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Ballard

“Do you think it’s true?” asks Cote as the TV movie credits get squished sideways by an ad. “About the thousand paper cranes, and wishes?”

“Sure,” says Ballard, “and if you beat Tomb Raider ten times without dying you get to see her naked.”

“You think the whole notion exists just to screw with people? Why?”

Ballard shrugs. “Because people love cheat codes. Whether you’re trying to cheat death or Nintendo is just a matter of scale.”

Cote snuggles in closer. “You’re such an asshole. Why do I like you?”

“What,” he asks, “do you think I spent my wish on?”

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