A little context...
This is part of my book, the first chapter, they're two friends. Giles is Peder's dead brother. Giles and Victorine were dating, Peder is older. Parx is Peder's friend, Joash is his older brother.
I left a pause for the Chem Lab part, because I'm still working on that one.
I’m at my locker at the end of the day when she comes up to me.
“Hey,” she says.
“What are you doing here?” I ask suspiciously, since the middle school doesn’t get out for a half hour.
“So you ditched?” I ask suspiciously.
“No,” she says defensively, “It was a one-man walk-out.”
I roll my eyes and slam my locker, then I slam it again, and again, and then it closes. All the lockers are really crappy like that, I’m lucky; mine actually has a working door. And I use the term working loosely. “So what’s up?”
“I’ve got an idea,” she pauses to cough, “for The Giles Strategy.”
The Giles Strategy was an organization she and Giles founded about four years ago. Giles was really good at chess, music, riddles and stuff. The kind of stuff that requires brains, but they never test you on it. They started selling stuff to raise money for programs in schools, help poor people and they donate a lot to clinics.
It’s actually caught on a lot in other places besides Boston. When Giles died, she took over and now I’m Vice President. But I don’t do public speaking. That’s her job.
“So what’s your idea?” I ask.
“What if we start a business?”
“We have a business.”
“No,” she says, “we have a non-profit organization.”
“Fine,” I say, “we have an unsuccessful business.”
“Ha-ha.” She says sarcastically with a cough, “you’re so funny.”
“So what kind of business?”
“One that pays people,” she says, “not just volunteers. We’d hire abused women and struggling parents and people like that.”
“Do you have any idea how to start a business?”
“No, that’s why I ditched school to ask you.”
“I thought it was a walk-out?”
She gives me a “fine, whatever” look.
I chuckle and cough, “You need money. So, you’d probably have to get a loan from some company, which you won’t, because you’re all `down with the man’.”
She shrugs, “alright, then,” she pauses, “how’s Tally?”
“About the same,” I pick up my backpack, “how’s your dad?”
“Better, his therapy’s going well.”
“Good,” I hate it when we talk about this. It gets awkward and quiet.
“Parx is getting a job, right?”
“Yeah,” I say, “later today.”
“Are you going to get one?”
I cough. “Probably. Joash has one.”
“You wanna go play?”
“Now?” She nods. “Okay,” I say, “I’ll tell Joash and meet you outside.” She walks off, and I run to the Chem Lab.
Victorine and I head to her apartment.
“Hey, parents!” she yells, “I brought Peder Gray!”
Her mother smiles. I love Mrs. Avril, she’s got one of those tired, raspy voices, and her hair’s mostly grey even though she’s only about forty. “Hello, Peder,” she says sleepily, “how are you?”
“I’m good, thanks,” I say, “how’s Mr. Avril?”
“Thybalt!” Mr. Avril calls from the bedroom, “My name is Thybalt or Balt or Ty or even Eyeball. I don’t care what the hell you call other adults, I am not Mr. Avril!”
“Hi, Thybalt,” I say, “sorry.” I’m not sorry. I call him Mr. Avril because it annoys the crap out of him. He freaks out and I’m not sure if he’s serious or not.
Victorine and I walk into the room to see him. He’s on is bed, like he always is, with his right leg elevated, no right arm, and an oxygen tube in his nose. He coughs, hard.
“How’s Tally? Same? I’m the same. I’m just a better lefty.” Thybalt doesn’t need anyone to have a conversation, he just likes people there so he doesn’t seem as crazy. That’s my theory, anyway. “How about the others? Sure Joash is great, he’s so great. Much better than you, and I’m sure Sable’s beautiful, she’s going to be beautiful, gosh, I hope it doesn’t bite her in the butt. Farran, is he still blonde? I love those rare little blondes, it’s a splash of color, you know?” He stops to give a hacking cough, then continues, “Exylia, how’s she?”
Victorine motions for me to follow her, and we leave. We start a game, and, about fifteen minutes later, just as I’m winning, we hear;
“WHERE THE HELL DID YOU GO? HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN TALKING TO NO ONE!?!?!”
We laugh, then I call checkmate.
“I love your dad.” I say.
Victorine coughs, “yeah, he’s crazy. Even before the blast.”
Thybalt Avril worked at the electrical plant, which the worst place ever, lots of huge explosions. He was lucky to get away with just a missing arm, a paralyzed leg and a lot of smoke. We all get a lot of smoke from all the smokestacks, but he just got some worse smoke. It happened last year, some guy connected the wrong wires and the place went up.
I cough as we set up again, this time I’m white and she’s black. We both like black, and Giles liked white, so it was easier to play with him than each other. Well, easier in terms of who’s which color. Compared to him, we both sucked, and we’re actually really good.
“So you guys get a tank on Fridays and Mondays?”
“Every other Monday,” Victorine replies, moving her rook over.
I slide my bishop across and take it, smirking at her.
“Ha-ha,” she says dryly, “you’re so stupid.”
“Oh, really? Because I have your rook, your knight, and five pawns, and you have my bishop and three pawns.”
“And your queen,” she says, sliding her other rook into my queen, “check.”
I get her rook, but it’s a hollow victory; we keep going until my knight gets her queen, but her pawn makes it to the end.
“Giles,” she says. She takes her captured rook and turns it over, placing the pawn on top.
That’s why Giles was good. He sucked with rooks and knights (some of the better pieces), but he was great with getting his pawns over the end. When you get your pawn all the way to the other side, it can be whatever piece you want. One time, he had four queens and his king, and I just had only two pawns missing.
It was a slaughterhouse.
“Shoot,” I say, maneuvering my last knight over to get it.
Victorine wins two in a row.