Capitalism (a game in four seasons)
By Jenny Bitner
When we started the game it was winter. We were in an abandoned field and the game was spread on a blanket in front of us. He was teaching me about capitalism. This, he said, holding the money and deeds to properties, is how you accumulate capital.
But you already have money, I said. What if you have no money to start?
You have to get money to have more, he said.
In my country, I said, that’s considered wrong.
I know, he said, they’re stupid.
There were no birds there and a squirrel was desperately looking for nuts he had buried. I think he forgot where they were. I threw him some of my sandwich.
He said the game was the beginning of understanding. I liked the cards where you had a baby and got married. But he said those cards cost money.
In the spring, the birds were there with their young. I tickled his belly.
Do we have to be so serious? I said. What about play?
There is time for play after you make money.
OK, I said, maybe.
We ate our tuna sandwiches and I kept ending up in jail. Jail is not so bad, I said. It gives you time to think.
You would think that, he said and didn’t explain.
In the summer, I let the rolls of play money blow out of my fingers. There was a breeze and I said, let’s take off all of our clothes and play naked. We can sell the clothes and make capital to invest.
You won’t get much, he laughed, not for those clothes.
You could pay me to have sex with you, I said. Then I could accumulate capital.
He smiled, but I work so hard for my money, he said.
But I would work hard too, I say—sweating and moving, and my body is worth something.
Hmmm, he said. I think you’re beginning to understand capitalism now. He gave me his monopoly money and I took off my panties.
In the fall he wasn’t there. He had gone off on a business trip, and found a new venture that was so lucrative, that he just had to relocate. I buried the houses and hotels in the field and then, just in case they didn’t have enough, I buried some extra nuts for the squirrels.
Jenny Bitner is a writer, painter and mother who has been known to dabble in capitalism, but in her heart is still holding out for something better. Her website is jennyart.com.