The Player

"Too many people get hung up on matters of law, politics, and money," I said.

The countryside rolled past, verdant and free from any sign of habitation. The sun cast a comfortable haze over everything, and the breeze was cool. Our bicycle chains clicked and the soft thrum of the wheels on the pavement was as welcome a companion as the beauty riding beside me.

"Isn't that their right?" she asked.

I snorted. "I guess so. But if you've got a choice, why choose to make yourself miserable over something?"

"Misery is easy," she said. "It's lazy."

I nodded and smiled. "Right. Right! So, should I go with sad and lazy, or blaze a different kind of trail?" We'd been pedaling up a mild slope for the last few kilometers, and it felt like we were reaching a crest. I coasted for a bit, and let the pull of gravity do the work. "I've been a gamer for as long as I can remember. It's in my nature to look at a given system as nothing more than a set of rules to be observed, bent, or outright broken. So really, how could I sit in misery when a more active and interesting route exists?"

"I expect that you couldn't," she said. Her long legs slowly pumped just for the sake of the movement.

"It's just another choice, right?"

"Are you trying to prove you're not lazy or something?" she asked, and shot me a hard sidelong glance. "You don't have to prove that to me. But just remember that when you're playing your little games, more often than not you're playing with and against other human beings. Sometimes they matter."

We rode in silence for a long while after that.


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