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Page 113

What sort of new game can you give to someone
who thinks the only way to reach out and touch someone
is to kill? (People who think that will always say,
"It's better than sex!" It is probably better than
the sex they've known.) What better game will satisfy
someone who thinks the only game left to her
is to cringe in the gutter in a rag-wrapped child's body
with a maimed foot, whimpering piteously
to make passers by avert their eyes?

The new and better game must be
at least as much fun (yes, fun!) as the old one,
both easy enough and hard enough to play.
It must be a game that can be won,
that can be lost. One who must kill
already knows he can't win the game of love.

The sick, dull-eyed cat won't eat, won't
even lurch toward his bowl, but if you put your hand
close to his paws and snatch it away --
again...again...ah! He reaches for it, now
faster...he's getting interested --
OOH! You got me! But this time I'll be
too quick for you (Oooh -- I'm afraid of you!)
and behold! He's standing up, he's wiggling his rear
to pounce, eyes glaring -- made well
by being made dangerous. You gave him
a game he could play.

The girl in the gutter -- you might ask her
for help. Or tell her what a terrific job she's doing
of being pitiful. (Sometimes one can stop playing
a game one has thoroughly mastered. I've won --
what else can I do?)

The soldier's new game must be hard enough.
He'll go apeshit or drink or drug himself
into oblivion if there's not a lot of fierce
motion in it. The pinball arcades won't do it.

Are you happy with your life? What new game
can I suggest?

Note: "Reach out and touch someone" (in line one above) is the line used for years in advertisements for long-distance telephone service.

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