Liar’s Poker

Posted on August 20, 2012

Liar’s Poker

I went for a walk this morning.
Through the fields, across the still dew on wild grasses, I stepped out lustily, my heart singing an old Irish ballad. Carefully, I stepped around the dandelions and the daisies, the forget-me-nots and the rag weeds. I clambered over a few old fences, and around the old mill. I crossed a little stream, using the stepping stones kindly provided by some long gone stranger. I greeted the rabbits, scampering on ahead of me, uncaringly, already aware that I was not carrying a gun. The old fox too, peering out at me cautiously, recognized me as that harmless old fool, just shook his head, and ambled leisurely away.

I had some of my scribbles with me, my little stories, my children. Arranged untidily in a bulging folder, with ink smudges and dog eared corners. There was a tidy stack of them, and in my own, simple way, I loved them. I was following the wending trails of Cyberspace, wondering, on this beautiful morning, where I would go, and who I would meet. And presently, I came upon a big meadow. There, sitting in rows, I saw many people. They were perched, unsteadily it seemed to me, on fold up chairs, behind small, fold up tables. Arranged rigidly in symmetrical, unyielding rows, they all faced the same way. In front of this class stood a blackboard, and a very well dressed man stood writing on the blackboard. He wore a shiny Gold Rolex watch, prominently displayed, and he was explaining the quarterly earnings results of a major corporation, and building up a case to sell the stock immediately. Strangely, I saw he wore a brown cardboard box over his head. The box weaved and bobbed up and down as he spoke, with a lot of emphasis, tapping the blackboard noisily, and somewhat angrily, with his black cane.
When I looked around his class, I saw all the people seated there also wore the same brown, cardboard boxes over their heads. It was strange, watching all these boxes perched on top of shoulders, bobbing, and shaking, and sometimes nodding vehemently in agreement, or furiously rocking from side to side.
Nervously, I sidled over to one of the tables, and addressed the brown cardboard box.
“Excuse me”, I said, nervously.
The brown box turned around and looked in my direction. On the inside, something happened, and a narrow slit appeared. I could see two eyes peering out at me.
“What is it?” The brown box asked. “I’m very busy.”
Plucking up my courage, I said: “I’m sorry. I’ve scribbled some stories. I was wondering if you’d care to look at some of them…?”
The brown box wasn’t very friendly. “I’m very busy. Drop it in that shoe box down there, and I’ll see if I can budget some time later… “.
I did as I was told, depositing some stories beside a stack of well worn, much used books. I saw some of the titles.
“A random walk down Wall Street”, “Liar’s Poker”, and “Moneyball”. Open on his desk I saw “The Big Short”. I moved quietly on.

Most of the brown boxes were really quite aloof. One or two were scathing. However, I also met some nice ones. One of these said he had read some of my stories already, and he laughed at the mention of the title of one of them. It gave me a bit of confidence, and I asked him:
“Would you mind if I looked inside your brown box?”
He was nice, and said:
“Sure! Come on in!” And I saw that unlike the other brown boxes, he had another slide fitted in his. It was located just above and behind his right ear. He opened it for me, and now I could peer inside the box. It was a whole new world! The inside of the box was lit up like a Christmas Tree, with computer screens and advanced graphics, holograms and TV screens. He was watching all this at the same time, and listening to the latest news from all over the world. Periodically he would buy, and sell, and then he would hold. On a screen you could see the values of the stocks of his portfolio. A lot of it was computer generated trading, with millions of stocks being traded for a few cents profit each. I could see he was very wrapped up in it all.
After a few minutes, I sensed my welcome was drawing to a close, and I thanked him kindly for his valuable time. The brown box nodded, and I withdrew my gaze. The tiny slot slammed quickly shut, and I was left on my own again.
I exited that meadow quietly, anxious not to disturb the busy work of all those brown boxes.
I turned on a different path, still carrying my bundle of scribbles. I had passed off a few in that field, but not very many. I think I was more a nuisance there.
I resumed my travels. Some rabbits tore through the bushes. A songbird opened up. Some drops of rain fell lightly on thirsty leaves.
I looked up at the sky, and saw a rainbow, cheeky and fresh, beginning to form…

I just knew it was going to be a great day.

Francis Meyrick

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