The Game We Play- A Short Story

It’s the year 2018

The court room has no more than twelve participants out in the stands. Small chatters run rampant as the jury mulls over their decision. Meanwhile, located to the left of the room sits the defendant with his lawyer. A middle aged man, skinny in stature with pale skin and short spiky hair. Sporting formal attire, the defendant sits with his right leg crossed over to his left.  Every so often, he turns around and gazes at another young man sitting in the crowd. His expression towards the young man is nothing short of disappointment. To the right sits the plaintiff with enough physical bruises that would cause the faintest of hearts to skip a few beats. A swollen upper lip and lower lip, a black eye accompanied by small patches of unhealed bruises all over.

“Shall the defendant and plaintiff please rise.” announces the bailiff. 

Both parties did as instructed.

“Members of the Jury, have you reached a verdict?” asks the District Judge. The Jury spokesman stands up and replies: “Yes, your honor. We have. Your honor, the members of this jury find the defendant GUILTY!”. Upon hearing that statement, lips were sealed and salivas were swallowed all around the room. 

The judge in turn takes very little time and announces: “Mr. Kettleman. You were found guilty on a charge of 3rd degree aggravated assault. You will be sentenced to one year with possibility of early parole if said parole conditions are met.” After hammering down his final verdict, the judge proceeds to adjourn the court. 

Without a fuss, Mr. Kettleman accepts his faith and allows himself to be escorted out of the courtroom. Halfway through the aisle, he once again stares at the young man sitting in the crowd. “You’re gonna be alright.” the young man sympathetically expresses to Mr. Kettleman. Deep down however; that sympathy might have been masked to hide something veritably dark. 

Mr. Kettleman does not speak and makes his exit while mentally preparing for his one year sentence. 

Later that night, somewhere deep inside an underground facility 

The District Judge sits at a round table in the company of others in his domain and many others with pay grades higher than the mind dares to count. Their weekly meeting carries on as usual until its abruptly interrupted by a messenger. “ Sir, someone’s here to see you.” the messenger relays to the District Judge. A bit flustered by the interruption, the District Judge politely excuses himself off the table. “Gentlemen, will you excuse me.” announces the Judge. He makes his way out of the securely guarded double doors. He heads down the hallway and takes the elevator up to the garage. There, a man awaits him. The Judge greets him and says: “What do you have for me?”

The man in turn replies as he hands the Judge a yellow sealed rectangular envelope: “From Mr. Kettleman. $250,000 in advance for said conditions. An additional $250,000 will be delivered to you upon Mr. Kettleman’s release.” 

“Inform your client that from now on, the advances have doubled.” says the District Judge as he returns to the elevator.

Half a year later

Zan, a tall and light skinned young adult walks out of his vehicle. Lacking confidence due to a deformity in his eyes, his unsteady hand wobbles a bit as he uses the key to lock the doors to his vehicle. Out in an abandoned parking lot, Zan stands near his car as he awaits for his long anticipated meeting with one of the biggest names in his town. A meeting with The Pin! Following a few minutes, a luxurious white Bentley with tinted windows slowly drives into the lot. Zan immediately fixes his posture upright and takes in a deep breath. The white Bentley comes to a full stop, parked parallel to Zan’s outdated and worn out red Buick. The driver’s door to the Bentley springs open and a man steps out. Obesed and quite short, the man propels himself out of the vehicle onto his two feet.

“Mr. Pin. How are you?” greets Zan as he analyzes the lack of breathing room left by Mr. Pin’s tight blue suit. 

“Zan! My son. Good to see you!” excitingly replies Mr. Pin as he walks towards Zan with open arms. Mr. Pin then pauses and takes a quick look at Zan. Ensuing a quick warm manly hug, Mr. Pin says: “Come, come meet my family. My daughter is so excited to see you.” 

Mr. Pin walks to the passenger seat and opens the front door. A woman walks out of the passenger seat. A bit older she is with wrinkles to show but not enough to come to the conclusion that she was beyond fifty. The shining jewels around her neck and ears definitely complemented her light blue outfit. “This is my wife.” points out Mr. Pin. With nothing else to say, not even a few words of compliment or encouragement, he resumes his tour and proceeds to open the back passenger door.  Out came an invigorating and stunning young woman. The white dress and pearls around her neck has Zan jaw drop in utter suspense. Noticing his reaction, Mr. Pin carries on and gently grabs her by the elbow. Unexpectedly, he greets his daughter with a light and quick passionate kiss to the lip. Zan does not find any kind of joy in seeing such an interaction between Mr. Pin and his daughter. Feeling belittled, he suddenly becomes tense. 

Mr. Pin walks the young woman over and says: “Zan. Meet my daughter, Angel! She’s my precious jewel. I trust that you will treat her like the rare diamond that she is. This merger is progress. Not just for you both, but for both of our families. And if you ever need anything, I mean anything, you know where to find me.” 

“Of course.” replies Zan. 

“By the way, how’s your father?” asks Mr. Pin.

“Never been better.” replies Zan.

“Tell him we’ll be seeing each other soon. We’ve got lots to discuss. Great things are on the horizon. Great things! I send him my regards.” adds Mr. Pin as he returns to his white Bentley and dries off leaving his daughter in the company of Zan. 

One month later

Blood spills all over. It continuously drips as it finds its way between the cracks of the ceramic floor.  

Mr. Kettleman stands firmly over his victim with a bat at hand. He’s breath seems heavy and his heart beats at an abnormal rate. He swings once more with enough force to break any firm bones. Realizing he might have pushed the limits with his punishment, he takes a step back and swings the bat to the farthest corner of the room. “I will no longer take the blame or serve anymore jail sentences for your reckless behavior. From now on, you will own responsibility for all of your hideous messes. Now get up!” Mr. Kettleman demands.

The victim does not respond. Mr. Kettleman demands once more: “ Dammit! Get up! Get up Zan!”

Not a sound. 

“Zan! This isn’t the time for your foolishness.” adds Mr. Kettleman. He leans over to grab his son and realizes he had just created his worst nightmare. He immediately breaks down mentally. Tears swim out of his tear ducts faster than he can control them. He wipes his eyes and in the process stains his face with the blood of his son. “ZAN! ZAN! WAKE UP!” yells Mr. Kettleman. He cries and cries. “ZAN! I WAS JUST TRYING TO TEACH YOU A LESSON! GET UP!” 

Nothing Mr Kettleman had to say would bring his son back.

Two Weeks Later

Sporting formal attire, the defendant sits with his head down.  Every so often, he turns around and gazes at an empty seat in the crowd. His expression is nothing short of regret and sadness.

“Members of the Jury, have you reached a verdict?” asks the District Judge. The Jury spokesman stands up and says: “Yes, your honor. We have. Your honor, the members of this jury find the defendant GUILTY!”

The judge in turn takes very little time and announces: “Mr. Kettleman. You were found guilty on one charge of 3rd degree aggravated assault and first degree murder. You will be sentenced to life in prison without parole.” After hammering down his final verdict, the judge proceeds to adjourn the court.

Somewhere out in the 50th floor of a penthouse

“Was it all worth it?” asks the woman as she watches the news unfold detailing Mr. Kettleman’s trial.

“Yes it was. I don’t blame you for being blind to the bigger picture. You’re so small minded.” answers Mr. Pin as he sits as his large glass desk overlooking the city behind him. 

“The boy beat our daughter pin! Angel is now paralyzed from the waist down. How could you say it was worth it? How could you say such a thing!” the woman adds before breaking into tears.

Mr. Pin stands up from his leather chair, walks over to the glass window, places both hands in his pockets and expresses: “ With one trojan horse, I was able to take his entire kingdom.” Mr. Pin pauses, takes a deep breath, smiles and ends with: “Now I own 75% of downtown. It’s the game we play. The game we play.”



Is prejudice being masqueraded as true love?

Let us gather around this artificial bonfire. Go ahead and pick a seat where you’ll feel most comfortable. Found it? Great! Now, not to intentionally put you in the spot light but here’s a question I have for you. Before you blatantly shout out the answer, fix your posture and truly ponder over the question.

Can you honestly say you bear true love within you? Or are you masquerading prejudice as true love?

Go ahead, I’ll give you a much needed moment and when you’re ready, join us down below.

Recently I came across a very eye opening story written by a brilliant author. I felt it imperative to share this story in the hopes that it might get us to think and analyze ourselves sincerely.

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In a nutshell, the story follows a Saxon prince who’s to become king. The current king, his father, sends him out to battle in hopes that war will mold his childish prince into a firm ad tenacious man. The story then takes a turn when we the reader are informed that the king had no such plans and wanted his son dead all along, hence why he sent him out to war without experience. Along with his war servant, a drunk priest and his beaten army, the childish prince on his gruesome journey on the battlefield experiences an epiphany. His overseer or better yet, his beloved war servant is betrayed and killed in battle. So the prince morns deeply.

“War has taken someone who truly loved me.” said the weeping Prince. Meanwhile the drunken priest replied: “He did not love you.”

The prince, shocked by the priest’s wild statement exclaimed: “If my servant did not love me, then where might I find a man who properly embodies love?”

“Over there…” the priest pointed at a dead carcass. “It could be said that in death, he has become a thing of love. Far greater than any living being could hope to be. Already, he does not hate, does not kill and does no steal. Left where he is, he will selflessly provide sustenance for animals and insects. Buffeted by harsh winds and pelted by stinging rain, he will not utter a single word in protest.”

In turn, the confused prince asked: “Are you implying that death is the true nature of love? Is a parent’s love and affection for their kids or a husband’s or wife’s love for one another not real love?”

“It’s prejudice.” Boldly claimed the drunken priest. “They bear little difference from he who kneels before a king and then whips his slave. Your servant watched and killed as innocent lives were slaughtered for your sake. Prejudice!”

The childish prince stood in shock. He took a deep breath as the cold wind blew west. He bent and scooped the snow beneath his feet. As it dissolved in his small palm, he gazed at the mountains heads, he noticed the trees and the beaming sun above. After taking another deep breath, his eye widened as he felt a fog lift from his mind.

“I see.” said the prince. _________________________________________

After much thought and self-reflection, I can honestly admit I do not bear true love in my heart. And if I’ve told myself or others otherwise then that’s a lie I no longer wish to pursue. I’ve come to an understanding that true love is indeed selfless. True love knows no scheme; True love has no ulterior motives; True love does not boast nor shout; True love is silent in all that it does. Yes we say we love our kids. We say we love our girlfriends, wives, boyfriends, husbands, pets……ect. Yet, we are easily irritated by the slightest change in them that does not please our state of mind. And even when we say we love them unconditionally, we dislike, belittle or hate the one next to or beneath us. By some chance we do indeed love those next to or beneath us we’ll most likely dislike, belittle or hate the one in front or above us. (An endless cycle)

The question is, do we truly love or are we just bias? And if we are bias, how can we cultivate true love? Is true love even attainable to a mere mortal?

With that said, I leave you with this – Take your eyes away from this screen. Look around you. If you don’t like what you see, then change it. Do not allow them to break your spiritual core as it is the only spark that will set you free!

A Fixer Upper…Wait what? Forget it, just get a new one.

Recently I came across a post on Instagram related to love and relationships. To paraphrase the content posted, it read something along the lines of: “2019, relationships are horrible and so is dating. Everyone lies, everyone cheats and everyone plays games. There is no trust or sense of exclusiveness.”

Before joining this individual on his opinionated statement, I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a short while. After reading his post, we can maybe assume this person most likely grew up with a positive image of relationships that he/she witnessed from his parents, close relatives or friends. This positive image must have looked like something along the lines of – Mom and dad were always happy, never argued and if they did, it ended in a romantic outing. Uncle Bob and Aunty Jen were always cracking jokes and laughing at every family event and it was all glorious fun. Best friend James and his girlfriend Jackie gave him/her hope that one day a relationship of their caliber would be possible. Every movie he/she watched portrayed the perfect relationship from a smooth bumpy ride to a forever happy ending tale.

Well, I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news but that’s all slightly fake. See I said “slightly fake”. In my opinion, I believe a majority of relationships are all a front. A front in the sense of Mom and Dad seem happy, but really behind closed doors, they are miserable and are trying their best to stay glued. Uncle Bob and Aunty Jen, maybe genuinely be happy, but they also just went through a crazy rough patch where Aunty Jen had to verbally abused Uncle Bob to hopefully get things on track due to the fact that Uncle Bob got caught going to the gentleman’s club. To avoid further bloodshed, Uncle Bob had to compromise. Best friend James and his girlfriend Jackie are new to the game. James most likely lied to Jackie about certain things while Jackie, well Jackie is a “pure” at heart which makes her totally vulnerable.  

You get the canvas I’m trying to paint? Relationships were never perfect. Divorce has always been a thing. Dating was never perfect. In my eyes, dating is probably the worst thing ever invented, but that’s a topic for another time. Since the beginning of mankind, relationships have been a huge rollercoaster of disappointment. People back then got married either for property, politics, culture and yes for some it’s because they truly loved each other and through patience and commitment they made it work. However; the lying, cheating has always been and will always be a staple in human relationships. (And no, I’m not advocating that you do those things, but expect to deal with them when in the presence of a sinner)

Now, enough of playing devil’s advocate and let us dig deeper into the canvas in order to join in the idea of why relationships in 2019 are horrible. The phrases: Trying their best to stay glued, having to compromise, being patient and staying committed, have been the key to a long lasting relationships. And unfortunately, for a good majority, those keys have been tossed out the door to never return. Who needs to try their best to stay glued to a person when you can just easily walk away and block them on all social media accounts forever without resolve? Who needs to compromise when we can both still get what we want even though it stands in the way of a true unionize and harmonious relationship? Who needs to stay patient and committed when we can just, once again leave and easily swipe for the next best thing? He’s not perfect, well time to move on. She’s not perfect, well where’s the next girl at?

As human beings, we need to understand that we are all fixer uppers. We are imperfect individuals hoping to maneuver through a relationship where it takes a lifetime to mold and build.

But who needs all that when we can just pretend to be perfect for the moment and toss out the challenging times when they come knocking at our door steps. Who wants to be a fixer upper when we can just be an “upper” through every short mocked-up relationship?

With that said, I leave you with this – Take your eyes away from this screen. Look around you. If you don’t like what you see, then change it. Do not allow them to break your spiritual core as it is the only spark that will set you free!