NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans.-- Tristan, my guru, spent all week trying to learn capitalism. He set up up a little business that sold rather weird but indispensable items like Invisibility Talisman, and Spell of Gold Fog, all priced inexpensively at between 25 cents and $400.
His classmates went in for more conservative products: shoes, pizza, electronics. The class bought each other's stuff with money issued by the teacher and Tristan did pretty well. When you're 12 you need the Talisman of Invisibility. You can get shoes in the real world.
When he achieved a respectable amount of capital Tristan went on a buying spree and got himself a ton of shoes, pizza and electronics. He stayed up all night doing a crumpled tax form: ''I forgot about taxes,'' he said. ''I'm broke. And I wrote two bum checks. I should be in jail.'' That's what he said: ''I should be in jail.'' He owed $2,000 he couldn't see how he was going to pay. And he was out of the Spell of Gold Fog.