“Stranded on Strand” by Nii Moi Thompson.

I was a cold and lonely buffoon stranded on Strand. I purchased this property at a whopping £220 a day late and a dollar short. The properties at Fleet Street and Trafalgar Square, in the same colour group as Strand had all been purchased by Annan; hence I could neither buy four houses, nor plant a red hotel on the white monster. Well, just scanty rents!
My contenders had invested cleverly. Annan owned all four train stations, and several pieces of land. Sister had gripped the Electricity Company, and was charging trespassers four times amount shown on dice. She also had Title Deed cards to seven unimproved sites, as well as four sites with two houses apiece, and two with hotels.
Joe was nearly as lazy as I was, however fluky. He had managed to secure the Water Works Company and two unimproved sites. And me? I was a green-eyed pauper, still groping about chasing the most expensive sites on the board after a dozen or more square rounds.

I knew I was already skidding towards hell. All the sites before me were owned, and there was no way I could escape rent, unless I scored large numbers on the dice and skipped the dangerous hurdle on that stretch. That would land me on Regent or Oxford Street. These were no man’s lands, yet!

I threw the two dice. One went overboard, and the other flashed four dots on one of its quadrangular face. I moved four steps forward, landed on Fenchurch Station and parted with £200 in rent. Annan was just callous. I was £150 away from bankruptcy.

It was Annan’s turn. His dice landed him on Strand, my property! “Saamia!” I gloated. “Ante up.” The rent on my property was chicken-feed to him, I knew, but a drowning man…! Sister was swimming in monopoly money, thus missed her turn on purpose, and Joe pushed his ship token right across the Electricity Company and landed on the Free Parking space, with a hefty sigh of relief, of course. He just escaped a £800 to £1000 rent.

It was my turn again. The two dice pitched down from my palms. They rolled across the board, flashing heart-wrenching and scarily low numbers before my eyes, until they settled, one displaying five dots, and the other, four. I slid my shoe token across the ‘Trassaco district’ of the board game, hopping over Regent and Oxford Streets, and finally landing on the £320 property of Bond Street.

“Won’t you buy it? Yoo!” my sister’s telekinetic ways were always creepy. I pouted, and then shook my head. “No!” I firmed up. “I want Mayfair and Park Lane”. Indeed, those were the most classy and costly properties on the board, valued at £400 and £350 respectively, with eyes so bright they radiated the prospects of juicy returns in rent.

“Remember all the colour groups have been bought oo”, Joe cautioned. “Save Regent to Mayfair…Oh and just Strand, yours.” I gulped to ease the lump in my throat and flung the two dice sparingly, hoping to score a sum of three or five, as that would either land me on Park Lane or Mayfair. It was doubles, five dots respectively on each face, and that landed me right on ‘Income Tax’, making me forfeit the £200 offer I was supposed to collect as I passed ‘GO’.

I flung the two dice a second time, scoring doubles again, 4 dots apiece. Guess when it rains it really pours. I landed on Sister’s Electricity Company, and paid her four times amount shown on my dice. The last chance could end me up in jail if I threw doubles again.

I prayed, and flung them one more time. “It’s a five; a three and a two,” I break-danced, stuck my tongue out and winked at the naysayers. “Community chest, Yes!”
Sister took a ‘Community Chest’ card from atop the deck, read it silently with a smirk on her face. “Break the good news already,” I ordered.

She sighed, “GO TO JAIL. MOVE DIRECTLY TO JAIL. DO NOT PASS GO. DO NOT COLLECT TWO HUNDRED POUNDS.”

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