ARTICLE #25 [First published in June 1989 Chicago Point]

The Ward

Painful cries of agony mixed with whimpering moans of disgust: I knew I was back. Nothing had changed. This was my old haunt where torture and mayhem took little notice. Looking at all the docile people patiently waiting, you would never guess that within a split second, they could pounce on you with murderous rage burning in their eyes. Yes, this is a backgammon tournament -- and asylum for the nearly insane.

If you watch carefully, you can witness the transformation take place. Apparently normal people become the instrument of destruction. The Napoleon complex sets in. Using the board as their battlefield, the conquest begins. Dice explode and the checkers charge. At the height of the battle, one general fires his volley and the other slumps from the mortal blow.

At his Waterloo, totally dejected by the terrible wounds of injustice, the defeated cries out: “Why me, G-d? Am I not your favorite? Don’t I deserve better treatment?”

There came a deep thundering voice from above. “No! You were getting a bit too cocky so I decided to take you down a notch.”

Frustrated by this abandonment and the insanity of the endeavor, he stormed out of the room, waving his hands in total disbelief.

Now, for the winner. He is another case. He beams with that self-satisfied smile called the victory grin. With all his strutting, you can almost sense what he is thinking: “I am great! I am invincible! I deserved to win! I totally outplayed him! I need more blood! Who’s my next victim? Wheel him out! I’ll make short work of him!”

Oh, I’m sorry. I have to go. My match is ready. Where did I put my hat? The one with the white feathers. I wear it to all my battles. I’ll need it to beat that son-of-a-bitch. He beat me twice before when I wasn’t wearing it.

How do I look? Do I look ready, mean, and able? Good! And thanks. Now let’s charge!

Fortune Cookie
If you don’t develop character, this game will certainly make you one.

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