Your cola’s starting to get warm, your shoulders are starting to stoop, and your friends’ jokes keep getting less and less funny. It’s about three in the morning and you’re starting to wonder why you always agree to have the monthly Diplomacy game at your house. They’ve all got their excuses; Joe’s place is too small, Dylan doesn’t have a big enough table and you wouldn’t want to play on the floor, Paul’s wife hates you and no way in hell could you play there, and Tim still lives with his mom, for Christ’s sake.
So what are your choices? You could always just get up and start yelling at them to go home, but then they’d be mad and you’d never hear the end of it. They seem to have no lack of energy; maybe it’s because they’re all worthless bums without jobs. You could always throw the game -- they’d catch on after a couple of turns, but you’ve got your reputation as the local Diplomacy king to uphold.
Looking at the map, you try to think how long it would take for you to set up a position strong enough that you could convince them all to give up. Your position in the center of the board is strong. You’ve taken out most of Austria, Scandinavia is yours, you’ve got a hold on the North Sea. France has turned into nothing more than a puppet, and your German forces will surely get a victory sometime before daylight, but you’ve got to work in the morning.
You start dropping vague hints about being tired, placing the strategic yawn during negotiations, but all they do is push more coffee in your face. They’re forming a grand alliance against you, it seems. The entire face of Europe starts to turn inwards, forces pushing in against your homeland. Now it’s personal, it's four o'clock, you’re tired, cranky, and your best friend is laughing at your seemingly hopeless position. Little do they know that you’ve got a trick up your sleeve that no Diplomacy strategem could ever defeat.
The plan forms in your mind. You go to the back of the living room and open the door, ostensibly to let a nice breeze in. Step One. Next comes the bait. Staggering sleepily over to the fridge you pull out a nice piece of leftover apple pie, it’s a small price to pay for getting out of this embarassing game. Step Two. A slight slip and the pie lands on the floor. "Oh no," you sarcastically say, and your friends begin to catch on to this old trick -- this calling down of the Diplomacy gods and their ultimate wrath.
They run to slam shut the door, but their slow pace is no match for your secret weapon. It barrels into the room, heading straight for its objective. Their lunges and grabs do nothing to dissuade it from its goal. It crashes into the table, sending small painted pieces of wood flying everywhere. Its head goes straight for the small sacrifice you had to pay for its services, the apple pie.
"Pepper," you say with a sly grin on your face, "you’re such a bad dog."
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