diary / by Edward Mullany


I’d sat down to play chess with an old man who’d set up his board at one of those tables in a corner of the park, near the West 4th Street entrance, so that people like myself, who were wandering past, if they weren’t in a hurry and had a few dollars on them, could take him up, and test their skills against his; and I’d done better than I’d expected, but eventually had lost; although, after the game was over, and he’d shaken my hand and had asked me did I want to go again, to which I’d said thank you, but no, I’d remained where I was, at his prompting, and had talked to him about where I was from, and what had brought me to the city, and how long I’d lived here, and things like that, so that soon enough, on my own, as I realized he might’ve had another person to challenge, or contend with, if I wasn’t still seated in front of him, I volunteered to play him once more, removing from my wallet another few dollars, and placing them on the table, where he arranged the board and invited me to move first, which I did, though on this occasion, as we proceeded, he managed to defeat me very quickly, so that I was amazed at what had happened, and, by the end, could only stare at our pieces, where they now stood, though I myself had participated in their maneuvers, and had seen how they’d arrived there.