Last week, as you recall…
Dr. Smith awoke.
There was a brief pause as Dr. Smith's mind wandered in, finished its sandwich, and turned on the lights.
Dr. Smith was in a small, dark space.
It smelled of earth and pine.
|-=fig. 527: sleeping wid' da' woims=-|
Dr. Smith's first thought was of his hat, it was gone.
Dr. Smith's second thought was along the lines of 'OW!'
His body hurt all over. And it was cold in this small, dark space.
Dr. Smith's third thought was that he was buried alive.
Dr. Smith felt for his suitcase, maybe it had something he could use, but it too was gone.
Dr. Smith wondered if it was something he had said to the Johnsson's that had made the big one hit him. People were so hard to figure. Machines on the other hand, were easy.
Dr. Smith's fourth thought was along the lines of 'Why is is so bright?' If Dr. Smith were indeed deep underground, it would not be merely 'dark', it would be pitch black.
Also, DEATH was nowhere to be seen.
Dr. Smith was feeling pretty good, maybe they hadn't buried him!
Maybe they hadn't gotten around to putting the cheap coffin in the ground!
Dr. Smith opened the cheap coffin's lid, feeling alive.
HELLO DR. SMITH.
|-=fig. 528: limbo=-|
"Hello again Death, tell me, am I dead?"
"Good, I challenge you to a game."
"I win, I become 100% Not Dead, You win, I die. What do you say?"
"ALRIGHT. THE RULES STATE YOU MAY CHALLENGE ME TO A GAME OF YOUR CHOOSING. CHOOSE ANYTHING BUT 'GLOBAL THERMONUCLEAR WAR.' "
"I choose Chess."
"A POPULAR CHOICE. START: <<CHESS>>"
The World Moved.
Dr. Smith fell.
|-=fig. 529: the board=-|
Dr. Smith let out a sharp groan as his head hit the marble.
"THIS IS THE BOARD. YOU MOVE FIRST."
The world moved again, and Dr. Smith was in the King's spot.
|-=fig. 530: the pieces=-|
To Dr. Smith's right was Ms. Teresa Phillips,presumably playing the part of the queen.
To Dr. Smith's left was a policeman, being a bishop.
"You never said anything about Life-Size chess!" Dr. Smith objected,
"YOU NEVER SPECIFIED. YOU MERELY CHOSE 'CHESS.' YOUR CHOICE IS OVER. THE GAME BEGINS. YOUR MOVE."
"Alright. Erm, Pawn to E4." It was a fairly common opening, he knew, but it was a safe one.
DEATH countered with a pawn to D6. DEATH's pawns were…Monoids.
"So, Death, how did you decide on monoids for your pawns?"
"THEY WERE FLOATING AROUND IN YOUR MIND. THEY SEEMED SUITABLE."
Without really paying attention, Dr. Smith said "Pawn to E5. What do you mean 'Floating around in my mind?"
"PAWN TO E5."
The Monoid moved to the square currently occupied by Dr. Smith's solider.
The Monoid Pushed, the solider lost his ballance and fell out of the square.
|-=fig. 531: pawn to e5=-|
"NO!" Yelled Dr. Smith, the solider yelled as well.
Actually, It was more of a blood-curdling scream.
Dr. Smith made as if to help his pawn, but he was fenced in on all sides by invisible walls, keeping him from moving from his square.
The Monoid calmly took the pawns place.
"NOW IT IS YOUR TURN."
"What do you mean 'now its my turn'! Where has that soldier gone!"
"AWAY. THEY ARE MERELY CHESS PIECES, DOCTOR. WE ARE PLAYING FOR YOUR LIFE, NOT THEIRS."
Dr. Smith swallowed the lump in his throat.
This game was going to be harder than he had originally planned on.
Sir Jacob D. Fredrickson Esq.
Chief Executive Officer of Early Bird Industries, Inc.