100% Achieved

When I flopped back onto the pillow, just before my eyes sagged shut, I glanced over at the clock.

11:57 PM, the red numbers read in the darkness.

I was feeling pretty good with the day already, feeling pretty accomplished.  Man, I thought to myself, I got a lot done!  But I still felt as though I was forgetting something…

Oh, wait!  I had to send that email to Harken!  Quickly, I grabbed at my bedside table for my phone.  Fortunately, the message to pass on was short, and it only took a few keystrokes before it was ready.  With a sigh of relief, I pushed my thumb down firmly on the text at the top of the screen marked “Send.”

With a little whoosh, the email darted off through my wireless into cyberspace, and I set the phone back down on the little night table.  11:59, read the clock – just in time!  Day complete!

I was very proud of what I’d accomplished.

So proud, in fact, that when the words “100% ACHIEVED” swam into visibility on the blackness of the ceiling, the letters glowing bright green, it didn’t even seem odd-

-at first.

I wasn’t, however, prepared for what came next.

Slowly, almost shimmering into existence, three more lines of text appeared, underneath this “100% ACHIEVED” banner.  They read, in order:

“LOG OUT”

“CONTINUE: FREE ROAM”

“NEW GAME+”

This was odd, I thought to myself, but I didn’t feel quite like I was in a panic.  Lying there in the softness of my blankets and pillows on my bed, it was tough to be scared or surprised.  Instead, I just gazed up, trying to get my fuzzy thoughts to line up.

Sure, I’d played a few video games in my time; I had some idea of what these options meant.  But I wasn’t used to trying to apply them to my own life, and so some of the options weren’t quite making sense.

Clearly, I’d achieved some sort of success in life.  I mean, I had my credit cards all paid off, a comfortable job, and had even finally managed to talk to that cute barista that kept on drawing little hearts on my morning coffee cups.  Was that a hundred percent?  It didn’t seem quite right.

So what to do next?

LOG OUT?  I didn’t think so!  I’d worked hard to reach this point, and I wasn’t starting over now!

CONTINUE: FREE ROAM?  If I remembered, that would mean that I could wrap up current objectives.  Not bad, not bad.  On one hand, I wouldn’t advance any further, but I wouldn’t lose all my current progress.

NEW GAME+… now, that was the most intriguing.  The opportunity to start a new life, possibly with something carrying over?  Wow, that would be nice.

Briefly, I wondered whether that was how so many people became rich and powerful.  Did they score 100% completion on a day, and then bring all of their accumulated money and knowledge into their next life, starting with a leg up?

The temptation to join them was very strong.

But on the other hand… I had only just scored that cute girl’s number, and I was really looking forward to our first date.  How hard could it really be to get another 100% complete day, now that I knew what to work towards?

And so I blinked a few more times, until the text on the ceiling faded away, and drifted gently off to sleep.

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