I deleted Tetris from my family’s computer, and let my aunt take the blame for twenty years. Some of the events in this story may have been changed, but what are you, the events police?
It all started with my family’s first computer – an ANTHRAX Behemoth Shitpig XII. Granted, that wasn’t its actual name, but what are you, the truth police? I do accurately remember it weighed the same as two football pitches and spontaneously broke into flames.
It was soundless and colourless, and you could only do three things on it: word processing, number crunching, and Tetris. Tetris was everywhere those days. You couldn’t take one step out your door without someone thrusting Tetris into your hands.
My family loved this Tetris game, since it was the only source of fun back then. Thatcher had banned dancing, alcohol, music, sex, and all other entertainment in an effort to break the unions. So my family spent evenings making rows of black-and-white blocks, huddled in front of the carcinogenic screen. Unless my memory betrays me (which it probably is, the bastard) we’d have 24-hour-long Tetris marathons, tag-teaming between daughter and mother, father and son. Well, we did until my dad got only S-shaped pieces for twenty minutes straight and threw his arms out the window in anger. But that’s another story.
Anyway, one day I was alone in the room with this ANTHRAX Betamax Shitshire Pentium XIIII. The room was silent, save for the deafening hum of the computer’s industrial-grade fans. I decided to explore the computer’s options out of curiosity. One was Delete Tetris files. I selected it. The computer was just a toy – I couldn’t do any serious harm, surely? Then a message said “Are you really really sure you want to delete Tetris files?” This message sounded serious. It scared me – in fact, I was so scared that I immediately selected “yes” without thinking. Then the screen said, “Deleting Tetris files means the Tetris program will no longer be accessible. Are you really sure?” At this point I pressed “yes” again just to make the scary messages go away.
Then the screen went black. I held my breath. An eternity later, it popped back into existence again, only this time… there was no Tetris.
I quickly turned off the PC and left the room. Then I sat on the sofa while wringing my fingernails and chewing my hands. My dad came home and bolted upstairs for his daily four-hour Tetris marathon. After all, Tetris was the only thing keeping him sane, due to having four kids and no arms. A few minutes later he called, “Wife! Do you know anything about the Tetris?”
My heart started beating at ten thousand times a minute.
“What about the Tetris dear?” my mom shouted back up the stairs, while bathing my one-year-old brother in a saucepan (we couldn’t afford a bath as we’d spent all our savings on the computer to play Tetris).
“It says that it can’t open the damn thing,” my Dad replied. “That the files are missing.”
My heart was beating so fast it was a single continuous hum. I was rigid, pushed back deep into the sofa, all muscles tensed. I was sweating more than I had actual fluid in my body. I was ready to bolt out the door and to the nearest orphanage. Meanwhile, my sisters were watching Neighbours on the telly, and were more interested in Harold Bishop’s love life than my deteriorating physical state.
“The files are missing!” repeated my Dad, with noticeable alarm in his voice. “It says they’ve been deleted!”
My mom dropped the saucepan in shock, my brother still inside, and ran upstairs to confirm the horrible truth. Tetris had been deleted; no more four-block shapes for the Pietrzak family.
Luckily for me, blame fell on my aunt, who had used the computer a few hours before. My aunt vehemently denied it of course. But my mom was so angry at her that they fell out for the next twenty years.
Twenty years later
Fast-forward twenty years later, and I was speaking to my aunt on the phone. I said, “Yeah, I’ll have to come visit sometime. How about Saturday? By the way, it was me who deleted Tetris”.
There was silence. After a few agonizing minutes, I heard a groaning, spluttering sound, like a car engine dying in reverse. Specifically, it was the noise my aunt makes when she discovers it was her nephew who deleted Tetris, and not her, even though she’d been blamed for it two decades straight, and had been through years of gruelling psychotherapy to overcome the guilt.
Finally she spluttered, “It… it was YOU? YOU deleted Tetris?”
“Yep, it was me” I replied breezily.
Then I think she fainted.