Time to Settle Accounts
January 5, 2012: Kings and queens.
It was chess night at Myopic Books on Milwaukee Ave., and along with the usual mix of men was a woman. She wore a red coat and had smooth black hair that ran just past her shoulders, and she smiled with her eyes and sat gripped by the gamesmanship, flow, strategy, and chatter. No one spoke directly to her – the chess players treat non-players as something between furniture and audience members, sometimes using these sets of open ears as receptacles for their chess pontifications, but tonight they seemed startled by the presence of a beautiful feminine face.
One of the regulars – a man with grey, curly hair that flopped atop his head – showed up late and was struck by their female guest. “A woman,” he stated to the group as he removed his coat and sat down. “This should be interesting.” She smiled sheepishly. “You see,” he continued, more to the group than to her, “the best chess players tend to be heterosexual nerds.”
“What do you like more,” said another curly haired regular, this one a plump red head, “women or chess?”
“I always go after chess first,” said the grey haired man.
“Women,” said the red head. “Though last month I brought this woman out for a chess night. We played. Her technique…” he said, laughing. He then grew more serious. “We broke up.”
“Chess is chess,” said a bald headed man, rather cryptically.
The woman stayed for the evening, but when the 10:30 close-up time was approaching, she was nowhere to be seen. The bald headed man was packing up his set. “You know,” said the grey haired man, approaching him, “she was all right.”
“Yeah?” said the bald headed man.
“And I’ll tell you what else,” said the grey haired man. “I think she liked you the most.”
The bald headed man laughed.
“Listen to me,” said the grey haired man. “You could have gotten her. She liked you the most and me the second most.”
“Who did she like the least?” laughed the bald man.
The grey haired man was not laughing. “You’re not listening. Trust me. You the most. Me the second most.”
“I’m still here,” said a sweet female voice from behind a book shelf. Everyone froze. She walked out from behind the shelf, holding a book and smiling.
“Thank you for not cracking me over the head with that,” said the grey haired man.
She smiled. “No, it was cute.”
“Women,” said the grey haired man, dumbfounded.
NEXT: Whatever they be. (1.6.12)
PREVIOUS: Negotiating. (1.4.12)
On this date, 2011: Just a number?