Predetermined Success

The fall of expectations echos like sycamores, felled with sharp implements, the satisfaction of selling a scalpel to a lumberjack and ending the day with a million more satisfied customers. Wireless connections. Puppets still move like them. Crap shoots.


Let’s think about a game that you know the exact outcome of. You play Monopoly? Before we start, before we even select pieces, you draw a card telling you that I win, with the blues and greens and oranges, and you lose, valiantly trying to squeeze the most you can out of some lowly yellows. What a bore, you say. Yes, but it’s a lot of fun until then, I chortle. You hate chortles. The day ends in a draw.

So the next day, before we start the game, we don’t draw any cards, or do any rituals, or prepare any ceremonies. And right as you set your hand on the top hat, a stork flies dead into the window, it’s blood splatter spelling: “Car wins in fifteen turns. Hotels on all properties.” I, chortling, choose the car. You flip the board and call me a hoax. I take a point for this one.

Day three. There’s a pure silence in the house. Something akin to xmas crackers, crunched on by a fat old man who should have retired ages ago. It’s the chocolate chips, they never taste sweet otherwise. Loud noises. You run into my room, grab me by the hand, frog march me to the closet. There’s a flashlight, and a box, with board already assembled, pieces already picked, cards locked away tight. You laugh maniacally, and I take a seat, eager to see how this plays out. Not to your liking, you say, which is when things get real spooky for me; the light, so secure in its duck tape holding, starts blinking, off and on, some pauses in between. When it Stops, you look at me, look at the light, look back at me, blinking. I laugh low, but you still catch it, and I admit I know morse code. You scream, the light shatters. I whistle long, but still low. The dark room chortles.

Day seven. I haven’t seen hide nor hare or you for these long interval days, where I’ve been doing interval training: what’s the shortest interval I can take between stuffing stuffed donuts into my mouth? Never had a stuffed donut? These are filled with your stuffering, and they taste like matured yewberries. And creme. Lovely creme. You come storming into the kitchen, slam a game board on my delicious desserts. I try to chortle, stuffed with stuffed donuts it sounds like successively worse gasps for breath. That’s it, you say. This time we play my game. I die inside.


You idiot! I scream! That was my game all along! I know, you say, but this is the only way we can both win.

Well. You’re not wrong.

System’s Progress.


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