The Games We Play (Part 1)
Everyone knows the power of words. They can be the catalyst for a new idea; they can topple governments. The stories woven by such little things can come to define all who touch it. Words and stories are the lifeblood of the human experience.
What then about the games we play? Aren’t they also just as far-reaching, but on a smaller scale? What would happen should games take on the same life as the stories we tell?
“I had no idea you were allowed to be in a place like this, Truxton,” spoke the giant Mr. Tomar. He eyed the smaller man in the bright red polo shirt, waiting for the infamous Petyr Truxton to make his move against his former partner-in-crime.
“Ah, Mr. Tomar! Did you really think I’d sit this race out?” Though only suspected by law enforcement, Truxton was known to be a fixer, a man who easily knew how to cheat the system for personal gain. If it were not for Truxton’s penchant for sabotaging the efforts of others, Mr. Tomar would still have Truxton under his employ.
“I thought you stayed away from races. Don’t you find them to be a bit unpredictable?” Mr. Tomar knew just how to taunt Truxton without letting the smaller man think that he was about to divulge secrets.
“But you know how much I love stacking the deck at the Mille Bornes! See that red car? Its about to get a flat tire. Easily repairable, but frustrating none-the-less. That blue car? An accident is waiting just around the corner. It doesn’t look good. The green car should win in about five minutes… but you’re not here to talk races.”
“No, I’m not, Trux—“
“Please. Call me Petyr. We’ve known each other long enough. How can I help you?” To demonstrate his civility, Mr. Tomar removed his blue sports coat and draped it over his former employee’s seat.
“Fine. I need to perform a con. I have information that The Key will be presented to the winner of Drago’s Tourney. The poor bastard doesn’t even know what it is! What luck! It should be a cinch for you to get it.” Tomar paused to gauge Petyr’s reaction. He never quite knew where his companion’s thoughts would turn towards. He was sneaky in that way.
“Did you know that if you time it well enough, when a racer runs out of gas it doesn’t look like sabotage?” Petyr said this calmly and waited to see if Tomar understood the game that his smaller-statured friend was playing.
“You’ve never believed in what the symbol of The Key represents. It is a tool of power! Whole governments would defer to the man who held this symbol.” Clearly, Tomar did not understand. “With your help, I intend to steal it. Petyr, you’ll be handsomely rewarded.”
Tomar apparently thinks that bribes work with me. He must think that whenever things didn’t go our way that I came out of it unscathed because I took money from the right people. I don’t work that way. I have morals.
“I know you’re asking yourself this, so let me lay it out for you,” said Tomar. “I know everything about what is necessary to steal The Key from Drago, but I don’t have the invitation. You and Two-Jay have standing invitations to his games. Apparently you two are quite popular over there.” Tomar laughed, not realizing what this revealed, as though unbelieving that anyone would want either Petyr or Two-Jay’s appearance at such games. Those cheats! This time he silently chuckled. “Either we’ll steal it or one of you two will win it. It doesn’t matter to me as long as I have it.”
Petyr sighed. A game was already in motion and he would not let Tomar get in the way. It was just about time for that accident…
As if on cue, Two-Jay stepped up to both men in his favorite green blazer. He smiled at Truxton and gave Tomar a strong handshake. The crowd roared as the green car sped its way to the finish line. Petyr Truxton was now $20,000 richer.
“Yo, chimpy, analyze this!” Though heard by Truxton and Tomar, the crowd continued its roar and drowned out Two-Jay’s shout.
Is that really the last thing I’m supposed to hear? thought Truxton. No matter. I’ve still won. Truxton calmly and briefly smiled.
Two-Jay took out his 9mm silencer and shot the two con men. They collapsed and Two-Jay walked out of the stadium unscathed.
There was still much work left for him to accomplish before it was time for him to win the game and acquire The Key.
With great glee Al looked about the board, knowing victory was imminent. He tried to conceal his emotions from Gary since he knew that Gary was a master who very easily could turn the tables on his mischievous self. Despite this fact, nothing could stop Al’s curling grin.
Gary looked dumbfounded at Al, not quite understanding his friend’s apparent dementia.
“Al, you fool! This isn’t chess. We’re playing Parcheesi. Now hurry up and make your move.”
“Oh, ye of little faith,” replied Al as he moved his first piece three spaces and his second piece five spaces, knocking Gary’s piece back to start. “Now I can move twenty spaces, right?” Al, of course, only said this to take a jab at his buddy. He then began moving his second piece along the board.
One, two… eight, nine… fourteen, fifteen…
“Sixteen,” said Al to emphasize the inevitable. “Seventeen… eighteen… nineteen…” Gary’s eyes had grown wide with sudden realization. “Twenty!”
Another one of Gary’s pieces was sent to start, and Al once more could move twenty more.
“You scum-bucket! You’ll pay for that.” Al, however, was not impressed with Gary’s declaration of war.
I may actually win, thought Al. And if I do win, I’ll get The Key!
Al moved his first piece twenty spaces and got that piece to the goal. Upon reaching the goal, his other piece was allowed to move ten more spaces.
“Geez, you weren’t kidding when you said check.” Gary was astonished at Al’s good fortune and shuddered at the thought of what a check mate would have looked like. It’s my turn to win, thought Gary. I must, for the Free World! Finally, it was Gary’s turn. He rolled two fives.
“See, your luck is changing.” With these two fives Gary was able to bring two pieces from his starting position.
Gary, feeling slightly better for himself, said, “Just you wait, clowny. You’ll be sorry.”
Suddenly they remembered the third person playing, Two-Jay, The Despised One, who was so close to winning yet could not seem to pull it off. For the past eight turns Two-Jay needed to roll a one to bring his last piece to the goal (exact numbers were needed) and be declared Supreme Commander. He had rolled every number but one, and to make things worse both Al and Gary had flaunted the ones that they had rolled.
With his frustration steadily growing, Two-Jay rolled the first die: three. It was a useless number since he already had three of his four pieces at the goal. He could hear the snickers as he rolled the other die: three. The other two baboons laughed uproariously, but they did not remember.
Two-Jay had rolled doubles.
“Doublets!” Gary could not help his shout. Doublets had become a sort of wary cry for him. Two-Jay was allowed to roll his two dice again.
With much gusto Two-Jay rolled the two dice, hoping that this next roll would be the roll home.
“Two ones, suckas!”
With The Key in hand, Two-Jay felt as though the path ahead of him had opened up unto a kind of glory. The world is mine and I will gain a kind of immortality. Two-Jay had trouble brushing off this thought, knowing that it was a fallacy of the human condition that had led his mind to such thinking. Should it actually be of any worth, he knew that The Key would have to be hidden away.
“Young Two-Jay,” said Gary, “you may want to hurry home with that key. The darkness can be all encompassing.”