Playing Games

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I dream of white letters on a flat screen. They mock me in my sleep and haunt my waking hours. I know that somewhere in the unreachable heavens, the word gods are plotting mischief against me. They have to be.

No one could be this incredibly unlucky. It defies all mathematical probabilities. Either that, or some snot nosed kid behind the scenes is snickering as he tweaks the code to give me, yet another string of useless letters.

Sigh. I am not giving up though. No string of improbabilities or rampant bouts of paranoia could tear me away from this game.

I sit down, the chair creaks in complaint. Yes, I know, it’s been ages since I’ve done any decent exercise. But…the screen boots up (mercifully) quickly, saving me from thinking up a reasonable rationalization.

There it is…the challenge of yet another game. Forget the exercise. There are priorities, you know.

Which of my unseen opponents in faraway places shall I play with today? Oh, who am I kidding? Let’s take them all on.

The Game List. Tiny letters on the screen. Just one. Damn. Does no one want to play with me today?

A number, a name. Play your turn. Bolded.

I see P has made a move, finally. She has RL issues on the other side of the world. Have got to respect that. We’re in the same boat.

Point and click with the little arrow.

A multi-coloured board opens up before me.

Somewhere in cyberspace, two people worlds apart are connected in a stream of data bits. My random mind wonders if science will ever achieve matter transmission as easily.

Diamond patterns on a square board. Each colour promising special bonuses for those who dare.

Fingers flex. Wrists rotate. Need to warm up for these things. My eyes take in the field of battle as my hand reaches for the mouse.

The Board. Little boxes all lined up in a square.

The Tiles. The white letters that dare me to make them into words.

The Rack. An ancient instrument of torture.

What does fate have for me today?

The same depressing tiles from yesterday.

Sigh. No hiccup of the system gods to magically transform my rubbish pieces to something approximating usefulness.

What did P put down?

TUTORAGE

She used all the letters again? An extra fifty points. This is magic beyond my comprehension.

All right. Stop hyperventilating. You can do this.

Z H P N Y Y Q T

Whimper. Help?

I will not give up!

PHAT. Hmm. Will the dictionary accept that?

PONY. Sad. Very sad. Every young girl’s dream. Too bad I don’t qualify.

The words blur. I’m staring at them hard, trying to force them into a reasonable word.

YONI. Is that a word? In English? I’m sure it is. Maybe?

It’s still only a four letter word. On my lips is another four letter word that will not fit the letters. Come on. Give me a five letter one at least. Five letters means I tried very hard. My mind is not mush.

PHONY. Yes! My fist pumps in triumph and a smile splits my face, playing to an audience of none.

With trembling fingers, I slide the letters over one by one.

Hit Play Word.

There! Done! Whew. I wipe the virtual sweat from my brow in an exaggerated motion.

My eyes fearfully, expectantly glance at the new letters that appear.

Z Y Q T N T L A

I have a vowel! There is a god! I can’t wait for the next turn!

But I have to wait for N’s next move. She’s asleep now. Sigh.

I check The Game List. No one else has made a move. Oh well. I suppose I should get to those chores now.

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