14. Game Plan

“What I said about killing to survive is true. I know it’s not what anyone of us wants to do, but pretending we can get through this by being decent, reasonable people isn’t going to work.”

They all looked at me like I was telling them they had to kill puppies and strangle kittens. Which I was.

“If we come up against anything like that ogre, we’re dead. We can run away, but eventually we’re going to have to fight, or starve to death. We have to learn how to kill. None of us is particularly strong or even sporty which means we have to use a different approach.”

“What approach?” said Claire. None of them seemed to have any idea what I was talking about.

“We have to be ruthless. And mean. Monsters aren’t going to want to talk things over and find a compromise. There won’t be any trade negotiations on Naboo.”

Flossie raised her hand. “Ah don’t know what you’re talking about. What the fook is a Naboo?”

“You’ve never seen the Phantom Menace?” said Maurice. “I’m so jealous. Wish I could mindwipe that memory.”

“Can we stay focused?” I didn’t want a half-hour rant on the failings of George Lucas, and I could feel one about to erupt from Maurice. “What I’m saying is, back home people solved problems by asking the UN to apply sanctions. Here they hit things with sticks.” I waved my stick about for emphasis. “Frankly, I don’t know which is more useless, but at least with sticks you get a winner and a loser. If we don’t want to be the losers, we need to fight. Do you see what I’m saying?”

They all nodded. They had no idea what I was saying.

“We’re going to kill things. Some of them will be quite cute-looking. Weaker than us. Outnumbered and wanting to surrender. It doesn’t matter. We can’t afford to take prisoners or give them the benefit of the doubt. If they put their hands up, stab them in the face. If they wave a white flag, stab them in the face and use the flag as a scarf. We can’t hesitate or take risks or waste anything. Nobody is going to help us and everyone is going to try to fuck us over.”

“You don’t know that for sure,” said Claire..

“Look at us. Why would anyone think we’d be anything but a pushover? That’s our only advantage, that they’ll underestimate us and give us the chance to strike first. And when we do, we have to go all in. No doubting halfway through. If you agree on a plan you have to commit to it, no matter how shitty it makes you feel. Afterwards, you can refuse to do it again, or make changes or whatever, but in the middle of a fight you have to do your part or you’ll just get the rest of us killed.”

They seemed to be sort of getting it now, but at the same time, they also seemed less keen on the whole ‘kill everything’ murder-frenzy I was advocating.

“I know it won’t be easy, and nobody has to do anything they don’t want to. You can go off on your own if you want. Or all together and leave me on my own. But it won’t be any easier. You’ll still have to kill stuff one way or another. Try to think of it as a game. You’ve all played video games, right?”

Flossie raised her hand again. “You mean like Candy Croosh.”

“No, not really. More like…” I tried to think of a more appropriate phone app. “Clash of the Clans? You know it? You fight people weaker than you, take their stuff, build up your strength. We have to do that.”

“But this isn’t a game, is it?” said Claire.

It was hard to say. I still felt like everything was too much like an RPG for it not to be a game, but I still hadn’t found any proof.

Claire started poking the fire again. “We might even have to kill other people, that’s what you’re saying, aren’t you?”

“Ooh,” said Flossie, getting animated. “It’s like The Hoonger Games!”

“Yes,” I said. “A bit like that.”

“I fookin’ love Katniss.”

“Those films were terrible,” Maurice insisted vigorously. “Absolutely shocking.” A ‘book versus movie’ debate broke out.

I looked over at Jenny sitting quietly while the rest of her group chatted away and a thought popped into my head. Who would die first, me or her? I turned my attention back to my group as they discussed the finer points of Peeta versus Gale and the answer to my morbid question stared me in the face.

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