Throwing a Game to a Kid is the first episode of The Tangled Bank. In this episode, the narrator is Christopher, an athletic 30-year-old man, and his antagonist (briefly, and offstage) is Samantha, the daughter of a neighbor and a friend of his son.
In the monologue, Christopher talks about his attitudes toward competition and playing with kids, and manages to avoid the central topic: a chess game between himself and Samantha that turned ugly.
Listen / Escuche:
The Tangled Bank comprises the 18 scenes (actually, 17 monologues and 1 third-person narration) that survive of a semi-aleatory fiction writing project I undertook between June 2007 and February 2008. All the pieces take place in a Midwestern city, and each involves at least 2 of 10 different people, all of whom have some sort of connection to a riparian nature center in a decaying public park.
Like to speak
To someone about his condition—his
Situation—” said the very
Pretty nurse, as I
From the aseptic
Room, “there’s a social worker. I think
See you now.”
She added, smiling
At my awkwardness, “you can put
In this bin. The gloves and mask
Here, in the trash.”
The very pretty
Nurse returned to her paperwork
Behind the efficient
Desk, each side facing a window that displayed
A patient prone upon
Only with the muted
Wheeze of a ventilator. As I removed
Carapace, placing each
In its proper receptacle, I asked her
If she’d been taking
Care of him
Since he arrived—had she been his nurse
The whole time?
“Your... friend?” she said, looking
From her chart. “Yes. He’s
Been with us
Quite a long time now. He’s
A doll, except when he—when we try.... But
The social worker
Can tell you
All about that. The consulting room
Is just down
That little corridor, third
Door on the left. The social worker said
She’d meet you
The social worker was setting up temporary
Shop in the small office—
Just four walls
And a desk
With a chair on either side. “I’m so glad
You came to visit
William,” she said, pulling a thick
Stack of files
From her briefcase and offering me
With arms. “You are only
Visitor he’s had. The nurse
You didn’t know where he was.”
“No one knew,” I said, and then
That I meant no one
In the neighborhood. “Of course,” she said.
“And how long
You known William?”
Weeks,” I told her.
“Six weeks?” she said, her eyes becoming wary.
“Of course,” I said, embarrassed. “That’s right. I meant
I only knew him
For six weeks. I first met him
Three months ago—but he’s been missing
Very much enjoyed this BBC Radio feature, recommended to me by Dan Hanrahan.
Marcel Duchamp: We should put these people to the test. See if they will really accept any work submitted.Female Friend: [suggests something boring]MD: No, no....FF: I've got it! A urinal!MD: That's perfect.FF: I'll send it from Philadelphia. But I don't have any money.MD: I'll pay for it. And the postage.