Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Toy Leopard

A vaguely exciting thing had happened to him en route to the chess club; he found a plastic animal on the street. He supposed it wasn't all that exciting, even deeming it vaguely so was likely an exaggeration. Yet still it inspired some kind of weird enthusiasm within him. He had little else to excite or inspire him these days it seemed; he was constantly arguing with his girlfriend and his job was at a dead end. His soul was almost surely deceased. And so he had to grasp at these moments of meaning and inspiration wherever he found them, no matter how irrelevant or inane they seemed. The thing he found was made from plastic moulded to resemble a leopard, he could not specify exactly how the thing inspired him and yet it did so he lifted it from the damp December pavement and hid it in the pocket of his parka. And continued on his way to the chess club meeting which was held at the university.
It being the end of term the club was understandably quiet. A trio of young men occupied one large table, one spectating as the others engaged in a frantic blitz battle. Present at the other table were the club president, captain and a couple of the stronger players in the team, all of whom were engaged in a heated analysis of a recent team match game.

He took a seat at the table with the three young men and set up a board with the guy who had been spectating the game of the other two, a lean and neurotic looking Scandinavian guy with watery eyes. They shook hands and he played 1.e4 which was met by c5 and after Nf3 followed by Nc6 they entered the main lines of the Sicilian defence.
Something was distracting him and this thing was the presence of an elderly lady sitting in the corner of the room, attending to her knitting. He asked his opponent who muttered about it being 'someone or other's mother' or words to that effect, he couldn't quite make the guy out, this guy being known for his habit of whispering meekly. With this distraction combined with his generally weary state of mind, he gradually entered a hopelessly lost position within an unknown variation. Without thinking too much about what he was doing, he reached into his pocket and nonchalantly dropped the plastic leopard onto the middle of the chess board. An apprehensive silence ensued by all who beheld this bizarre spectacle.

The old lady knitting grimaced and shook her head. The club captain sneered and averted his eyes. The club president looked totally aghast. The two guys playing next to them had ceased play and were marvelling at the wee plastic leopard poised in the middle of plastic rooks and pawns.

He stood up, an inane grin spread across his chapped and slack lips. Then, to the bemusement and disgust of all present, he exited the room in the manner of a professional wrestler.

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