Monday, September 26, 2016

BYOD Local

"Come on, Chuck, this isn't craps. Just roll them already."

There was a murmured chorus of agreement at Sylvia's remark, so with an exasperated sigh, he did.

"Hah! Nineteen! Now tell me that wasn't worth it."

"It was a perception check, Chuck, not a deathblow. Sylvia, tell this boy what he's won."

"You look around the abandoned storage room, and can see without having to rifle through all the cupboards and barrels that you won't find anything of value."

Chuck frowned.

"Just think how much time you saved from looking through everything... if you hadn't wasted it on that dramatic roll."

Her phone chimed, and Sylvia looked down. "Sorry folks, that's all the time we have for tonight. See you all next week? Chuck, can you stay a few minutes?"

There were sniggers from the rest as they filtered out of her living room, snagging coats and keys.

"What's up Syl?"

"If you can't afford to buy a dice cup or a tower, I'll sell you one of my used ones. But no more hand-rolling. The odds have been suspiciously in your favor as of late, and I don't want to kick you from the game for cheating. And no more extended palming. Ten seconds tops before you drop them. Got it?"

"Aww, I thought we were friends, Syl."

"We are friends, which is why I'm telling you this while we're alone, not in front of the others, and why I'm giving you a warning instead of just the boot. You're a lot of fun to be around, and you do make the journey more eventful without my meticulous pre-planning, saving me time in the pre-game. Last thing I need is for you to waste all that savings on a throw. Cup or tower, next week, or at least a receipt that says you ordered them and they're on the way. Or sit out the session and every session until you do. Got it?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Good. Drive safely out there."

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Keen Eye

Simon hesitated. The staves dropped lower toward the cobbles than he usually let them get, but the moment passed and he snatched them up at the last moment. The crowd loved it when he made appearances of just barely holding the whirling mess together, but if they had the patience and the mental fortitude, they could spot the patterns.

Except for him. Simon spotted him out of the bustling crowd with an ornithologist's keen eye. He represented what every striving entertainer despised: disinterest. Simon separated out a single stave and shifted the others to his left hand. He parted the crowd with curt gestures, and they flowed around him as he stepped deeper among them toward the subject of his demise.

The poor lad didn't even notice.

Simon tossed the stave high into the air and added it back into the frenzy, leaned back almost as far as his tumbling friends liked to go, snagging one of the longer blades from the back of his calf-high boots. He spun it once, greeting the balance of an old friend, and them gave it a good hard heave.

They always got frightened when he threw something in a direction other than up, and with good reason: his aim was impeccable.


"You have to give me more time than that, Simon!"

"Why? You caught it in time."

"Yeah, but you broke one of my fingers in the process."

"Sprained. You'll be fine. Keep it wrapped up and get your tutelage with the tumblers for the next week or so, to let it heal. And maybe next time you'll spot the sod faster."

"Yes sir."

"Attaboy, Ems. You'll be a fine jester yourself if you keep to that attitude. Just you wait."

The Well

The cereal was mushier than usual this morning, but Sharon didn't complain. She shoveled it into her mouth, imitating her usual worker drone attitude: the tallest standing wheat gets cut first. Somehow, that didn't drive a dissonating point home about her closeted meetings with the others, but she reasoned a sane person would wonder what was going on in the world, even if their world were so dark and frightfully small.

So maybe her silence didn't lend itself to apparent sanity, but one could only do so much. And she didn't trust her voice not to shake. If she couldn't keep it still, she wouldn't use it at all. So it was left to the musings of her cellmates whether she even had one at all.

Despite the dumbness, her mind was untamed. It leap from thought to thought less like toads navigating from lilypad to lilypad and more like flies, encapsulated in a cloud of apparent randomness, but nonetheless never colliding with their consummate raindrops.