Chapter Two: Monopoly
It was the end of a long, hard, dusty day. I will freely admit I was tired, frustrated, angry, miserable, grief stricken…you name it, if it was heavy and could be felt, at that moment I was feeling it. I was loaded up with feeling. Over it.
I was looking for that coyote angel – had been for days. I don’t know where he’d moved camp to, and that wasn’t helping my mood any at all. Because I had a bone to pick with him in a big way.
Finally I topped a rise and there he sat, big as day, perched on a rock that didn’t look all that comfortable. One leg crossed over the other idly kicking his foot, looking for all the world like we had set a time and place to meet and I was just late enough to make him start to wonder.
This did not, as you might imagine, improve my mood.
I was ready to spit nails by the time I came up to him. In fact, I did hack up a couple of small tacks and he grinned, saying “Remember to be careful what you think, pal!”
I rolled a faint taste of rust around in my mouth, spat carefully again but only saliva came out. Thankfully.
I looked him up and down, as he did me.
“Well”, he said. “Cat got your tongue?”
“What the hell is the point of all this?” I demanded. “What the freaking hell is the point? Why are we playing a game that ends when one person who’s willing to be a big old bully grabs everything in sight, has all the money, has all the hotels, and everyone else is bankrupt, and the game just ends? What in the hell way is that to run a world?”
“Oh, that. I wondered when you’d get to that question.” He picked a burr off the side of his foot. “Yeah. that’s a really good question. Why are you playing that game?” He looked at me curiously.
I spluttered. “I’m playing this game because it’s the game that’s here. It’s the game I was born into. It’s what was on the table. It was the only game we had. What other game would I play?”
He smiled. “OK, kid, now you’re starting to ask good questions. That one right there, that is a really good question. You might make it easier for yourself by changing the inflection. Take out some of the anger, let go of some of the resentment, put in a little curiosity…
Tell me, what game would you rather be playing?”
“I’d rather be playing a game that makes people feel good about themselves. Makes them want to be better together. Helps people know they’re growing, learning, gaining, contributing. Where there’s at least a chance that things can keep getting better, when people work together. Where people are generous, help each other out to keep it going, to make it good. Where you’re playing for the fun of it, instead of just grabbing everything in sight to WIN. Not where one person wins and every single other thing on the entire planet loses. I gotta tell you, I am about over this game. It just doesn’t have any more interest for me. If this is why I’m here, to be part of that kind of game, I gotta tell you, I’m outahere. I’m really done.”
I sat down on the ground and picked up a stick, started messing around in the dirt. My anger had popped and deflated into misery.
“I’m really, really tired. Tired of losing and having people laugh and say I should have known better. “What was I thinking?!” Tired of feeling like no one really cares, not really. Like it’s all pretense, no one is willing to trust anyone else, let down their guard, just be kind to each other. Like every single thing comes down to money. Who has the money, who has enough money, who controls the money, who has the most money.
“I am really, really tired of this game. I don’t have any idea why I stayed at the table this long.”
He just looked at me. Then he smiled.
“What game would you prefer?” He asked.