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Supreme Extra Value Meals by Mitchell Cleveland
published in Volume 2, Issue 1 on January 20th, 1995

No Nuts watched as Dival's Chevy Luv crept up the driveway and eventually stopped in front of the house. An enormous green tarp covered something tall and bulky sitting in the back. Dival sat behind the wheel for a few minutes, apparently fascinated by something in the rear-view mirror, possibly the tarp. Or a dirt clod. Or maybe it was something in the sky. A bird, or those black planes again. Maybe they weren't planes. The government wasn't telling. Eventually Dival got out and walked around the truck twice, slapping each door as he passed. Satisfied, Dival walked up to the porch and grinned.

"Look."

No Nuts, having been looking for several minutes now, nodded. "You got a tarp there."

"Yes." Dival nodded, grinning. He grinned at the tarp a while and sat on the porch.

"I hear we could be in for some rain."

"Sure could use some rain. Been almost a month. Dry your teats out." Dival pulled a pack of gum from his pocket and carefully tore a stick in half. One half was carefully rewrapped and replaced, the other half chewed. Dival shook the pack at No Nuts. "Has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals. More exciting this way, braving death every time." Dival took a deep breath and stretched. "Wouldn't it be great?"

"What?"

"Being able to live your whole life in a plastic bubble that only you could see through?"

No Nuts shook his head at the Luv. "So what you got under the tarp?"

Dival leapt to his feet and grabbed No Nuts by the arm. "Follow me!" He dashed to the truck and unhooked the tarp. He yanked it aside with a flourish. It was a Zaxxon game.

No Nuts considered this. "It's Zaxxon."

Dival hopped into the back of the truck and dusted the game with his shirt sleeve. "Yes! Isn't it incredible? I just bought it from the guy who used to run The Pittt over in the other county. You know the place with the plastic Indians? And all those tires? Well, I met Bo, the guy who owns it. He just got convicted, so he's closing the place down and sold me his Zaxxon game for ten bucks! Isn't it incredible?"

No Nuts stayed on the ground. "It's very... large. What are you going to do with it exactly?"

"I'm going to start my own arcade, of course! I now own the only Zaxxon game in this part of the state! People will come from all around to bask in the glow of my Zaxxon game. I'll make a fortune on this puppy." Dival's eyes shined with capitalism. "I'm going to charge a dollar per game."

No Nuts coughed on the dust and his yawn. "You're going to charge a dollar? Who the hell do you expect to pay you a dollar to play a game of Zaxxon?"

"Why, everyone!" Dival slapped the case. "This is Zaxxon, man! Everyone loves Zaxxon! And I'm the only one who has it. I name the price, and I make the rules. I can have this whole town eating out of my hand. I have the power."

"Dival, it's just a fucking game of Zaxxon! It only cost a quarter to play when it was brand new, and that was ten years ago! No one gives a damn, and no one's going to pay you a whole fucking dollar to play your fucking Zaxxon! What the hell are you up to?"

Dival stood motionless, staring through No Nuts like Elvis through a cheeseburger. Hitler invades Poland, film at eleven. Fifty-nine, seventy-nine, ninety-nine. "So that's how you feel, is it? You cast aside Zaxxon like some worthless, shriveled hulk? I don't think you really have any idea of what I have here."

"It's a fucking Zaxxon game! Get a fucking grip, Dival!" No Nuts flapped his arms at the game, trying to get it to leave.

Dival unlatched the back of the truck. "Here, help me get it out."

"What?"

"I said help me get it out. We need to get it inside before it rains." Dival hopped down.

"Why is it getting out here?"

"I'm giving it to you." Dival squinted at the sky, looking for clouds, or the black planes. One of them had crashed once. The Air Force wouldn't let anyone near it. Pig miscarriages were up sixty percent. One of them had four heads. "I want you to have it."

No Nuts stared at the hulking box. Memories of the Carter administration, destroying glassware in high school chemistry. "I don't want me to have it. It's your Zaxxon game. What are you doing?"

"I want you to have it. You're better off with it than I am. Come on, it's heavy. Don't lift with your back. Let's put it next to your couch."

"Look, I don't want it. It's yours. You haven't even gotten a chance to use it yet. Take it. I don't want it." It didn't want to leave.


Dival's phone rang. He answered halfway through the third ring. "This is the telephone."

"Dival, it's No Nuts."

"Yes?"

"Dival, I've been up all night staring at your damn Zaxxon game. I don't get it."

"Yes?"

"Dival, I can't figure out what you're doing. I know you've got a point. It's driving me batty. I know you've got some kind of moral here and I can't figure out what it is. I give up."

"Look, you just don't get it. There isn't any moral. Sometimes there just isn't any point to anything. You've got to accept this. No one has to win, no one has to lose. The earth will continue to spin, Dick Clark will continue to host television bloopers shows. Everything just goes on the way it always has. The only difference is that you now have a Zaxxon game. What you make out of this is up to you."

Silence. Home of the Whopper.

"Did I wake you up?"

"No."

"Well, all right. Talk to you later."

"Yes."


Dival's phone rang. He answered halfway through the third ring. "This is the telephone."

"Dival, it's No Nuts again."

"Yes?"

"Dival, um, look, I found something here. I tried the Zaxxon game, and it doesn't work."

"Yes?"

"I mean, I plugged it in, and the screen comes on, but it's just blank. It's sort of bright, but nothing ever appears. I can't get it to work. It's not working."

"Mmm."

"So I've been thinking about what you said about morals."

"And?"

"Dival, I think there's always a moral. There has to be. You can try to ignore them, but they're there. You need them to string things together, to keep things from happening and then disappearing. Like, like Zaxxon." Fries with that? All our miles are free.

"Mmm, maybe you're right. We do need a moral. Well then there's this: what makes this country great is that we each have the freedom to choose to imprison ourselves."

"Thanks."

"God bless America."

"Talk to you later."

"Yes."

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