|Chapter 1 : October 14
Lexington, the gargoyle, loved cold rains in October.
Chapter 2 : October 16
Two nights ago, some Quarrymen, the newer replacements
of the Hunters, had nearly shot him. Lex would never get used to these
"Not for long, gargoyles!" came a nasty reply from an unfamiliar voice at the back of the alley.
Four Quarrymen surrounded the gargoyles in the alley,
dressed in their dark blue hoods. Instead of electrically charged hammers,
their usual weapons, all were carrying guns.
Chapter 3 :October 15
Paul Marsden hurried home.
Chapter 4: The Game
Lex_G> Hi, there. I'm Lex_G. Who are you?
Pauli> Just call me Pauli.
Lex_G> Why Pauli?
Pauli> I just like it. How did you choose your handle?
Lex_G> It's what I am.
Pauli> Lex the Gardener? J
Lex _G> Nope. But, it's a good start. J
"Knight to King's Bishop 3," announced Paul Marsden clicked with his mouse before writing it down in his notebook. After he penciled in the notation 1. N-KB3, he chewed on the eraser. Paul decided to try another approach and typed another message to his online opponent.
Pauli> So, how long you played chess, Lex_G?
Lex_G> Quite a while. I learned it from my elders…
The computer screen showed the black Queen's pawn
move from square 2 to 3.
Pauli> Good for you. I learned mine from books.
Lex_G> You read a lot?
Pauli> Yeah. I like to read about legends and folklore. Especially folklore. I found a new site, castlesontheweb.com that I'm reading now.
Lex_G> Really? What you reading about now?
Pauli> Oh, just some legends about Scottish castles. There's one that's quite interesting, Castle Wyvern.
Lex_G> Really, what's so interesting?
Pauli> Legends have it that it was a castle guarded by gargoyles that awoke at night and slept during the day. The gargoyles were fearsome warriors, capable of frightening trained warriors into jelly.
Lex_G> That's an exag…interesting viewpoint. You could say that I've heard about that legend also.
Pauli> You have?
Lex_G> Let's just say that I heard the gargoyles were just good warriors who could hold their own with any human.
Pauli> Yes, Lex, but people love legends that frighten them. Some just love to hear vicarious tales to chill their blood.
Paul moved his mouse, clicking the white King's pawn to move from square 2 to 3.
Pauli> So, where do you live?
Lex_G> NYC. And you?
Pauli> Dallas, Texas. So, you live in NYC. Have you heard about the gargoyles?
Lex_G> Who hasn't?
Pauli> Well, what do you think about them?
Lex_G> I personally think that everyone's blowing them out of proportion. They haven't hurt anyone.
Pauli> I still think it's a bunch of bull. Someone's trying to pull another publicity stunt, only this time instead of a giant fire-breathing lizard, they're having people dressed as gargoyles.
Lex_G> A fire-breathing lizard?
Pauli> You never saw Godzilla?
Lex_G> No. Is it a television program?
The computer screen changed, showing that a black
Knight moved to Queen's Bishop 3.
Pauli> (laughs) It's really a movie. Japanese filmmakers
made the first one and many other sequels, but some American company decided
to try their hands at a remake.
Pauli> I dunno. I think I just liked how the Japanese made Godzilla seem human for a monster.
Lex_G> What would you do if a gargoyle came up and wanted to talk to you?
Pauli> Idon't know, Lex. I'd guess I'd be scared at first.
Pauli> Well, I've never liked people bigger than me. Reminds me too much of the bullies that I knew in school. But if it meant no harm, I would probably listen. I know what it's like to be judged.
Marsden moved his Queen's knight to Queen bishop's 3.
Lex_G> How come?
Pauli> Just because when I was growing up, I first went to a prep school. I stuck out because I was the middle class kid among the rich snobs. And boy, did they rub it in.
Lex_G> Sounds rough.
Pauli> It was. But, I survived.
Lex_G> To be teased unmercifully… Did you have any friends?
Pauli> Only one. But they picked on him and he left
for another school.(Paul changed the subject to get away from his painful
memories.)Funny you should mention about gargoyles, because just this afternoon
I was thinking about something.
Lex_G> And that means?
Pauli> Well, if these gargoyles have this appearance, maybe I should conquer my fear and hear what he has to say. Maybe he's not so different from me on the inside.
Paul saw the screen change. The black bishop had
moved to King's
Pauli> Going for the kill, already?
Lex_G> You shouldn't have left it alone.
Pauli> Sage advice. So, what do you do?
Lex_G> As in work?
Pauli> Well, that's usually what's meant when someone asks the question. You should be a lawyer.
Lex_G> Well, it's a little hard to explain… but I think you could say I'm building security.
Marsden felt glad by the exchange, moving his King's bishop to King 2. He winced as he knew that he would be sacrificing a knight for a bishop, a lousy trade.
Pauli> Which building?
Lex_G swooped on the white Knight with his bishop. Paul countered with his King Knight's pawn, capturing the bishop.
Lex_G> The Eyrie building.
Pauli> The one that what's his name…
Lex_G> David Xanatos.
Pauli> Yeah, that's the name. David Xanatos owns that building, doesn't he? Thanks, Lex. That's the building that been in the news a lot lately.
Lex_G> Yeah, too many times for me to count! Do you know that it's the tallest building in Manhattan?
Pauli> You work in that building? Must be a headache to guard.
Lex_G> Well, it's mostly quiet in the night.
Pauli> So, you work the night shift? Sleep all day?
Pauli> Must be pretty interesting. I don't think I could do night work. I'd miss the sun…
Lex_G> I've never seen the sun.
Pauli> Why haven't you?
Lex_G> Well, it's difficult to explain…
Pauli> Say no more. You're like that hero in Dean Koontz's novels, who can't go into the sun because it would burn his skin. I knew someone who had that condition.
Paul castled his king. Not a wise move, but better than nothing.
Lex_G> Something along those lines. What do you do?
Pauli> I work for a bookseller. Mostly stand up and help the customers try to find what they're looking for.
Lex moved his queen to King's bishop 4. Paul moved his pawn to King 4, threatening Lex's Queen.
Lex_G> I've always wanted to visit a bookstore. I've read a few good ones.
Pauli> Not on my job, you don't! J But if you want to, I can give you my bookstore's website. You can order books from the web. Don't you have books at the Eyrie Building?
Lex_G> Our cla… I mean, family has moved a bit. You know how it is.
Pauli> Things get lost. I hate that when it happens. You think you packed something in this box, then it disappears. So, have you played chess online before?
Lex_G> A few times.
Lex moved his queen back to King 3. Paul moved his Queen's pawn from Queen 2 to 3.
Pauli> You must be an expert.
Lex moved his Queen's knight from Queen bishop's 3 to Queen 5, able to rake any piece it desired. Paul cursed himself for giving Lex the center squares. Paul's retaliation was to move Queen bishop to King 3, threatening the Knight.
Lex_G> Or a very lucky amateur.
Pauli> No, you've got a method to your madness. I've never played online before.
Lex retreated with his Queen's knight to King's bishop
4. Paul looked at his tactical situation. If he kept his Queen's bishop
Lex_G> ‘A method to your madness’… That's from Shakespeare, isn't it?
Pauli> Yeah, but I don’t recall which play.
Paul was glad that he had happened on Lex as a chess partner. It seemed he had found an interesting companion.
Lex_G> Hamlet. Act 2, Scene 2. Polonius. "Though this be madness, yet there is method in it." Like this.
Lex moved his Queen to King's knight three.
Pauli> Oh, great. ‘A hit, a very palpable hit.’
Lex_G> Act 5, Scene 2. Osric.
Paul moved his king to rook 1, the only spot. Immediately,
Lexington moved his King's pawn to King 4. Paul moved his rook
Pauli> How do you know so much about Shakespeare? Pardon me for asking, but you sound more like a renaissance man than a security guard.
Lex_G> I found a paperback copy of Hamlet, the cover torn off when I was patr… strolling around Manhattan. I collected it and a few more books. Why would anyone tear the cover off a good book?
Lex moved his queen to King's rook 4. Paul moved his Queen's pawn to Queen 4.
Pauli> Paperbacks can't be resold. They're too cheap to produce. The owner tears off the cover to remind anyone else that they are purchasing a stripped book… no refunds, and prevents anyone else from making a quick profit off the storeowner's loss.
Lex_G> That's interesting. Broadway was puzzled by that…
Lex_G> My rook… brother's chat handle. His real name would be too embarrassing.
Pauli: Something like Upton Grice Preston the Third?
Lex_G> Along those lines. Is there someone with that name?
Pauli> No, but I've met some with strange ones…
Lex's counterattack came in short order. He took the Queen's pawn, moving from King 4 to Queen 5. Paul retaliated with his Queen, taking Queen 4. Lex's knight retreated to Queen 2, only to have Paul's Queen move to Queen 6, taking his pawn.
Pauli> You must have an interesting name also…
Lex_G> Well, it's Lexington…
Pauli> I suppose it's your middle name.
Lex_G> No, it's my first name.
Pauli> Unique name.
Lex moved his Queen bishop diagonally, taking the
queen. Paul moved his bishop from King 3 to Queen 4. Lex placed his King's
Pauli> (chagrined) Looks like the game may go to you.
Lex responded by moving his Queen's rook to Queen's bishop 1. Without thinking, Paul moved his King's pawn to King 5. Lex seized the initiative, using his queen's pawn to remove the pawn. Paul retaliated with his King's bishop, losing it to the Queen's knight.
Pauli> Oh, no!
Lex_G> The beginning of the end.
Paul threatened the Queen's knight with his Queen's rook, but Lex had a queen across the knight. Lex responded with his King's bishop moving to Queen's knight 5. Paul retreated with his Knight to Queen's knight 1.
Pauli> So, is it a wild guess that you're Lex the Guard?
Lex_G> Almost true.
Lex's rook smashed the Queen's bishop's pawn at Queen's bishop 7. Paul moved his Queen's rook to Queen's Knight 5.
Pauli> Maybe I should have gone into poker.
Lex's bishop artfully dodged to Queen 3. Paul attacked the pawn at Queen's knight 7 with his rook. Lex countered with his Queen's rook taking the white King's bishop at King 7.
Pauli> I’m in trouble, aren’t I?
Lex_G> You said it, not me.
Paul moved his rook to King 1. Lex moved his queen to King's bishop 6.
Pauli> Maybe we can play again.
Lex_G> Count on it.
Both signed off.
Lex looked at the keyboard, wondering if he would hear from Paul again. He seemed like a nice person, considering what he saw over the Web. Maybe he was what he seemed to be.
Paul stared at the keyboard. He had met a new friend and had a scintillating discussion. Perhaps they could meet on-line again.
End of part one.