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Subject: A Session with the Doctor rss

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John So-And-So
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Fresno
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While some may find this tale entirely too unrealistic to accept, any true savant of pastimes, as i fancy myself to be, would consider himself obligated to relate it. Few will experience the strange intersection of fate and destiny that led to the night's events that I shall here recount.

On a recent business trip to San Francisco, I found myself in an Ethopian eatery late on a crisp Friday evening. Having spent the last several hours in the company of business associates, I had, to be frank, imbibed in spirits of the more expensive and potent variety. And though I was pleasantly inebriated, I implore the reader to rest assured that my constitution was (and remains upon the time of writing) staunch enough that I can relate the events which transpired with the utmost clarity.

As the kitfo and meat pies arrived at my table, I chanced to overhear the gentlemen sitting directly behind and opposite myself muttering to himself in German. As I took a healthy swallow of the sif that the nutmeg-skinned serving girl had brought me, I found myself unwilling or unable to ignore the increasingly curious comments he made. At the next opportune moment, with a surreptitious turn of the head, I feigned interest in a pair of patrons entering the establishment, and spied the fellow. He was a silver-maned gentleman whose visage I should think instantly familiar to any man who might fancy himself an enthusiast of gamery. Though his presence was shock enough, the object with which his attention was curently enjoined was even more astonishing. "Great Scott!" I exclaimed to myself. "To cross paths with him, and IT, at this time and place? Surely this is an opportunity that cannot be forgone in the interests of propriety". Gathering my wits, I prepared to interrupt the gentleman's repast.

"Er...pardon me, good sir," I stammered. "Though it troubles me no end to disrupt your meal in so ghastly a fashion, I feel I must do so, or suffer the woes of what-might-have-been for the remainder of my years."

"Indeed," he replied, in an accent much lighter than I had expected. "And what disappointment in an Abyssinian luncheonette, at such an ignominous hour, might you suffer so greatly for missing,?"

It was then that I knew it was he, his voice too stately to be confused with any other. And so, I gathered my courage. "Unless I miss my guess sir, you are the esteemed Dr. R_ K_ ." At this, he smiled. "And unless I further show my ignorance and embarass myself entirely, the treasure at your table is a box containing an original print of the most highly sough-after of rarities in the field you have mastered. The very same field I dabble in, good sir." At this, his smile grew wider. "What then do you suppose this treasure to be, young man?"

"It is known as 'Poisson d'Avril" in my limited circles, Herr Doktor", I replied. And his smile grew so wide, I thought the edges of his face might crack.

Before the space of five minutes had passed us, I had removed my injera (and my person) to his table, ordered us a steaming bowl of wat, and before the space of another five minutes had passed, the board was laid out upon the pakistani sitting-table, and we were each lost in thought.

The good Doktor insisted I take the first move, and in the interest of propriety, I accepted after a single protest. As the game was to be played by only the pair of us, we each selected two officers. My esteemed opponent chose the Provost of course, as was his priviledge, and I selected the Longshoreman and the Thaumaturge. The Doktor completed our set with the unexpected, and to my mind brilliant, selection of the Wainwright. The Tinsmith, Stonemason, and Wood-Butcher were drawn for the labor leauge.

My knowledge of the game extending only to theorems and strategeries that I had chanced upon in various journals, I of course opened with the "Pirate Maneuver", widely purported to be the 'solution' to the game, a perfect tactic that cannot be improved upon. I can tell you though, dear reader, that this is not the case. Within three turns, Dr. K_ had improved his Geomancy to the fourth stratum, and the Wainwright's talent rendered his merchantry virtually impenatrable to my raids, nullifying the work I had invested in the Pirate Maneuver!

At this point I must reveal that the Doktor shared with me an ingenious system of annotation he had devised for the game, distilling the various record-keeping that is required to but a single page of tables and charts, easily updated at the end of each turn. Those who despise this masterwork for the "abhorrent amount" of calculation that must be performed would do well to try the game again with the good Doktor's addition. Indeed, I submit that it might challenge their most base assumptions, and lend a new light by which to observe the game.

I think it sufficient at this juncture to advance the tale at a more nimble pace. The game continued into the wee hours of the morning. Soon, I found nine of my pavilions flying the colors of the good Doktor, and three companies of enemy Dragoons stood sentry outside the guard towers of the purple territories. I had copious amounts of Peasantry tilling my fields, but unable to convert their production into a sufficient number of Wands, I was forced to attempt a final, futile physical assault against the invaders. Alas, this was indeed a lost cause. Though I managed to destroy one company and break another, forcing the last to retreat, the massive casualties inflicted in the battle left my economic faculties in languid disrepair. To survive the phase, two of my Wizard-Barons would have had to swear fealty to the enemy, for I had moved them off their red tiles; and as the hour was dear, I reluctantly conceded to the Doktor.

Though the game was hard-lost, it was no less a joy for me. Indeed, I can confidently state that it was perhaps the crowning moment of my education as a pastime savant. With respect, I shook the good Doktor's hand, bid him thanks and well-wishes, and took my departure.

As I say, the circumstances of this meeting were such that should the tale have been told to me, I would deem it incredible; the ramblings of a bored enthusiast in grip of a twopenny drunk. Yet it was no mirage of the whiskey bottle; no fit of the mind inaugurated by a pint too many. The events happened quite as I describe them here, and I confess myself the better for the proof of them.

J.S.
San Francisco, California Republic
19XX
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Andy K.
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Interesting. RK must have borrowed Emperor Norton's copy.
 
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John So-And-So
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Incredible insight, good sir! I do recall that the box lid was littered with some arcane scrip that I could not interpret, save for the words "-Royal Treasu-" and "-cisco".
 
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