Zero Story

“Tomorrow?” Margaret asked. She shot her husband a concerned look. “7 doesn’t even have his class picked out yet.” It was a flimsy excuse that she hoped would slow the boy’s excitement, but Frederick nodded his head.

“Well that’s a good starting point, don’t you think?” He asked with a grin. “Are you done eating, 7?” he asked. The brown-haired boy nodded eagerly. Frederick pulled a node from his pocket and handed it to the boy. “Go make sure you know what class you want to be.”

“Really??” 7 swiped the node from his father and ran to his room before Frederick could change his mind.

“We can’t afford-” Margaret voiced her concern but Frederick interrupted her.

“We can,” he smiled and reached across the table for her hand. “I know things have been tight, but that’s only because I was saving up…,” he gestured at the hallway where 7’s room was. “…for him. I have enough to buy him a blank node tomorrow, and we can loosen our finances up a bit to boot,” he smiled.

“Can’t he wait another year?” Margaret asked with a hesitant voice. “We could use that money to get ahead for once.”  Frederick squeezed her hand and looked into her eyes.

“We can’t call him 7 forever, most kids his age already have names.”

Most,” Margaret tried stressing the point but Frederick shook his head.

“Sure. Only most 10-year-olds have a name. But if he waits another year he’ll be the last one of his friends to get one,” Frederick shook his head. “My parent’s couldn’t afford my name until I was 16.  I don’t want him suffering the same kind of ridicule I did. Even after I got my name it was too late. Heck even now,” he shrugged. “I’m 43 already, but anytime I go back home it’s: ‘How ya doing 12?’  and ‘Great to see you 12!’ I just don’t want our son to be called by a number his whole life, you know how sensitive he is.”

“I know what I want to be!” 7 ran back into the dining room with a big grin. “I wanna be a samurai!”

“Is that right?” Margaret turned her attention to her son. She squeezed her husband’s hand to communicate that she was okay with his plan. “Are you very sure?”  she asked. Her son nodded. “Well if you’re that sure, I don’t think we need to wait ’till tomorrow do we?” She looked up at her husband. “Right?” Frederick shook his head.

“Right. Go get ready!” he encouraged his son and the boy ran out of the room. He ran down a different hallway that led to the mudroom instead of his room. Frederick and Margaret walked, hand in hand, down the same hallway. They’d only made it halfway to the mudroom before 7 yelled at them.

“READY!!!” The shared a laugh and walked into the room. Their son lay in a large pit of soil in the ground. He turned towards his parents when they walked in. “I already told my friends, they’re meeting me in the newbie zone,” he said loudly, almost shouting.

“Remember to stay away from the Schoolyard,” Frederick reminded his son. The man walked around to the top of the soil pit by his son’s head and knelt down.

“I will!” he promised. Frederick held his node out and swiped through it until he found what he was looking for. He clicked the “new account” button and authorized the charges, then he pushed the node into the soil.

“And stay away from Uniques!” Margaret added. The boy did not stir again; he was already logged in. “Do you think he heard me?” she asked her husband. Frederick shook his head.

“I doubt it, but he knows.” He looked at his son laying in the dirt, then he looked up at his wife. “He’s gonna be in there for a while,” he winked. He stood and walked around to hug Margaret.

“Well,” she made a show of hesitating. “Character creation doesn’t take as long as it used too…” she said as Frederick led her out of the room.

“I GOT MY NAME!” their son shouted the moment they stepped out of the room.

“See?” Margaret giggled. They walked back into the mudroom to see the boy sitting up with a giant grin on his face.

“I’m gonna go meet my friends but I wanted to tell you my name first.”

“What’s your name, son?” Frederick asked.

“I picked my favorite name,” the boy said with his smile growing larger somehow. “Seven!”

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