• Story by Mark Swartz
    inspired by the work of Dandan Luo
    The games take my mind off the market. Destroying the fortress, colored brick by colored brick, helps to pass the time. No huffing and puffing here, just a rocket launcher and pure skill. The walls collapse, sending up a cloud of pixellated dust. Take that, castle!
                A text comes, announcing itself with a soft digital oink. I ignore it, relishing the mayhem on this little screen, the reverberation of missile and stone. Oink, oink. The notification sound comes standard with this unit. Some idiot’s idea of customization by breed.
                It’s from my Uncle Willie in Iowa. He won another ribbon at another state fair. I text back a quick congrats just to get him off my bacon.
                Ribbons are for country pork. I go for a different set of apps altogether—trading stock, exchanging currencies, flipping homes and farmland I’ve never seen. Anything that fattens up the old portfolio.  What can I say, I’m into filthy lucre. The filthier, the better. It comes with the slop.
                Pork me. Friend request from Old MacDonald. He’s got to be yanking my loin. Sure, we’ve done business together. An oink oink here, an oink oink there. But friends? Actual friends? Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin.
                I pause the game for a peek at the market.
                Soo-ee! This little piggy is a couple million richer this afternoon than he was at ten this morning. It’s time to go whole hog on Oscar Mayer. I’ve got a feeling deep in my hams.
                Buy/sell/buy/sell. It’s all a game, right? Net worth is the ultimate scoreboard, and today’s mine to make an utter pig of myself. I’m betting the farm, declaring myself once and for all the ultimate capitalist pig.
                Oink, oink. Text from Mom. She says it’s time to go wee wee wee all the way home. The old sow always has to ruin all the fun.