Carl Harrington leaned back in his vintage Eames Lounge Chair, his glass of Dalmore Fifty perched in his left hand as William Brewster entered the study.
“Hope you don’t mind, Carl. I let myself in.”
“I don’t mind at all.” Carl gestured toward the matching Eames chair across from him. “Please, have a seat.”
“I never did like these retro chairs, they lean too far back for my taste. I’ll take the sofa.”
“Is that the Macallan twenty-six?”
“No, it’s the Dalmore.”
“Well you do like to slum it every now and then.”
Carl waved a flippant hand toward the bar. “Help yourself to whatever.”
William poured his two-finger glass of scotch neat, then swallowed the three-thousand dollar sip, and poured another. “Tell me, any thoughts on the game?”
“Plenty,” said Carl, “and all of them end with your pony losing fantastically.”
“It certainly appears that way,” he said. “But I’ve got it on good authority that a leak is coming soon. Something having to do with paid speeches to certain banking executives.”
“Really? That would be something. Think that will be enough to offset your pony’s rampant nationalism and my pony’s move to de-privatize the federal prison system?”
“Probably not. Oh well. At least we’ll have the fun of watching the squirm.”
“Indeed. Good squirm with that.”
William leaned over conspiratorially to whisper, as though someone were listening, as if it would even matter is someone was. Carl knew what was coming next. A proposal of sorts. William made a habit of feigning shady character whenever he offered a deal. It made him feel diabolical, and he liked it.
“I’ll give you Short Line and Reading for your properties on Baltic and Mediterranean,” said William.
Carl simply scoffed. While that would be a deal well worth taking in any traditional game of Monopoly, this was no traditional game.
“I’ll take Amtrak off your hands when you finish that high speed rail, and you’re absolutely crazy if you think I’m giving you my Louisiana properties. That’s going to be beach front in ten years.”
“Well I had to try.” William held out his glass for a mock cheers. “But you caught me.”
“You see the plebs are protesting again?”
“When aren’t they protesting?” said William.
“Yes, well it seems that someone raised the prices of a life-saving allergy medicine six-hundred percent. This was of course after they lobbied to have it required at public schools and moved their corporation out of the country to lower their tax rate.”
“Ah, the dangers of big government corruption.”
“Big government? Will, you’re practically begging them to scream for single-payer. One of those pens only costs eleven dollars in Canada. That’s right next door.”
“Those nits don’t know what they’re protesting. The slightly rich think it’s a class war, and the lesser classes think it’s a race war. Let them think what they think, as long as they don’t actually think. That’s what I always say.”