Chester studied the board for awhile then he looked up at the kid. The kid was watching the skateboarders across the park. Chester could tell that the kid would rather be over on that half pipe than here at the chess boards. He figured he should probably make short work of this kid so that he could skedaddle; do him a favour and let him get over with his friends doing ollies, and wheelies, and whatever other tricks the skaters were doing over there.
Yeah, he would cut the kid some slack. Beat him quickly. Chester moved his Queen’s rook forward. He figured he could beat the kid with four more moves. He slapped his timer.
He reached for his pipe thinking to get a smoke in.
The kid casually looked down at the board, moved a bishop three spaces on the diagonal, “Check,” the kid said and hit his timer. A passing girl caught his attention and he watched her, turning his head as she walked by.
“Jesus, Kid,” Chester said as he shook out the match, “I didn’t even get my pipe lit.” He studied what the kid had done. There was no problem. Moving a pawn forward one space would block that bishop from getting his king. Might take a few more moves to beat the kid now though.
The kid didn’t even look at the board. He was still watching the girl walk away. Grabbing blindly he picked up his queen’s knight. He tore his eyes from the girl and placed the knight on the board, the only place it could go. He turned his head back to where the girl had vanished around a curve in the path and then looked back at Chester.
“Checkmate,” the kid said, “Good game Mr. Wharton. Hey, I gotta go. He stood up and dropped his skateboard on the asphalt pathway, immediately pushing in the direction of the vanished girl.
“Will you be here next weekend?” Chester yelled after him.
“I’ll see you then, Mr. Wharton, we can have a rematch,” and he was gone.
“That kid got lucky again,” Chester Wharton thought to himself, “that’s one lucky kid! I’ll get him next week though.”
A Trifecta of Unpredictability – You might already know some of these, but you should read them again anyway. Indulge me!
There used to be a pub in London named The Fox and Firkin. It was south of the river, Elephant and Castle way. It was an entertaining and unpredictable place to have a pint. I don’t know if it is still there.
I once saw a man there who was out with his girlfriend and another couple. He climbed atop a table and pulled his trousers down around his knees. He took that opportunity to recite a poem, in a loud voice, which I believe he had written special for the occasion. When he had everyone’s attention he addressed his girl. I believe that he forgot he was standing naked on a table in a crowded pub. I believe that he saw only her. He chose that moment to poetically declare his undying love for her and to ask for her hand in marriage.
She chose that moment to turn bright red and cover her mouth with her hands while she stared at her young man in disbelief. She accepted the proposal though and I would like to think that they are still living in eternal wedded bliss somewhere in the city, but I don’t know that for sure.
There used to be a bank in Kansas City, Kansas called The Bank of Kansas, not to be confused with The Bank of Kansas City. Who can predict a bank robbery? The lobby was crowded when a masked man burst through the front door, gun in hand. A guard lunged for him and pulled off his mask; they paused and stared at one another. The robber promptly shot the guard when he realized that he could be identified. Shot him dead. He carefully picked up the mask and replaced it on his face.
“Did anyone else see my face?” he asked as he swept his handgun over the crowd. Everyone stared at the floor in silence. A bowed frail old man finally spoke up. He looked like he had been battling life forever and life was slowly beating him down.
He said, “I think my wife might have gotten a good look at you.”
On April 10, 1982 the Los Angeles Kings were embroiled in a playoff battle against the Edmonton Oilers. It was in the days of the Triple Crown line. It was the third game in a best-of-five series that wound up going all five games. Unpredictably the Kings completed the greatest comeback in history, going from a 5-0 deficit at the beginning of the third period only to win the game 6-5 in overtime. The Kings tied the game 5-5 with no more than 5 seconds remaining in regulation, sending the game into overtime.
About two and a half minutes into that extra period, the Kings scored and won the game. They defeated Edmonton in the series that year and advanced to the second round. It was a great day for hockey fans everywhere, except maybe in Edmonton.
Marisol was having second thoughts. She was getting worried about agreeing to this blind date her cousin, Annika, had arranged. This might really be a nightmare!
Annika really wanted to go out with Travis and Travis had scarcely believed it when she agreed to go to the dance with him, but Travis had to take his cousin along. Travis’ mother had decided that Travis’ cousin Johnny, who was new in town, needed to get out and meet people, this was her way of making it happen. Travis had asked Annika to the dance and explained the problem. It was Annika who had suggested that Marisol might be convinced to go on a blind date with Johnny.
Nobody knew what Johnny looked like. He had just moved to town, after all. He hadn’t even started at the new school yet.
When Travis, Annika, and Johnny pulled up in front of her house Marisol struggled to take a look at her date from the window but it was impossible, she couldn’t see him. Too much reflection on the car window glass. Annika ran up to the front door and crashed through the way she always did.
“Mari,” she called. “Come on, we don’t want to keep the boys waiting!” she spotted her auntie, Marisol’s mom, through the opening to the kitchen. “Hi, Aunt Donna,” she called.
“Hi Annie,” she looked at her niece and shook her head, “Does your mother know how you’re dressed? That skirt is sooooooo short!”
“Please don’t tell on me, Aunt Donna,” Annika implored.
“Go on,” Donna said, “you girls have fun, but be careful.” The girls went out the front door and walked quite elegantly and unhurriedly down to the curb.
“Johnny’s pretty nervous about meeting you,” Annika told her as they moved down the sidewalk. When they got to the curb, Annika opened the passenger side door of Travis’ mother’s Ford Taurus.
Marisol leaned down, “Hi Travis,” she said.
“Hey, Mari,” he answered back, “this is my cousin, Johnny.” Marisol swiveled her head towards the back seat to take a first look at her date.
Johnny was certainly dressed for a dance. He wore bright green trousers, with a white button down shirt. A red and green plaid sport coat with sleeves that were just ‘that much’ too short topped it off and the entire outfit was accented with a blue and black Swiss dot bow tie. He wore thick black plastic framed spectacles that he kept pushing up on his nose, and had a zit on his chin that resembled an angry volcano.
Marisol smiled, stood up where the boys couldn’t see her face and shot dagger eyes at her cousin. Then she pulled open the back door and with a sigh, climbed into the back seat with Johnny.
She sat in a chair next to Johnny, in the gym for the entire dance. He talked to her, they didn’t dance. He told her stories, they talked about music and movies. They talked about books that they both had read and enjoyed. He laughed like a donkey. Marisol realized she was having a great time. Annika and Travis disappeared and when the dance was over they were nowhere to be found. Johnny offered to walk her home and they talked the whole way. She told him some of her stupid jokes and he actually laughed. He told her jokes and she laughed. She even snorted a few times and wasn’t embarrassed when she did so.
When they got to her house he shook her hand, “I really enjoyed meeting you,” he said. “I hope I can see you again.” She rifled through her bag and found a Sharpie that she used to write her phone number on the back of his hand.
“Call me tomorrow,” she ordered.
He snorted, “Really?”
“Please,” she said. “How are you going to get home?” she asked him.
“No,” she said, “wait here.” She ran inside and when she came back out her mom was with her, she looked a little sleepy and was jangling her car keys.
“Me and Mom will give you a ride.” Marisol told him.
“Mom and I,” Johnny corrected her.
Mom took the driver’s seat and Marisol sat in the back with Johnny. They told each other stories and jokes, snorting at all the appropriate places. Mom watched in the rearview mirror and smiled.
At PD, the boat pitched and rolled violently, “Quartermaster, do you have a fix?”
“Very well, make your depth 400 feet, 5 degree down bubble.”
“400 feet aye – make your depth 400 feet, maintain 5 degrees.”
“Seas are rising, last look shows, hmmm, I’ll call it ‘state 6’ let’s go under this. It’s getting ugly. Down scope.”
The movement of the ship lessened slightly as we went deeper, below the storm. I picked up my coffee and moved aft through upper level ops. I took the ladder outside ESM down to the crews mess, refilled my cup and sat down. I watched Beast and Uncle Jerry play a few hands of hearts and felt the boat level off at 400’.
For the next three days we stayed deep, only sneaking back to the turbulence of periscope depth in order to catch the periodic broadcast. We waited for the weather to abate. There was no surface traffic to speak of, no sonar contacts, the seas were too heavy.
The first line is written
It’s almost done, and only:
Knit one, purl two; see
Poetry’s like knitting, or
Being an oyster
Confined in this flower pot
My roots – constricted