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190 winning the game when i’m not reading some book I get from the public libraryIwatchoneofthosetv programsthatshowthelifeoftherich,their mansions, the cars, the horses, the yachts, the jewels, the paintings, the rare furniture, the silverware, the wine cellar, the servants. It’s impressive how well served the rich are. I don’t miss a single one of those programs, even though they’re not of much use to me; none of those rich people live in my country. But I enjoyed hearing a millionaire interviewed during dinner say that he acquired a yacht worth hundreds of millions because he wanted to have a yacht bigger than some other rich guy. “It was the only way to put an end to my envy of him,” he confessed, smiling, taking a swallow of the drink in his glass. The dinner companions around him laughed a lot when he said that. The rich can have everything, even envy of each other, and in them it’s humorous; for that matter, everything is amusing. I’m poor, and envy in the poor is looked upon badly, because envy causes repression in the poor. Along with envy comes hatred of the rich; the poor don’t know how to retaliate without a spirit of vengeance. But I don’t feel rage against any rich person; my envy is like the guy with the bigger yacht: like him, I just want to win the game. I’ve discovered how to win the game between a poor guy, like me, and 191 | Winning the Game a rich one. Not by becoming rich myself, I’d never manage that. “Getting rich,” one of them said on a program, “is a genetic proclivity that not everyone has.” This millionaire had made his fortune starting out from zero. My father was poor, and I inherited nothing when he died, not even the gene that motivates you to make money. The only possession I have is my life, and the only way of winning the game is by killing a rich man and coming away alive. It’s something like buying the bigger yacht. I know this seems like odd reasoning, but one way to win the game is by making up at least part of the rules, something the rich do. The rich man I kill has to be an heir; an heir is a person like me, often without the predisposition to get rich, but who was born rich and blithely enjoys the fortune that fell from the sky into his lap. Actually, to relish life to the fullest, it’s preferable that just the father, and not the heir, be born with the gene. I would prefer killing one of those foreign rich guys that I see on television . A man. Their wives, or their daughters, are even more ostentatiously rich,butawoman,howevermanyjewelsshehasonherfingersandaround herwristand neck, isn’t the biggeryacht. NorwouldIbeinterestedinone of those women who obtained their fortune by working, certainly carriers of the gene, clones who appear on television in suits. No, it would have to be a man. But since the ideal rich men live in other countries, I have to look for a rich man right here, one who inherited the money and goods that he enjoys. The difficulty in achieving this goal doesn’t worry me in the least. I painstakingly draw up my plans and when I lie down I’m asleep within minutes and don’t wake up during the night. Not only do I have peace of mind but a well-functioning prostate, unlike my father, who used to get up every three hours to urinate. I’m in no hurry; I must choose with great care, somebody at least at the level of the rich guy who bought the big yacht. The majority of the people who appear in the magazines published here in my country can be called rich and famous, but killing one of them would be easy and wouldn’t make me win the game. Everyrichpersonlikestoshowoffhiswealth.Thenouveauricheflauntit more,butIdon’twanttokilloneofthem,Iwantarichmanwhoinherited 192 | Rubem Fonseca his fortune. These, belonging to the later generations, are more discreet, normally displaying their wealth through travel. They love shopping in Paris, London, New York. They also like to go to distant and exotic places that have good hotels with genteel help, and the more sports-minded can’t pass up an annual ski trip, which is understandable because after all they do live in a tropical country. They display their wealth among themselves...


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