These are five moments that my Niko Bellic experienced in GTA IV.
1. Niko Bellic walks out of the hospital. He touches his ribs. The giant green cross mounted on the side of the building gives everything sick tint. Liberty City, slick with rain, radiation green. Niko touches his newly-broken, recently patched ribs. He calls Roman. No answer. He calls Playboy. No answer. He walks down the sidewalk and tries to flag a cab as it drives by. “Hey!” Niko calls, his arms in the air, his ribs aching. The cab turns on its blinker and swerves onto the sidewalk, knocking a telephone pole over in the process. The cab driver doesn’t seem to notice. Niko selects his destination.
2. Niko Bellic puts the dealer in his gun sight. He draws in breath. “Please, please don’t do this, you’re the boss man, you’re the boss,” the dealer says. This is the end of the line. A rooftop execution. Niko thinks back to the Balkans, to the Mediterranean. Niko Bellic thinks about an entire village torn in two and executed. The children had their backs to the wall. The dealer has his back to the sky. Niko Bellic draws in breath.
3. Niko Bellic takes an Irish girl out for dinner. They take a cab back to her apartment. He thinks about asking her if he can come in, but decides against it. They’re just friends. She says goodnight and walks away. Five steps from her door, she pauses, doesn’t move. Nico Bellic waits for her to turn around and invite him in. Secretly, he is happy, though it cannot be seen. She starts moving again and walks through the door. Niko Bellic throws his hands in the air. “Hey!” he yells, and a cab puts on its blinker, taking the sidewalk at speed.
4. Dwayne tells Niko Bellic that he is lonely. Niko thinks back to his own time in prison. The world has changed, Niko Bellic thinks, and a person must change with the world. Niko gets out of the cab and walks to the apartment building where Dwayne lives. He knocks on Dwayne’s door. There is no answer. Niko racks a round into the shotgun he is carrying and shoots the lock off the door.
5. Niko Bellic wakes up in his townhouse. The sun shines through his high windows as he turns off his beeping alarm. He puts on his suit and tie. His shoes do not match. His black sneakers, the first thing he bought after getting off the boat in America, have meaning for him. He gets a text message. He watches television. He goes downstairs. Outside he sees a man on a motorcycle. Niko Bellic knocks him off and takes the bike. Down the road there is a a plank sitting on the edge of industrial pipes. I wonder what will happen if I don’t hit the ramp in the right way? he thinks. He guns the engine and the violent buzz of the engine drowns out the rest of his thoughts. Niko Bellic, living the American dream, flies through the air.
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