The Hard WayMature

           Monopoly got mean fast. Deals were made with jeering and ‘ooo’s and ‘aaa’s meant to sway deals one way or another. The loudest thing at the table was Nana raising an eyebrow. Auntie Cara picked a good time to go swimming.

            Mom was quick to figure out where her fifties went. She didn’t say anything to the group, but sent death glares at Nana. At first Nana looked hurt, then she looked annoyed, and nasty followed.

            I had around seven hundred bucks total. Maybe more if I counted my fives and tens. I see-sawed for a bit then made a bid on the Connecticut deed.

            “Dad, I’ll pay you four hundred for Connecticut Avenue.”

            “Seven hundred.”

            Nana raised an eyebrow.

            “Jesus, Scott. You should give to him for free. He’s almost outta the game,” said Mom.

            “If he wants to play, he’ll have to learn the hard way,” said Grandpa into the table, “and don’t use The Lord’s name in vain.”

            “Seven hundred is all I have,” I said.

            Dad nodded, smiling.

            “That’s nearly seven times the price you got it for, Scotty,” chided Nana.

            “I know.”

            “Be reasonable,” said Nana. 

            “Who’s the economist here?”

            Grandpa huffed.

            “He’s your son! And this is a board game!” added Mom.

            Dad sat back, “If he wants to play–”

            “He doesn’t want his ass kicked!”

            “Kerry!” chirps Nana.

            Dad looked small so deep in his chair, “If he wants to play–“

            “It’s cause he wants to have some God-damn fun!” said Mom.

    “Kerry, watch your language in front of the children–“

            “He's my kid thank you, Noel!”

            “And what would you know about parenting, you’re so busy working–“

            “To feed them! You don’t see the student paying the bills!”           

            Grandpa tilted his head and nodded into the board.

            Dad sat up. “What’s that supposed to mean, Dad?”

            “It means you’re thirty-five with a kid and you can’t even put food on the table,” said Grandpa, locking eyes with his son.

            “Are you saying I can’t take care of my family?” asked Dad.

            Mom was raising her voice, “You don’t know what it’s like to work–”

            “Work with a bunch or nigger and Indian kids–” snapped Nana.

            “Are you saying I can’t take care of my family?” asked Dad, louder, as he began to stand.

            “You racist bitch! You don’t know what it’s like to raise children well!” yelled Mom, standing now, yelling down at Nana. My chair was starting to sway.

            “That is exactly what I’m saying Scott,” said Grandpa, eyes still boring into Dad.

            “I don’t know what it’s like?” Nana stood then and loomed mountain-like over the board. “I had six children Kerry. I hadsix.” The room was swaying now too fill with so many hard and angry faces floating in and out of view.

            “And how many are here now?”

            “Kerry, Jesus!” cried Dad turning to her.

            Nana had tears in her eyes. Hateful black mascara tears.

            “Let them sort it out, I’m not finished saying what needs to be said.” Said Grandpa.

            “Yes, Dad, you are,” said Cara standing in the open door, “you’re done and so are you, Mom, and so are you, Kerry. Jesus, I can’t believe you said that.”

            “Cara, you’re in no place to interfere,” said Grandpa.

            “Yes I am Dad. I’m a mature grownup, Scott is a mature grownup, and so is Kerry. You can’t–”

            “You’re not mature. Maturity is making the right decisions and you threw that bio-boat opportunity away.”

            “Because I’m sick Dad.” Cara’s breathing was ragged. “I declined because I’m sick.”

            “What?” Nana’s arms flew open on their own, reaching for Cara. “How bad hun, how bad?”

            Cara shrugged and wiped a hand across her eyes. “Bad mum. Pretty damn bad.” Nana took a step toward her, arms ready–“No Mom, I need to be alone for a sec.” She left down the hallway and the room was left staring at each other.

            Nana’s lowered her arms and wrapped them around herself. They had to hug something I suppose. 

The End

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