The tiny nation of Ben’s Minecraft Server is only home to one major city: Butts. Situated in an idyllic grass field next to a glitched piece of sand that’s floating in the air, the capital appears as a bastion of civilization in an otherwise undisturbed landscape. The picturesque façade fades, however, when you discover the true face of power in the region: a sadistic, 10-year-old dictator known to his subjects as “xXx$$$BEN$$$xXx”: my nephew.

I reached out to the ambassador, Ben’s mom, and received the IP address necessary to visit the Minecraft country. I had long heard rumors of Ben’s virtual atrocities, but I needed to see proof of them for myself. After all, he was only a kid, how bad could it be?

Upon loading into downtown Butts, the first thing I noticed was the garish, ten-story-tall palace Ben calls his home. Adorned with a roof of solid gold and windows stained blood red, the imposing structure dwarfed every other building in the area.

Before I could make my way inside its iron gates, Ben himself stepped out and denied me entry. A harsh decree to be certain. I thought we were family, but it appeared the only people he trusted enough to join him in his castle were friends from his elementary school’s soccer team. Since I wasn’t a member of the Screaming Gophers, I was out of the royal circle.

I departed Ben’s keep and began exploring the surrounding homes in the region. Favoring efficiency over comfort, Ben corralled the peasants in shacks filled with wall-to-wall beds and only a single dim torch for light. These living conditions were horrendous–and that’s not even mentioning the fact that pulling a lever made lava rain from the ceiling.

The lack of empathy Ben showed towards the digital lives he claimed dominion over frightened me. I suddenly thought back to that time he kicked his neighbors’ cat because “he felt like it” and realized the signs of his lingering sociopathy had always sort of been there.

The remainder of the land was set aside for farms, all of which had been automated using some… actually super-advanced programming skill. Did you know you could make a working calculator in this game? It’s really in-depth.

Uh, I mean, the real tragedy is that Ben’s food factories left no openings for labor, meaning the entirety of his country was unemployed. One might think he could put his populace to work in the caves underneath Butts, but Ben preferred to take mining duty upon himself. It was the only way he could ensure he got first dibs on anything valuable.

The land proved to be rich in flawless diamonds. Such a commodity could have made Ben’s Minecraft Server a very lucrative trade partner in the global market, but instead Ben decided to use the stockpile to build armor. I didn’t know what he’s so afraid of being attacked by–he turned the game difficulty down so there were no monsters.

I had seen enough. It was time to take my concerns straight to Ben himself and see what the mad despot had to say for himself. I brazenly crossed the threshold of his palace, marched straight up to his avatar, and typed into the chatbox, “Ben, it appears to me that—”

Before I could even finish my well-structured thought, I was struck across the face. Ben’s assault left me deprived of two whole hearts. As penance for defying the king, I was cast into a pit underneath the palace’s glass floor, joined by only a confused cow that I think wandered in by mistake. My suffering served a perverse pleasure for Ben as he watched me slowly starve to death. Eventually, I was driven to the brink and resorted to killing and eating my cellmate.

As I gorged myself on raw bovine flesh, I realized Ben had turned me into a monster just like him. Whoever we were before was irrelevant. Here, Ben was the Alpha and the Omega. He made the law and he personally enforced it.

I thought I would be the one to change things in Ben’s Minecraft Server. Disrupt the establishment, lead a revolution. I thought I could make waves where no one else dared, but when staring down absolute power, I flinched.

Anyway, then I logged out.