Sunday, April 29, 2007


by Silvan Carlson-Goodman

I call red.



And gray is mine.

Hey, you guys are playing again? I’m in, what colors are left?


Awww, I always get stuck with yellow.

The box was opened and the board laid out. The five tacticians grabbed for their color of choice and clicked open the plastic cases. The tiny plastic battle-ready men were scattered onto the table and quickly sorted into groups. Territories were rapidly claimed as people’s accents adapted to fit the countries they had chosen. Outbursts of crikey could be heard from down under as requests for tea and crumpets came from across the pond. All the fun came to a screeching halt, however, when the Argentinean ruler broke out in a rousing rendition of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”

At this point people were generally weirded out, so they decided to actually start the game.

The dice said that yellow would start, it was on. The voices of the generals boomed over the battlefield like cannons.

What? No, you can’t move those there! You can only move to adjacent spaces!

Says you, I can move these wherever I want.

Hey, as long as you are up could you grab me a soda?

Get your own soda, this blast of cool refreshing flavor is mine.

Hey, I’ll trade you Egypt for Ukraine.


Because Ukraine is Ukrazy.

I don’t know if I should laugh or punch you for that.

I’m not really sure either.

Uh, why are you putting all your units right next to my territories?

Just as a precaution. Why are you putting all your units next to my territories?

Oh just a precaution... your turn.
Random chat wasn’t the only thing flying around. The trash talk was quite intense.

So, thought you could defend Siam eh? Well guess again, it’s mine!

Yeah? Well you’re a poopy pants.

Tiny monochromatic blood was spilled everywhere as confrontation consumed the earth. Green attacked Red, Red attacked Gray, Gray attacked Blue, and everyone attacked Yellow. The other boys had surrounded Yellows lone base of operations in Russia and were quick to discipline him anytime he tried to fight back. Of course, I don’t need to tell you that Yellow was screwed. In fact, he knew this too, and his frustration was clearly demonstrated in how angrily he sent the board flying across the room. Yellow stormed off, leaving the other four players stunned.

Soooooo, new game?

I call red.



And gray is mine.

Hey, you guys are playing again? I’m in, what colors are left?


* * * * *

And that’s how it went. The five boys played their games all day, and the day before that and the day before that. They had been playing their games for as long as they could remember.

I brought the chips.” They took turns bringing the snacks, but, since their tastes differed so much, most of the meal was eaten by the same person that brought it.

Put them on the table, we’re going to get started as soon as everyone gets here. Oh there’s the door, that’s probably them.” Green walked in to the room he knew so well. He sat down next to Blue who was rubbing his hands together maniacally while he stared at the box.

I wonder who will win this time? Oh wait, I already know who, Me!

Green just rolled his eyes as Yellow walked in looking exasperated.

Let’s just play this time, ok? Cut down on the trash talk.

Gray stepped back into the room and started munching on the sour cream and onion potato chips.

Eyuch, can’t you just get something normal for once?” He didn’t actually care for an answer and kept eating the chips.

Have you guys heard what’s going on with Joe and Ashley?” Some mild chuckling started, everyone was in on the joke.
Hey Yellow, didn’t you used to have a thing for Ashley?” They stared intently at Yellow awaiting a response with big grins plastered on their faces. Yellow averted his attention and started setting up the board: “Are we going to play or what?
All the other guys snickered knowingly at each other until Gray got up the courage to antagonize the beast further.

You know, I may be wrong but I seem to remember a secret stash of poetry from a certain someone to a certain someone named Ashley.

If you had a device for measuring objects colliding with wind generating electronics then you would know that this was the exact moment when the shit hit the fan. You could practically feel the rage emanating from Yellow’s body as he leapt across the table grabbing Gray by the neck and shouting into his face.

Shut up! Shut up! You are never to mention that bitches name again, you hear me? That goes for all of you....” Silence. “You hear me!?” The boys quickly responded with sheepish agreements.


You bet.

Oh yeah!

Yellow slid back across the table and into his seat; he picked the board and pieces off the floor where he had just knocked them and returned to setting the game up. While the other guys tried, unsuccessfully, to keep from laughing.

So when is red showing up? It isn’t like him to be late.

Oh, he’s probably just too scared to show up cause he knows who’s going to win.

Oh will you drop it already?” The phone rang “Oh that’s probably him now” Gray jumped up and bounded out of the room doing the classic “the phone is ringing and it is just far enough away to warrant jogging” walk. A minute later Gray walked back into the room looking dumbstruck and half sat, half collapsed into the nearest chair. All the heads in the room turned to him.

And? When is he coming?

“He’s... he’s not...” How was Gray supposed to tell them that Red wasn’t coming, ever again. Red had had a meeting, and when a body meets a solid metal body coming through the crosswalk it rarely ends well for the body in question. “...that’s what happened.” Denial set in.

He’ll be ok though right?” No one needed to say anything; silence was the only answer required to explain the severity of the situation. The lack of noise didn’t go away; they sat, stewing in the quiet as they all mulled it over in their heads. Slowly turning from anger to sadness to shock and back to anger, none of them knew how to feel. Every now and then someone would try and speak, getting out a--


--Or a--


--before trailing back off into silence. Green stood up, slowly picked up his bag, and walked out the door. Minutes later he was followed by Blue and then Yellow, leaving Gray alone in his house. Gray still sat there, taking a break to make himself a sandwich, greet his parents, and then go to sleep early. In the following days the silence slowly broke. A greeting here and a “are you going to eat that” there turned back into their usual joking and raucous behavior. And they still got together every day to play; their ritual didn’t really change except for the red pieces set up next to an empty chair.

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