“Another one of life’s disappointments”, sighs the Silly Goose.
The goose forlornly sits under a tree, with a handful of peanuts and a piece of cardboard saying “Down on my luck”.
“What have you done this time?”
“It all started when I was trapped in some contraption”. started the Silly Goose. “With a number of sliding bars, hot lava, cold water, a big pile of gold and a big smiling cheetah.”
Uh oh, I think to myself. This can’t be good.
“I can’t remember the name of the game. Perhaps it was ‘War Horse’ or something like that.”
“My friend, the monkey, pulls a few sliding bars at random. I plead with him to slow down and think, but to no avail. The monkey is about to pull the last handle but soon realises the error of his ways.
I have a feeling someone or something is watching us, but I am too engrossed in the Goose’s story to care.
“Fortunately, I was able to escape … by waking up in a cold sweat.”
From the Goose’s body language, I can tell this isn’t the end of the story.
“The next day, I decided to have some fun with the local Dupe Spider Solitaire club, run by the same Cheetah.”
“It’s really convenient,” continues the Silly Goose. “Everyone is real friendly. Free nibbles and drinks. Best of all you don’t have to manually shuffle the cards. The cheetah gives you preset hands. He arranges which opponents you play. You pay 250 peanuts to enter, and he gives you a bonus 250 peanuts, so you effectively start with 500. Lovely chap the cheetah. He organises everything for you.”
The Silly Goose then mumbles something about the easy-going Cheetah having an engaging personality, but by this stage I wasn’t really paying attention. I’m not even sure if the goose is aware of the literal meaning of “dupe” in Dupe Spider Solitaire.
“It all started well enough. I started with p500 . It costs p25 to play a game. Score more points than your opponent and you win the peanuts. I won the first ten hands … “
(btw, p is the official symbol for peanuts, just like how we use $ for dollars).
“That puts you on p750 if my math is cor-”
“Um … I never made it past p700.”
“How is that so? I have a math Ph. D. There is no way I could muck up an elementary math problem.”
“Math Ph. D.’s have been known to make elementary mistakes,” retorts the Silly Goose. “It happens to the best of us”.
“Yes I know that,” I reply tersely “But look! p25 times 10. That means we add a zero to make p250 …”
And so we argue and argue and argue and argue and argue. It takes me a good few minutes to realise there is a thing called “rake”. In a standard casino the rake may be anywhere between 2.5% to 10% for a poker session. So if a player wins a pot of say p100 and the rake is 5%, then he only really wins p95 instead of p100. The Cheetah actually has a rake of a whopping 16%, and this means the Silly Goose’s math was correct. Okay, I will give the Silly Goose credit for getting something right for a change.
“When did you realise something was wrong?” I ask.
I look at the handful of peanuts sitting in front of the Silly Goose. She indeed has only five peanuts left.
“Fool of a Goose!”, I mutter to myself in a not-so-authentic Gandalf impersonation.
“I’m sorry,” murmurs the Silly Goose.
“It’s okay,” I say. “I know you can play a decent game of Spider Solitaire, compared to most of my other students. But from now on, just stay at the local Dup-LICATE Spider Solitaire Club.” Make sure the D-word has nine letters, not four. Only play with people you know. And don’t ever play with big money. And if it’s organised by an animal that sounds like C-H-E-A-T-E-R then you should run, run, run!”
Oops, I just realised the Cheetah is the fastest animal in the animal kingdom. At least the Goose didn’t pick up on my faux pas as she nods sheepishly (even though she is a goose, not a sheep).
“What is that?” I ask, pointing at the Silly Goose’s new toy. I hadn’t noticed it before, since it was hiding under the down-on-my-luck piece of cardboard . No harm changing the subject, I guess.
“That’s a special Spider Cube. At least I won the lucky door prize at the Dupe Spider Solitaire club.”
“Lucky door prize?”
“Yes,” replies the Silly Goose. “For every ten hands you play you get an extra ticket, hence more chances of winning. Oh, I’ve heard you can wield a mean Rubik’s Cube – I’m hopeless at these things”.
Typical Cube Scheme, I think to myself. At least it wasn’t a Rubik’s Pyramid. But I have to admit the pictures of little spiders on each sticker are so cute 😊
I am curious as to what possessed the Silly Goose to live up to her name. My curiosity doesn’t long. Thanks to my peripheral vision I quickly notice the Bad Idea Bears hiding behind a tree and snickering to themselves.