Artie and Paul played chess in the cafeteria of “the old folks home” every Sunday afternoon.
“I got the pieces set up this time. Prepare to lose, you old bastard.” Paul chuckled as he ominously fingered one of the clear glass pawns.
“You prepare to lose you son of a bitch. You don’t even know how the game is played.” Artie insisted in always having the white pieces. They made him feel more virtuous somehow.
“I’ll get you now.” Paul moved his hand to one of his knights and jumped three squares forward.
Artie countered by having his right hand castle switch places with the pawn directly ahead and then moved it diagonally across the board.
Before the game was over, they’d attracted the usual crowd. Artie and Paul had never learned to play chess, but they were so much fun to watch. The “rules” they used to play by were never the same twice.
Written for Sunday Photo Fiction – June 11th 2017. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 155.
I saw the chess pieces set up and ready for play and had two thoughts. The first was the short Simon and Garfunkle song Old Friends (YouTube video). I got a very clear image of two old men, friends for decades, playing a game together complete with friendly jibes and the warmth of deep familiarity.
I also recalled a piece of trivia about the 2000 film X-Men. Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Eric Lensherr/Magneto (Ian McKellen) were supposed to have a scene together where they played chess, but initially neither of them knew how. A chess master had to be hired to teach them.
As I was writing, I also thought of the “Calvin and Hobbes” game Calvinball, a game where the rules are made up moment by moment. In real life, it would be incredibly difficult to accomplish, but in fiction, it’s a lot of fun.
To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.