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Double Sixes

If I were the man who lives next door I would nail a note to my neighbor’s house saying I was leaving.  I would call it a declaration of independence … which in colonial times meant an establishment of the rights of man, and in modern times means a decision not to put up with this shit anymore.  We are trivialized by low stakes.

“Your game nights,” I would write, “are havens of polite mediocrity.  Yes, you play Risk, the game of world domination, but you don’t really mean it.  Your efforts to control the railroads in Monopoly are half-hearted.  You ‘play’ Boggle, but you don’t really stare into the burning heart of the language.  Your Scattergories aren’t well and truly scattered.  Your Charades are themselves a charade.  Your Pictionary never embraces the visual medium as a means of extending meaning past verbal capacity:  remember, damn you, that the medium is the message, and farewell.”

I would travel to Tunisia and find a woman and defend her honor every chance I got.  Looking at her the wrong way would earn you a bullet between the eyes.  I would smuggle guns to rebels in Libya.  I would drink only the purest tea from a plantation on a hill overlooking the Fertile Crescent, and I would purchase it when the old man could no longer work his own fields.    I would become a law unto myself, killing the agents of foreign corporations who looked to steal land from the local tribesmen.  They would wake up bound to a chair overlooking the Fertile Crescent, and be given a cup of the best tea in the world before they died.  I would never sleep with the woman, her honor is what’s important, and so I would keep my eye upon the bazaar and the smuggler’s routes, looking for someone young who is filled with frustration at the smell of the streets and the decline of poetry, who would learn to shoot and replace me.

When at last the assassins of Monsanto got lucky and I was tired, I would leave directions that my body should be embalmed and my coffin shipped back to my neighbor’s house, with instructions that it should be put in the living room as a coffee table and used for game night, that they might catch the echo of high stakes and live as though you can roll the die twice even if you don’t get double sixes.


Benjamin Wachs has written for Village Voice Media,, and NPR among other venues.  He archives his work at

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