Anji was winning. Anji was winning by far more than seemed feasible. She had all the pink ones, the yellow ones, the red ones, the light blue ones… she had four hotels on Mayfair.
Anji was an utter bitch.
“I bet you voted for Thatcher,” said Fitz, viciously.
“I wasn’t old enough. Doctor, you’ll have to sell something.”
“Because you’ve got no money and I own that.”
“Oh.” The Doctor looked down at his own pathetic pile of cards. “Can’t I just owe you it until I pass go?”
“No. I’ll buy a station off you.”
Fitz started at the sheer audacity of this suggestion. But he knew better than to say anything. This couldn’t end painlessly, it just couldn’t.
The Doctor looked sternly at Anji. “You can’t buy the stations. I’ll have to owe you the money.”
“It’s in the rules, Doctor. If you’ve got no money you have to sell something. Or mortgage it at least.”
“They’re not mine!”
“You’re holding them.”
Fitz moved to stand up, “If anyone needs me…”
Anji glared at him, “You’re staying.”
“I don’t want to. It’s supposed to be fun!”
“No, it isn’t. Now sit down and shut up. You’re not leaving until this game is over.”
“But you always win.”
“Yes.” She turned back to the Doctor. “Look, I’ll give you a good price.”
She sighed melodramatically. “It’s called ‘Monopoly’, not ‘Quasi-Communist State-Run Economy’. You can’t just hang on to the stations and utilities. Or if you do you have to at least charge rent when people land on them.”
“Because those are the rules!”
“Rules were made to be broken.”
“Not the rules of Monopoly. Look…” She attempted to look sincere. “It’s not real money. It’s not real in any way. I just want for once to have a decent game of Monopoly with you two.” She picked up one of the small green plastic houses. “See this house? No one lives in this house. No one uses the utilities or the train stations.”
“Yes, but it’s the principle of the thing.”
“You’re a… you’re a bloody Communist, you are! Why do you even have the game if you refuse to play it properly?!”
“But Anji, these rules are… nicer. Why can’t we have fun and be nice?”
“Because nice isn’t fun!”
“She’s got you there, Doctor,” said Fitz through a cloud of smoke. Fitz owned Old Kent Road. That two quid really helped pay the school fees. He was still sulking after his second place in the beauty contest had been torn away by some heartless bastard who’d ruled it demeaning. On the other hand, it was probably just as well that Anji had refused to play Strip Monopoly.
The Doctor sighed effetely, and looked at them despairingly with his much-described eyes. “But we fight ruthless oppression on a seemingly weekly basis, has that taught you nothing?”
“I’ve learned about sexually transmitted diseases and the importance of personal hygiene,” said Fitz, helpfully.
“Yes, but have you learnt anything of a… perhaps… ideological nature?” ventured the Doctor, not, it must be said, with much optimism.
There was a distressing silence.
“I’ve learnt that Lefties lose Monopoly,” said Anji, brightly.
“I have not lost,” protested the Doctor. “Except in a strictly financial sense.”
“It’s Monopoly, there is no other sense.” Anji was a bit pissed off by now.
“Ah,” said the Doctor, “But you still have a train service and utilities and that NHS I set up.”
“Yes, about that. You’re not supposed to be taxed when you pass Go.”
“How am I supposed to fund it all? Honestly, Anji, you can’t run a society on that sort of basis.”
Anji coughed. It sounded a lot like the word America.
“Well, exactly,” said the Doctor. In his own mind at least, he was winning this argument. In Fitz’s mind there was a seductive image of a brimming pint glass.
“I’ve learned that capitalism is wrong and I will never ever do it again. Now sell the fucking stations,” said Fitz. Some things sharpened Fitz’s mind wonderfully.
“But… those are the people’s stations!”
“Right,” said Anji. “We’ll have a referendum. I say we privatise them.”
“You haven’t followed the proper democratic procedures for calling that referendum,” said the Doctor, flourishing the sixty-page constitution.
“Why did you buy the game if you’re going to ruin it for everyone?” Anji was probably menstruating, decided Fitz.
The Doctor sighed. “It was in my non-rebellious youth. Funny how you get more left-wing as you get older.”
By now, Fitz was seriously considering eating the board. The beer would wash away the taste, after all.
Anji was irritated. If only the Doctor would see sense, she could win this thing in a couple of hours. She was an ethical capitalist, after all.
The Doctor was despondent. How could he have taught them so little? His political agenda was barely concealed, after all.*
“Oh look!” yelled Fitz, who didn’t know the words deus ex machina but had a fair grasp of the practicalities, “The board’s on fire! However did that happen?”
“I think that proves…” began the Doctor.
Anji hit him.
[Note for the concerned reader: The TARDIS put the fire out before any major damage was done, bar a slight scorch mark on Fitz and, of course, the utter destruction of the Monopoly board. The TARDIS likes happy endings.]
*He boycotts Nestle, by the way. Ask him why.