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Incarcerated Gamer Whiles Time Away by Searching for Unlocked Air Vent Grates

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — An incarcerated gamer at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary has raised the ire of facility guards and fellow inmates alike by searching relentlessly for an openable vent that might provide an escape route.

The prisoner in question, Nicholas Mancini, 36, has been seen prying at metal grating with a handcrafted toothbrush shiv in every accessible area of Leavenworth, claiming that at least one of the ventilation shafts must lead to freedom, or at worst, a puzzle-based block-shifting mini-game that will allow him to shave years off his sentence. 

“I’ve been a gamer ever since 1998, when I stole a Nintendo 64 and a copy of Goldeneye from KB Toys,” Mancini explained. “I stole a Sega Saturn from a JC Penny a year later, but ended up hucking it off a bridge onto a Budweiser truck. Thing had no games on it. Piece of crap. But if I know anything about prison from gaming, it’s that there’s always a secret passage around here somewhere. I just have to keep pushing weird-looking bricks, completing drugs-up-the-butt side quests, and surviving quicktime events — which is what I call it when I try to block the guards from beating the ever-loving shit out of me.”

Some inmates, however, are frustrated that Mancini’s constant vent-prying and lock-jimmying has resulted in increased guard scrutiny, making it difficult to find a moment’s peace.

“Man’s lost his goddamned mind,” said JuanCarlo Salinas, 43, current inmate and former friend estranged by Mancini’s attempts to glitch his way through solid matter. “Last week he spent six hours jumping into a brick wall, trying to find an ‘exploit,’ whatever that is. Then yesterday during our kitchen shift, his dumb ass managed to rip a cafeteria exhaust fan off the wall. I saw him crawling around in there, feet sticking out the wall like some crack addict Winnie the Pooh. When I pulled his ass out and told him to stop fucking around, he held up a bunch of rat bones and said, ‘Look! I found a collectible.’ Motherfucker thinks he’s going to get a PlayStation trophy for stuffing his pants with dead horse flies and used band-aids. He’s a goddamn liability.”

Despite his lack of success and the numerous attempts on his life, Mancini remains convinced that eventually his hard work will pay off.

“Everyone’s going to be jealous as hell when I twist my toilet just the right way and a big green magic pipe comes out the wall,” says Mancini. “Still, there’s gonna be a bunch of booby-traps in there, moving platforms, mudmen that fire shit globs out their mouths, and I swear to God! If the whole thing ends up at some haunted amusement park with a minecart section, I’m turning around and locking myself right back in my cell. I’m a B&E guy, not some fuckin’ track-hopping super ape. Classic case of criminal justice run amuck.”

At press time, Mancini was killed by guards during an attempted escape. According to those familiar with the situation, he did not respawn.