Smoke Fish and Ulu Chips

Fiction          By dusty middleton
It started with video games… not for me, but for the boy. He was intent on earning gold in video game land. Clash of the Clans.
It started with a love affair with fishing. Shore Casting. Not for me, but for the boy. I enjoy fishing from a boat… once in a while.
It started with a gut feeling. That ‘Ulu, Breadfruit trees, would hold a special place in our lives.
I somehow knew that ‘Ulu would be worth big money.

. . . . . . . . .

Alapai is sixteen years old and he’s bigger than me now. He moves with confidence and coordination. I consider him, these days, as an adult. I respect him as an equal.
It was ten years ago that we first discussed business.
As a six year old he loved to go into the hardware store and buy fishing gear. Even before he really understood the math and the numbers, he’d squeeze a couple dollar bills tight in his tiny fingers and stare up into the fishing case and ask me what he could buy. And though he loved fishing, and he loved playing with his hooks and lures and reel, the shopping trip held its own fascination.
Alapai loved exchanging money for things and vice versa. He loved business from before he understood it. He had ancestral instincts that bubbled up proper. Maybe, as a six year old, Alapai understood business better than me.

He got into video games, namely Clash of the Clans. The popular one in those years. You build a village and start saving gold and resources and grow strong and more able. At a certain point you can team up with other people playing on their own computers around the world. Alapai built a team of elementary school kids and they did well. They had fun.
The feeling of success in video game land and the enjoyment of teaming up with others, leading them into battle, spurred Alapai to move his attention into the real world.

He took that team mentality, that ability to build strength in numbers, momentum and excitement, and, as an eight year old he began to earn money.
His friends loved it. They enjoyed the camaraderie of the project. They enjoyed the novelty of something more tangible than soccer practice. An activity more instructive than homework. And it pushed their whole crew forward.

They say that video games have the ability to teach. That the fun of the challenge can spur the brain forward. After watching a group of elementary school kids jump full force into business I guess I believe it.


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