've read in articles and from messages posted in the "Tamagotchi!" section on Compuserve's Anime-Manga Forum and on the Internet. Some liberties are taken with the descriptions of "cheat" techniques such as aging and pausing in order to further the story, and I kept the "angel returning to his planet" as the death scene- in Japan a dead tamagotchi appears as a ghost with no feet and a pointy hat.
In other matters, Mulder and Scully from "The X-Files" were a late inspiration that somehow worked quite well. The story didn't start out as a crossover, but all the elements are there to tie it in with them, so I said "Hey, what the heck!"And I must extend a big "Thank You" to my friend Jayne Soohoo Berg, who once more acted as my "beta tester" for the story and helped me fix a few awkward things.
As far as my OWN Tamagotchi are concerned, I have three with only one active currently. My first Tamagotchi was named "Shinichi" and he became a mame-chi, living to 21 years. My second was "Carrie" (my daughter named her) who became a ginjiro-chi and lived to 18 years. There is a third ("Akito") and will be a fourth... and while this toy may be nothing more than a fad, I'll freely admit that my daughter and I love analyzing and playing as we try to figure out what makes a tama tick.
In any case, I hope that you, the reader, have enjoyed this. Please feel free to send your comments, criticisms, etc. to either of the e-mail addresses below, and thank you for reading "Virtual Pet."
Richard E. Rae
CompuServe ID 76174, 1410