Friday morning, Amber checked the nest outside her window as usual. But instead of seeing five eggs, she saw five open mouths. The baby birds were crying in hunger, and Amber was certain that the parents were hunting for food nearby. She watched until the mother returned. Something passed from the mother’s mouth to a baby’s. As the mother was flying away, the father showed up to continue the feeding process.
A yell from Amber brought the rest of her family. They all watched the bird family enjoying their breakfast, until Mary said it was time for them to have their own breakfast. Today was the last day for Amber to sign up for the career she wanted to research. Any students who didn’t select a career by Friday would have one assigned by Ms. McGuire. After her talk with Betty Jenkins, Amber had thought a lot about art careers. She couldn’t quite decide which one to choose. Maybe while she walked to school, she could make up her mind.
Melissa and Laura were waiting for her on the playground when Amber arrived at school.
“What took you so long?” Melissa said. “We’ve been waiting for fifteen minutes.”
“I had some thinking to do,” Amber said. “And I had a stop to make on the way.”
Laura pressed an envelope into Amber’s hand. “It’s an invitation to my birthday party next Friday. It’s going to be a sleepover.”
“Thanks,” Amber said. “I can’t wait. I love sleepovers.”
Walking home from school, Amber thought about how glad she was that it was Friday. She was especially glad about this particular Friday because it was her turn to choose the game for game night. At dinner, as usual, her mother asked about her day at school.
“Did you decide what you are going to do for your career report?”
“Yes, I did,” Amber said with a sigh of relief.
“Well, Fred,” John asked, “what’s it going to be?”
“I can’t tell you yet,” Amber said. “I still have some details to work out.”
“I don’t understand,” her dad questioned further. “If you have a topic, why can’t you tell us?”
“I will,” Amber said, “when I’m ready.”
“You didn’t choose one,” Kyle taunted. “That’s why you won’t tell.”
“I did,” Amber insisted. “You’ll just have to wait and see what it is.”
“Whatever.” Kyle shrugged.
After dinner, Amber set up the game board for the Game of Life. Kyle looked disgusted when he saw it.
“Amber played Monopoly without complaining,” Mary reminded her son.
“I know,” Kyle said. “But there’s no skill involved in this game. It’s just a game of chance.”
“You could say that about Monopoly as well,” John added. “In fact, you can say that about real life too. We’re not in control of everything that happens in our lives. We have to deal with the unexpected and make adjustments all the time, just like in the Game of Life.”
When Amber landed on lawyer as her career, she was practically jumping up and down in her seat. But when Kyle landed on teacher, the lowest-paying job, Amber couldn’t contain her enthusiasm. “Hope you enjoy listening to noisy kids all day while I’m busy with my important clients.” Kyle leaned back in his chair as if to say, “I couldn’t care less.”
That seemed to set the tone for the entire game. When Amber won the lottery, Kyle inherited fifty cats from his aunt. If that wasn’t enough, later he inherited a skunk farm from his uncle. Amber sold her cattle ranch for $200,000, and Kyle had to pay $100,000 because a tornado hit his home and he didn’t have insurance.
When Amber landed on the Revenge space, Kyle didn’t have $200,000 to pay her.
“I’ll loan you some money,” Amber offered, grinning from ear to ear.
“Never mind,” Kyle said. “I’ll just go bankrupt.”
“Too bad for your wife and four children,” John pretended to be concerned.
“At least they have a rich aunt,” Mary added.
“And maybe another one with fifty cats.” Amber was holding her side with laughter.
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