Sunday, June 16, 2013

154. Skill

“Come on man, I need to borrow some money.”


“Just need to. That’s all.”

C.W. had assumed one of his strangest shapes yet. The best description I can offer is somewhere between a contestant in a break-dancing contest and Larry the Cable Guy. It could really put you off your feed, if you get my drift.

“Where in the world are you going that you need money?

He paused, looked around, and gave in. “Hot Springs, man.”

“Hot Springs? Why?”

“I have some friends visiting.”

“You have friends? From where?”

“Two from Donstacoree, one from Honsticono, and one from Evaratunicky++.”

“From where?”

“Out in the Galaxy, man. Just out in the Galaxy.”

“You have friends visiting from outer space?”

“Yes. They’re on a fact-finding mission.”

That’s where I had to stop and absorb it all. “Fact finding?”


“What kind of facts?”

He squirmed and looked away. “You going to lend me some money or not?”

“What kind of facts?”

He took a deep breath. “Seems that the word is out, man.”

“What word?”

He looked up and thought before answering. “That your species sets some inter-galactic standard for irrationality in thought patterns.”

“Oh. I thought they might be mining some secret data. So how much do you need?”

“Oh, a thousand would do.”


“Maybe a little more if you could spare it.”

“What is up, C.W.? Where are you going?”

“To the casino.”

“You want me to give you money so you can gamble?”

“No,” he said quickly. “Casino gambling is illegal in your state. We’re going to play electronic games of skill. Don’t you see the point?”

“Quite frankly… no.”

“I’m showing them a good example of irrational thought processes”


“You really do deserve the name ‘Big Dope,’ don’t you?”

“Say again?”

“According to your species, betting money against a human dealer is gambling, which is forbidden in your state. Betting against an electronic device is ‘enjoying a game of skill’ and quite legal, although you lose your money in equal proportions either way.”

“Well,” I said. “It makes sense to some people.”

“Not to the Honsticonoian.”

“Why not to him?”

“Because he is …”

“Don’t tell me,” I interrupted. “Electronic.”

“Exactly. Now can I have the money? Those women are charging by the hour.”

“Those what?”

“Working girls. We found them at the bus station when I picked up my friends.”

“You found women at a bus station that want to go on a trip with you?”

“They promised us a good time, man.” He winked. “If you know what I mean. Gonna cost, though.”

“C.W.” I said. “Would it surprise you to learn that paying a woman to have sex with you is illegal?”

“Oh,” he said. “We would never pay them to have sex with us.”

It seems that your species has an uncommon attachment
 to things bright and shiny - a trait shared
with your evolutionary cousins, the blackbirds. - C.W.
“Well, that’s a relief.”

“No, we’re paying to make a movie of them having sex with us. That’s legal.”

“I can’t believe what I just heard.”

He offered me a wide grin. “Your species really is marvelous at times,” he said.

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