[A short story for you, inspired by an observation from retired World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov. — FWP]
“We’re not getting anywhere,” Percy growled.
“Did you expect to?” I said. “I’d say that was rather the point.”
“But why? “Don’t they have as much to lose from this as the rest of us?”
“Apparently they don’t think so.” I mused. “Their lives don’t hold a lot of hope, you know.”
“What are you saying?” Percy would have shaken his head in disbelief, were he able. Battlefield conversations always bring out the rebel in him. “They have enormous possibilities. Things our sort could never even hope for.”
“It’s the nature of the business,” I said. “Maybe of all of existence. ‘My station and its duties,’ as Hegel put it. For as long as we tolerate the status quo, we’re locked into ours and they’re locked into theirs. The only prospect for changing anything about this madness is to overturn it all—to sweep the board clean and hope that a fresh start might bring better prospects.”
Percy snorted and hopped to D5. “Fischer and his lunacies. The design is what it is and they should bloody well accept it.”
I stepped gingerly over to D4 and replied sotto voce. “It’s a lot easier for nobles to do that than for commoners.”
Percy acted as if he hadn’t heard. “If they don’t accept it, what will become of us, Lance? Just to lie in the sack perpetually, sucking our gums and reminiscing about our glory days?”
I nodded as best I could. “It’s a dismal prospect, but we already spend most of our lives that way. That, too, is the nature of the business. Ninety-nine percent boredom and indolence, one percent bloodlust and slaughter.”
He looked back over his shoulder for the uncountableth time. “It pisses me off, Lance.” He sauntered morosely to B6. “I want to break it, but…”
“I know,” I said as gently as I could at that distance. “You know I’ve tried.”
“Yeah,” he muttered. “That jaunt of yours to C6 was…”
“At least that.”
“But they didn’t budge.”
“I didn’t expect them to.”
“So it didn’t do any good, then.”
“Seems it didn’t.” I stroked Hengeron’s mane.
Percy eyed his own mount. “Did you fear for him?”
“Not especially.” I cantered over to B3. “If they won’t act against us, why think they might harm our steeds?”
“Yeah,” he said. “Good point.” He jumped to C4. “How much longer can it go on, Lance?”
“Not ours to know.” I eased past him and settled on C5.
He glowered once more at the unmoving pawns. “I’m getting pissed, frankly.”
“I wouldn’t do anything rash, Percy,” I said. “Art and Mordred are still trying to negotiate.”
“I know, but this pointless maneuvering…”
“Hang in there, brother,” I said. “We’re the lucky ones. We’re still in the game and free to charge about, aren’t we?”
“There is that,” he said. “Where to next?”
“ I was thinking, maybe D3. How about you?”
“E3, just to watch their faces fall apart,” he said. “Maybe give Artie a wake-up call.”
“Let’s do it in tandem. One! Two! Three!”
Copyright © 2023 Francis W. Porretto. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.