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The Makeover

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"But I don't want new clothes!" said Timer.

"You're going to look so cool," They told her.

"I like black. Black is always in style."

"Black and red just makes you look a little intimidating."

"How am I intimidating? I'm just a timer."

"Exactly. You're scaring people off before they get to see your true personality."

"Does it have to be blue, though? Everyone wears blue."

"Well, yes, that's because it's popular. Look, here comes your sister, see how cute she is?"

Timer blinked at her little sister, Mines Remaining. "Wow. You...do look kind of sleek."

Mines Remaining smiled. "Hey, come over here, I've got something to tell you."

Timer slunk over. "Yeah?"

"I...I don't want to embarrass you in front of Them. But you know your leading zeroes?"

Timer blushed. Red. Just like her. "Yeah. They're so unsightly! And they make me feel like I'm carrying extra weight, especially when the really good players get things done in less than triple digits."

Mines Remaining nodded sympathetically. "In the new outfits? They won't show up."

"They-they won't?"

"Nope! You'll be all nice and slim like me."

"Wow," breathed Timer. "Okay. I'll do it."

Soon enough, she was dressed up in blue like her sister. "Oh, that is one attractive timer!" called Best Times.

"Leave me alone."

"Come on, you know you want to get low with me."

Before Timer could think of a good comeback, Mines Remaining replied. "Haven't you put on weight?"

"All muscle, baby," said Best Times, flexing. "Look, I've got Total Plays, Total Wins, Win Percentage..."

"I think our players are smart enough to know how to divide," said Timer.

"Me too," shrugged Best Times. "But my friend down in Solitaire got one of these, that's kind of a trashier neighborhood, so I figured I'd match."

"Whatever," said Mines Remaining, as the sisters walked off.

Suddenly, Timer gasped. "Whoa. Who's that?"

"You don't recognize me?" called a voice from far off.

"Is that..." He was wearing a blue outfit, just like hers! "Board, is that you?"

"Hey, Timer!" he beamed. "looking good!"

"Thanks, you too. Blue is in?"

"Oh, yeah. But watch this!" He reached for his wardrobe and pulled out a green outfit. Timer turned away as he quickly changed. "Pretty neat, huh?"

"I guess so. What happened to gray?"

"Gray is for squares."

"But...you're squares."

"Ssh. Here, you haven't even seen the coolest thing yet."

"What?"

"My new underwear."

"I can't look at your underwear, that's not decent!"

"Here, just poke me."

"What?"

"Poke my arm."

Dubiously, Timer did so.

"Okay, now do it again. And again, until I start breaking out."

"Are...are you making yourself lose? You should see a counselor about that."

"No, it's fine," said Board. "Keep going."

So she did, until all of a sudden flowers started springing up out of him.

"Pretty neat, huh?"

"But...you lost."

"Yeah. It's all right, though, look how beautiful they are."

"But where are all the mines?"

"Just flowers! It's the new underwear!"

"You can't have Minesweeper without the mines! It's like FreeCell without the freedom! Solitaire with more than one person! It's just not okay!"

"It's the makeover," he shrugged. "I think we're gonna be big in Europe."

"What's Europe?"

"Outside. Anyway, I can change back into my mines at any time."

"And the blue?"

"Of course. To match you."

"Maybe this won't be so bad."

"Yeah. Look, Timer, with all due respect-you don't know what it's like. You're always growing, always changing. But me? I've always been gray mines, gray mines...same thing every day."

"Yeah."

"Now? Maybe I'll start wearing the flowers more, maybe I won't, but-at least I have freedom. I have a whole wardrobe, with choices about which clothes to wear! So it-it's all really exciting for me."

"I understand. I want to be happy for you. I'm just not used to change."

"Just try. That's all I'm asking."

"Okay," said Timer.

She made her way back happily, even pausing to wave at one of Them passing by. "Hello, Timer! Like your new outfit!"

"Me too, I feel so much slimmer now. Say, did you get new glasses for Smiley?"

"Huh?"

"You know, Smiley. Really goes through his sunglasses. If we're all getting makeovers I think he deserves one too."

"Listen, Timer..."

"Where is he, anyway?"

"You know, all those losses were really hard on him."

"What are you saying?"

"Smiley...won't be joining us on the move."

"No!" Timer sobbed. Behind her, she could hear them whispering-just give her time, what else are we going to do, she's a timer for crying out loud-but nothing sunk in. All that crossed her mind was one thought.

Freedom wasn't worth this.