Dozens of tracer rounds began flying over my head as I ducked down behind the hood of a rusted-out SUV. I could see muzzle flashes from the second story of a shelled-out building down the street, three separate shooters from the looks of it. Martin hunkered down next to me, loading a fresh new magazine into his rifle.
“So do you want to flank or try to snipe them from here?” I asked.
“Oh, I’d say try to flank them. I’m pretty low on ammo for the rifle.”
“Alright. You gonna pop smoke or should I?”
“I got it.”
Martin tossed a single smoke grenade over to the other side of the vehicle and we gave the smoke a few moments to consume us both before sprinting around the corner of one of the nearby buildings. Almost immediately, Martin hit the ground and a distant gunshot rang out through the ravaged streets.
“Oh, god damn sniper.” Martin growled.
“Don’t worry, I got ya.”
“What? No. Get to cover.” Just as Martin finished his sentence a bullet passed through my skull and my body went limp. “Damn it Jake.”
“Sorry.” I replied as the familiar phrase “Squad KIA” scrolled across the screen.
“What was that?” Martin asked, visibly upset as he dropped his controller on the coffee table. “I can crawl when I’m downed. You didn’t have to stand in the middle of the street like a dumbass. We were almost done!”
“My bad, man.” I took a sip from the can of generic brand cola in front of me. “Don’t sweat it, we’ll go again.”
“We’ll have to start from the beginning again” Martin told me as he rubbed his temple. I almost spit out the cola.
“Are you kidding me? This game doesn’t have checkpoints?”
“It does, but we need to go through the entire co-op mission without any respawns to get the trophy.”
“Oh, we’re going for the trophy?” Martin shot me an annoyed look.
“Yes, I need to get this trophy so I can get the platinum.”
“The platinum trophy?” I vaguely recalled Martin talking about that during the game, but I was too immersed in the gameplay to pay much attention. “Why do you worry about that man? It’s more fun just to play the game.”
“But we’re still going for the trophy?”
“Why you gotta be such a perfectionist?”
Martin cracked his knuckles and said, “not sure.”
“It’s just like that exam you were getting all pissy about because you got a B+. I’d love to get a B+.”
“Guess I just have high standards.”
“I’ll say.” I finished off the cola and placed the now empty can back on the table. “Standards are good and all, but when you keep them so high your nose starts bleeding; you really suck the fun outta life. Take a step down and relax a little. Smell them roses or whatever the hell that saying is.”
Martin picked the controller back up and scrolled down to the “quit” option on the menu. I stood up from the sofa and walked over to the box of cola cans by the entrance.
“You want another drink?” I asked.
“Sure,” Martin replied. “Mind if I change my primary? Want to change to a rifle with more ammo. Range wasn’t as important as I thought it would be.”
“Be my guest.” I said as I placed the new cans on the table. “So we’re starting over?”
“You’re going to give yourself grey hair man.”
Martin sighed and said, “I know.”