My name is Sean McGeady and I have an infectious disease – acute viral rhinopharyngitis.
The onset of symptoms was slow. The virus presented little challenge to my immune system. But as the levels of infectious enemies increase so too must my effort to contain them. My body is at war with itself.
From afar I appear healthy but look closer and my sickness is revealed. Stem cells spawn white blood cells that wage war against opposing pathogens. I am a battleground. My capillaries are the trenches. My cells are the soldiers.
I am Sean McGeady, El Presidente, the sovereign ruler of the Republic of Tropico, a digitally elected overseer of a nation that has transcended its artificial nature as a populace of randomly processed pixels and become a conduit of my every presidential decision.
To fail a game is to fail oneself. To fail this game is to fail a nation – my nation. These are my people. I am their shepherd. When they starve, I starve. When they flourish, I flourish. Tropico is a nation of my best and worst tendencies, a reflection of myself. Holding it together is no easy task but I, Sean McGeady, will try my damnedest, come Hell, high water or rapid blood loss to bestow the Tropican people with a sense of national pride and a happiness previously unbeknown to them. For as El Presidente, it is my duty.
This garish lilac set is violating my retinas. This stool isn’t particularly comfortable either. God, this is the last time I agree to anything whilst drunk.
“So, Sean, tell us a bit about yourself.”
What do I say? Am I supposed to tell the truth here? I suppose it couldn’t hurt, I mean, these women are presumably already locked into some legally binding contract. I’m guaranteed a date with whoever I choose. So it makes no difference what I say. I don’t even need to sound attractive. Alright. Blunt truth it is.
“Well, Cilla, I’m a 20 year old university student with mediocre facial hair, but aspirations of growing a majestic beard someday. I’m about 5’10”. I have hazel eyes and dark brown hair of varying length. I like metal music, video games and my favourite film is The Departed. I have a few tattoos and play bass guitar. That’s about it.”
“Oh. He sounds hot doesn’t he, audience?!”
Silence. Deathly fucking silence. Nobody is clapping. Nobody. Just the distant rustling of crisp packets. This is pretty embarrassing. Oh. HAHA. Well done, Ironic Wolf Whistle Guy. Prick.
“Alright, Sean. We’re going to bring out three lovely ladies and sit them behind that screen so you can’t see them. We’ll tell you a bit about each of them, then you pick your favourite! Okay, let’s meet the first of the girls you might be going home with tonight.”
It is my first time and I am nervous. Sitting in the dimly lit car park, lights flicker overhead and colourless mist seeps from the cold steel vents in the ground. Everything about my environment reinforces the nature of the activity I am about to engage in.
The building stands before me, rudimentary yet unyielding, dilapidated but foreboding. It’s like an old warehouse, long forgotten by all who have entered. It is the perfect setting.
Still, I sit, desperately mustering the courage to enter. I cannot wait much longer. It is almost time.
We, the British – stoic in our sensibilities, steadfast in our sentiments, and famously stiff in our collective upper lip; our tears seldom shed, our smiles seldom seen, our heads often shaken.
Even whilst sharing a mutual objective, the motive of the Englishman is varied and many. I see it in their eyes. I hear it in their sighs. But none of this matters.
Ultimately, we are gathered here today to serve one extraordinary purpose – to save lives.
I am late. Hesitantly, as is my nature, I enter the Church Center and navigate my way to the first nurse. She asks if I’ve brought any paperwork. I have. She asks me to go to the waiting room. I do.
Time temporarily stops, my eyes glaze over and I stare straight through the nurse in to the blood farm behind. Blue uniforms swim through the aisles between the beds like sharks having caught the scent of blood. Cacophonous alarms signify the conclusion of each harvest, and dry zombie donors drift like spectres around the demure religious hall.