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There was nothing I liked to do more than play the board game Monopoly. It is, without a doubt, the greatest board game ever produced. While it’s true that Clue, Risk, and Sorry have all made their marks, they simply do not compare. I used to play Monopoly three, four, sometimes five nights each week. I was heartless in my strategy. Houses and hotels were built in no time on all of the properties I acquired. Deals were made frequently, usually with me getting the better end of it. I never gave any of my opponents amnesty whenever they ran out of money, properties, or other assets involved in the game. The sight of them going bankrupt, hence conceding defeat, was scintillating beyond words. 

I didn’t always have this affinity for Monopoly. In fact, I was well into my teenage years before I even heard of it. It was the spring of 1995 when I was watching an episode of the television show, “Married With Children.” The premise revolved around it being Al Bundy’s birthday. When he arrived home after working at his shoe store, he derisively asked Peg, “What did you get me? My usual ‘Get Out of Sex Free’ card?” The live audience, as well as my friends with me in the living room, all got a laugh out of it. I, however, did not get the joke at all. I asked everyone else what Al meant by it. The answer was that it was a play on the “Get Out of Jail Free” card in the board game Monopoly. I simply shrugged my shoulders and didn’t give it a second thought. 

Later that year, I saw Jim Carrey in the second “Ace Ventura” movie. In the middle of the film, he meets someone wearing a sash made out of fox fur. He objects to this, showing his

sentiment by mocking her bald, monocle wearing escort. He refers to him as, “The Monopoly Guy,” and says, “Thanks for the Free Parking.” Then he punches him, carries him on his shoulders, does a purposely bad model runway walk, and then shakes the escort’s head and says, “Do not pass Go! Do not collect 200 dollars!” Just as the case was with Al Bundy earlier in the year, I had no idea what Ace Ventura meant. I again asked those around me for an answer. And surely enough, all I heard was that it was about a board game involving real estate trading. This time, though, my friends were in disbelief that I had never heard of this game. Curiosity was overwhelming my mind. I had to know why Monopoly was referenced in popular culture as well as why everyone seemed to know about it except for myself. 

Just a few days passed before I took fifteen dollars to a department store to buy a copy of the game. After I returned home, I called a few people and invited them over to play it. I read the instructions carefully and was surprised to find that one of the players also has to be “The Banker.” The player appointed to this is, of course, in charge of distributing the fake money, giving the property deeds to whoever buys them, as well as other transactions taking place during the course of the game. To me, this lent credence to the notion that a conflict of interest may be involved. Provided the act could be concealed well enough, what could possibly prevent the banker from taking a 100 dollar bill from the bank? I could never stand for unfairness when it came to contests. Therefore, I considered cancelling this game. I decided, however, that it would be a waste of my money if I didn’t at least try it. 

And let me tell you right now: I’m glad I decided to play it after all! Within minutes, I was overwhelmed with fascination. Upon my realizing that the object is to bankrupt your opponents, primarily by getting them to land on the properties you own, every roll of the dice

felt suspenseful. I noticed that my friends attempted to acquire the ones with the same color code. They explained that this is the only way houses and hotels can be built on them, something of which I wondered how to do just before we began. They also told me that by building these things, it causes the rent to be much higher. I spent a few moments looking at the title deeds. I couldn’t believe the rent for the ones in dark blue, namely Park Place and Boardwalk. When compared to the others, it is astronomical. If a hotel were on them, Park Place costs $1,750 while Boardwalk is $2,000. I made it a strategic point to purchase both of these and build on them quickly. I landed on Park Place during my first time around the board and bought it. I kept going around the board hoping to land on Boardwalk, but it never happened. Instead, I kept landing on the properties owned by my two friends several times. One of them owned all of the maroon ones: St. Charles Place, Virginia Avenue, and States Avenue. The other owned the ones in light blue, which are Connecticut Avenue, Vermont Avenue, and Oriental Avenue. At some point, I landed on a property on each of the color groups at least once. It rapidly drained me of funds, as I kept hoping to land on Boardwalk while not buying any other properties. I remained persistent despite being in this predicament. The moment finally came. I was in the Community Chest space close to the Short Line railroad. The card I received from it forced me to pay a school tax of $150. I was down to my last $440. I desperately needed to roll a six to land on Boardwalk. Imagine my delight when one die showed a 4 and the other a 2. At this point, it was only a matter of getting more money in order to build. I knew that I would be passing Go and getting a badly needed $200. Unfortunately, I rolled a 5 and landed on Income Tax, which in turn made me have to pay

some of it right back. I landed on St. Charles Place on my next roll and, as a result, lost the game. 

Despite losing due to the bad strategy of putting all my eggs in the one proverbial basket, my enthusiasm did not dampen in the least. I could not wait to play Monopoly again. I spent the rest of the school year constantly trying to get people to play. I did so fairly often, be it at my house or someone else’s. Due to my frequency of playing, I gradually improved. My progress in playing this board game only increased my interest in it. As a matter of fact, I spent far more time thinking about Monopoly than was healthy for a teenage boy. 

I’ll never forget an evening in the following summer of 1996. I went to a movie theater at a mall to see “Kingpin.” In the middle of it, Woody Harrelson uses Randy Quaid to hustle someone at bowling. The stake for the game is $1,000, which he did not have. When his prospective victim finds out about this, he questions, “What’s this? A hundred dollar bill wrapped in Monopoly money?” after punching him. This time, I understood the reference. It made me feel good. But what was really memorable that night was what I saw after the movie. Just a few spaces away from the theater stood a retail store that sold nothing but board games and puzzles. As I walked by it, something caught my eye. I couldn’t quite deduce what it was, but my intuition told me that I had to find out about it. I positioned myself to get a better view of it. When I found out what it was, I couldn’t believe it. It was a box that said, “MONOPOLY: DELUXE EDITION.” Words cannot do justice as to the amount of excitement I felt when I saw that! I had to know right away what exactly made this edition of Monopoly more enjoyable than the regular one! I felt a bit of a buzzkill after sprinting to the front door only to find that store closed an hour earlier. Needless to say, I returned the next morning. I looked at

the back of the deluxe edition box to see what was different. Overall, it wasn’t all that much. The game pieces were gold instead of silver and the font on the money looked a bit more distinguished. I felt these were good things, but not worthy of my being as thrilled as I was the previous night. But then, my feelings of enthrallment returned as I noticed that this version had a spinner deck which could be used to hold the title deed cards! That was definitely going to be a benefit for me; I really didn’t like thumbing through them. As I picked up the deluxe edition, I noticed a white box with a red stripe across the middle nearby. Upon further examination, I saw that inside the red stripe “Monopoly” was written in black. I was confused. I picked up that box as well and showed it to a clerk. “What is this?” I asked him. 

“It’s a replica of the original version of Monopoly,” he replied. 

“The original version?” I asked, still very confused. 

“Yes. It’s made to look as Monopoly looked when it was released back in 1935.” “You mean it was different back then?” 

“Oh yeah, there are a few subtle differences. Like this one has wooden houses and hotels instead of plastic ones. And the middle of the board is white instead of turquoise. The gameplay is pretty much the same, though.” 

At this point, I could not help but find myself in a spending mood. Plus, I always had a proclivity for nostalgia. Therefore, I decided to buy the 1935 version as well. Throughout the rest of the summer, I alternated playing with the deluxe version and the old version with my

friends and family. I was well beyond the point of not being able to get enough of playing Monopoly. 

My fondness for the game carried over into my college years as well as my entrance into young adulthood. My first job after getting my degree was as a finance officer for a major bank. Needless to say, the extraordinary amount of time playing Monopoly augmented my skill sets for this occupation. Naturally, after I settled into this new chapter of my life, a significant amount of my socializing was spent playing the game. Also around this time, I discovered something else about it that will sound very odd with the knowledge about me you have at this point: I had never realized that different editions of Monopoly with some sort of theme were released. I’ll use the first one I came across as an example. One day after I left the bank, I saw a box that said “KISSOPOLY” on it. This was, strangely enough, at a bookstore. I didn’t think anything of it; not even the possibility that it could be related to Monopoly. But a few nights later, I overheard my neighbor in the apartment next to mine talking very loudly into his cell phone. I’m not usually one to eavesdrop on people’s conversations, but I was so close to the wall and he was talking so loudly that I could not help but hear what he was saying. 

“Hey! I just got the KISS version of Monopoly! Come on over here,” he said to the person on the other end. I immediately exited my apartment and went to knock on his door. I really didn’t know him too well; he always struck me as something of a slacker burnout type person and we hardly ever talked. But the curiosity of what he was discussing really got to me.

“Hold on a second, someone’s at the door,” he said. He took his phone away from his ear and asked me, “Yeah, what’s up, neighbor?” 

“Hi. I couldn’t help but hear you next door saying something about KISS and Monopoly. I can’t help but wonder what you’re talking about.” 

“Sure, I’ll tell you,” he said. “Come on in and have a seat and I’ll tell you all about it when I get done with this.” I proceeded to sit on a couch while he went into another room to conclude his call. When he was done with it, he continued, “So, you wanna know what KISSOPOLY is?” 

“Very much,” I said, with a great sense of enthrallment. 

“Well, it’s the board game Monopoly mixed with the greatest band of all-time! KISS!” 

I really didn’t know what to think of this. What could a classic rock band possibly have to do with my favorite board game? Although I was very confused, my intrigue did increase. 

“Ok, it does sound interesting,” I told him. “I don’t suppose there’s any chance I could see the game, would there be?” 

“Absolutely. In fact, you wanna play? My buddies are coming over in about half an hour.” 

Wow! Playing Monopoly that was somehow intertwined with KISS. At this point, I wouldn’t have felt as if my life were complete without finding out about it!

My neighbor’s two friends came over just as he said. We started playing right away. It didn’t take me long to find out just what the novelty about this game was. It was just how one would expect; Instead of the properties being named after streets, they were named after things related to KISS. These included their albums, their two feature films, and merchandise they marketed such as their pinball machine. And instead of houses and hotels, the game had gold and platinum records. I found it all to be highly amusing. I even got a really good laugh out of it. This stemmed from the fact that instead of Community Chest and Chance, the spaces in which you draw a card were called Front Row Seats and Backstage Pass. In regards to the former, a card allows you to collect $25 for putting the “X” in “SEX.” As for the latter, a card forces you to pay $10 for a package of KISS condoms. For anyone who maintains that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are marketing geniuses, this game would provide them fodder. 

I established a huge lead and won the game easily. It didn’t take much effort at all, as these three guys weren’t exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer. Once I got the idea that instead of purchasing Illinois Avenue and St. James Place, I had to purchase War Machine and Detroit Rock City, attaining victory was simple. 

Of course, my discovery of a KISS themed edition of Monopoly led to another aspect of my most prominent interest. It didn’t take me long to find out just how many other themed Monopoly boards were for sale. I spent the next few years accumulating a massive collection of them. Within just one year after that night, I had no fewer than fifty different sets. Included in this collection were ones that had Major League Baseball and National Football League teams as properties, ones that had fictional locations from “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy,”

ones that had bases for the four branches of the United States Armed Forces, and even ones that had different breeds of cats and dogs! 

I took a vacation a year and a half after I started this job. I’m sure you won’t be surprised about where I went; it was Atlantic City, New Jersey! The reason for this, obviously, is because that is where the names from which Monopoly’s properties are derived. I did the usual things that tourists do when visiting there, such as gambling at casinos, seeing a water show with divers and water skiers, and strolling along the famous boardwalk. But what I enjoyed was taking pictures of every single real place that is represented on a Monopoly board. I was in a complete state of bliss when capturing images of everything on one from Baltic Avenue to Reading Railroad. I was a bit unpleasantly surprised when I visited the neighborhood I thought was Marvin Gardens. When I got there, I found out that it is spelled “Marven Gardens” instead. I was puzzled and even somewhat flustered by this. However, this subsided on the day before I left. On that day, I stumbled upon a statue of Monopoly creator Charles Darrow. It was the most awe-inspiring site I’d ever seen! I had visited Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower, and the Great Wall of China in previous years. Seeing this statue was more eventful to me than all of those things. It shouldn’t be surprising as to why. When some people discuss American history, they claim to most admire great politicians such as Abraham Lincoln, wise inventors such as Benjamin Franklin, or respected military leaders such as Douglas MacArthur. To me, the greatest figure our country has ever had is Charles Darrow. 

I earned a huge promotion just a few months after this vacation. I ascended to the title of regional vice president. My promotion required me to move to a city several hundred miles from where I had always lived. The relocation process was tough. This was not only in regards

to the usual hassles of packing and shipping my stuff as well as finding a new place of residence, but also the fact that more time passed without me playing Monopoly than ever since I first played it. After finally settling into a two-story house at the end of a street in a really nice neighborhood, I thought for certain that I would quickly play a game with somebody. There was no such success. I made it known at work, in bars, and to people with whom I conversed in passing that this was an interest of mine. But a few weeks went by and never were any plans made for a game. 

At last, a day came that changed this. I was mowing my lawn when I saw a car pull into the driveway of the house to the east of mine. This struck me as peculiar because I never saw anybody walk on or off the property; not even a mail or newspaper carrier. The car pulled into the garage and then a man and a woman walked out of it. They noticed that I was looking at them blankly, so they proceeded to walk towards me. 

“So you’re the new owner of this house,” said the man. “Sorry we weren’t around to give you a proper welcome when you moved in. We had to be out of town for a while.” 

“Yeah,” added the woman. “Family emergency.” 

“Oh, well, no problem,” I said with concern. “I hope everything’s alright.” 

“Ah, nothing we couldn’t handle,” the man responded. “By the way, I’m Rich, and this is my wife Penny.” 

“Nice to meet both of you,” I told them while shaking their hands.

“So, have you adjusted well to our town,” Penny asked me. 

“Well, I’ve been a bit bored so far, but I’ve managed well enough.” 

“Why don’t you come over tonight?” asked Rich. “We’ll probably just order some pizza, have a few beers, and watch the game, but you’re welcome to join us.” 

“I appreciate the offer, really! But don’t you have things to do, like making sure everything is order like the way you left it? I wouldn’t want to impose.” 

“No, really, it’s no trouble at all. We’ll do all that stuff tomorrow. Right now, we just want to relax.” 

“Ok then. Just let me finish the lawn and I’ll be over.” 

“Take your time, no rush,” said Penny. They then went into their house. 

I finished mowing about 45 minutes later then took a shower and changed my clothes. I walked over to the house, knocked on the door, and Penny answered. “Hi. Come on in,” she said. 

After getting three steps into the house, Rich said to me, “Hi there. Go ahead and have a seat. Make yourself at home, even though that’s right next door!” 

“Thanks!” I sat on their couch, which turned out to be very comfortable. 

“I’m ordering the pizza,” said Penny while I simply stared at their plasma television. “What do you want on it?” she asked me.

“Oh, it doesn't matter, as long as you don’t get it with anchovies or broccoli.” “Don’t worry about that,” she replied. “How about you, Rich?” 

“The usual will be fine,” he told her. 

“Ok then,” she said. “One with sausage and mushrooms and one with pepperoni and extra cheese.” 

“Don’t forget to ask for that garlic sauce!” Rich then turned to me and asked, “Want a beer?” 

“Sure. I can get it.” 

As I tried to get up from the couch, he said, “No, sit. I’ll get it.” Then, while he was in the kitchen getting us beers, I glanced at the bottom shelf of their coffee table. I was thrilled at the sight I saw: it was a Monopoly board! 

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make it a point to ask them about it or not. After all, I didn’t want to seem pushy or even rude. However, it had been quite a long time since the last time I played it, except for a version I bought for my computer. I longed for a game against actual human beings. I decided to ask them about it. 

Rich and Penny came back into the living room in a short amount of time. Penny had a beer for herself while Rich had one for himself and one for me. As he gave me the beer, I casually asked him, “So, by any chance do you two play Monopoly?” I felt a bit awkward as

they were initially silent, but nonetheless I continued, “I couldn’t help notice a board under the coffee table.” 

“Do we?” Rich exuberantly asked. “Are you kidding? We play all the time!” 

“Really?” I didn’t sound as if I were too excited, but the thought that my seemingly harmless addiction was finally going to be satisfied made me ecstatic. 

“Yes,” replied Rich. “In fact, that’s how she and I met!” 

“Interesting,” I said while sounding only partially enthusiastic, as opposed to extremely so. “You two met over Monopoly. Wow!” 

“Yeah, it was at a state-wide tournament in the capital city,” Penny remarked. “We played each other in the finals and I won!” 

Rich turned to her and commented, “You only won because I landed on the railroads so many times. If you’d have landed on my hotels on red or yellow, you’d have been bankrupt in three turns, tops!” 

“Whatever you say,” she said with a grin. 

“That’s amazing,” I interjected. “I hate to sound bold, but do you think we could play a game tonight?” 

“Certainly,” Penny exclaimed.

“I’m always up for playing Monopoly, but let’s wait until after we eat. I can’t stand the thought of playing and eating at the same time and having a game piece or something get a stain on it,” added Rich. 

“I agree,” I said. “There’s nothing worse than Monopoly money with grease spots all over it.” 

So, after we ate the pizza and drank a few beers, we played the great game. It was intense! While both of them were congenial and courteous, they were also highly competitive; and it wasn’t just with each other. They were every bit as shrewd and sly as I had always been. I could easily tell that they didn’t want to look the least bit badly in front of me, especially as I was the new guy. The game came down to the very last roll, almost parallel to the way my first game of Monopoly ever did. All three of us were depleted of money; I don’t believe any of us had more than $100 at that point. All of the properties were purchased and both Rich and Penny mortgaged all of the ones they owned. I had mortgages on all of mine as well, except for the light blue properties of Oriental Avenue, Vermont Avenue, and Connecticut Avenue. And fortunately, I still had three houses standing on each of them. While the outlook of me winning was much more likely, it was my only hope. 

However, the ending of the game proved to be anti-climatic after all. Both of them passed Go on their respective turns but landed on Income Tax, forcing them to relinquish some of their $200 salaries instantaneously. On my turn, I landed on Pacific Avenue, a mortgaged property I owned. Then, Rich rolled a two, or “snake eyes,” if you will, and landed on Oriental Avenue. He had to declare bankruptcy and concede defeat. Penny rolled a four

right afterwards, landed on Vermont Avenue, and had to do the same. I beat two past finalists in a state Monopoly tournament! It was exciting! And to add to it, I did it in an unlikely manner. You see, if you know Monopoly fairly well, you know that the light blue colored properties have two things that devalue them when compared to the others. One: their rent is cheap. And two: the probability of landing on them is significantly lower than all of the other spaces on the board, as there are no cards in Chance of Community Chest that force you to go to those spaces. Therefore, I not only won against two highly skilled, highly experienced players, I did so with the odds against me. It was excellent! 

This was the beginning of a solid friendship with my neighbors. It wasn’t long before either I went to their house or they went to mine on a frequent basis. Sometimes I won, sometimes Rich won, and sometimes Penny won. It gave the respective winner bragging rights until the next time we played. Eventually, I even showed them my collection of different boards, to which they were quite impressed. But something good I really remember was what took place the following winter. Every year, because of a requirement to be very cold outside, Rich and Penny would purchase different types of chocolate totalling more than 100 pounds of it. I swear I’m not making this up when I tell you what they did with it each year: they would use it to make a set! The board was always made of milk chocolate, the houses and hotels were made of dark chocolate, and the game pieces were made of white chocolate. The money and title deeds, of course, were made out of regular paper. That year, they asked me to help them carve it, a task that I gladly accepted. It took us about a week to complete the set. A few days after it was finished, almost 50 people gathered at their house. They held a tournament lasting all day with it. Six people played at a time, with eight preliminary games and a final

game taking place after all of those were completed. Each entrant had to pay $25 to play and the proceeds went to various local charities. I didn’t win, but it was rewarding to be involved. Plus, the event got a story in the local newspaper. And of course, everyone at the tournament got to eat all of the chocolate. I couldn’t wait until the next winter to do that again. 

The regular times of me playing Monopoly continued with Rich and Penny continued for several more months. If I won, I’d feel great about it. If one of them won, I’d be determined to win the next time. Nothing really notable occurred outside of the usual minor Monopoly squabbles that can potentially happen, none of which were the least bit serious. But one evening, an event arose that ultimately led to me being in the situation I am now. 

We completed a game that Rich won. The three of us sat in their living room for nothing more than simply relaxing and watching television. Rich remarked, “You both know it and it’s certainly no secret, but I really love this game.” 

Added Penny, “You seem to love it more when you win.” 

“Don’t be bitter just because you had to pay me $200 every time you landed on one of my railroads.” Rich then turned to me and casually asked, “What do you think?” 

Nonchalantly, I responded, “You know what I think. This is the greatest thing on Earth. Charles Darrow was a mastermind!” 

They both chuckled at the same time. I had no idea why. After all, why wouldn’t they agree with me? I asked them both, “What? What’s so funny? Why are you doing that?”

“Do what? Chuckle?” asked Rich. 


“I don’t know about Penny, but I can’t help it. I don’t know if you were trying to be ironic with what you just said, but I find it hilarious!” 

I was puzzled. I had no idea as to what I could’ve said that they could perceive as humorous. Therefore, I remarked, “Well, don’t you agree with me? We’ve played a countless number of Monopoly games. I would think that you’d agree with me on this game being as great as it is and about Charles Darrow’s brilliance.” 

Their chuckling evolved into full-blown laughter after I said that. I became even more incredulous. In my confusion, I merely stared at them. 

“I agree, and I’m sure Rich does as well, about Monopoly being great,” said Penny after finally calming down. “But seriously now, Charles Darrow?” 

“Yeah,” I said with an inflection. “He invented the game. Didn’t you ever read the pamphlet that comes with a Monopoly set before? About how he was an unemployed radiator repairman during the great depression and how the game made him a ‘rags to riches’ story?” 

While laughing, Rich declared, “Come on! That’s just the Parker Brothers’ company line!” He paused, then said, “You don’t know the full story about this game’s origins, do you?” 

Still bewildered, I responded, “No, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

After he stopped laughing, he folded his hands together, looked me directly in the eyes, and continued, “Ok, then. Let me give you a history lesson. See, back in the early 20th century, there was this school teacher who lived among the Pennsylvania Dutch named Elizabeth Magie. And she was a huge supporter of the economic theories stated by the 19th century philosopher Henry George. What she wanted to do was explain to many different groups of people about his theories involving how free markets should constitute how physical goods and services are distributed but land should not be owned by anyone and how nobody should have to pay to live or conduct business on any of it; like to Georgists, it should be evenly distributed. But she needed a tangible way of doing it. So, in 1904 she made this board game called ‘The Landlord’s Game’ and got a patent for it. And in her mind, it showed how paying rents to a handful of property owners simply made the wealthy even wealthier while the tenants couldn’t get ahead. Darrow didn’t come into the picture until three decades later when he made his modifications to it and made what we all now know as Monopoly.” 

I didn’t want to believe a word of what Rich was saying. “Well, Rich, I hate to say this, but I have huge doubts about what you just told me. Why would Parker Brothers print what they said about the great Charles Darrow? They risk their reputation for being truthful by doing that!” 

Somewhat perturbed, Rich replied, “Like I said, it’s the company line! Of course they’re going to give Darrow all the accolades for it! It makes them look good!” 

“I’m sorry to burst your bubble,” Penny interjected, “but everything he said about Elizabeth Magie and The Landlord’s Game is true. I even had a copy of it at one time, but I had

to pawn it when things got tough for me back in college. I wish I kept it; it’s probably priceless, at least to Monopoly buffs like us!” 

“Personally, I think Darrow deserves much credit for Monopoly being so enjoyable,” said Rich. “But Magie should get the credit for inventing the general idea.” 

I was furious. With sarcastic anger, I asked, “What are you going to tell me next? That Rare Earth’s song ‘Get Ready’ isn’t original? Or that the donor's heart that flew in the air in ‘Airplane’ wasn’t an excellent visual effect ahead of its time?” 

“Well, yes” Rich said with glee that he attempted to subdue. “If my knowledge of music is correct, The Temptations wrote and recorded that song a few years before Rare Earth covered it.” 

“And in that movie, you can clearly see a string attached to the heart in the Mayo Clinic for a split second or too,” added Penny. 

I was still in complete disbelief at their conviction. These were two people with whom I had spent countless hours playing Monopoly for more than a year. I didn’t understand at all why they would besmirch Charles Darrow like that. My mind went completely blank. I didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I abruptly told them, “I think I want to leave now.” They bade me farewell with no irregular tone of voice and I went back to my house. 

I spent the time before I fell asleep remaining in a state of mystification. When I awoke the next morning, I decided to browse the Internet in order to research the facts about their story. I found out quickly that someone named Elizabeth Magie was, in fact, a school teacher

who was a devoted supporter of Georgism. And indeed, she did invent a board game called The Landlord’s Game in the early 20th century and subsequently got a patent for it. Everything I found regarding this was consistent with what Rich and Penny told me the previous night. I then came across a website that showed pictures of the game’s design. Other than the board being square and the concept of paying rents being present, it had virtually no similarity to Monopoly. Not only that, but I felt that the game looked as if it would be rather boring to play. I couldn’t deduce where the starting point was or what happened when a player landed on several different spaces. There was even one that said, “ABSOLUTE NECESSITY: BREAD. PAY $5.” Now, I know that times were simpler back then, but I can’t imagine suspense and excitement being built over the possibility of having to pay for something as common as bread. 

Due to Rich and Penny’s sentiment about Charles Darrow, I decided not to initiate getting together for a game for an indefinite amount of time. What they told me really had me irritated. In fact, an entire month passed before I decided to visit them. That was until one night when I knocked on their front door and Rich answered. 

“Hey there! Long time no see,” he said, trying to shake my hand. He seemed genuinely glad that I came, which to me was very odd. I didn’t feel the same way at all. 

He continued, “It’s about time you came over here! Penny just got back from a shopping spree and bought this new version of the game where each player puts a debit card into a machine for transactions instead of using fake money! It looks really fun! You want to give it a try tonight?”

Coldly, I told him, “I’m afraid I don’t want to do that.” 

Rich instantly went from looking eager in anticipation of playing this new version to looking very surprised. “What? What do you mean you don’t want to? We thought for sure you’d want to; we were even going to give you a call later.” 

The rage I felt was building; not because of what he was saying at that point, but because I was replaying in my mind what he and Penny told me a month earlier. I kept looking right at him and said, “I’m not playing with you because of your stance on Charles Darrow.” 

“Huh?” he uttered. “You’re ANGRY about that? Don’t tell me you’ve been angry about that all this time?” After I nodded, he continued, “Look, if you’re going to be a complete nut job about something trivial like that, then I don’t want to play with you anymore. In fact, I’m going to have to ask you to leave!” 

Keeping my monotone, I stated, “I’m never going to play Monopoly with you ever again. And in fact, you will never play it again, period.” 

“What do you mean?” 

I pulled a nine-millimeter handgun out of my coat pocket, aimed it at his face, and shot him. He died before he hit the ground. 

“What was that sound?” Penny asked as she ran to the doorway. When she saw what I did to reach, she hysterically shouted, “WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY HUSBAND?”

“The same thing I’m going to do to you for disrespecting Darrow.” I pointed the gun at her, shot her, and she also died almost instantly. 

I now sit here in the same eight-by-ten death row cell in which I’ve sat for the last several years. I’m scheduled to be executed by lethal injection one minute after midnight. Ever since I was convicted of double homicide, I’ve eaten substandard food, had no ventilation, had no privacy, and been the subject of humiliating acts I do not want to discuss. I deeply regret what I’ve done. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself not to do it. But my biggest regret is that for the last few years of my life, I never got to play Monopoly again. In fact, I would play it one last time in lieu of a last meal. 



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