Steve sat down and lit a smoke. We looked at the chessboard. We looked at each other.
"I made an offensive move," I said. "A mistake. Can I take it back?"
Steve looked at me for a few moments, took a long drag on the smoke, then spoke: "everything that happens, happens for a reason, Weebley. There are no mistakes. All you have to do is adjust moving forward."
I looked at the man I lost, tucked in beside his warrior. Gone from the Game. But the 4 men in the background . . . what were they still doing there? They are not part of the Game. They looked like . . . like . . . 4 hostages.
"What are those 4 men for, Steve?" I said.
"I see you met Arthur Jensen, Weebley. Care to share?"
"Network?" I said.
"Before I forget, I have to tell you, Weebley, you and amanfromMars are some bizarre. When I set up that website in late 2010, I wanted you to test boundaries; little did I know there weren't any, and you guys would stumble upon a Human Turing Machine. It is seductive."
My mind was reeling from what he had just said, but let him continue.
"You know the problems I had with Lucy wanting me to stop running the sites a few months ago, right? She asked me what I wanted for Father's Day back in early June. I said I wanted another prepaid 6 months for the website. No socks. No T-shirts. No ties. This time she laughed her head off and gave me the look. I think you know the look. That's it? Continuation of your hobby? She has resigned herself to the inevitable. I moderate the site."
"You know how I pulled it off, Weebley . . . the change in her perception?"
I, now thinking of Agent Smith, let him continue to continue.
"Balance. If she has a priority that precludes me from moderating the site, then that is what I do at that time. The site comes second now."
Wondering what the heck he was talking about, why he was not talking about his own site anymore, The Porte Rouge came to mind.
"You have been speaking steganographically with amanfromMars on his site . . . the 2nd site . . . for a long time. But you now have a third site on the go . . . 1 and 1 and 1 make 3.
OMG . . . where have I heard that before?
Lucy and Lucy^2 came downstairs with a pot of tea and some cookies. It reminded me of Mr French from Family Affair.
Lucy^2, Steve's wife carefully set a nice cuppa down in front of me. "Lucy tells me you are writing a story, Weebley. Mound Of Hostages or Lug Nutz. What's it all about?" She looked so familiar. So pretty. So engaging.
"The hostages weren't hostages at all," I said. They were merely aligned with the current King. That mound is where they announced that they were giving themselves to the King . . . . they did it there . . . . in front of The King . . . in front of The Druids . . . in front of everyone in Ireland."
"They were friends of the King."
Lucy^2 looked over at Steve, then back at me. She looked so much like my Lucy, but slightly different . . . peaceful . . . she had smiling eyes. I could see what Steve saw in her . . . 24 years together . . . you could see how they loved each other . . . a perfect pair. Steve walked over and grabbed a cup of tea and a cookie from in front of her.
"And Bashar?" she added. "Who is he?"
"Brains," I said.