I finally got rid of them. All of them. The screaming video-head kids; the jobless wanderers; the aimless adults.
As the last of them shuffled out the front door, I closed and locked it, returned to the rear of the arcade, and turned off the lights. There was enough flickering illumination from all the video screens to get around, and I quickly walked a final round, clearing food wrappers and other visible rubbish from the surfaces, completely ignoring the litter covered carpet for now.
Happy that the necessary cleanup had been completed, I moved on to the real reason I was here. It was just a chance thing the first time, but now I engineered it as often as I could. I flicked off all the power from the central distribution board, except for a solitary bank of machines down one side of the room, mostly pinball machines, and some older videos. Walking carefully now in the much darker arcade, I moved over to the still functioning machines, and turned them off one by one, until only an old but trusty pinball machine was still running.
Standing in front of the solitary machine now, I pulled a pile of tokens out of my pocket, and poured them carefully on the glass, above the flickering lights and shiny chrome rails. The tokens made a loud noise in the empty room, and I looked around behind myself, nervous for a moment.
I couldn't see much in the room in any case, and I soon relaxed again, and turned back to the machine. A quick glance out through the half obscured front windows confirmed that there were still a fair number of people wandering about down the main street, to and from cafés, bars and movies, returning to their cars, meeting friends, family, lovers.
And I was no different, apart from the location. Convinced again that no-one could see me from outside, I put a token in the machine, and started to play. The first game always went badly, as I struggled to concentrate. By the time I inserted the third token, my mind was on the job, and I played well. My self-defined set of rules decreed that every time I lost a ball from the next token on, I had to remove an item of clothing.
Dropping the fourth token into the slot, I slammed the play button, and smacked the familiar ball into play, clicks and buzzes loud around me, my body lit dimly by the pinball lights. Inevitably the first ball fell between the flippers and into the drain. I stopped and took a step back from the flashing machine, crossed my arms at my waist, and with a mixture of anticipation and disappointment, I pulled my t-shirt over my head, the cool air a relief in the warm room, my nearly bare chest both embarrassing and exciting. But mostly exciting.
Stepping up to the device again, I loaded another ball, and gave it my best. It didn't last long. I had to remove another item, and chose my skirt. Denim fell to the floor, and I kicked it away, tossing my shoes at the same time. I was down to bra and panties now, a matching set of pale orange.
Somehow standing in your lingerie, in a dark video arcade improves your play, and the next ball lasted a long time, my body swaying gently as I played like a pro. I had the silver ball singing as it bounced, slid and spun on cue, pushing my score higher and higher. Eventually though, a sharp passing light flicked through the plate glass from the street, and distracted me long enough for the ball to again fall past the flippers, bouncing into the drain with a satisfied noise, followed by the fake mechanical noise of the scoreboard totalling the bonuses and finalising on the glowing orange panel before me. How appropriate, I thought. It's telling me it's time to remove some more orange. I didn't mind. I removed my bra with a practiced flick, and sent it to meet with the other clothing items on the carpet, my released breasts cool and hot at the same time. My nipples were erect despite the temperature in the arcade, and I stroked them absently for a moment, before returning to the game.
.... There is more of this story ...