The Time A Capitalist Tried to Play Monopoly With an Environmental Socialist

Frustration grew on both sides of the board.

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Socialist: I’m bored. I’ve run out of protest ideas and all my humanitarian ideas aren’t really panning out right now. Let’s do something.

Capitalist: Uh, okay. You want to play a game or something?

Socialist: Yea! That’s a great idea!

Capitalist: How about Monopoly?

Socialist: Monopoly?

Capitalist: Yeah, you know Monopoly, the board game?

Socialist: I’ve never played. Is it a real game?

Capitalist: Of course it’s a real game. Let me set it up.

Socialist watching Capitalist setting up the board: So what are those things?

Capitalist: Oh, these are game pieces. See you have the race car, and the top hat and the wheelbarrow and…

Socialist: Are those made from lead? They look like they’re made from lead.

Capitalist inspecting the top hat: Not sure. Maybe so. Is that a problem?

Socialist: You know lead consumption can cause cancer right?

Capitalist: Seriously? We’re not going to eat them. We’re just going to move them around the board.

Socialist: I don’t even want to touch them if they’re made from lead.

Capitalist: Sigh, okay I think I have some plastic pieces in here.

Socialist: That’s even worse. Did you know plastic is non-biodegradable? Our oceans are infested with millions of tons of plastic.

Capitalist: Look, we have to have a piece to move around the board. Do you want to play or not?

Socialist: Let’s use pebbles instead.

Capitalist: What?

Socialist: Go out to the garden and get some tiny pebbles. We can use them instead of those horrible lead and plastic pieces.

Capitalist:

Socialist: What?

Capitalist: You’re serious?

Socialist: Of course I’m serious.

Capitalist: Fine, give me a minute.

Capitalist returning with pebbles: What are you doing?

Socialist: I’m dividing all the money equally between us.

Capitalist: That’s not how the game works. You’re only supposed to get a certain amount to play with at the beginning. All the rest stays in the bank.

Socialist: So who runs the bank?

Capitalist: Well, seeing as how I’ve played this game before and you’re new to it I’ll be the banker.

Socialist: So you get to keep my money?

Capitalist: It’s not your money.

Socialist: It should be everybody’s money.

Capitalist: Well it’s not. That’s part of the game. You roll the dice, move your piece…

Socialist: Pebble.

Capitalist: Right. You move your pebble and if you land on a property or a railroad, or a utility company if you have enough money you buy it.

Socialist: What if I don’t want to buy it?

Capitalist: Then it goes to auction where everybody can bid on it and buy it that way.

Socialist: Even me?

Capitalist: Everybody but you.

Socialist: That’s not really fair. Even if I don’t want the property I should be provided the same chance as you to purchase it at the auction.

Capitalist: Well, you had your chance when you landed on the space. If somebody doesn’t own the property then why wouldn’t you buy it? That’s the whole point. You buy the property, put houses and hotels on it so you can make money.

Socialist: Make money how?

Capitalist: Every time someone lands on your property they have to pay you money. The more houses and hotels you have on the property, the more money they have to pay you.

Socialist: But what happens if they don’t have enough money to pay?

Capitalist: Then they either mortgage some of their property to you or back to the bank to cover what they owe.

Socialist: So you’re telling me I may be forced to sell my property simply because I can’t afford to pay your exorbitant fees when I’m just passing through? That’s like taking from the poor and giving to the rich. Can I not use government subsidies?

Capitalist: Really? This game doesn’t have government funding. There’s no such thing as bailouts. This is about making more money than everyone else and winning the game.

Socialist: It sounds like it’s about crushing the life out of the poor and downtrodden.

Capitalist:

Socialist: What?

Capitalist: It’s just a fucking game.

Socialist: I don’t think so. This is teaching people how to be ruthless, possessive, self-centered pigs. This isn’t a game. It’s a training manual for the rich to teach them how to get richer. It teaches them how to extort money from people who work themselves to death trying to make a better life. It’s teaching them how to gain the upper hand by leveraging ill-gotten possessions and how to crush other players into helpless submission.

Capitalist: Are you done?

Socialist: Not by a long shot.

Capitalist folding the board and putting the pieces away: I thought so.

Socialist: So what game can we play now?

Capitalist: Let me see. Oh, here’s one. How about Life?

Socialist: Never played that one either.

Capitalist: Okay it’s about traveling along the road of life in your tiny car and doing all kinds of stuff.

Socialist: Like what?

Capitalist: Like getting married, having kids, buying a house. Ya know, stuff.

Socialist: Is the car plastic?

Capitalist: Oh for the love of God. We can use the pebbles if you want.

Socialist: Is there a bank in this game as well?

Capitalist:

Socialist: There is isn’t there?

Capitalist: Yes, you get money, and you can buy stock certificates, insurance and stuff like that.

Socialist: So you have to buy your own health insurance?

Capitalist: I refuse to answer that question on the grounds you’ll start ranting again.

Socialist: You know I’m right. Medical costs have gone through the roof. There are other countries that have made social medicine work for them. Why can’t we?

Capitalist: Okay no game of Life. How about cribbage?

Socialist: I’ve played that game before.

Capitalist: Great, so I’ll get the game and set it up. (pause) Uh, you know the pegs are plastic right?

Socialist: No problem. We can use toothpicks.

Capitalist: Great idea.

Socialist: Although using toothpicks reminds me about all the trees being slaughtered to make insignificant things like toothpicks and paper. You realize you capitalists are wantonly stripping our natural resources at such a horrific rate our planet will soon be unlivable? You know that right?

Capitalist: How about we just watch a little television?

Socialist: Okay, but I get the remote. You always want to watch stuff I don’t like. How can you watch shows about money and stocks and investing all freaking day? That shit is boring.

Capitalist slipping on a windbreaker:

Socialist: Where are you going?

Capitalist: Gonna take a walk and get some fresh air.

Socialist: Hey that’s a great idea. I’ll go with you. I hear there’s a rally protesting carbon emissions and their effect on the ozone layer down at the square. We can both go.

Capitalist taking off windbreaker: Okay, changed my mind. Get the remote and pick a channel.

Socialist: Awesome. Are you sure you don’t want to play a game instead?

Capitalist: No, I think you and I have played enough games for today.

Socialist:

Capitalist:

Socialist:

Capitalist: Really, the Hallmark channel? It’s only spring and they’re showing Xmas movies?

Socialist: It’s just like you to take Christ out of Christmas. You people never learn.

Capitalist: You people? What’s with the, you people? I wasn’t, I didn’t mean, awe hell, forget it. Just watch the damned television.

Let’s keep in touch — paul@pgbarnett.com

Written by

A published author enjoying married Texas bliss. Dog person living with cats. A writer of Henry James' stories. Featured In MuckRack. Top Writer In Fiction.

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