Beauty was her talent and mission
Diet, wardrobe her only thoughts
Prepared talents for pageants
Unhappy with losing
Sees only what helps
Win at all cost
If Beauty lost
Wants better stories
Many Beauties vying
Makes even better stories
Underdogs winning sells papers
Writer needs more than one contestant
This cage isn’t nearly large enough to hold two of us. Instinct drives us to destroy each other. Mutual aid is very much against the grain, even if it is also mutually beneficial. This is a weakness, perhaps.
Or perhaps not. One must win. One must lose.
Then again, if the cage continues to exist after I have defeated you, then I may be defeated by the cage.
There can only be one, but this may be a rare time when it is to my advantage to let you live, and to cooperate to remove the cage.
The cage limits us individually.
We barely know how to cooperate when we are free. How do we learn now, when we are bound?
The dilemma remains. Do we share strength to bend the bars, and do I risk that you betray me at a moment of vulnerability?
Or do I take advantage of the fact that you have to be within striking distance in order to help in a meaningful way?
The telephone has revolutionized the art of the big con. Once upon a time, a con man had to travel from place to place, then spend time to establish their identity and gain the confidence of some key figures in a community. All as the precursor to even beginning to think about starting a long con. It meant that a true long con really did take a long time to execute.
The telephone changed all that.
Suddenly it was possible to visit people in their homes or offices, almost without their even knowing they had invited you in.
Since a large part of the early effort is spent just to establish the trust needed to be invited in, the long con got significantly easier to play.
Of course, you still need to have a mark, a tale, and a payoff. And you probably can’t play it all solo.
But if you can master the art of sounding sincere on the phone, you can play the game without leaving your home.
You can even play more than one mark at a time, taking turns to advance each tale.
How could it ever get easier?
Then I got the letter.
“Dear most noble sir,” it began, “Greetings from the rightful heirs of the minister for imaginary trade outside of my country, who died unexpectedly in a most tragic and horrific fashion, with a sum of not less than ten million US dollars on deposit in an imaginary bank in your country. Which I know I can count on your help to return to its rightful owners. Accepting a generous fee for your services, naturally….”
I wonder what strange and wonderful technology will come next that advance the art of the con?