"Here are two numbers. If you're ever in a situation you can't get out of, call them."
Warning: Some spoilers are to be found here.
Those weren't my father's exact words, of course. At home, we spoke a creole language built of English and Hokkien with smatterings of Malay riveted in for good measure. Still, I remember the evening when he sat down and keyed those digits into my phone. There weren't any introductions, no awkward endeavors to quick-fix some unshakeable bond between stranger and would-be god-stranger. It was just names, conspicuously inconspicuous names, and numbers. Don't ask questions. Just call if your back is ever against the wall. For the record, I never found out what would happen if I dialed in but I suspect it would have involved blacks, blues and bits of people that normally belong on the inside.
It's no secret that the Grand Theft Auto franchise is a caricature, real life painted over with broad, ribald strokes. GTA doesn't pull the punches or make any pretenses at modesty. Hell, there's even a naughtily named stock market in the most recent one which should tell you everything you need to know about the series. Given how unrealistic and exaggerated everything is, you can imagine how weird it was to read about GTA 5's Michael de Santa and instantly think, "Dad?"
Like Michael de Santa, my Dad looks like he might have misplaced tufts of hair over the years. Similarly, he's a little dopey, a little squishy around the middle, an alumni of the School of Profitable Hard Knocks now luxuriating in the easy life. In his youth, Dad ran with a hard crowd, one that included cleaver-clutching colleagues and bloodied knuckles. He eventually gave it all up, of course, somewhere between an almost accident and my mother's pointed reminder to think of the children. Unlike Michael, however, Dad didn't quite make it to the happy family finish line. My parents divorced twelve years ago. I haven't spoken to him for three...
To read the rest of the story, head over to US Gamer.