Today we post an excerpt from my own story, One Move From Checkmate, to be published in issue 6. It's a strange story that came to me while I was walking in the suburbs of Ottawa, on a snowy night in late december. I hope you enjoy it.
The parking lot was empty now, except for Vesel's own black Kia, already half-buried in snow. In the distance, he saw the big “Happy New Year” spelled in white Christmas lights on the stock exchange tower. The digital clock’s red numerals under it read 19:00. It was time. He finished his cold coffee, stood and hitched up his pants.
The door was solid oak, or mahogany, or something expensive: it was in the management section. The sign on it read Conference Room 0089-1. Every year, Vesel wished for a loftier name for his battlefield, but he knew he had no say on the rules of engagement. That was above his pay grade.
He dug into his jacket and retrieved the little chrome Tim Horton’s key ring that held his Player key. Its weight in his hand gave him some form of courage. All year long, he trained in bleak community centers where the best players gathered. He read, meditated, played online against man and machine, all for this last night of the year. And, if he failed, maybe the last of all years. Come to think of it, the weight of a promotional key ring was probably not enough.
He started to sweat, turned the key and entered Conference Room 0089-1.
Vincent Mackay enjoys stories of things about to end. He likes to find humour in deadly and desperate situations, which makes him wonder about his mental health, but not for long, since he has the attention span of his seven-month old son. What was I saying?