A work of fiction submitted for the prompt: Fight
What is the glory in victory? You might bet it’s only something that came out of the mouth of a sore loser. In that case, you are probably correct because Ollie, who thought so, apparently is just dreading yet another of her loss last night.
No one would notice Ollie was still inside her little working space, curled up on the window seat, as all the lights were dimmed. She drew up the blinds, looking at the tiny shimmers of lights from cars and lamps outside. She thought she might enjoy it while she can, considering she might need to give up the place soon. It’s quite fitting with the whole set up on her upset about standing by what she hates to admit now as “a lost cause”, but not so much then.
Quick enough, she realized she would not be a sour puss had she not desired to win and thought of savoring all the good feeling that follows. She loathed herself more for pondering the obvious. Well, she thought, at least I didn’t blurt it out in public, finally able to console herself. Then she loathes herself a little more for the fact that she should be able to hold her tongue, unlike what happened yesterday.
Ollie proceeded to recall the first time she got engaged in the whole competitive fiasco. She was only four, and her day-care instructor, Ms. Roberts, told the kids that anyone who can make the best swan-like curve when writing number two would be granted a cute dolphin sticker on their book. Ollie didn’t think much about the dolphins, but she does like watching swans on the pond at the nearby park with her mother every Saturday afternoon. So she did have the sticker attached to her book in the end because she feels like she was drawing instead of jotting down the same number repeatedly on the dotted book. But then it seemed like Ms. Roberts and her mother were very pleased about it. Her mother even let her to pick two chocolate bars she likes on Candy Day, which is every Saturday, the only day she can eat sweets. Naturally, when certain actions are rewarded with advantages, it is part of the human instinct to categorize those actions to the “Kudos” box in your brain.
As the years roll by, she started to be more aware of that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment, like she did something right and most of all beneficial, at least for herself. She seemed to get a hang of the world she’s living in; that if you win, you gain appreciation, and most of all, favors. One shouldn’t underestimate favors; they are somewhat like luck, but more tangible and reliable, thus making it in a way superior than holding on to the Goddess of Randomness (or Luck, as she is more popularly known with) as a cornerstone. Not that she dismiss it, it’s just that she does not tangle herself too much on the system in which luck works, which obviously no one really knows.
Not only did she not realize yet that winning does not always come naturally to those who perseveres and well-intentioned (though she admits most of the time it’s too self-centered to be called a genuinely good deed), it has not occurred to her that somehow it is favor-slash-fortune who decides the one winning. Oh, and that the post-victory feeling is kind of addictive as well.
Her profession as a private investigator requires both reason and rigor, and even sheer dumb luck proving her instincts correct. To cut the story short, she seemed to run out of the latter these few months, which deem the former two almost useless. She also found it hard to believe given the whole shit on diligence as a virtue. She found it even more irritating that she is naive enough to take it at face-value, like a starry-eyed protagonist in a musical, just singing off her issues hoping for magical animals to help brush it away.
Even worse, it appears that she has run out of favors as well. With her reputation sliding off closer to the edge, it seems more unlikely that she would win any token significant enough to save it from falling. Not to mention how she lashed out at a hotheaded client last night, it’s more than possible that her world is crumbling before her eyes.
Weird how one questions their whole life over what happens in a matter of months. It takes so little of disappointment to release its venom to infiltrate one’s minds. But perhaps it’s an antidote for one to snap out of delusions exalting the questionable goodness of life. Again, probably just thoughts of the losing party, Ollie grumbled, oh, so fucking be it, screw objectivity, there really isn’t any.
So, there is probably as much myth as it is to glory itself in winning. But there are certainly perks to it. After all, who would gladly choose to lose something if there is no strings of triumph or benefits attached to it? And once one achieve it, there is no going back–one should achieve more, not to add anything to it, but simply to maintain one’s record.
Alice was wrong, Ollie thought. We have been living in the same universe that the Red Queen holds jurisdiction. Winning only creates the illusion of productivity. And what the losers tell themselves would be, “at least you have put up a good fight”, which most of the time serves as a form of self-assurance rather than not. And it is, Ollie admitted, somewhat calming that she can entertain the thought of getting another client in the morning, if Lady Randomness feels like so. She crossed her fingers, praying for another chance, and promised to maintain discretion rather than thoughts of basking in the false grandeur life managed in making people “run in a fucking treadmill”.
Ollie decided it’s time to leave her office as it gets too dark in both the literal and figurative sense. As she strolled the streets on the way to her apartment, she wished she could just shake the Queen and turn her into Marquis–her pet kitten–and the world will have itself an improvement. Even better, with cats.