Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Moods are for cattle and for loveplay

Bookstore 3rd floor is chock full of chess wizards right now. A little warm weather, and presto! In they come, ordering pizzas from Dominos, arguing Fischer-ian strategy, bombing and strafing the bathroom with hideous regularity, complaining about upstairs smokers or is that smell cat pee I'm allergic to it and how the coffee tastes, weirding out shoppers and chowing on chex mix like they invented the damn stuff. You already know Frank Sinatra and Mr. Macrame AKA Dr. Shift Killer. Chess wizards of note you haven't yet been introduced to:

1) The 12 or 13 year old kid whose Mom waits for him in a parked car up the street, who only stays for a few hours but looks all sulky and depressed and teenager-y when it's time to leave. The Mom never comes in. Reports that this is due to the fact that she is terrified of knowing anything at all about her son's regular Wednesday night social set are uncomfirmed at this time.

2) Shouting Filipino Guy #1. Yes, there were two of them, but one doesn't show up anymore. Hard of hearing, once heard to bark "was that move legal?" at the sulky teenager, often doesn't play a match but sits observing others, nodding sagely or randomly chopping at the air after any move that seems disagreeable to him. Creepy factor: incredibly high. Only one is creepier:

3) The Wizard of Iowa. He always wears a U of Iowa sweatshirt and vaguely looks like Richard Harris with a serious crank habit and strong aversion to bath water. Spends a lot of time in the Sex section, thumbing tomes that make our imaginations shudder. Doesn't say much of anything, except a few weeks ago. Asked us if we had a "research problem" when we were working alone in the basement one night. Utter stupefication and Lovecraft-grade horror on our part. Man, we got out of there fast.

3) Dear John. So named because, according to sources, he has about eight of those letters in his past that he has obsessively lamented about to various co-workers. A fountain of nicotine-fueled board rage (AKA famous for arguing with other players), he spends most of the chess night outside, where he has been banished to smoke by:

4) Softee the Head Chess Wizard. The organizer and keeper of the chess equipment (a new steaming new batch of which arrived via US Mail today, mystifying Myopic associates temporarily), bringer of the chex, bearer of a mighty beard, and ultimate trafficker in the kind of middle-age male post-hippie gentleness and patience seemingly required in heading up a bunch of yoo-hoos who meet once a week to play the world's oldest game (after wang-dang-doodle and Hamlet on the Holodeck, natch) and hold grudges against one another that defy the understanding of mere mortals such as ourselves.

5) That Poor Girl. There's always a different one every Wednesday, innocently going up to the third floor to peruse...forever she will be haunted by the sad, depressing melange of chess weirdness she encounters on the way to the Mythology section. Down the stairs and past us at the store's front counter and out the door she inevitably hurries, never to return.

Here comes another pizza! Just in time...Mr. Macrame just ambled in. Chess night continues....





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4 comments:

sweetsloth said...

snappy new phrase to add to the bookstore lexicon: Chess Bitch ... personally, i can't wait for the "croquet bitch" confessional autobiography flood to start ... Question: why is it that chess in Europe is glam enough to to attract , er, bevies of chess bitches while in the US of A it's a well known fact that most chess people are borderline or actually homeless? i picked this dude up who was wandering in the middle of a busy intersection the other day, dressed more or less like a bum (long jacket with pockets inside out on a sunny, 85 degree day) ... what the hell was trying to do? hitch a ride to the local chess match at books-a-million, of course. he was a kind but clearly disturbed man, and handed me some Latter Day Saints newsletters on the way out.

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