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The Mind Palace Arcade

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In Logan’s mind, 10 PM was considered as late. To his best friend, Thomas Sanders, 10 PM was a time for ideas; both good and bad.

 

Thomas knocked hurriedly on Logan’s front door, practically jumping with excitement. All of the questions of what he was going to do with the rest of his life were finally answered. He knew he wanted to run a business, but what kind ? Tonight he had found the ticket to the theater production that was the rest of his life. 

 

“Lo, open up! I figured it out!” He tried to avoid yelling - after all, it was 10 PM on a Tuesday - but Thomas was too excited to worry about the amount of noise he was currently making and ended up sounding like a choked monkey.

 

Logan, who had been in the middle of his tenth re-read of Stephen Hawking’s The Theory of Everything , jumped at the sudden sound of his friend’s voice. After quickly gaining (somewhat sleepy) composure, he set the book down and swung open the door. He was about to scold Thomas for the noise he had made, but one look at the jumping brunette changed his mind. 

 

Instead, curiosity got the best of him. “Would you like to tell me what on Earth has gotten into you?” He questioned, raising an eyebrow and crossing his arms. Thomas walked in without invitation, not looking up until he had slapped a rather large piece of paper onto Logan’s dining table. 

 

“I figured it out, Lo. I know what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. I mean, it’s a crazy pipe dream, and I’m not even sure it’ll work, but I might as well try.” Thomas said, spreading his arms. His friend closed the door, trailing after the excited young man. 

 

Upon closer inspection, Logan saw that the large paper was made of smaller pieces, and the drawing on top seemed to depict a layout of the building. In the corner, carefully written, was the following: The Mind Palace: Where imagination is royalty.

 

“So it’s been a dream of mine since I was little - you know? - to own an arcade. You know the type. A real one, like, like, uh - the ones with all of the original video games. And I didn’t want to work at an arcade, that’d be boring, I wanted to own one. Make my own rules, do my own thing.” Thomas gestured wildly as he explained. Logan nodded, trying to keep track of Thomas’ thought process. 

 

“And I was working my shift at Starbucks today and I thought, I have a degree in business - that heck, I’m still trying to pay off! - and I’m not doing anything with it. And then I remembered my dream from when I was little. I had the name and everything! I used to spend hours thinking about this, and then when I got older, I lost all of that. But they’re back now! I just spent the past five hours working on this.” He slapped the makeshift map proudly, and Logan nodded again, trying to process the circuitous explanation. He stared down at the map.

 

It was messy, but somewhat cohesive. Half erased pencil marks littered the once pristine printer paper, but there were labeled rooms, along with illustrations of the things the arcade would feature. Each was color coded and detailed carefully. 

 

Thomas was his best friend. It had been decided long ago that if one of them went down, the other one did as well. If The Mind Palace sank, then Logan would go down with Thomas. Plus, the endeavor was strangely appealing. 

 

“I don’t know, it’s a total pipe dream. I’m not even sure if it’ll work, or if I can afford the land to build something in the first place…” Thomas’ shoulders sank as he spoke. His excitement was turning into resignment. “But I wanted to show you-” 

 

“Well, we’ll have to come up with money. The bank needs some kind of collateral, and that’s just securing the land. We’ll have to get a construction team too and an architect, unless you plan on buying that old building on Seventh Street, in which case, all we need is money for collateral and games to get things up and running. Of course, this will be difficult.” Logan said, pushing his glasses up his nose before looking up at Thomas. “However, it is, dare I say it, possible to make your childhood dream into a reality.” 

 

Logan watched as Thomas’s eyes widened. “You mean it? We’re doing this?” He looked so hopeful. Logan wondered if he was being too optimistic too soon, but he chuckled at his friend’s excitement. 

 

“Let’s get to work, shall we?” 

 

~~~

 

3 years and 134 days later, the two friends stood in front of their arcade. 

 

The first hurdle had been getting the money. Thomas still was unsure how they had managed to get it in the first place, but according to Logan, the city council members were all over the idea of having an arcade again. The kids of the community were too quiet, and the older kids had a record of getting in sticky situations with the law. The money donated was enough for collateral. 

 

The second hurdle was renovating the building. For the most part, Thomas and Logan had done it all themselves, sans the plumbing and electricity. They installed carpet and painted the walls, confirming the layout of the place itself. While it wasn’t exactly how Thomas had originally imagined, the place still had a lot of potential.

 

Despite Logan’s reluctance, Thomas insisted on installing a laser tag area towards the back of the building. This took longer to build than renovating the rest of the place had; installing the ramps and a second floor easily set them two months behind schedule. Needless to say, Logan was mildly irritated by the interruption in his meticulously planned schedule for the arcade. 

 

Strangely enough, the machines and prize counter were the easiest to set up, and they somehow passed the inspection with flying colors. Now, the two young men stood in their best clothes in front of the red ribbon attached to the front doors of the arcade. A large crowd surrounded the steps of it, waiting for the ribbon cutting ceremony to commence.

 

“Thank you for coming today. I’ll keep this speech short.” Logan said, projecting his voice. Originally, Thomas was supposed to deliver the speech, but the poor man looked as if he were about to dissolve into tears at any given moment. 

 

“When we first started working on this, Thomas and I both thought it was going to be highly unlikely for us to make things a reality. The past three years have been wonderful, and things are only beginning.” He grinned at Thomas, who smiled back tearfully, clutching the oversized scissors. “Thank you for helping us make this place real. Now if my partner will do me the honor of opening these doors to the public for the first time..” 

 

Thomas’s grin grew wide as the scissors tore through the fabric. This was it. 

 

He’d made his dreams come true. 

 

“The Mind Palace Arcade is officially open!”