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This is Captain Gamer, superhero and columnist. On the side, he works at a five star restaurant called the Pixel Palace, substituting for the regular bartender Dominic when needed. There, Captain can meet his old video game friends when they come in to have a drink. Sometimes, they share stories and even secrets. For as we all know, what the bartender hears is confidential... isn't it?

-

So there I am tending bar when in walks one of the Pixel Palace's more controversial regulars: Poison, of Capcom fame. Now, Poison as a person isn't so controversial. She's actually a very decent sort. A little prone to flirtation, the occasional lewd comment, some innuendo. But you know what, she's the life of the party wherever she goes and everyone loves her. So good standings all around. After all, she's manager to Hugo, that massive professional wrestler. Getting on peoples' good sides is in her blood.

What I do mean by "controversial" is, of course, the question of her physical gender. If you're not a big Internet-goer, here's the skinny: Poison first appeared as an enemy in the game Final Fight. The story goes that she was changed from a woman to a transgender male so that the game wouldn't involve hitting women. And now it seems Capcom is stuck between going back on it and just owning up to having a transgender character - I don't know and I don't care. One, the Pixel Palace doesn't discriminate. Two, I don't discriminate. Three, you take one look at her and tell me how "woman" does NOT describe what you see.

Anyway, we're all caught up. Poison comes up to the bar and she clearly came here to drink. It was a busy time, so I greeted her, served her order and went around to my business. When things calmed down, I finally get a word in. But by that time the amount of drinks she'd had couldn't be counted on one hand. Or even two, now that I think about it. Usually she's in here to celebrate some great big stride in her business, but the long face said otherwise. So I give her my soft approach: "You're drinking that much either to celebrate something or forget something." Witty, I know.

And then, I'm immediately fearing for my life because she shoots up one of those violent "mind your own business" looks. I was staring death in the eye, but I remembered my mentoring and kept neutral. Thankfully, she softens up. She just looks at her glass and says, "I'm like the hottest video game character ever, right?"

I just say back "Mhm," because I've learned a thing or two about listening in my time. So she launches into it, she says:

"I mean, I love it. I love looking good, showing off for people... Hell, I even love people having dirty thoughts about me because it means I'm doing something right." And she does have a point. From what I've seen of her, she only acts the way she does because that's how she likes it. But I didn't say any of that, oh no. She was still in the thick of speaking rhetorically. Finally we get to the meat of it, she says, "Why is it so hard to find love?"

Age-old question. "Ahh," I say in the moment, trying to, you know, complete that thought, "Nobody's really expecting you to want that sort of commitment?"

She lifts her eyebrow at me and says, "More like they're scared of what they think they'll find when they finally do get in my pants. Not that I'm easy."

I'm taking to her, but I'm also trying to figure out what she's saying. Was she admitting to being  transgender, or was she merely talking about the rumors? Well, it's beside the point. I'll never forget that jaded, defiant look on her face when she swigged that bottle. More so because I realize she had just grabbed it from behind the counter without yet paying. But she tells me her story to get my mind off of it.

"It's funny," she says, "you can be all sorts of famous, rich, successful, loved by all, whatever. But getting all that big stuff just makes you want the small stuff all the more. Affection, a special sort of attention, a person who really gets you and makes you happy just by getting you."

There's a word for that, and I say it right there, "Companionship?"

My word choice must have been impressively apt, because Poison really mulls it over. Either that or she's trying to stay coherent. She says, "Yeah, that. So I told Hugo to take a vacation and threw myself into the dating scene. Thought I'd try the pool of game characters. Makes sense. But it's the same deal every time. Soon as it comes down to what's in my pants, hardly any of those wimps can deal with it. The closest I got was when I went to Pandora and hooked up with a Vault Hunter named Axton. He was cool about it."

"'Was?'" I echo her... no pun intended. "That sounds perfect for you. What happened?"

And I couldn't have asked for a more straightforward answer. "He was a prick. An open-minded prick, but that doesn't give him any excuse. And he had a tendency to solve all of his problems by shooting people. I'm all for being assertive, but it was a bit much."

Once more, I had to think about what she was saying. I really could not care less about her gender, but it was starting to get confusing whether she was talking about being transgender or the rumors. But back on track, the way she talked about Axton, it didn't sound like that one incident was enough to get her drinking. You pick up on these things in the business. So I ask her, "And what brought you here today?"

She actually avoids eye contact. Keep in mind this is Poison being squeamish we're talking about. What in the world could it be, right? Like taking off a bandage, she tells me, "I went normal."

You're probably wondering the same thing I did, "Normal? What do you mean by normal?" I probably rushed her on, but I like to think of it as encouragement. But now here's where things really get interesting. She's trying to keep it hush but, you know, alcohol. She tells me:

"I was considering my options - and don't correct me saying that I got desperate or I will shank you." Yes, shank. She says it like that. "I decided that if game characters weren't working out, I'll give some regular person off the street a try. So I made a profile on a dating site, washed the dye out of my hair, got myself some modest clothes, and gave it a shot."

She pulls out her phone and shows me this "normal" Poison. And she did look normal! You never would guess that it's the same woman. Still was fetching, in this humble bartender's opinion. Almost caught her real name on that profile. Having to express myself, I tell her after some initial shock, "That is very different for you."

She liked my reaction, I could tell. She was very proud of her "normal" look.

She puts the phone away and goes on, "I actually met a guy through the site. John. An accountant. He likes football but plays golf. Has his own house. I know those are some pretty boring things when you compare him to a game character, but that was the sort of thing I wanted to try."

And I saw, just talking about it was getting her worked up in a good way, so I have to prod, "And how'd it go?"

She sighs wistfully. And when someone like Poison sighs wistfully, that is a sight. She tells me, "It was really... nice. Small and simple, but that just made it mean more, you know? But it was also stressful because I had to tell him about - you know, myself - at some point. And we were already a couple of dates in and already knew a lot about each other. I did tell him that I had a secret and it might freak him out."

To point out her good fortune I tell her, "Several dates in without propositioning and staying on with a secret looming overhead? The guy's a saint."

Right away, I see saying that is a mistake, and she explains. "Yeah, I really put that to the test. Told him beforehand I was going to tell him the secret and he should prepare for the worst. And at the end of the evening, I just told him straight. 'John... I'm actually a transexual."

Oh! Well. Okay! I know now! I mean, I didn't have any solid proof, but if she told the man this, that's not something you lie about. She was still talking about her confession, but I took the moment to relish in knowing. At least now I had a more solid understanding of the situation. Unfortunately, she finishes her story with "I never saw him after that day," and that brings me right back into the moment.

"Ooh," I say to her, being very genuine, "I'm sorry that didn't work out." In hindsight, I came to conclusions way too often that night.

Poison jumps on it, saying "Oh, no. It was going to work out. He called me later and said he wanted to keep seeing me. I never saw him again because the next morning he got run over by a bus."

I stand there stunned and she's just shrugging. Obviously she'd had some time to get over it and making less of it helps her cope, but my god! We're discussing the death of a man! "I'm so sorry for your loss," I tell her. And it gets worse. We come back to her phone and apparently John left her a video message in his last moments. After calling himself an ambulance. Of course.

We see the message back, and it's actually a nice, rousing sendoff. He told her that, yes, the truth about her was a surprise. But she wasn't lying about it, and that said everything he needed he to know. What she was didn't dictate who she was, and it was that who that he stayed on for. If he made it through, he looked forward to seeing more of her. Saddest part. And yes... he was saying all of this while lying in the street, sputtering, and waiting for that ambulance. It was sweet and... hard to watch, at the same time.

"There you go," Poison says, straight from phone to bottle, "the one chance I had at this and it just disappears right in front of me."

Now at this point, I've heard all about how much of an uphill battle Poison was having and her various attempts. But that was the first I heard of a defeatist tone, and I wasn't having any of it. I face her firmly with my most hard-boiled approach. "Now wait a moment. We just got done watching this man pour his heart out to you - unfortunate word choice. He had a stumble, but understandably so. When he found his footing, he didn't look back. And if this one man, this 'normal person,' as you put it, can appreciate you for who and what you are, then it can happen again. I'd wager that's why he put so much into that video message. He saw how shaky you were about the whole thing and wanted to leave you feeling better off. I didn't know him - wish I did - but I'll help him reinforce such a good message."

I let her stare into her drink for a while. I could tell she needed it. I know that feeling of trying to hold onto negative emotion, feeling like it's all you have left after something bad happens. But I wait it out until I see that smile. Everything was going to be alright. I'm trying to remember what it was exactly she said after that, something along the line of, "I'm lucky in a way. I know I'll have found a truly special guy if he can handle the concept of a woman's penis." I have to admit. I wasn't ready for that comment. Just because it's something you don't hear every day, of course.

Now, I didn't mention this before because it had no bearing on the story up until now. But at a table near the counter, a bunch of space marines were having a drinking night. I won't name any names. They caught wind of Poison's conversation with me and, unfortunately, they found the whole thing funny. They were having a chuckle and we were doing our best to ignore them. But when Poison mentioned the, uh, the "female penis," that was the breaking point.

"There's no such thing!" one of them shouts. Were I not at work, I would have told him off. But I was representing the Pixel Palace at the time. I had to collect my thoughts before I could diplomatically tell those guys that this is a private conversation.

Poison, however, was not held to such an obligation. "Oh yeah!?" She says, and her inebriation is clearly visible. She shouts "What do you call this?" and... pulls her shorts down. The marines start shouting and covering their eyes, and the other patrons are bothered.

I think fast, leap over the counter, grab off my apron, throw it over her, and sit her back down on the stool, back to the counter. Everything quiets back down for the duration of the night. Thankfully. And even though I did my best to, ahem, respect Poison's person, I did happen to have a peek downstairs. I'll say it straight up: She can really tuck her business away.

Unfortunately, I had to report the whole incident. As much sympathy I had, whether or not she gets a penalty for her conduct is not my call to make.

You know, having been there that night, it really made me think. It made me think about how the world is constantly changing and evolving. How we can think we have something nailed down and understood for all time and suddenly, flip of a switch, it's different. Pluto's no longer a planet, "selfie" is an official dictionary-defined word, and a woman can have male genitalia. That space marine, though I didn't care for his tone, brought up a good point that there are clearly defined traits of males and females, but that was by his definition. Granted, it's the most widely subscribed definition, but then here comes Poison with her own definition of gender without flinching for a moment.

It really goes to show that any definition - even purely scientific ones - can be challenged and altered as long as there is a good base on which to do so. We look to laws and formalities to solve the world's problems, but it's really up to those outliers to the norm to present themselves as nonthreatening and people can change right with them. Poison was doing pretty well for herself... up until anger and alcohol got in the way.

[PHONE RINGS - MEGA MAN 3 TITLE THEME]

Oh, um, sorry, just... Ah! Let me take this. You'll see why. [CAPTAIN ANSWERS THE PHONE] Dominic! Hey! Good timing! Let me put you on speaker. Okay, so I'm doing the Confessions on Poison right now and you're about to tell us how it all ends up!

Dominic: Oh, well. I feel rather put on the spot right now. Hello all!

Forget I said anything. What are your thoughts on Poison?

Dominic: Right. I got your message and don't worry about it. It doesn't sound like she'll make a habit of it. Besides, that space marine sounded like he was being a bit of a tosser.

Great!

Dominic: Besides, when it comes to genital-related incidents that the Pixel Palace has seen, that doesn't even make the top five. Top ten, maybe. You should know, you were right in the middle of number three. I swear, Princess Ruto still calls all the time asking if you're in.

Dominic! Dominic. I just told you that I'm doing a Confessions. Right now.

Dominic: Oh. Sorry. Guess I took it too far when you said to forget what you'd said. Ah, anyway. That's the verdict on Poison. We'll just an eye on her next time.

Great thank you. [CAPTAIN HANGS UP, EXTENDED PAUSE] That Dominic, right? Such a kidder. Ahem, anyway. You heard the man. This story has a happy ending. Maybe some time in the future we'll get an update on how Poison's doing.

-

You see a lot of strange things as a bartender. You see a lot of strange things at the Pixel Palace. So, I see a lot of strange things as a bartender at the Pixel Palace. And that's  no lie. Swear to it.
Video Game Confessions featuring Captain Gamer: Poison

Based off of Doug Walker's "Video Game Confessions" series at That Guy with the Glasses.

thatguywiththeglasses.com/vide…

A series in which I take my own crack at the Video Game Confessions formula with Captain Gamer as the bartender. My style gives video game characters more relatable issues with generally positive outcomes. However, don't count out the occasional zany and tongue-in-cheek moments that the original is known for!

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You can all thank :icontriplestar100: for giving me the idea after he read and commented on the prior installment.
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:iconkeirtanaka:
KeirTanaka Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Dat Girl Is Poison-the Japanese v American version

That was great & here's 1 of mine though it's more a general discussion than genre-related|
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:iconviamonte:
viamonte Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013
Thank you both, from the depths of my heart. I'm trans myself, and just like the cellphone video, this was both sweet and hard to read, due to how close and constant a pain it is to us, what you portray here about companionship. Although I'm bisexual, and found my love in a beautiful genetic woman that is now my fiancee, the transgirls that like men exclusively have the hardest of times getting anywhere near a loving guy. This text was done with a perfectly clear-headed, open-minded point of view. Truly. Thank you.
Reply
:iconcaptain-gamer:
Captain-Gamer Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you in turn for your kind feedback. I don't have much personal experience with this topic, so I wasn't even sure if I was saying anything that would resonate with a trans person. I just spoke from the heart as a decent individual. It means a lot that this meant something to you and that you'd speak up to say so.

You're welcome, thank you right back, and all the best!
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:iconviamonte:
viamonte Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2013
I would actually like to request your permission in translating this short story to portuguese to port on my blog. Given how many brazilians do not speak english, I write in the native language to inform other trans in here about transition and life thereafter. Obviously, the post will have the correct credits and references to your page here.

This subject not only resonates with us, it is one of the two main issues we (non-op trans) face for the rest of our lives. The other being finding a job. In the romantic scene, our problem is twofold: we offer a different sexual experience, and we carry a high social stigma for our partners. This second problem has two causes: we're usually seen as men, due to our genitalia, or prostitutes, due to social (un)awareness. So a male partner is usually seen as gay and a client. The result is, 99% of the time a man shows interest in us, it is exclusively sexual, and very stealthly.

Anyway. I think most of my readers will relate to the story :)
Reply
:iconcaptain-gamer:
Captain-Gamer Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Go for it! I'm curious to see how it would end up after translation. When you're done, give me a link. Good luck!
Reply
:iconviamonte:
viamonte Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014
trans.parencia.com.br/2014/01/…

That's the link of the translated post. Yeah, I ended up doing it before your answer, but I can obviously edit later. ^^
Reply
:iconviamonte:
viamonte Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014
I finalyl decided to get on it with, but there's a doubt lingering. I'd like to ask you to rephrase the meaning of this sentence: "We see the message back, and it's actually a nice, rousing sendoff." I'm not sure I'm totally clear on the "rousing sendoff" part as to translate it effectively.

Thank you :)
Reply
:iconcaptain-gamer:
Captain-Gamer Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Ah! Sorry for not responding back in time.

"Rousing" generally refers to something that's motivational and full of emotion. For this use, the phrase "sweet goodbye" is easier to translate.

I hope that helps in editing. And thank you again for your interest! It is very flattering to have my writing translated to another language.
Reply
:icontriplestar100:
triplestar100 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
a million thanx to you for taking the time off your schedule to do this, Cap! I most definitely appreciate it! as for the VGC-style artwork, I'm looking for a Pixel Palace logo to make the whole thing look legit. soon as I get one on Google images or here at DA, I'll get right on both Cammy's & this one's right away...to be set as companion pieces. the part with the Space marines was just spot-on hilarious...no wonder Duke Nukem wants very little to do with them- and this is Duke we're talking about here- and Team Starfox talk very badly of them too; but the part with Princes Ruto really had me rolling; I can only imagine what that was about, knowing her! keep up the great work!
Reply
:iconcaptain-gamer:
Captain-Gamer Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You are very welcome. I only gave this a curious look at first, but the more I looked into the story the more it intrigued me. And, well, an intriguing idea is a seed to me. I'm glad you found the comedy bits to your liking. I'm still working on my ability to write "zany" humor.

Thanks again for the bump and idea!
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