Off the beaten path. GTA V: Franklin's Redemption

Today I bought GTA V. I put off buying the game, although I heard nothing but great things about it.

I was especially interested in the huge world Rockstar has created, which can be fully accessed from the get go.

I played through the prologue and soon took control of Franklin. Then I realized something: I don't feel like going through the motions of doing missions and side-missions.

I think every gamer knows this feeling: an arrow points to the right, but you don't want to go to the right. You go left and start exploring.

So let's see how far left we can go.

Who am I?

I woke up in my house from a feverish dream.

In my dream I followed a guy named Lamar to a house to pick up some cars.

I had a bad feeling about all of this, so I tried to bail.

I headed for the beach.

But a weird thing happened. I blacked out and found myself in front of the same house, having the same conversation with this Lamar.

I decided to follow through this time.

Before I knew it I was involved in a high speed chase with the police and I hit and killed a man.

I ended up at a car dealership and I was compelled to get in a car.

The urge was enormous, but again this strange feeling crept up on me.

The feeling of not being in control of my own life.

The feeling I was about to walk a path of death and destruction.

So I started walking away.

I came to an construction site and decided to start up a conversation with the workers there. But when I got to close they started calling me names and attacked me.

I ran until I blacked out again.

I was back at the car dealership. I then decided to climb a building. I climbed a fire escape and slipped. I fell, and fell, and fell. Time seemed to slow down, and right before I hit the ground…I was back at the car dealership again.

I started to get frustrated and I hit a car with my bare fist. I heard someone murmur something about not disturbing him.

Another blackout and time reset itself yet again. I walked up to the car with the man who told me to hit the road. He said the same thing again and I blacked out again.

But this time I woke up in a house.

A woman was sitting on the couch and started talking to me. The dream was still fresh in my mind. I couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying. Where was I?

Why could I only remember my name and the dream? Who is this woman? Is she my mother? Do I still live at home?

I want to talk to her, ask her questions but I can’t talk. Am I still dreaming? Am I trapped in a nightmare?

Confused I sit down and turn on the tv.

I start watching a show about a motorgang. “The Lost” they are called. It’s story seems somewhat familiar. I change the channel and watch a show about a chainsmoking, drinking, womanbeating detective. It entertains me for about 20 minutes and I get the courage to get up from the couch.

I start exploring the house. The woman seems to be into all sorts of New Age crap. The house is filled with books on yoga and Kama Sutra, and I find some holistic crystals above the fireplace.

I walk into a room which I assume is mine. I appear to be dj-ing in my free time.

I’m still confused and none the wiser, so I take out my phone.

I read an email from Tanisha. Is she my girlfriend? Well, not anymore apparently. She didn’t approve of my ‘carreerchoices’ and is now seeing another man.

I find her number in my phone and try to call her. She doesn’t answer.

This email does confirm that I made the right choice in my dream.

From now on I will try and be and act like a normal person.

Maybe this way I can prove myself to her. Win her back.

But most of all I’m doing this for me. I don’t want to end up dead in a gutter somewhere. I don’t want to end up in a situation where I have to hurt or kill people.

I feel like I wound up in some kind of purgatory, and this is my chance to redeem myself.

First I will try and find out who I am. And where.

Then I will try and find a job somewhere and make an honest living.

I will walk this new path. I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t…

Finding my way

With my phone in my hand I start calling more people on my list. Nobody answers.

Only voicemails.

I connect to the Internet and stumble upon something called “Lifeinvader”. I can read some people commenting on stuff, but nothing rings a bell. I try and write on someone’s wall, but that doesn’t work. I get distracted by Lifeinvader and read the hilarious comments and the walls of some of the businesses that I ‘stalk’.

Then I stumble upon a website about 80’s movies. I wonder if I can watch any of these movies on my phone, but I can only read the synopsis of the movie and the comments. Again, an entertaining read.

Then I realise that I wastes about an hour browsing websites on my phone.

Something strange catches my eye. Time seems to be running fast here. Every minute passes by as if it were a second. I shrug. Maybe it’s just the clock on my phone. Maybe it broke somehow.

I decide to take a walk around the block. My timing is perfect. The woman on the couch tells me to leave, because she is expecting a customer. I wonder what sort of customer she means.

I wander around aimlessly for a bit. I try and enter some interesting stores and buildings, but they are all closed. I see a hospital and try to enter through the ER entrance. Locked. I try the front entrance. Locked too.

I spot a couple of ambulance drivers. I walk up to them and I want to start talking. But my throat locks up. No sound. They stare at me for a couple of seconds. Then they start screaming to ‘fuck off’. They throw some punches and I jump out of the way. Suddenly a nearby police officer start interfering and before I know it I am chased down the street by three people in uniform.

After a couple of blocks they stop giving chase.

On my map I spot a shoe store and decide to head over there. Maybe the people there a bit nicer and even-tempered. I wait in front of a traffic light before crossing the street. I woman next to me grabs her phone and engages in an highly personal conversation. I can’t help myself and start eavesdropping. The woman seems to notice and calls me names. Luckily the traffic light jumps to ‘walk’. I find myself running to the other sidewalk.

I arrive at the shoe store. Turns out it’s not a shoe store at all. It’s a strip joint. ‘Well, at least it’s open,’ I tell myself, and I enter the door.

I see an ATM machine. I enter my pin number and the machine tells me I have 328 dollars to my name. Inside I turn left towards some curtains. A bouncer warns me that I can only enter with a girl, so I turn around, brushing against the curtain.

Then al hell breaks loose.

The bouncer starts wailing on me. People around me start panicking and screaming.

I run for the door and leave with around 15 people, all screaming, amongst them some strippers in their thongs.

I run after one of the strippers. She turns a corner. When I run around the same corner, she is gone. Vanished!

Then my phone rings. It’s someone called Simeon. He says he has some jobs for me. I think it’s the same guy from my dreams. The car dealer. I don’t trust him, nor his business. All of the sudden I hear myself speak, but the voice and the way I speak don’t match with my inner voice. Why do I curse so much? I hang up the phone. I mark the car dealership on my map. But I have no plans to ever go there. I’m afraid I will lose my way again if I do that.

Instead I will go on a hike. A big one, to try and get my thoughts together.

I head for the mountains…