A happy ending was so close.  It was within my grasp.

hapter One

he Exit

It was July.  Much like many other evenings after the store had closed the doors to commerce, the back social area remained busy.  Cards, computers, drinks, and a movie.  A fine evening worthy of song and dance slowly unfolded.

During the evening's conversation, two of the visitors spoke of how they sought to head overseas to work.  Gord noted that one of his friends had a brother who had done that previously and quite enjoyed the experience.  The entertainment and socialization was suspended for a while and they began to read up on working overseas using the computers that were scattered around the store.

After reading many of the job applications online, Gord thought it would be best if they collectively used Gord's resume to apply and evaluate the responses.  It was expected that when he was declined that valuable insight would be gained into the hiring processes so that the friends who wanted to travel overseas could apply for the same jobs and have a far better chance of being accepted.

Instead, job offers flooded the inbox of Gord.   Phone calls and emails of "Are you Gord?  Where's the door?" were replaced with "Are you Gord?  How soon can you be here?"

At first, Gord did not intend to take his leave of the game store.  While he had no great desire to stay, packing up to move overseas and living in a large city didn't exactly tempt Gord as he rather disliked living in large cities and nearly every job offer was for a city on a grand scale.  But one offer came in that promised a working holiday at a small tourist city, and the city was remarkably close to Japan for easy traveling. 

"Hot damn, sign me up.  I'm on the plane that left yesterday."

It was an unexpected exit opportunity from the store. Gord had long ago decided to move onto something different (such as opening up a Japanese cultural products import store or maybe a PC LAN centre) as working at a game store was only supposed to have been an experiment.  Though now he had been presented with a job opportunity working overseas that paid good cash dollars while allowing him to be a tourist.  The dotted line was to be signed.

There was approximately one month between the time of the job offer to when Gord would have to arrive in Asia.  Liquidating a store with a few thousand items with online auctions and in-store sales in 30 days could be done, but not without great effort and a possibly reduced sleeping schedule. While Gord prepared for this epic task, the one who would later become known as The Guardian stepped forward with an offer. He would run the store in Gord's absence for the year.  Run, nay!  Instead he would build the finest game store the world had ever seen and would ever see again. His vision appeared sound in concept, and should he fail there would be no harm as Gord was going to close and liquidate the store anyway.  A plan with no drawbacks!

A month later Gord walked through the door on his right. 

Upon Gord's arrival in Asia, he was whisked off to a faraway city. It was as though he had arrived in another world, perhaps this was because he had arrived on the far side of the world which was quite different than what he was used to.  While up was up and left remained left, it was still a magical land of mystery and surprise. One of Gord's first purchases was a mountain bike, and with that he set out to explore his new world around him. Through the forests he rode and along rice paddy walls he balanced. He embraced his new world and sought to learn all he could about it.  It was a peaceful time without concern that did not embrace him during the time he ran his store.

But the chaos that embraced Gord at the World Renowned Game Store of the Future would not sit idle while Gord was absent. Even from across the world, Gord would once again be embraced by the chaos he sought to avoid and thought to be behind him.