The Class Etymology: Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire

Cindy and Lisa followed patiently in the wake of Dani as she walked her rounds of Richter Hall. Today was no ordinary day. It was the Board Game Meet of the Tri-State Area and Richter Hall, like every other University facility, was to extend their fullest courtesies to all the participants.

Fortunately this meant only allowing the competitors to use their premises for a late supper after the end of the tournament before they all went their collective ways back to their own colleges and clubs, either bearing the glory of victory or the humiliation of defeat, though given the usually still nature of board game players and similar 'enthusiasts', it would be hard to tell the winners from the losers. This traditional stillness and lack of emotion reminded Dani of accountants, Lisa of Philosophy majors and Cindy of all British people in general.

No one was being reminded of any of these things, now, however, as the game players had taken on an uncharismatic brashness and boisterous nature that Cindy was terming 'most unbecoming' and Biff was calling 'noisy nerds who won't shut up'. Dani thusly was on patrol to enforce the slightest pretence of having the situation under control, which of course she didn't as she was required to defer to the raucous gameplayer's comfort and requirements. They arrived in the Kithcen where the Monopoly players were debating the merits of various Monopoly strategies.

"Free Parking is precisely that, Free Parking, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the collection of taxes placed in the board center!" screamed one enthusiast.

"Unless the money's placed back in circulation the bank runs dry, you CRETIN" his opponent countered.

"Well, if more money was supplied to the bank at the outset.." begun a third, only to be rudely reminded it went against the concept of a Monopoly if there was enough money and assets to go around for everyone.

Dani suppressed a growl and stalked off to the lounge. Lisa whimpered, knowing how much Dani hated loud noises that weren't caused by her discliplining someone. Cindy wondered how long Dani would keep her composure, especially given a similar scene presented itself in the lounge with the Backgammon League.

"Double sixes entitles an extra counter movement counter-clockwise off the single stack, or nearest double-stack to the left of the thrower if not available" opined a player.

"Not in TOURNAMENT conditions!" snapped another, reaching across the coffee table to grab him. Unfortunately he was able to reach him, and they, as Cindy would later recount, "went to fisticuffs", gradually involving more and more Backgammon players until there was no one left to keep score of who was winning or consult the official backgammon rulebook anyway.

Dani's scowl reached such an intensity that Lisa wondered whether it was giving off some kind of cancerous ray that might affect her childbirthing capabilities in ten to twenty year's time. Cindy cautiously eased Dani down to the main entrance to Richter, where she could hear voices that she hoped were genial and friendly enough to possibly placate Dani into not killing everyone in the entire building.

"Well" begun one of the chess players, "I could no doubt have won the game in 7 moves, rook to pawn's bishop 4, and then a highly skilled Gambit to capture QF3".

"That's nothing" replied the player to his right, "in 5 moves I could have forced a stalemate with Queen's Knight to kB2. *That* sums up how masterful I am in a nutshell".

"Gentlemen, gentlemen" a third heartily broke in, "why, I'm twice the players you both are and could force Mate in 4 moves, leading of course with the little known (except to geniuses such as myself) Stitch Movement, placing white Bishop's pawn in a contrary position to the black King's anterior escape".

"That's it!!!" Dani screeched, knocking the nearest player, the Grandmaster as it would later turn out, to the floor with her clipboard. "Get out, get out, GET OUT!!" she screamed, assaulting the chess players with all that came to hand, which included the couch they briefly tried to hide behind. They fled the building in the kind of terror Lisa and Cindy knew they'd see before the end of the night, but never would have guessed to see rain upon such harmless and unobjectionble players.

"Dani", Cindy begun gently, "the others were more noisy and destructive. Why did you snap just now like that at these guys?"

"Yeah" Lisa added, "they were just bragging. And they were kinda cute..." her voice trailed off.

"I'm sorry" Dani said, with a dismissive shake of her head, "but that's just the one thing I can't stand".

"What?" the other two girls asked in unison.

"Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer" Dani replied, and went off upstairs to check on the other players.

nslashk // first posted 01-22-2002 11:24 AM PT