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Subject: THE UNMANNING rss

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Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
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The Cathedral is vast, as are you.
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aka The Final Transmission of the Courageous Gentlemen Explorer's Club

She's sucking on a cherry lollipop in her flannel pajamas, bebopping to the music, hips dancing in the chair, while I shuffle the deck. I'm fully prepared to lose. Like I always do.

And she knows it.

It's the difference between hunting and gathering. At least, that's what she says every time she beats the living pants off me. But it's not, I think every time, it's heady victory or an ignoble grave, it's me, dispatching my loyal men—men who would follow me to the Gates of Hell and beyond—on harrowing adventures where fabulous wealth, fame and power are bought with the credit card of the immortal soul.

I deal our initial hands of fate and take a deep breath. We begin.

The play is fast, our turns interleaved; play one, draw one becomes playdrawplaydraw, cards landing and leaving like the teeth of meshing gears. We murmur, we mutter, we speak oaths and chuckle with delight. Okay, she chuckles with delight. I groan more often than not.

Suddenly, I realize I'm engaged in four expeditions, I've literally sent my men to the four corners of the world—and I can't possibly fund them all. When the money runs out, so will the airdrops; they will survive for a time, but, inevitably, they will go mad with hunger, begin eating the dead. My only hope is that the longest suffering among them will save the last bullet for himself.

She snatches the last card out of the draw pile like the echo of that shot. The round is over.

And now comes the traditional Parade of Humiliation.

"Oh, were you looking for these?"

I expect to see my own testicles, but instead she nonchalantly fans an enormous binary number, all ones and zeros in sequence and an upside down fate-sealing Number of the Beast. So that's where all my nines and tens were. She fans further. And the eights, too.

They were good men, the best, I think as my vision blurs and I can hear them in their last moments, scrabbling at the fading light like animals, air hoses going whisper-thin as their dive suits implode, or wandering aimlessly in the maddening directionless sunlight filtering through miles-high columns of sirocco-borne sand. Freezing into shapeless huddles in the insufficient shelter of a rime-coated god's head, becoming the forgotten deity's crystal tears.

"Oh, yeah?" I retort. "And perhaps you were wondering where this was?" I wave a single, flaccid six. She shrugs.

"Look here," I say, pointing to the yellow 10, where indistinct figures stagger aimlessly across sere, mummifying sands. "This is clearly murder."

My men—good men—effaced in a sandstorm, forced by foul circumstance to drink the blood of their bearers while her team drank clean, clear water until they were peeing every ten minutes & tipped a dead donkey into the oasis when they were done.

She rolls her eyes. "That's what a man would do. Actually, your guys refused our help and went off in a completely wrong direction while my ladies picnicked on tea and cucumber sandwiches beneath frilly parasols at the pyramids."

"So they died because you refused to share!"

"Don't be silly. There was plenty for everyone. They just couldn't believe the Ladies' Friendly Adventure Society got there before they did. In the end, it was death by manliness."

Indeed, it may have just been so. After all, she's wearing flannel pjs with no bra while sucking a lollipop—is that even fair? There's gotta be a rule against it—I check the booklet in vain. No such rule. Damn you and your shortsightedness, Reiner! But just because it's not proscribed doesn't mean it's okay... there's no rule that says I can't play while wearing nothing but ass-chaps and a little leather motorcycle cap while eating a hot, gooey slice of peach pie.


Fig. 1 — The New Standard in gaming attire.

But something tells me that just plain wouldn't fly. I decide not to push it. My position is tenuous enough as is.

We push on. Shuffle, deal and men parachute into the Yucatan. Or arrive by way of mole-machine at the Center of the Earth. Their ends are inevitable, horrible, and take far longer than anyone would wish. I am sick with it. Shuffle, deal and again I can hear their screams, my comrades who once toasted me in the well-appointed drawing room of the Club's headquarters. They become noisy meals, and later, silent, grinning telegrams of warning. BRING MORE SANDWICHES NEXT TIME STOP AND A GUN STOP

Then it's all over except the math. I tally in grim quiet. And again. And, startled, again. Each time it's the same result:

I won by a single point.

"Oh, well," she sighs, leaning over to give me a peep of cleavage and a candy-sweet kiss, "I have to let you win every now and again, or else you wouldn't play with me."

I swell with manly pride. None of it was in vain after all—the horrors, the white streaks in the forelocks, the permanently palsied hands that make the brandy snifter chatter on broken teeth. It was all worth it. We are men, and we did what men must do, and we return as men triumphant to take what we will.

"Then again," she coos, "Maybe you won because you're turning into a chick."
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Rusty McFisticuffs
United States
Arcata
California
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I see how it is. Someone brings back the "excellence in session reports" thing, and you roll this out. Coincidence?

Damn you, man. One of the best ever.
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Christopher Haufe
Canada
Whitby
Ontario
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You know something's good when you wish you wrote it. Great report.
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Tim Rogers
Canada
Kamloops
British Columbia
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I never thought it would be possible to fashion an entertaining session report based around a game of Lost Cities, but you sir have proved me wrong! Perhaps the next time my wife beats me at Lost Cities with her regular barrage of ability and luck I will feel similarly inspired.
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Matt Hoskins
United States
OKC
Oklahoma
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HiveGod wrote:
there's no rule that says I can't play while wearing nothing but ass-chaps and a little leather motorcycle cap while eating a hot, gooey slice of peach pie.


Abso-freaking-lutely hilarious!
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Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
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Thanks for the kind words, everyone--that stuff is better than psychiatric pharmacology. I'm just glad you enjoyed it. I took a lot of bad beats to bring it to you... bad beats. The worst.

kuhrusty wrote:
I see how it is. Someone brings back the "excellence in session reports" thing, and you roll this out. Coincidence?


Hey, if Pia Zadora can win one, so can I!
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Joe Gola
United States
Redding
Connecticut
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and everything under the sun is in tune
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How can a man possibly beat a woman at Lost Cities? The men will never stop the expedition and ask for directions.

Thanks for the excellent read.
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JT Smythe
Australia
Sydney
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I don't play this game.... Don't know how to play it.... Don't know anything about the game.... but Damn that was an entertaining session report.
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My Pen is Huge!
United States
Clearwater
Florida
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I don't normally comment on session reports, but damn that was good.

- John
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Bryan McClendon
United States
Girard
Kansas
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excellent. an absolute delight to read.
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Simon Lundström
Sweden
Täby
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Now who are these five?
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Come, come, all children who love fairy tales.
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I never tire of HiveGod's session reports. They remind me of why I play games.
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Pedro Pereira
United Kingdom
Belfast
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See the person next to you? Kill! Kill!!! KILLL!!!!
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I'm your baby! Can you feel it?
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HiveGod wrote:
Damn you and your shortsightedness, Reiner!


Maybe Reiner is gay...
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Kevin Larkin
United States
Woodside
New York
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For the love of Pete, please don't post a photo of those pants, and then tell us about swelling with pride. goo
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Marc Morley
United States
Rainier
Washington
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Bravo! Take a bow, but please change out of the ass-chaps before you do.
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Daniel Mendes
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
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Simply the best session report ever!
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Spencer C
Netherlands
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This is the only session report worth reading.
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Mark crane
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Provo
Utah
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Quote:
None of it was in vain after all--the horrors, the white streaks in the forelocks, the permanently palsied hands that make the brandy snifter chatter on broken teeth.


Well played sir.
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Tim Fiscus
United States
Maricopa
Arizona
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HiveGod wrote:
They were good men, the best, I think as my vision blurs and I can hear them in their last moments, scrabbling at the fading light like animals, air hoses going whisper-thin as their dive suits implode, or wandering aimlessly in the maddening directionless sunlight filtering through miles-high columns of sirocco-borne sand. Freezing into shapeless huddles in the insufficient shelter of a rime-coated god's head, becoming the forgotten deity's crystal tears.

"Oh, yeah?" I retort. "And perhaps you were wondering where this was?" I wave a single, flaccid six. She shrugs.


This is jaw-dropping writing. Really, just excellent beyond the pale.
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T T
Canada
Toronto
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Painfully brilliant writing, found my way here haphazardly and now am awash in jealousy. I am in awe at your metamorphoses of cards and numbers into the agonizing death of naive men in search of fortune and glory.

Reading this kind of prose is such a masochistic enterprise for me. My praise feels so hollow and empty now, tumbling out of me without purpose or direction, picture men with pack mules forced to lay on the ground and stare up at an airplane flying overhead.

Thank you for this, seriously.
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United States
Norwood
Massachusetts
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Am I the only one totally turned on right now?

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Barak E
United States
San Pablo
CA
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And the Geek shall Inherit the Earth
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I am the unholy trinity: Agnostic, Atheist, and Skeptic.
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markgravitygood wrote:
Am I the only one totally turned on right now?


Over two years later, I still am. cool
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