The Cardboard Game

This is the game, and it’s very challenging.

Let’s say you’re not real; not by the standards of those who believe that a living, breathing, 3D human being with thoughts and feelings is really, and a chunk of cardboard is not.

But you’re a semi-sentient chunk of cardboard, with a desire to fit in and a desire to have what humans have. Or maybe not what they have; it seems messy. But the attention feels great. And pretending to feel those things feels great.

So you spray the cardboard with any scent you can find. You make cunning slits in the facial mask so you can imitate human motion

And then you set out for where the big points are: getting someone to fall in love!

It helps if you find a real sucker, someone who believes your tone of voice and constant proclamations of love actually – now, don’t laugh out loud! – mean that YOU love THEM. Make sure you get them to say it a lot.

Make sure things presumably feel good. The human gets what they think is love, and you get to giggle at how close you come to mimicking human enotion.


Oh, it’s easy. You might have communicated with this person 6 hours a day, across multiple platforms. Maybe you even planned to spend a particular time talking to this person – but have a surprise visitor instead. Nothing will make that person feel less like they mattered than an anonymous visit, one you won’t speak about, one which takes precedence over you for no reason you care to explain.

When the person begs to talk to you, wondering where their lover has gone, deny, deny, deny, and build up pain, frustration and fury. Hold out the chance of very, very, very limited, icy cold communication–and give that person a tenth of a second to decide. If they say no, even if they were going to say yes as soon as they had a second to breathe–



Now you’re just the thin slice of cardboard – no face, no words, no humanity, nothing anyone can reach. You’re not invisible, but you’re gone, completely gone.

And then…you win!

I’m not sure what you win, but, uh, being whatever kind of thing you are, I guess it makes you happy.

So, uh. Enjoy that, okay?

Jeff Mach Written by:

Jeff Mach is an author, playwright, event creator, and certified Villain. You can always pick up his bestselling first novel, "There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN"—or, indeed, his increasingly large selection of other peculiar books. If you'd like to talk more to Jeff, or if you're simply a Monstrous Creature yourself, stop by @darklordjournal on Twitter, or The Dark Lord Journal on Facebook.