short short story, trails of thought

Stale-mate (not as in chesssss – as in food you’d never touch!)

He’d realised a long time ago that life wasn’t like chesssss.  They often said it was, but it wasn’t.

Chesssss was a game, where the rules were clear, limited and defined.  Life, on the other hand, had far more rules – even as the permutations were severely reduced compared to the former.  That was the curious thing about life: it could be done in millions of different ways but, weirdly enough, the outcomes were just three:

  1. birth
  2. life
  3. death

Within each, of course, there were sub-stages which reminded one of a PowerPoint when outlined in similar ways:

  1. birth
    1. happy and beloved
    2. sad and deprived
  2. life
    1. happy and beloved
    2. sad and deprived
  3. death
    1. happy, beloved and well remembered
    2. sad, sordid and poorly recalled

Compare and contrast that with chesssss, though.

He refused, of course, to even contemplate the process any more.

He realised, too, that the mate who was stale in the equation wasn’t his significant other: she seemed perfectly happy as she was: sometimes despairing of his inability to gain any kind of employment, but otherwise toddling along quite nicely it would seem.


It wasn’t her.  The problem was clearly him.  He was the stalest mate a woman could ever (not) hope for.  And in his stale and ageing condition as was, he refused to grow old with the grace she was able to summon up.

His destiny was clearly to be lonely cups of breakfast coffees, and chat about the latest news, and discussions on the subject of house-hunting and food programmes, and stuff like that, and stuff he didn’t give a shit about.  And that was his problem: he was far too demanding.  He wanted to enjoy life, after all; wanted to stretch himself; wanted to wake up not knowing what’d happen or be achieved that day.

Yet inertia imposed, and failure defined, and life’s juggernaut of casual insignificance rode its merry way.

And so he ended up with neither the gumption to change matters significantly nor the bravery to end it all by ultimately resigning himself totally to a diet of comments on Jamie Oliver’s haircut.

In such a limbo did he discover his destiny.

And there was nothing he was now able to do about it.


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