Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Scrabble Stories

When I was in the Peace Corps, there was a married couple I became friends with--Gulliver and Amanda.  They were on their second stint of Peace Corps volunteering, having volunteered for three years in Mongolia and then coming to Estonia for their last two.  I loved them. I loved being around them.  They were peaceful and kind and generous and they really loved each other. It was exactly what I wanted for my future self.   But it's funny, I remember hanging out with Gulliver and Amanda and noticing that they played a lot of Scrabble.  And I would play with them when I was with them but I knew they played alone together too.  And I remember thinking When I'm married I don't know if I'll play board games this often with my partner.  And now I'm married. And I can't tell you how much I LOVE PLAYING BOARD GAMES with my partner.  I'm always on the hunt for two player games.  And Scrabble, admittedly is one of mine and Tad's favorites.  But one thing we do, to switch it up, is this:
We write Scrabble stories!  After we play the game and see who wins, we take all the words that we played in the whole game--I write them out twice on two slips of paper, one for each of us.  We set a timer for fifteen minutes and then spend that time writing a short story using all the words from our game. Then we read them aloud.  I have saved all our Scrabble stories from the eight or so years we've been doing this.  And it's so funny to see how different the stories are.  I thought I'd share a sample with you.  Here are Sunday night's stories:

(Alie's Scrabble Story)

She stands alone in her small, hot closet, in the quiet of her room.  Rubbing her hands across her core, her belly stands out, though she had not yet eaten a big meal.
"What will I wear?" She says aloud as though someone were there.
The airy silence is broken by him. Her eyes dart out of the dark closet space. 
"Jesus!" She says. "What guile."
"Well, yes." He says.  His hand raised in greeting looks like a claw to her. "That's me."
He pauses. Then "Want me to do you up?"
"What?! Hey!" She shouts, looking shocked.
"Hay is for horses. I meant your top." He gestures to her bikini clutched still to her chest, woven fabric in colors so bright in contrast to her mood, her constant ache as of late.
"Oh." She says, coloring. "Yes."
He ties the string of her bikini, brushing her skin with his fingers.  "Nice jugs." He says.
"Tut-tut." She says smiling. "You're an avid jug fan, aren't you?"  She pauses. "Can you lend me ten bucks?"
'Man!" he says, "I'm not just some kind of lender! I'm not like the other guys, the lenders you date! The score of them!"
"Yo!" she says angrily waving at him as if he were a gnat. "I asked my roommate. I pled with her. Ten bucks. Come on, I'm hungry."
"Let's nix the lending." He replies. "I got some fig newtons. I can take you out and we'll have a picnic."
"Oh. Thanks." She says sarcastically. "My hero. A hero among heroes."
"Hey." He says, "You led me here.  To this law school.  And we're about to graduate. It's the end of an era."  He doffs his hat.
She laughs. "Did you just doff your hat at me?"
"Yes." He says. "And now I'm going to kiss you." He does.
"Come on." He says.  "I'll buy you an ice cream." He takes her hand.
"How about a slushie?" She says, joining him. "I'm allergic to dairy."
Sleeping with the milkmen
(Tad's Scrabble Story)

I woke alone, a hero, yes, me.  With a doff of my hat (the one I always wear) to the hot roll in the hay from the night before, I began to keep score.  The era of doffs and dart began.

I tie the jug of bourbon to the top of my quiet dairy truck and drive with guile, oh yeah, and go with style, to cash my meal ticket down at Fig and Claw, the place to go for avid law-breaking lender and lenders with sights set on a stomach ache.  My core is downright airy as I lend Charlie another top-rolled joint.

"Big" he says, "As a gnat."  Coughing with woven phlegmatic glee, Charlie passes it back to me.

"Yo. Nix all this we're heroes talk, Charlie."

Charlie's sun burned fingers pinch the brim of his Oakland Athletics's hat as he doffs. 
"I aim my boo at you big-shot narrator. Do as I say, not as I do."
"Tut-tut." Charlie pled.
"Shut the fuck up." I say "Pass me that gnat joint. We've got milk to deliver."

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