The Game

I like taking real events and giving them a little fantasy tweak. That’s true with he following, even if the fantasy is relatively mild. It’s there if you want to see it.

He watched as his son chewed his lip before moving the wooden token across the board. The boy only had three pieces left while his father commanded eight. They had both started with ten.

“It’s hard,” his son said, not for the first time, as he tried to choose where to place his token.

“It is,” his father agreed. “No matter where you move, you’ll lose a piece.”

The boy made his decision and the father held gave a ghost of a smile as he captured a different token. The smile was not for the capture. There would be no joy in this victory. His son had only begun playing this very moon, while he had started when he was of an age with his boy. His victory was almost assured, and certainly no reason to grin.

“That was a good move,” he said.

“I lost a piece.”

“Yes, but it was the best move you had. Capturing the remaining tokens is now more difficult.”

His son didn’t say anything, but he sat up a little straighter as he thought through his next move.

His father watched, curious what the boy would do. His son had was making strong choices, enough so that it was unlikely to be happenstance. He was learning to evade. Soon enough he would start seeing the game is not just the current move, but the next several. Once the boy could do that, his father suspected his own victories would be rare indeed.

“It’s hard,” his son said yet again, even as he moved his token away from threat.

“It is. But you are learning quickly.”

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