Friday, July 25, 2008


I hadn’t seen John the Scrabbler
since I’d lived on that island five years before
but I rode my bicycle into town,
knowing he’d be there.
He was always sitting
inside or out front
of the coffee shop.
And he was always waiting for a game.
He had a long white beard
and a balding head of white hair
and when kids came in
they asked him things like,
“where are your deers, Santa Claus?”
John the Scrabbler
claimed he’d played close to
40,000 games of Scrabble.
He wasn’t bad.
This time he was inside.
I went up to him.
“John,” I said. “Scrabble?”
He nodded and unfolded the board
which was already on his table.
“how do I know you?” he asked me.
“five years ago I played you all summer
and only beat you once.”
He stared at me for a long time,
then asked quietly,
“you beat me?”
I smiled.
“yeah, once. We probably played a couple hundred games.” Another long time passed
and then he leaned back and said,
“oh, yes. I remember you. You did beat me.”
He finished setting up the board
and we drew letters to see who picked first.
It would be a long summer
and I knew I was in for quite a few
with my Scrabble game.
John the Scrabbler was just too good,
but I liked to go over there,
each day if I could,
and take a beating on the board.
It was good to lose,
good in many ways.

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