Juan Uys

The story of Pac Man


The retired Police Commissioner would sometimes tell the story of a young Mr. Man, an ice hockey fan from a small town somewhere in North America. Apart from the usual hockey memorabilia, Mr. Man had the largest collection of hockey pucks you had ever seen. Mr. Man was a decent young fellow, but his fandom turned into an obsession sometime in his late teens, when he started going the extra mile to obtain his trophies. It started off as minor misdemeanors - typical teenager stuff - he would break into the local hockey club’s office to steal their league trophy, and their prize hockey puck, signed by the late coach. Misdemeanors turned into crimes, as Mr. Man would assault players after a game to get their pucks. Mr. Man’s puck craze spiraled out of control as he finally took the lives of the hockey greats to obtain their signature pucks: Blinky “The Great One” Gretzky, Pinky Orr (the perfect hockey player), Inky “Mr. Hockey” Howe, and Clyde “The Rocket” Richard. This is when Mr. Man disappeared, with the stolen hockey memorabilia forever gone.

Then one day many years later, says the Commissioner, a young man came into his precinct, who looked very familiar indeed. The young man introduced himself as Pac. The son of the late Mr. Man. Pac started telling his story.

He had lived off-grid with his father for many years, not knowing the dark history his father had. His father built an underground warehouse out in the desert to house his incredible collection of pucks, but died soon after. His dying wish to his son Pac was for the pucks to be kept in pristine condition in the warehouse forevermore. Pac dutifully maintained the warehouse and kept it clean. Year after year. But the madness soon set in. Pac was haunted. Every night the ghosts of his father’s former victims would come out and cause complete disarray, leaving Pac’s entire collection on the floor of the warehouse. The only way Pac could calm his noisy mind was to tidy up every last puck. But the ghosts turned out to be too much of a challenge. Pac filled the warehouse with various corridors, so he couldn’t get trapped in a corner. This worked, until it didn’t. The ghosts were just too quick. Pac then installed teleporting passages, which allowed him to exit on the left side of the building, and instantaneously appear on the right, and vice versa. This worked, until it didn’t. The ghosts got smarter. And smarter. The one day, Pac discovered something about his foes - whenever he picks up the puck which once belonged to one of the greats, they all scurried away. Pac could then go after them and consume their trapped souls, briefly making them disappear, before they would emerge again from their hiding place in the middle of the warehouse. This gave Pac enough time, however, to collect a few pucks and restore some order.

“Please help me, Commissioner”, Pac pleaded.

A small army of local officers and sheriffs set off for the desert to see what Pac’s story was all about, but mostly to go and recover they priceless items that the hockey community wanted to see returned to their rightful place.

“As we approached the spot in the desert where the so-called warehouse was buried”, recalled the Commissioner, “I knew something was wrong. The hair stood up on the back of my neck, and my officers could feel it too.” The police dogs howled, their trucks died and their headlights flickered. They all turned back in a panic, and the Commissioner’s final words to Pac was “You’re on your own, son”.

And that’s the legend of Pac Man, who to this day is probably still fighting the demons of his evil father’s’ past in an underground maze somewhere in the desert…

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