Still, we opted to eat pizza. The pizza place had a signed photo of Rick Astley! And this picture of Bill Clinton accepting a free pizza from the owner!
Most importantly, I had passed a computer gaming place on the way to the pizza place. It was filled with networked computers all playing the same game. I told Brian about this place and he was excited to see it. After we ate, we walked down and peeked in through the window. It was almost empty when we looked in. Still, a few chairs were full.
Brian said, "Can we go in?"
It hadn't occurred to me that I could go in. "Sure, I guess."
We opened the door. It was quieter than I thought. It was like being in a college computer lab. A guy looked up and asked if he could help us.
"Yeah," Brian said, "What are your hours?"
"Oh, I don't work here. It's his place." He pointed as a guy sitting in front of a machine with a barbarian on the screen repeatedly swinging a sword. He was on the phone and appeared to be answering questions about the game.
"Yeah, that's right. Just keep doing that."
Brian pushed forward, "Well, how late are you open?"
The first guy said, "Until midnight I guess, is that right? A little later on the weekends."
The owner put his hand over the phone and nodded. I wasn't sure why he needed to block the sound just to nod.
"Do you guys want to play?"
"No," Brian said, "just checking the place out."
We left and Brian turned to me with a smile. "Didn't that place smell exactly like you expected it to?"
It was only then that I thought about the stale, dead, boy smell. It really did. It smelled exactly like I thought it would. Food, sweat and misplaced testosterone. If I were going to make an air freshener that smelled like nerd, that would be the smell.
"It did," I said, "it smelled just like it was supposed to."
A quick look back, the owner was still on the phone, pressing the space bar on the computer as the impossible strong barbarian swung his sword uselessly at invisible enemies.