The Let's Play Archive


by JoeNotCharles

Part 10

God, I'm having a horrible day. I have a cold, I didn't get any sleep last night, and when I woke up this morning I found out my cat had shit all over the couch. I got halfway through shaving my head and found out I was out of razor blades. So I had to run around the whole damn city with my head half-shaved, unshowered, covered in hair clippings, feeling itchy and stinking, treated to wall after wall of ten thousand different glass and tile cleaners and nothing remotely resembling upholstery cleaner. When I finally found something, I went to get on the bus back home and had to wait for half a god-damned hour while the bus driver sat there talking on her cell phone before she decided it was time to start her route.

I'm tired, I have a headache, I have a fuckload of cleaning to do, I have to go back to work tomorrow, and I'm MAD AS HELL. other words, its a perfect time to play BUREAUCRACY!



114 35th

113 35th


[Your blood pressure just went up.]

112 35th

You can hear "Delta Dawn," performed a capella by Tony Orlando and Dawn playing in the mansion.

111 35th

The snivelling, ratty and ineffectual nerd stumbles into view again. "There you are!" he whines. "I've got something I know you'll want. A Boysenberry XiGT6HP Special! Only 76 bucks!"

Oh, right, this guy. I've been cutting him from the transcript every time he comes up, because he was just getting in the way, but I guess I should probably give you an idea what he's like.

The nerd shows up periodically, usually on the street but it could be anywhere, and offers to sell you something ridiculous for slightly more money than it's possible to obtain. (I've even seen him in the paranoid's bunker.) He won't react to anything except to try to sell you things, so he's pretty much useless - but he's a big part of the game's annoyance, so here he is anyway!


>look at nerd
We do not believe you've never seen a nerd before. You probably hang out with them all the time. This one is just like those ones.

At the moment, he's waving a Boysenberry XiGT6HP Special in your face in a thoroughly obnoxious manner.

>look at xigt6hp
The product of years of research by tiny dedicated craftsmen in expensive West Coast chambray workshirts, the XiGT6HP Special offers full digital pay-as-you-load "top-end" hyphenation combined with a unique beat-as-you-sweep action for perfectly browned vegetables and reliable color-fast, full-nine-pound boil-wash 'n' rinse cycles with "No-Urk" data security.

The nerd waves the Boysenberry XiGT6HP Special impatiently. "C'mon, lady. 76 bucks! A bargain!"

>ask nerd about mail
Which mail do you mean, the coupon booklet, the flyer, or the Popular Paranoia magazine?

"Talk is cheap," whines the nerd. "What about my 76 bucks?"

I meant to just ask him about the mail fuckups in general, but it doesn't look like I can.

He seems like the type to hang out with libertarians and paranoids - I wonder if he knows the password.


>say "unfortunately, there's a radio connected to my brain"
The nerd says, "Look! Headless eyes! Headless eyes in the ozone layer!"

>say "actually, it's the bbc controlling us from London"
The nerd says, "The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!"

>say "look! headless eyes! headless eyes in the ozone layer!"
There's absolutely no need to get excited!!!

[Your blood pressure just went up.]
The nerd shakes his obnoxious little head. "76 bucks first," he whines.

(It turns out this isn't specific to the nerd - almost everybody will just spout nonsence at you if you say the paranoid's password to them. And if you say it when there's nobody else present, men in white coats come and drag you away.)

Ok, so if he won't talk about anything except his 76 bucks, what happens if we try to buy it?


>give beezer to nerd
[taking the wallet first]

[taking the Beezer card out of the wallet first]

The nerd glances at the Beezer card. "I don't want that," he whines. "I want 76 bucks!"

>put beezer in wallet. put wallet in pocket
You put the Beezer card in the wallet.

"No money, no Boysenberry XiGT6HP Special," whines the nerd.

You put the wallet in your pocket.

The nerd stumbles out of sight with the Boysenberry XiGT6HP Special. "I'll be back," he threatens.

And that was that. I think we were going to the bookstore, because we've already been to the restaurant and there was no mail there.


110 35th

You see a rather run-down restaurant to the east, and one of those bookstores which looks as if it wouldn't have anything you want to buy to the west. The street continues north and south.

You step into the bookstore.


This is a not-very-nice bookstore which sells "packages" and "products" rather than books. Shelves groan with best sellers and bargain remainders. The exit is to the east.

A sales clerk is standing by a computerised cash register. The wall behind him offers a selection of computer software.

The clerk recognises you, and scowls impatiently.

>look at software
Not much of a selection, really. A couple of last year's Boysenberry hits;
you've seen them all before.

The clerk notes your persistent interest with barely concealed boredom.

Last time we were here, the clerk offered to trade some of our old software for his "special release". We have an adventure game and an eclipse-predicting cartridge. That second one sounds boring - let's get rid of it.

(Note - I'm starting to have too many things to carry all at once. Rather than dropping some shit I probably won't need - you never know - I'm obsessively putting them into containers, hence the bit with the wallet above. 'Cause it's more annoying that way.)


>give eclipse cartridge to clerk
You'd have to take the eclipse predicting cartridge out of the small case first.

>get eclipse cartridge. give it to clerk
You take the eclipse predicting cartridge out of the small case.

The clerk glances at the eclipse predicting cartridge. "I already have that one."

>put it in case
You put the eclipse predicting cartridge in the small case.

>get game cartridge. give it to clerk
You take the adventure game cartridge out of the small case.

The clerk takes the adventure game cartridge from you. "I knew you'd change your mind. I can always tell," he chortles. He tosses you the recipe cartridge. "Here, have fun."

[Your score just went up.]

>put recipe cartridge in computer
The recipe cartridge slips into your Boysenberry computer with a thrilling little click...

All diagnostics completed
Press any key to boot...
[Midnight Recipe Projekt


Take one medium llama, peeled, 8
pecks garlic, 15 bushels STALE celery,
2 pounds shallots, 10 bushels carrots,
onions, turnips, snails, worms, lard,
helium, nematodes, gristle and earth
to taste. Boil llama till bored, add
other stuff and stir until congealed.
Decorate with greenish milk curds.
Serves one small aeroplane.]

Your screen goes blank.

The clerk watches every move you make.

>put it in case
Maybe you should take the recipe cartridge out of your Boysenberry computer

The clerk fiddles with the software.

>get it. put it in case
You take the recipe cartridge out of your Boysenberry computer.

You put the recipe cartridge in the small case.

Oh, great, I smell a fetch quest in the future. We got a point for that, so it must be important, but it didn't seem to yield any mail.


>ask clerk about mail
Which mail do you mean, the coupon booklet, the flyer, or the Popular Paranoia magazine?

The clerk shrugs. "What about it?"

>ask clerk about software
"'Dork I'? One of the classics!"

>ask clerk about boysenberry
"It's got what I like in a computer: it's named after a berry. That's what I look for. A really purple berry, too. Great."

>ask clerk about nerd
"That pallid little creep? There's something weird about him. He should be
locked away."

>say "unfortunately, there's a radio connected to my brain"
The clerk says, "Laboratories! Laboratories in Utah! Where they make stuff!"

Well, that was a bust. Let's try the tenement building.


The clerk scowls again as you leave.

110 35th

109 35th

This is the commercial district. You see a rather shabby brownstone tenement (obviously once a grand family house) to the east, and a travel agency (which is trying to look like a bank) to the west. The Fillmore Fiduciary Trust Bank (which is trying to look like a travel agency) lies to the north. The street continues south.

You hear a hatefully familiar whine close at hand. "There you are!" he whines. "I've got something I know you'll want. A decision-support system for executives! Only 76 bucks!"

>x decision support system
A vital tool for the career executive. A random decision-tree advises when to buy, sell, agree, stymie, sabotage, crawl, cover your back etc., totally without reference to reality. A must for the busy manager. Complete with appalling Harvard MBA-style meaningless jargon.

The nerd waves the decision-support system for executives impatiently. "C'mon, lady. 76 bucks! A bargain!"

"Hey! Wait!" cries the nerd. "Would you like to go out with me?"


You're in a dark, dank, drab hallway. Grey, greasy stone stairs lead up, and an exit (the door long ago ripped off by drunken opera critics) leads west. There's a closed door in the south wall.

>open door
The door seems to be locked.

>knock on door
Somebody unlocks the door from the inside. "Come in, come in," says an impatient voice, and the door opens a little.


You're in a dingy flat which smells of old tea bags. A blistered green door leads north.

A mousy little wimp of a fellow is sitting at a table, snipping envelopes into tiny pieces, burrowing through the shredded paper, tittering mousily and grabbing at the stamps with his mousy little hands. The floor is littered with snipped-up paper.

A piece of mail, as yet undamaged by the collector, lies at your feet.

The little man glances up as you enter. "Hi, lady. Can I help you?" he asks in a preoccupied tone.



>ask collector about mail
The mousy man snickers distractedly, but is too preoccupied with his stamps to really pay attention.

>say "unfortunately, there's a radio connected to my brain
The mousy man says, "The computers have come alive! They can't turn them

>look at stamps
There are stamps here from all over the world, offering an amazing opportunity for a stamp-collector. You are not a stamp collector. They offer you no opportunities at all. None.

"As you can see, I'm very busy," remarks the mousy man, gesturing at the pile of stamp albums. "I have to cut all the stamps and permits off today's mail, and I still haven't finished yesterday's!"

>look at mail
You'll have to pick it up first.

"There!" cries the mousy man with a triumphant snip. "That's yesterday's, all done!" He picks up the uncut envelope on the floor and turns it this way and that. "Drat," he mutters with a wistful sigh. "No Zalagasa 42 on this one, either. Someday, someday..."

>get mail
"Don't touch!" scolds the mousy man, nudging the mail out of your reach.
"Haven't looked at that one yet."

[Your blood pressure just went up.]

"Zalagasa 42" was the name of the rare stamp that was on the very first piece of mail we picked up, the flyer. (For once the game is being too obvious - "rare stamp" would've been clue enough.)


>give flyer to man
The mousy man glances at the flyer. "No, thanks," he squeaks, "You keep it."

Er, leaflet. The leaflet was the first piece of mail.


>give leaflet to man
The mousy man's little black button eyes grow wide when he sees the leaflet; the mail slips from his grasp. "I don't believe it," he whispers, fondling the stamp. "The Zalagasa 42 Ai-Ai. First and rarest in the Almost Unbelievably Rare Little, Um, Well, Sort of Monkey-Type Animals of the Southern Hemisphere Series!"

Whooping with glee, the little fellow skitters up and down and performs a series of handstands and cartwheels around his little apartment. Then he opens his pants, stuffs the precious leaflet into his underwear (of which the less said, the better), pulls on a coat and dashes out the door. "Ai-Ai! The Ai-Ai!" he shrieks all the way down the street.

>get mail
Most of the mail is rather useless, not even worth picking up. Amid the junk, you find an envelope and a shredded money order. You regretfully leave the
shredded money order behind, and take the envelope.

[Your score just went up.]

>look at money order
From what you can see, it's a money order from Happitec. Apparently the mousy man got a trifle over-eager when he encountered the envelope that your money order came in, and reduced both the envelope and its contents to shreds.

>look at envelope
The closed envelope is addressed to Philaboy Huxley, 111 35th. There's also one of those cute little orange Postal Service stickers, with a C printed on it.

>open it
You open the envelope.

You see a cheque and a memo inside.

>look at cheque
This is a cheque drawn on the Fillmore Fiduciary Trust, in the amount of -$75.00 (yes, that is a minus sign). It's made out to Philaboy Huxley.

>look at memo
It's a memo from US Excess Travel Services.

Dear Philaboy Huxley:
Your account is overdue by $75. You have ignored our many previous attempts to collect this money. We have taken appropriate action (see enclosure).

Yours truly,
L. C. J. Tester, Credit Manager

Our account is overdue by seventy-five dollars, so they've... sent us a check for negative seventy-five dollars? So that when we deposit it, it'll suck the money out of our account? That makes no sense, even for this game. In fact, it's completely insane.

Next time:

You have no idea how insane.