About two years ago my mother walked in on me… Playing Drug Wars. (Get it? You thought I was going to say “masturbating.” But I pulled the old switcharoo on you. Ha…haha…h…sigh…) Anywho, my mom walked in and asked:
“What are you doing, Gunter?” Normally, it’s her loving nickname for me, but the emphasis on the word made it sound like something dirty.
And I said, “Why mother dearest, I am playing Drug Wars!” I indicated the exclamation point by spreading my hands and doing a quick shuffle.
“What Wars?!” she said; indicating the question mark/exclamation mark combination by fainting.
“Drug Wars” I repeated, waving the smelling salts beneath her nostrils. (I always keep an assortment of smelling salts in my fanny pack. They have saved my life on many an occasion.) “It’s a game where you buy drugs in the metropolitan New York area and resell them for profit while traveling from borough to borough,” I added. Well, needless to say she was appalled.
“Is this what I put you through college for?” she rasped. “Is this why I worked night shifts at the coal mine? To see my son turn into a virtual drug dealer?” Her eyes bore into me like that drill from Total Recall. “You want I should have a heart attack!” she yelled.
“Why are you talking like that,” I said, “we’re not Jewish.”
“Oh,” she said, “right.” And then, dusting the crumbs that weren’t there off the front of her dress, her good eye rolling towards the glowing screen, she whispered, “well, it does not look like much of a game.”
I knew that was my opening. (I was good at discerning openings.)
I said: “Why don’t you sit down and give it a try, Mom.” If that’s your real name, I thought.
“Ok,” she retorted in a half challenging, half curious and half intimidated tone.
“So, this is a game with just numbers?” She mused.
“Yep,” I quipped.
“And there are no moving pictures?”
“And the point is to buy drugs at a low price and resell them at a high price?”
“And you get 30 days, which equal 30 turns to complete your transactions?”
“And the total money at the end of the month is your final score?”
“And you can take out loans from banks to get started?”
“And there are cops and other drug dealers who occasionally chase you and try to take your money/drugs [she enunciated the slash] unless you arm yourself and fight back?”
“And all of this is expressed by numbers on a tiny interface, because the guy who designed this game worked for Texas Instruments?”
“Yep,” I said, “and how the fuck do you know all this, Mother!”
“Oh, I guess I’m just intuitive that way.” She grinned like a retired clown. I have to admit, she had me there. There was nothing I could say. I just sat back and let her play. And I watched of course. I watched as my mother traded Heroin and Hashish. Cocaine and Ecstasy. Shrooms and Weed. And I’ll be Rush Limbaugh’s undershirt if she did not enjoy every second of it.
And then we found five dollars.
Also, Drug Wars is great.