“Can I Live?” by @aligarchy

An Anonymous Letter from a Video Game Hero/Heroine to the General, Helpless Public


The heroes we employ to start us on our grand adventures come in all shapes, genders, ages and sizes. We love them, we hate them — sometimes for the same reasons, and sometimes for no reason at all. We watch them take down foes and save civilians, and we watch them steal, loot, and murder innocent bystanders.

Everyone has their thing.

But what not many people know is that most times, a hero or heroine doesn’t get a day off.

Do you know what that’s like? I do. To constantly be at the whim of everyone around you? “Help me!” they cry. “Save me!” they yell. Meanwhile, I walk outside to take out the garbage, and suddenly I’m getting shot at, or chased by an ungainly swordsman. Who’s supposed to help me?! Oh, nobody? Cool.

And those ridiculous side quests all you people are constantly sending me on. What, you can’t deliver a package to your sister yourself? She lives like, three houses away. You could literally THROW it to her if you wanted.

And the delivering of the letters. Stop asking me to deliver your freaking letters.

There is a postman. It is his job. It is his only job. You think I’m gonna get it there any faster? I got news for you, every other minute I’ve got shit jumping out from the bushes, giant, carnivorous birds swooping down from the sky, and sometimes I encounter a creature so terrifyingly not from this world that it doesn’t even have a name. Just a lasting nightmare permanently etched into my brain.

No but really, I’m so glad me bringing your kid a ‘shiny stone’ made his day, because I’ll never be able to sleep ever again.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I should just learn to say no. It’s not even like I get paid all that much. Your handful of gold barely buys me a loaf of bread — which, by the way, you wouldn’t even be able to MAKE if I didn’t fight off all those crop-destroying, wheat-eating piranha-bats. What were those things even?! Were they really piranha-bats? Where do they even COME from?! There isn’t a river for like, fifty miles. And I know this because you people are constantly asking me to GO to that river. I’ve made that trip hundreds of times. Bring me a jug of water, catch me a fish — I mean let’s be real for a second: All you guys really do is stand around all day talking to one another. You don’t even pay taxes. I’ve sliced open wolves in front of half of you and you barely blink. You don’t even say ‘thank you’ either but you know, whatever. I suppose when you’re so used to someone doing everything for you, you become desensitized to the nature of gratitude. At least that’s what I’m going with.

Also, not to be rude or anything but I’m so uninterested in all of your love problems. All you people have are miscommunications. How about you just meet up and talk instead of having a middleman (me) do all of your grunt work for you? How about you put a little effort into your own relationship and stop asking me for advice, or to fetch you flowers, or to tell the one you love the most imperative of messages. If you just showed up and, you know, did it yourself, you’d probably seem a lot more genuine than me, the neighborhood bitch, going about your dirty work for you.

“But ooooh, hero, there’s this imp in the forest and he frightens me! Please get rid of him!”

First of all, the forest is a two day trip. How did you even GET there?! As far as I know, nobody in this town has the means of transportation to get ANYWHERE because we literally live in a one horse town. And I’m the one with the horse. Which I guess is also why I’m constantly doing all of the errands. And secondly, what if something showed up to OUR town and was all, “hey, can you get rid of that asshole blacksmith for me? They kind of scare me. And I have money. Soooooo….” Yeah, then what? What if I just get real neutral about this whole protect-and-serve thing?

Not so demanding now, are you?

Another thing: Take better care of your kids. Seriously. I’m not a babysitter. I didn’t train in the harshest conditions, battle the world’s deadliest foes, and serve the highest order of the kingdom to make sure your inept eight year old doesn’t wander too far into the field. Do you know how embarrassing that is? I don’t have a family of my own because I’m constantly taking care of yours! There is something called magic, and I find it very hard to believe that half of you know how to make potions that bring people back to life, but can’t, I don’t know, create a freaking force field or something? Or at least install a lock on your gate that your child CAN’T reach. Just something to think about.

Unless you need me to do all of that for you, too.

So, good townspeople, I implore you: Leave me the fuck alone. For at least one day. That’s all I ask. Get your own milk, collect your own building materials, kill your own rats. Just for one day. I never asked for this, but unfortunately, most heroes never do. Apparently ‘destiny being written in the stars’ is a binding contract, but if this nonsense keeps up I’m not going to last. Hell, I’ve died at least 400 times in the last three months trying to take care of your business. Do you know what that does to a person? Like, physically and psychologically? For my own sanity, just let me be. Twenty-four hours. Or I promise you, one day I will just up and quit. I will get on my horse and ride so far away from this town and never look back. And you know what will happen then? You will all fall to pieces. And then who are you gonna call? Certainly not me, because phones don’t exist in this town and nobody can even get up to give the postman their mail. So yeah.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to the tavern to have a cocktail.


…You need six of the rarest ingredients in the world to make that drink?


Okay, fine. I’ll be right back.

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