Chess Master at the Gates

 

Agent M is a secret agent who worked as a spy for the Organization. The Organization may have been a delusion that Macy (which was her real name) invented to give her life meaning.

Chess Master is a chess genius who used to play professionally, until he dropped out of the chess circuit.

One day Chess Master opened his computer and found the following provocative message:

Greetings from the Organization:
Would you like to join us? We have all kinds of perks and benefits for you if you join. Membership is free.

Chess Master’s first line of defense against the Organization was to tell them he would never join them, even if he was forced to suffer some horrible fate as a result of his disobedience.

The reply from the Organization was short, it read only: Time, consider the Time.

Chess Master had a lot of free time on his hands. He listened to the news on TV, Radio, or Internet. He was obsessed with the news, because he believed an understanding of the news would help to predict the future.

He had been working on a hand carved chess set for a number of years. He started making the chess set with the idea to sell it,  but he had grown attached to it, and no one seemed to want to buy it.

The dark brown wooden pieces started out as traditional, but soon took on a life of their own. They would morph into animals and speak to him, keeping him company in his dreary hours of solitude.

One Tower, in particular, took on the shape of a brown bear, and gave him advice and counsel. He named the piece Little Bear. Little Bear told him, as the various news events unfolded, he would become famous and important.

This was before the unsettling event, in which he discovered a red parboiled octopus in his bed. While sleeping he felt his hand touch something clammy.  He awoke to find this hideous thing had been placed in his bed while he was sleeping.  He had no idea how the Organization had done it.

He emailed the Organization the next day with the following:

I have received your gift of a parboiled octopus, however, I do not want the thing and must decline. Tell me how you managed to get it into my bed. I was most impressed.

He believed flattering the Organization would make them reveal some information, since they do like to brag, being a grandiose composite being.

The Organization replied back:
We have sent no octopus. Surely you are touched in the head, to suggest that We the Great and Powerful Organization would stoop to a Mafioso style terror technique. We question the whole octopus story.  Surely, you must have meant a horse’s head.

And if this was not bad enough, the following evening, while taking photos of the sunset off of Pier 39, he only set his bag down for a minute, and when he picked it up, it felt heavier then before. He reached inside, and once again, touched, a horrible, hideous, parboiled octopus. So great was his alarm, that he abandoned the entire bag, and fled the scene.

It was later, while on Muni going back home, he realized that he had left some rolls of un-developed film in that bag. He went back, but naturally, the bag was gone. Only something very small could have placed the octopus in his bag, while avoiding his line of sight, like a Leprechaun. This was so troubling he did not bother to email the Organization. He just accepted the loss of the bag.  These encounters cause Chess Master to feel more passive and lose much of his resolve about not joining the Organization.

Chess Master at the Gates
February 2005

There was an exhibit in New York City’s Central Park called “Gates”.  The art installation consisted of  miles of orange fabric hanging from orange gates. The exhibit ran from February 12, 2005 through February 27, 2005. Little Bear became obsessed with the idea, that Chess Master should fly to Central Park, and walk the length of the Gates and, wait for something important to occur.

Little Bear nagged him about the idea. He must go soon or it would be too late.  The exhibit would soon be over. However, some of the other chess pieces advised him to just stay home and forget it. He spent days considering his options, but Little Bear’s argument soon dominated the other pieces on the board.

Thrusting Little Bear into the pocket of his coat, and packing one small suitcase, he took Bart to SFO. Buying a one way ticket to New York, he was soon at the security check point.

The x-ray scan showed something organic, and oddly shaped in his suitcase. Security opened his suitcase, and found a parboiled octopus. This in itself was not a crime, but no perishable foods were allowed without being declared, and the octopus was dripping all over his clothes. It was a vile, disgusting thing, and he had no idea how it got inside his suitcase. But, he was no longer surprised by the appearance of a parboiled octopus. He told security he would be happy to abandon the suitcase, but they removed the foul creature, and sent him on his way. When he reached JFK, he did not bother to even claim his suitcase, since he no longer wanted it, or the ruined clothes, inside.

He caught a cab straight to Central Park and began to walk the miles of orange gates, however, it soon began to rain. The storm grew worse, but Little Bear encouraged him. He must not give up, Little Bear said, from inside his pocket. He was about to become famous and important.

When he reached the final gate, he stood and waited for something to happen. He was struck by lightning and rendered unconscious. When he came to, he was uninjured, but his wallet had been stolen, and it was cold, dark, and still raining.

Little Bear was still in his pocket, but had ceased speaking to him, and a great depression filled his soul.

There was only one thing he to do, call his parents. So, he made his way to a pay phone and called his parents. They send him, a ticket back to San Francisco, which he picked up at the airport.

When he got back to his house, some of the chess pieces were angry and shouted at him.

“See we told you not to go, and leave us alone, look what happened,” screamed a Queen.

“Maybe God was punishing you for blasphemy?” suggested the King.

“Never leave us again,” they all shouted.

Little Bear was silent, so Chess master took him out of his pocket and put him back on the board.

The next day was Valentine’s Day, and a special delivery package was left at his door, which contained, a parboiled octopus.

parboild-octopus

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