Quothe the Gamer

This, like every blog I post here, is copied from my main blog, the Fairhaven Town Crier

I don't normally copy/paste other people's blogs but this is just too good to not share.  It comes from RPG Blog II, one of my favorite blogs.  Since Lura and I used to own an FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Store), this strikes particularly close to home.

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The Gamer

(With profuse apologies to Mr. Poe)

Once inside a game store dreary, while I pondered, obese and bleary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of Greyhawk lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my game store door.
" 'Tis some bill collector," I muttered, "tapping at my game store door;
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying game line wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
From the bank surcease of debt load, debt load for this poor game store
For the small and creaky business that people called eyesore
In the red since two thousand four.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each unsold comics t-shirt
Thrilled me---as I looked at the silkscreen of the old Fantastic Four;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
" 'Tis some collector wanting payment at my game shop door,
Some bill collector wanting payment at my game shop door.
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is, I was working, and definitely my bills not shirking,
And so faintly you came a-lurking, lurking at my game shop door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you." Here I opened wide the door;--
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing
Doubting, if the collector would take a post-date check as he had done before;
But the silence was unbroken, and fiddled I with odd game token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered words,
“Game Store?” This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words,
"Game Store!" Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the gamestore turning, White Castle in my stomach burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping, something louder than before,
"Surely," said I, "surely, that is something in the game room office.
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore.
Then I can relax to BSG, discs three and four,
Check out some Cylons, nothing more."

I opened door, despite the clutter, when, with many a tic and stutter,
In there stepped a Gamer, like in the blessed days of yore.
Not the least notice gave he; not a hello or hi had waved he;
But grabbed a Werewolf book and sat down upon the floor.
Threw his dirty backpack down, right upon my game shop floor,
Belched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony-clad lad, beguiling my sad face now into smiling,
By the money and mom’s debit cards I hoped he bore,
"Though we have no discounts," I said, "thou art not Forsaken,
But a discerning gaming maven, wandering into this fair store.
Will you be buying that book you read upon my game shop’s floor?"
Quoth the Gamer, "Nevermore."

Much I winced to hear this put so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning, little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Had purchased White Wolf in the entire year before,
And no man or beast would reply to that query within my store,
With anything but "Nevermore."

But the Gamer, sitting blankly on that tile surface, spoke only
That one word, as if brain damage was his case du jour,
Nothing further then he uttered; not a Monty Python quote he muttered;
Till I scarcely more than shuddered, "Other gamers left before;
On the hour he will leave me, my cash box as empty as before,"
Quoth the Gamer, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what he utters is just from want of something more,
Caught from some unhappy gamemaster, whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster, till his campaign became no more,---
Marking now his dead Elf Ranger that died by a tricky rogue Gas Spore
Will be Resurrected “Nevermore."

But the thought of sales still beguiling my sad soul now into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a shelf of D&D 4th Edition beside him on the floor;
Then, although my heart sinking, I betook myself to linking
To DDI, that online aide available for only $19.94--
Discovering what this Gamer wanted from my humble gaming store
To stop his blurting "Nevermore."

Thus I sat engaged in guessing, my doughy hopeful face expressing
To the Gamer, whose fiery stench now burned into my nostril's core;
Of RPGA I sat recounting, recalling all the post-game accounting
As I raked in sales of all books marked “Core”,
All twenty-seven books marked “Core”,
Dragonborn, and Handbook 4.

Then, methought, the air grew fouler, as though from too much Boston Chowder
Dealt by ghosts of gamers whose flatulent presence lingered from the years before.
"Sir," I cried, "Wizards of the Coast has sent me---oh how they have sent me--
Sent me game books---game books and an accessory different from the days of yore!
Play, O Play this new edition, and forget the combat that we knew before!"
Quoth the Gamer, "Nevermore!"

"Gamer!" said I, "what of Traveller? We have d20, if you’d rather
Whether you want Dogs in the Vineyard, or some hippie crap in back of store,
Out of stock?; Yet we can get it, catalog price—we’ve barely met it
In this retail space so lightly vaunted—now tell me, I implore:
Is there a game you’ll buy?--tell me--tell me I implore!"
Quoth the Gamer, "Nevermore."

"Gamer!" said I, "think of Evil!—You could play a Realms assassin, Charisma feeble
By the GWAR music that binds us--by that band we all adore--
Tell this man with sorrow laden, is there a setting you would play in?,
Dark Sun, Earthdawn, or Planescape (though Spelljammer came before)---
Choose a rare and radiant setting, that we stock in my game store?
Quoth the Gamer, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign of parting, Gamer Fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting--
"Get thee out of Oak Park Strip Mall and to another Gaming Store!
Leave no soda cans as a token of purchase requests unspoken!
Leave my owner’s heart unbroken! – move your carcass from my game shop floor!
Take thy backpack, and shoplift no Warhammer as you leave my bloody store!
Quoth the Gamer, "Nevermore."

And the Gamer, never buying, still is sitting, while the store lies dying
On the tile that once held shelves of supplements galore;
And his eyes have all the seeming that soon he will be screaming.
Telling me how he had a Drow that had scimitars galore;
And my bills from my creditors grow, stacking high upon on the floor
And I know he’ll purchase---Nevermore!

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