Garfield ± Shizuka through Garfield ± You
A downloadable play report
Garfield ± Shizuka through Garfield ± You
This is a part playthrough, part life update, part art reflection, part semi-fictional story told via "Garfield ± You".
As of writing this, Garfield ± You by dannymakesrpgs is available on itch.io on Danny's Summer Un-Sale. Support this brilliant creator while it still lasts. Garfield ± You is a “two player RPG about a person experiencing major milestones in their life, at which time they also are visited by Garfield.”
Human Plus Garfield
The human’s name is Shizuka Zauner (she/her). I imagine her to be a kink positive asexual pursuing a doctorate in diasporic pastry foodways, standing at 5 ‘6’’ tall, and coming from a bloodline she no longer has access to (nor cares much about). I imagine Shizuka to bear strong resemblance to Kiko Mizuhara, not just in facial structure and complexion but also in the way they strut, smile, and carry that silent strength with them.
I imagine myself to be Shizuka Zauner, mainly because I am Shizuka Zauner as much as Garfield is Garfield (he/him).
Garfield enjoys sleeping and lasagna but especially hates mondays. This is our mythology - Shizuka/Me plus Garfield.
Cat Phones, Samuel Morse, & God
On May 24, 1844, Samuel Morse transmitted the very first telegraph message from Baltimore to Washington - a resounding series of clicks that spelled out:
WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT
The sole bibliography entry in Garfield ± You is as follows:
Flynn, Megan. “For 30 Years Garfield Phones Have Been Washing Ashore in France. Now We Know Why.” 29 March, 2019
“Like a spooky telephone you find on a beach in France” Garfield is “able to speak with the voices of distant or departed loved ones”.
Shizuka’s latest revelation is that of the beauty of sound - the sheer power of resonating frequencies to produce infinite meanings and change the course of the world - whether it’s a guttural scream which rips the lining from the throat or a tender puck of a kiss or the powerful efficiency of a well-timed “FUCK!”.
To wrangle the rawness of sound (a primal, omnipresent force of nature - as Garfield is also referred to ingame) into something to be wielded THAT is the enabling of God in the hands of man. From the smashing of rocks together to the rhythms of the universe experiencing its constant cycle of collapse and rebirth - sound itself is the ESSENCE OF GOD!
Shizuka is not a musician, but she realizes this when she receives a call from a distant friend via Garfield-slash-Garfield-as-vis-a-vis-Phone. To Shizuka, even the rolling of dough and the ding of an oven is part of the resonance of GOD. To sing praises of the earth, of all of abundance, and of the generated vibrations from the blood rushing throughout her body truly WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT! Garfield helps himself to one of her chocolate chip cookies, unbemused.
When Garfield is born, Garfield becomes privvy to every truth of the multiverse. Garfield knows of God and of the archangels and of the wonders of creation. But Garfield is not astounded. To Garfield these are simply facts ultimately unrelated to the pursuit of mealtime.
Mondays & Egg Tarts
Garfield is a cat and therefore has no concept of time, days, or scheduling. To Garfield there exists only three instances of the present: a moment to sleep, a moment to eat, and a moment to exist - all of which revolve around Shizuka.
Garfield hates Mondays, something which has no relevance to him.
Shizuka lacks the ability to hate. She believes it could be a two-pronged fork-wound: a trauma response from not wanting to upset others AND a simple expression of the goodness in her heart.
All hurts and pains, Shizuka believes, melt away with the act of baking and writing about baking.
Did you know how Portuguese Egg Tarts came about? Shizuka Zauner knows and she will talk your ear canals cracked and dry should you give her a chance. All egg tarts, Shizuka will tell you, contain the voices of distant loved ones who’ve lost their names. Every act of creation is a slice of a ghost, she says, and that when you taste an egg tart you are engaging in communion, a sort of worship, with them to keep their existence alive.
An egg tart then is a lot like a Garfield.
Shizuka has no bloodline - no legacy - but when she savours the fatty, creamy, salty, sweet everthing-ness of the Portuguese Egg Tart, she sees infinities upon infinities.
Shizuka thinks of the future she has with her partner. In the taste of her partner’s genitals does she also see infinites. Tongues, much the rest of your senses, are then accesses into the nonlinear, network of all matter and all energy. Tongues are time machines, elongating the present but reaching into past and future.
Garfield knows this as well, but he does not care that he knows this.
In the past few years, terrible news has come in the form of:
- A friend losing themselves
- A friend losing a parent
- A friend losing their mind
- A friend stuck in a pattern of sadistic and catastrophic behaviour which destroyed their career and the lives of those closest to them
Shizuka thinks of all the people she’s lost in the past. Each discovery spills through on a cold call on the back of Garfield/Phone. Shizuka returns to her daily routine - she has no other choice to - possibly angry, possibly sad, possibly relieved, but feeling impossible.
Garfield is pawing at a dead spider. There is no choice, Shizuka makes him a Lasagna.
Sundried plum tomatoes. Bronze cut sheets of pasta. Freshly plucked, homegrown basil. Two whole bulbs of garlic. A mix of 12% minced beef and pork. Imported parmesan and mozzarella. A blend of thyme, basil, and oregano.
She shares a plate with Garfield. He does not show gratefulness, but it slips through between satisfied burps and smacking lips. Shizuka too is grateful.
That One Time in the 80s
Shizuka meets the love of her life at random. When she does, she does not see it coming.
Instead of infatuation, there is comfort.
Instead of sexual attraction, there is quietness.
Instead of the sharing of pain, there is the sharing of food.
The love burns low and slow and before Shizuka realizes the severity of the situation, she finds her universe changed into a multiverse. This is true living to Shizuka, a life where she has mapped out the infinities in which she can truly exist. The thrust into flux and chaos where all things are possible.
Her hands are no longer just her hands. Her vagina is no longer just her vagina. All matter of skin, bones, and meat become pockets of eternities through which she can live her lives.
Shizuka feels whole in the minisculeness of her nothingness. It grieves her that it has taken her 26 years of her life before she has begun to live.
Garfield is perfect. Garfield denies the need to change. As far as Garfield is concerned, there is all there is.
Finally, Shizuka has become like Garfield. Finally, Shizuka understands.
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