By BEN R. WILLIAMS

Hello everyone. Hi. Could I have the speaking conch for a moment? Thank you so much.

Listen, I’m sorry to interrupt this village meeting, but I feel I need to speak up. I’m sure you all know me – my name is Algar, and I live on the outskirts of the Swamp of Despair. In spite of the name, it’s actually pretty nice. I’m a mud farmer. Maybe you’ve seen my flyers around town – “Don’t pick a dud, buy Algar’s mud.” If you’re building a mud hut, it’s, you know, really high quality mud.

Anyway, I’ve been hearing a lot of people tonight talking about how we need to kill the evil giant that lives on Terror Mountain. And while I respect your opinions, frankly, I couldn’t disagree more.

Now look, I’m not going to dispute the major points. Yes, the evil giant has an enormous hoard of gold, 10,000 times more gold than everyone in this quaint village put together. Yes, the evil giant stomps down the mountainside once a month, usually crushing several of our homes. And yes, the evil giant routinely eats our livestock and frequently eats us as well. All of that is inarguable.

But let me ask you a question: Have you ever considered the benefits provided by the evil giant?

Please, stop throwing rotten turnips at me and listen for a moment.

First off, the evil giant is a self-made monster. I don’t know where he got his gold horde from, but we have to assume he earned it through a combination of business acumen and being a giant. Do we really want to steal his hard-earned gold? Sure, having that gold would completely change our way of life and we would probably live to be older than 30. At the same time, if we kill the evil giant and take his gold, how will we incentivize our children to work hard and become evil, gold-hoarding giants themselves? It’s a real moral hazard.

Furthermore, I’m sure you’ve all seen the evil giant sitting atop Terror Mountain and playing with his piles and piles of gold. I’m sure you’ve also noticed that sometimes, because he has so much gold, a few pieces occasionally fall out of his hands and tumble down the mountain to where we can safely collect them. For generations, my family has relied on tumble-down economics to support our meager lifestyle. I’m not saying it’s the best system in the world, but I have yet to see a better one.

And let us not forget that the evil giant is a job creator. I wouldn’t sell nearly as much mud if the evil giant didn’t routinely destroy so many of our mud homes. The bark gatherers wouldn’t sell so much bark if the evil giant didn’t eat so many of our pigs and cattle, thus forcing us to eat bark to survive. And of course, Moktar the Gravedigger wouldn’t be able to support his family if the evil giant didn’t kill so very, very many of us.

I know a lot of you support Sir Gallant the Giantslayer. You support his plan to kill the evil giant, take the evil giant’s gold, and then put it in a trust that would be used to rebuild our village, educate our children, and purchase medical supplies, such as leeches and whiskey.

This, I feel, is the wrong approach. We must meet the evil giant in the middle. We need to select a delegate from the village, someone wise and respected, to climb Terror Mountain and meet the evil giant on his own terms. We need to ask the evil giant why he feels it necessary to eat us, crush our homes and devour our livestock. I’m sure that if we just talk things out with the evil giant instead of fleeing in terror from his ravenous jaws, we’ll be able to find some middle ground. We might learn that the evil giant is not so different from us.

What’s that? Oh, I couldn’t possibly be the delegate. I’m, uh, too important.