Of Rainy Days and Board Games
It had begun here. The troops of each faction had met at
one common area, and were gearing up for battle. They were in perfect unison,
just begging to begin the scuffle. The commanders stared at each other stone faced
across the battlefield. The biggest war in all of Neopia was starting at my dining
The commanders were my brothers and sister, and
the battlefield was a board game. The Neoquest II board game, to be exact. It
was a dreary, lackluster day in spring, a day filled to the brim with sluggishness
and boredom. The doldrums had hit my house hard, and my three siblings and I
had literally nothing to do.
It was my sister Carlie's idea to play the game-she
adores that Rohane character, for some completely random reason. In fact, whenever
there was a spare moment, the youngest of the family could be found drawing
pictures or writing a story about the Blumaroo that saved Neopia a long time
ago. Kind of odd, really.
My brother Joseph, being the oldest, immediately
shot down the idea. The Jetsam was impatient and fidgety, and for one reason
or another, absolutely despised board games. In fact, his description for my
sister's board game was "boring, slow, and…did I say boring?" Let's just say
he's as slow as our board games usually go.
My younger brother, immersed in a book, rejected
the idea too. "I must admit that the notion of a simpleminded board game does
sound primitive," Max told the rest of us. The Mynci was the gifted family member,
a self-proclaimed prodigy from the start. It sometimes took us a while to decode
his sentences. Needless to say, we kept a dictionary close at all times.
I found the game to be a good idea. It would
break up the monotony of the day. Together, Carlie and I urged the two opposite
ends of the knowledge spectrum to join us in a game. I had to sweeten the deal
by purchasing two books for Max and letting Joseph off the hook when we had
to clean the house next time. Nevertheless, it got them to play.
We sat down at the table and set up the game.
My Blumaroo sister was talking so fast we could barely understand her, all about
how she and Rohane were made for each other. Joseph stared at the pieces with
disdain. I knew he would rather eat the pieces than play with them. Max's eyes
were still glued to the book.
I, on the other hand, was reading the five volumes
that were known as "the instructions." (Leave it to my sister to pick the most
complicated game we owned to play.) It was always up to me to read the rulebook
and understand how to play, because if I didn't do it, no one would, and the
game would end in a scuffle or a tantrum. Being the somewhat levelheaded one,
I tried to avoid that end. Yet subconsciously I knew it was ever looming in
the shadows of the dining room, ready to pounce on one of the four unsuspecting
victims at the dinner table. As I thought about it, I realized this board game
maybe wasn't such a good idea after all.
"Ok, here's the deal. To figure out who goes
first, we roll the dice. The person who rolls the highest number goes first,"
I told my siblings. "Then, when it's your turn, you roll the dice and move,
but only after picking a card and following the directions. Now, if the card
tells you to lose a turn, you don't get to roll the dice, unless it says lose
your next turn, which means you can go now, but you'll have to skip your next
turn. Got that?"
I looked up to find Carlie muttering in the corner
with the cardboard Rohane figurine, Max's eyes still whizzing across the pages
of his book (which was bigger than the five instruction books combined), and
Joseph staring at me with the dumbest look I'd ever seen him give, and that's
saying something. I rolled my eyes, and picked up the dice. This time I knew
it was useless to get them to know how to play the game. They'd just have to
suffer the consequences.
After I got their attentions long enough to figure
out who went first, I rolled the dice (I had been the highest roller) and took
my turn, consulting the rulebook to make sure I was doing the correct thing.
After about ten minutes, my turn had finished and it was Joseph's turn. I silently
wished I had never agreed to play this game.
Joseph took his turn with many complaints, whines,
and sighs. Max looked up long enough to take his turn, and bent down in concentration
again. Carlie, who was still playing with Rohane, rolled the dice and moved
her Blumaroo character across the board.
Max looked up. "Hey! You can't do that! You're
cheating!" I looked to see what Carlie had done. She had jumped from her side
of the board to the other side illegally, and Max, being overly competitive,
just had to point it out.
Carlie looked from Max to me, tears forming in
her eyes. "Did I lose?" she asked.
"No, you didn't lose, Carlie," I told her. She
sniffled and gave a faint smile. I glared at Max. "Why did you have to do that?
Leave her alone!"
"She was cheating, Tony! You can't expect me
to sit aside as someone else cheats!"
"You didn't even care until just now! You were
busy reading your stupid book!" I replied angrily. Carlie sat between us, wide-eyed.
Joseph stared off into space.
"It's the principle, Tony. A person just can't
cheat life," he told me matter-of-factly.
"LIFE!" I shouted, avoiding the fact that I didn't
know what the word 'principle' meant. "It's a board game. This has nothing
to do with life!"
At this point Joseph was so bored he looked at
both of us. "Shut up! Both of you! You guys fight about the stupidest things
I've ever heard! So the little brat messed up! Get over it!"
I groaned. Carlie looked at Joseph. They had
never been really close, and this just made it worse. Carlie's tears started
flowing again. She jumped up, knocking the chair to the floor, and burst out
of the room crying and screaming.
I looked at Joseph. "Great job," I told him.
I stood up and left the house, grabbing a coat.
I needed a walk, no matter what the weather outside was.
The walk had no effect. I returned to the house
fifteen minutes later, not a bit calmer. I reentered the house and placed my
rain-soaked coat on the rack next to the door. I heard a shout from the living
room. I found that the shout had been caused by Max, who was lying on the floor,
Joseph's flippers pinning him down.
It took a second for me to register what was
happening, but soon enough, I was groaning, trying to lift Joseph off of Max's
"Get off of him! He may be an idiot, but don't
beat him up!" I said as I struggled with my Jetsam brother. After a few more
minutes of scuffling, Joseph relented and stood up.
"Why in the world were you fighting?" I asked
"He called me names" was the only response I
could get from Joseph.
"What did he call you?" Joseph shrugged his shoulders.
"You mean you don't know? He called you something
that you don't know and you beat him up for it?!" I asked, my voice rising.
This family just didn't function well.
"What'd you call him?" I asked, turning my attention
to Max, who was still lying on the floor.
"I simply called him my elder," he told me.
I looked from Joseph to Max. I could not believe
what was happening. "Where's Carlie?" I asked, not wanting to deal with their
"I'm afraid I'm unaware of her whereabouts,"
Max told me.
Great. Now I'm missing a sister. Could this day
get any worse?
I went into Carlie's room at the far end of the
house to find no one there. I searched throughout the house, but I couldn't
find her anywhere. I looked at the board game to find that the Rohane piece
was missing from the spot Carlie put it on earlier.
"Guys, we have a problem! Carlie's gone!" I told
my brothers. They joined me in our sister's room, where I was frantically searching
under the bed. I looked up to see my two brothers, who were just fighting, anxiously
searching for Carlie with me. I felt a few drops of water brush against my arm,
and that's when I realized that the window was open.
"Guys! Carlie must have run off! The window's
open," I shouted as I ran to the window. I glanced outside, but I still didn't
see her anywhere. "We have to go look for her!"
I ran outside, this time without the coat, and
looked both up and down the street. I couldn't lose Carlie; she was the only
thing that made life in my house bearable. Surprisingly, Joseph and Max followed
me out and they split up. For how much they act like they don't like Carlie,
it was obvious they needed her just as much as I did.
After nearly four hours of searching in the nonstop
rain, I returned to the house with a tired Joseph and Max following. We had
found no sign of Carlie anywhere. All of us were shivering and downtrodden.
We had decided to return for a quick dinner and then we'd all return to searching
We entered the kitchen to find a shock. Carlie
was sitting at the table, still playing with that infernal Rohane figurine.
"Carlie!" we shouted. "Where were you?"
"I was outside," she replied. "Rohane wanted
to go outside and play in the rain."
I groaned. "Don't ever leave without telling
one of us!" I admonished.
"Sorry, Tony," she said, and I knew she meant
it. I nodded in approval, and looked at Joseph and Max. They looked relieved,
and I was glad to know that I wasn't the only one sincerely worried.
Carlie looked around at all of us. "Can we finish
our game now?" she asked expectantly.