The Chess King and His Queen
'That kid's the Chess King', they use to say about my Big Brother. A bit of a fanatic, he used to take his daily run around the ballpark, shouting out to the birds, his lightning strike chess moves. In Classical Greek. "No point giving the plotters a chance", he said. "Ruthless is the name of the game, Kiddo". When our family Doctor, Señor Wight checked my brother out, routine stuff, my Brother said, 'Chess King', and that was that. "I don't need words. Maybe a few now and then." And he took off around the cinder track Circles, "then you Strike". Because he was the 'Golden Boy', the Anointed One in our family, he condescended to train me into the Game. "You mean, have a go at You," I said? " "Hell's bells, Kid, it's the only Game in this dump of a town." He was a good teacher, and tough. Once, he did give me a hug. After trouncing me, even before I managed to nudge a few pawns forward. Finally, that day. New Year's Eve. We were catching up with the Old Year, nothing much going on, pretty much a waste of time. But, we were down to the wire. I had been practising and plotting like crazy, on the sly. And wearing my good luck Hat my mother brought back from Florence on one of her flying visits. She was into more than hats. Raised eyebrows from my Father. 'I don't have any words to add to anything in particular,' he said. And went back to his Greek newspaper, airmailed Aeroporikós. Turning the pages slowly, andante, as he did very night of the year, even on New Year's Eve. "I'm a Big Reader", he said A speedo Harry Houdini sleight-of-hand, and I was about to strike. And take my Brother's Lady. When just as quick and quicker, my Brother, in his eyes the 'hawk on fire', snatched up his Lady Queen, sent the chess board flying. And he went after it, sailing right out of the window. After I thought and thought and thought about it, I guessed this was our final End Game. And I can't still figure out who was being checkmated. Years later down the track, more than I have forgotten to remember, my brother the Chess King literally paid a flying visit. One of those mornings. New Year's Day it was, arranged by our Angel of the Golden Weather. I was out for my usual half-Marathon training run. And out of the corner of my right eye, the Flying Nuns from the Convent of Angelic Sisters. In their immaculate billowing habits and flying hair, let loose for just for this flying occasion. On the playground swings, soaring out and up to Heaven, and back. Singing in impeccable harmony a Pater Noster. And just then, in one of his lightening moves, my Big Brother out of nowhere, appeared. Dressed in black and red from top to bottom. And look I said to myself, here he is. Still wordless, but with a warm rainbow smile. Holding out in the palm of his left hand, his Lady Queen.