Steve stepped jauntily up to the front door of his best friend's house with a folded cardboard under his arm and a box in his hand. The door was open but the screen was closed.
" Hi Jim! You home?" he shouted through the screen door. "Ya wanna game o' Monopoly?"
Jim popped out of his room and opened the screen door.
"Come in, Mom and Dad aren't home. I have to keep the screen door locked."
They walked through the short hallway into the lounge room, sat down on the floor and set up the game.
"Double to start," said Steve.
He grabbed the two dice, cupped them in his right hand and rattled them for an unnecessarily long time. He threw the dice on the floor.
"Double three! Bewdy! ...Angel Islington. I'll buy it."
He threw the dice again, and with a three and a one on the dice, landed in jail.
"Just visiting," smiled Steve.
It was now Jim's turn. He took the dice, rattled them very noisily inside two cupped hands, first near his left ear and then near his right, and dropped them near his knees.
"Double six! Wow! That's what I call a start. I'll buy a utility immediately."
Suddenly there was a knock on the lounge room door.
"That's weird," said Jim, "no-one knocked at the front. How did they get in?"
Jim sprung to his feet. Through the open lounge room door he saw a strange short man standing in the hallway. He was no more that five feet tall, had a moon face, small round eyes, held a hooked cane in one hand and a brand new shining top hat in the other. His most striking feature was a huge, white, curled moustache that covered half his mouth and cheeks
"Good day to YOU!" he said, laughing and tipping his hat to Jim. "My name is Lucrative. Just call me 'Uncle Luke'. I heard you boys love to play Monopoly."
"How did you get in?" asked Jim.
"Never mind," he replied, "Can I join you boys?"
Jim somehow felt he could trust him. "What do you want?" he asked.
"I want to teach you how to play Monopoly."
"We know how to play."
"You play with dice, I want to show you another way.... if you'll let me."
The boys took him to where they were playing.
"Your turn Steve, I believe," said Lucrative.
Steve took the dice into his hand and began his rattling.
"No, Steve," said Lucrative, tapping his hand with his,"without the dice."
"How?" asked Steve.
"Just go where you want to go and buy what you want to buy."
"That's unfair!" interjected Jim.
"You'll have exactly the same opportunity when it is your turn," said Lucrative.
Jim continued, insisting, "But people will just go to the best real estate every time, start with Mayfair and keep adding houses and hotels. No-one's gonna go to jail, or take any chances, or pay any taxes, or pay any rents to anybody. They'll just go to 'Go' every time they run out of money and ask the bank give them more money. Who's ever gonna visit anybody else's property It doesn't sound like a goer to me."
"Sounds dumber than dumb. There's no point to the game," added Steve.
Lucrative, leaning elegantly with both hands on his cane, replied, "The reason I said I know how to play is because the one who invented this game taught me. He never throws dice."
"Does he win?" asked Steve.
"Depends on what you mean by 'win'', replied Lucrative. "He always visits the property of the one who needs a visit, or is in trouble with his mortgage. He pays taxes. He enjoys being in jail if someone is already there. He does not mind taking a chance occasionally. He never goes to the bank to collect a gratuitous payment unless he can give it to someone who needs it. He does not mind owning the cheapest places and always charges the cheapest rents."
"Why on earth did he call it Monopoly„· then?" asked Steve.
"His idea was that the winner would be the one who could last the longest serving the others and get the greatest pleasure doing so."
"I don't get it," said Jim, exasperated. "Throw the dice Steve".
"Thank you gentlemen," said Lucrative, "I don't mind showing myself out. But remember, if you ever get tired of beating each other, this is a really great game."
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