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Lords and Ladies

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“I hate this game.” Frannie scowled at the chessboard. “What's wrong with checkers?”

 

“It's not much of a challenge,” Elaine said, “not when you get the hang of it.”

 

“Yeah, but I can win at checkers.”

 

“That's the point. I've seen you play checkers. You beat the guys every time. And they all hate it, and go, 'oh, I let you win,' or 'you cheated,' or 'I'm tired.' Reckon they'll hate it more when you start beating them at chess.”

 

“As if.”

 

“Seriously. I'm not brilliant, but I reckon you'll be good at it, if you give it a chance.”

 

“I'm not that smart.”

 

“Hey, you're plenty smart.”

 

Frannie glanced a surprised smile at Elaine. “Really? You think?”

 

“Yeah, I think. You just put yourself down. Anyway, this game... just think of it like... the pieces are people. You know, lords and ladies. And they've got these rules, but they're having a conversation with each other. So, when the queen does this...” Elaine scooted her queen down to the seventh rank, where she was supported by a rook, and pinned Frannie's king on the back row. “That's called the 'kiss of death.' 'Cause the king's trapped, and can't get away.”

 

“Shit,” Frannie said, startled. “How did that happen?”

 

“Well, you shouldn't have moved your bishop...”

 

Suddenly Frannie laughed. “Yeah? You shouldn't have done that kiss of death thingy. Not yet, anyway.” Triumphantly she swung her knight from the corner and took Elaine's queen. Elaine stared for a moment, raised her eyebrows, then grinned.

 

“See? I said that you'd be good.”