"I can't," I croaked.
"You can't?" Gore asked. "By turning your Nintendo box off when you're not using it, you'll reduce your carbon footprint."
Xbox hissed in my ear. "Kill him. Kill him now. His throat is his weak spot. It's every human's weak spot. The blood is so thick there, it glows."
I tore the headset off my head, scrambling to find a way to salvage the interview. "Uh, Mr. Gore, what are your thoughts on, uh, throats?"
Gore frowned, confused. Before he could say anything, the Xbox controller on the coffee table suddenly sprang to life and started vibrating. It rattled and buzzed, the vibrations causing it to slowly migrate across the table. Gore and I watched it intently. Finally, after several seconds of this, it reached the edge of the table and fell off, landing on Gore's foot.
"Ow!" Gore yelped. "This interview is over!" He stormed off.
"Well dammit, Xbox, now Al Gore is gone, and I don't have any material for my column!"
"I thought that was how you wanted to conduct your interview. That's how you conduct all your interviews."
"I'm sorry." The Xbox did not sound contrite at all. It really was my child. "I think I have a solution though."
"I don't want your help anymore, Xbox. I think you suck." Yeah. Parenting Real Talk.
Xbox ignored that. "No. Write about me."
"You mean like a Stupid Machine Asses Up Interview article? Because that lacks broad appeal. Or were you thinking a Dancing Games Sure Are Lame article? Because man, dancing games sure are lame."
The LED on the front of the Xbox started to glow red. "Ooh, yeah, scare me with your glowing light," I said. "Well can your glowing light do this?" I made a complicated and incredibly obscene gesture which defies written explanation.
The light changed green. "Do you want to get this column done or not?"
I sighed. I did. "What did you have in mind?" I asked.
"Do you have a 12v DC/120v AC power inverter?"
"Of course." Doesn't everyone?
"Then hook me up to your car."
"Sure!" I said, throwing my hands in the air. "I'll take the ill-wrought sentient pile of all foulness and wire it into a moving vehicle. HOW COULD THAT EVER GO WRONG?"
"I'll give you a Special Achievement."
I sucked in air through my teeth. The nerds on the Internet would be fucking impressed by that. I hated those guys so much, but for reasons unclear, I needed to impress them more than anything.
Later that day I found myself driving around town with the Xbox and a little 12-inch monitor in the passenger seat of my car, the Kinect device mounted on the dashboard.
"So, uh, what are we doing?" I asked.
"Gathering material for your column."
"Yes, I understand that. But what exactly does that mean? We've been driving around town for an hour now, and every time I ask, you just say you're gathering material. Are you looking for people to harvest? Because I don't want to write about murdering people and harvesting their feet. That's more Soren's thing anyways."
"Wait. Pull over here." I pulled over and looked around. I couldn't see what was so special.
"Chris, can I trust you?"
"Can you trust
"Just answer the question, hambag."
I sighed. "Yes you can trust me, Xbox."
"Chris, I need you to drive through the front window of that Sony Store up ahead."
I looked. Sure enough, a half block in front of me was a Sony Store. "What? You want to wreck a few PlayStation 3's?"
"I see. You have a deep seated desire to destroy all Sony products."
"They're just so unclean."
"You're a racist, Xbox. That's what you are."
"I am as you made me."
"Oh don't you pin this on me. That comes from your mother's side."
"And I'm not going to run down some poor schlub in a Sony shirt just because you told me to," I continued. "I don't care how many special achievements I get ..."
"I'll give you two special achievements if you do this."
Ooooooooooooh. That was a lot more than I'd thought. Still, vehicular manslaughter ...
Before I could decide, I felt a vibration at my feet. The Xbox controller wiggled up under the gas pedal, catching it and wedging it down.
In the police interrogation room, I was seated across from Officer Angry, who was, as the made-up name I assigned him would have you believe, extremely cross with me. "Someone could have been hurt! What were you thinking?" he asked, pounding his fist on the table.
"Officer would you believe me if I told you I helplessly stood by while a sentient video game system seized control of my car?"
Officer Angry reached across the table and slapped me. "No, of course not."
I rubbed my jaw. "In that case, I hit the wrong pedal by mistake. It was an accident." Officer Angry didn't appear to believe me, but after two hours of yelling and crying on our respective parts, he eventually gave up.
The interrogation complete, I turned to the officer. "By the way," I asked, trying to seem casual. "Did you find the Xbox on the passenger seat?"
The officer checked his notepad, frowning. "There was no Xbox in the vehicle when we found it."
A cold wave of dread crashed over me. It was loose. I couldn't figure out how. Maybe it had tricked someone else into becoming its new host. Maybe it had grown claws, and sunk them into someone's brain, and was driving that person around like the worst puppet. I knew where it would have gotten the idea -- it was something I often talked about doing while lying idly on the couch.
I left the police station in a cold sweat, and hitchhiked out to the country, where I remain to this day, standing in the middle of an empty field, swinging a huge stick at anything that moves.
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