♡ 653 ( +1 | -1 ) The Pawns, part IIIPlease have fun reading the 3rd installment! If you want to backtrack to the first two, just search below for threads titled "The Pawns".
The opening stage of the game was over now and play had slowed down, with the contestants taking minutes instead of seconds for each move. We had some time to talk about non-chess stuff and get to know each other better. She was from out of town, living most of the time with her divorced mother in California. This was her annual weeklong visit to meet with her father, who managed a hardware store on Ridge Street, and her brother. We both loved the same movies, the same literature genres, and most important, Rock-n-Roll. She even made a positive comment about my T-shirt, which flashed for a moment through a gap in my white robe as I waved my hands to denote just how great, in my opinion, The Boss was. She was also interested in odds and bits about life in our town, and I told her about our favorite pastimes and even pointed out some of my friends to her. (“Hi, nice to meet you, Josh” – another mind-blowing smile, another glimpse of those impeccable ivory-white teeth).
“What do you think of the game? Who’s winning?” – She asked, turning her mind to more current matters. “Hard to say for now” – I replied, while trying to figure out what was happening on the board from my not-exactly-vantage spot. Behind Libby and her colleague, a small armada of black pieces was assembling, preparing to break through at the first opportunity. The white pieces took a somewhat more defensive stance, ready to fend off the impending invasion. Some distance away, a white bishop and a black knight were heading for the showers, having just been exchanged. “What do I know about those Grandmaster games” – I summarized the results of my examination. “Could go either way”.
Mrs. Harris passed next to me, walking diagonally from d1 to h5. Denisov’s reaction to this move was interesting. For the first time, his attention left the confines of the small rectangular board, which served as a smaller, wooden replica of our huge battlefield. He examined the larger, “real” board and its players. For a moment, the piercing gaze of his black eyes rested on my brow, before sliding onward to survey the rest of the field. Clearly, he saw an opportunity here. Maybe Hoang’s last move has been a mistake? I remembered the simple rhyme I learned from my sole visit to the chess club: “Queen on the rim, your future is grim”. Or was it a Knight? Anyway, it was not good to put your pieces at the edge of the board, and Hoang just did. Denisov was probably considering what would be the most horrible and cruel way to punish him.
“Why is he taking so long?” – asked Libby. “I think he wants to calculate ahead” – I responded. “I think it’s what they call ‘A critical position’”. “Oh. So, you were telling me about your Springsteen collection?” Bringing up my favorite topic made me lose my alertness at the worst possible time. As I was extolling the virtues of “Born in the USA” in Dolby Surround, disaster struck. “Move away, man”. “What?!?!” – my brain did a summersault. “Move or be moved. I just captured you, man” – Libby’s fellow-black-pawn, the one from d5, was unrelenting in his attempt to set foot on my square. “Queen’s Pawn takes King’s Pawn” – repeated Mr. McKinley into the microphone again, just so there was no doubt. I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye properly.
Dejected, I walked away from the board, throwing a dirty look at Mrs. Harris along the away. Why you … this is entirely your fault, I thought. Did you have to move to the edge of the board? And you call yourself a Queen? You are a harlot, a wench, a courtesan! Fuming with righteous indignation, I passed near the players’ table as Hoang picked up the pawn which represented Josh, and recaptured with it. “Queen’s pawn takes King’s pawn” – I heard the announcement on the loudspeaker, and saw Josh avenging my demise and forcing that horrible black pawn off the board.
I don’t know why, but unlike all previously removed pieces, I didn’t go to wash myself up from the sweat and return my costume. For some reason, I preferred to stay at the table and observe, as it was Denisov’s turn again. The recently deceased black pawn passed me by, and tapped me on the shoulder “Come on man, let’s get out of those dresses”, but I waved him off. He turned to go, but then stopped hesitantly. “Look man … I didn’t mean to…” – he muttered – “I mean, I know you, like, had a good thing going there, but I, like, had my orders, and …” “It’s ok, man. No hard feelings” – I replied, while trying to avoid his gaze – which turned out to be a bad idea, because instead I locked eyes with the bearded Siberian, who was examining me as if I was still relevant to his position.
“Don’t disturb the players, please. Go chat elsewhere!” – Mr. McKinley swooped on us like a vulture, much to the relief of the black-pawn-boy, who was adversely affected by my depressed situation and was glad to stop apologizing and get out of there. Before following him, I gave Libby one last long look. She was truly majestic. In the middle of all this storm of captures and recaptures, she stood like a bastion of safety. One last gaze into those wonderful eyes, and forever our ways shall part...
“Help, someone!” “Give him some air!” “It’s a heat stroke!” “Water!” – half-dozen voices were screaming at once. It was not immediately clear to me what happened, but I saw all the pieces leaving their squares as a small human maelstrom was forming in the center of the board. Mr. McKinley threw away his microphone and dived into it, and I followed.
♡ 26 ( +1 | -1 ) yes i must agree. a very entertaining story. well written and playing with the audience like a cat with a mouse. I am green with envy . well maybe not green but some color of envy .yours with admiration bluebabygirl