A Friendly Game of Chess
Written: (something like December 2001)

A Friendly Game of Chess

(SATAN is sitting at a small table assembling chess pieces and smoking a cigar. A MAN appears suddenly at the center of the stage. He is dressed in business attire and has a briefcase in hand. He looks astounded and confused, like he has no idea where he is)

SATAN: Hey! You!
MAN: Where-where am I?
SATAN: Don’t tell me he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know. Ladies and gentlemen, he doesn’t know.
MAN: What... this can’t be real... I... who...
SATAN: (still setting up the game of chess) Woah woah woah there, son. You’re gonna make yourself dizzy from all that coherent speech! Lemme make this easy for you. You’re dead.
MAN: Dead?!
SATAN: Look at me. Would I lie? What am I talking about? I lie my head off... But really, you’re dead.
MAN: That’s impossible!
SATAN: You knew it was coming sooner or later, kid.
MAN: But, but... I have a date tonight!
SATAN: Ohhh, well in that case---too bad, you’re dead! Man, these people with their whining... (mumbles to self)
MAN: I just can’t believe this.
SATAN: What’s the last thing you remember?
MAN: Well... I was walking across the street... but... I dropped my wallet and I... bent over to pick it up... and.... (slowly realizing)... no! No! This isn’t fair!
SATAN: (laughs) Fair! He wants fair!
MAN: Who... Who are you?
SATAN: Haven’t you guessed?
MAN: You mean... you are the... you know... devil?
SATAN: Bingo.
MAN: So... you can get me back up there, can’t you?
SATAN: And why would I wanna do that?
MAN: You can have my soul.
SATAN: Listen: You’re here. I already got that.
MAN: Well... you can have my brother’s soul... and my sister’s too. I’ll give you their addresses...
SATAN: I can’t just take their souls! There’s nothing you can do. You're stuck here. Sit down, play a game of chess.
MAN: Absolutely not! I’ve got to find a way out of here.
SATAN: Come play. It’s hopeless.
MAN: I will not!
SATAN: (sigh) Fine. If you win I’ll send you back.
MAN: Really?
SATAN: Sure, why not?
MAN: Alright then.
SATAN: I call white.
MAN: I wanted white!
SATAN: I called it!
MAN: Oh alright.
SATAN: Take a seat.
MAN: Fine (sits down opposite SATAN. SATAN moves out a pawn. MAN moves one also. SATAN moves another. There is a pause before the MAN moves out his knight.)
SATAN: You play much?
MAN: What chess? Not since high school. I was on the Chess Team.
SATAN: Oh. One of those.
MAN: What are you talking about?
SATAN: There are different kinds of people. Some play sports... some join the Drama club... and some... join the Chess Team.
MAN: Is there something wrong with the chess team?
SATAN: Oh no, oh no...
MAN: Do you?
SATAN: What?
MAN: Do you play much?
SATAN: Oh yeah, I get a lot of practice down here.
MAN: (captures SATAN’S bishop) Apparently not enough.
SATAN: (captures MAN’S knight) More than you’d think.(long pause) You’re kinda quiet, you know that?
MAN: I’m just not really sure how to address you... I mean, should I call you Prince of Darkness? Can I call you Satan? Or what?
SATAN: I’m still rather partial to my old name, actually, so my friends call me Gabby.
MAN: I’m sorry, they call you what?
SATAN: Gabby.
MAN: ... Oh. So you want me to call you that?
SATAN: Yes, why not?
MAN: I don’t know. I assumed you’d want me to call you Master or Your Highness or something like that.
SATAN: Hmmm, that’s a good idea. Yeah. On second thought, you can call me Your Majesty.
MAN: (blinks, astounded) Wha-
SATAN: Just kidding, little buddy. (hearty laugh)
MAN: (laughs, almost nervously) Oh... ok... so (pause) Gabby, what do you think--
MAN: No?
SATAN: It’s not working.
MAN: What?
SATAN: It sounds weird when you say Gabby. Call me Your Highness.
MAN: (laughs) Ah, Gabby, you’re such a kidder--
SATAN: No, no. I’m serious here. No more Gabby.
MAN: (slowly) Oh. (long pause)
SATAN: So, what kind of work did you do?
MAN: I’m a lawyer.
SATAN: We see a lot of those down here.
MAN: Really?
SATAN: Oh yeah! They’re like vermin down here! No offense.
MAN: None taken.
SATAN: I hate ‘em all. They’re like evil, lying snakes. I mean, they’re low even for my standards. Uh, no offense.
MAN: (slowly, forced) None... taken.
SATAN: I mean, I’m the devil, and I can’t stand ’em! If I could, I’d--
MAN: Enough with the lawyers!
SATAN: (looking startled) Excuse me?
MAN: I mean... can we talk about something else?
SATAN: Certainly. (long pause)
MAN: Are there a lot of movie stars down here? I can’t stand them.
SATAN: Not many, bless their little hearts. I love movie stars.
MAN: Figures.
MAN: Nothing. Well which ones are down here?
SATAN: Name one and I’ll tell you if they’re here.
MAN: Um... Clark Gable?
MAN: Marilyn Monroe?
SATAN: Nope.
MAN: Betty Davis?
MAN: Cary Grant?
MAN: Judy Garland?
SATAN: Oh! ... No.
MAN: Isn’t anybody down here?
SATAN: Keep trying.
MAN: Oh, I don’t know. John Wayne?
SATAN: Yes! Want me to get him?
MAN: No, not really.
SATAN: As you wish.
MAN: Got any... Presidents?
SATAN: More than you’d think, actually.
MAN: Check.
SATAN: Hmmm...
MAN: What kind of stuff will get someone in here?
SATAN: The kind of stuff you did! (laughs at his own joke. The laughing turns into coughing and he has to pound on his chest to stop it)
MAN: I mean... What did I do that was so bad?
SATAN: Well, He frowns upon the breaking of the commandments, mostly, but it’s ok to break a few so long as it’s nothing major.
MAN: Really? He doesn’t mind if you break a few?
SATAN: It depends. What really gets you in here is the sin.
MAN: Yeah... how many of those are there?
SATAN: Seven. I’m an expert at them.
MAN: Oh.
SATAN: But if you do some virtues... or if you have some virtues... he might not be so tough on you.
MAN: Yeah, what are those?
SATAN: That’s not my forte. I’m more into the naughty things.
MAN: Well can you name a few?
SATAN: Um, charity... uh, chastity... nicety...
MAN: I don’t think nicety is a virtue.
SATAN: Well if you’re so smart why’d you end up here?
MAN: ... Check.
SATAN: Hmmm.
MAN: Do all the new arrivals come here to you?
MAN: Well what percentage of people come here, anyway?
SATAN: About 50.
MAN: But if about 30 people die every second, shouldn’t there be more people coming in?
SATAN: (looks around curiously) Hmmm.... You’d think so.
MAN: I’m the only one who’s come in a while now.
SATAN: Maybe it’s a slow day for dying.
MAN: Or maybe they’re all going to heaven.
SATAN: (laughs) Yeah right.
MAN: Why’d you say that?
SATAN: I just seriously doubt it. I have my reasons.
MAN: OK...
SATAN: Check. You’d better hurry up, your body’s gettin’ cold.
MAN: I know, I know.
SATAN: I like your hair.
MAN: What? You like my what?
SATAN: Your hair. Are you deaf?
MAN: I just didn’t think the devil pays attention to hair styles.
SATAN: Well it just so happens that I do.
MAN: Oh... well... what’s your favorite hairstyle?
SATAN: Well I really love what Mel Gibson does with his hair, but I think I like Julia Roberts’ best.
MAN: Hmmm.
SATAN: Check.
MAN: So... what’s it like to, you know, be the devil?
SATAN: Eh, not so bad, not so bad. Good food, meet lots of people, great pay... the hours aren’t so good though. I’ve gotta keep up with the competition, you know. I’ve got competition up there who works 24 hours around the clock.
MAN: God?
SATAN: Seven-Eleven.
MAN: (pause) Your move.
SATAN: I know, I’m thinking.
MAN: Can you please hurry? I’m gonna be 6 feet under by the time I win.
SATAN: (moves a piece) Check.
MAN: You’re good.
SATAN: I know.
MAN: Really, I mean it.
SATAN: Well, like I said, I get a lot of practice.
MAN: What exactly do you do all day down here, anyway?
SATAN: You know... getting souls... torturing souls... the regular old devil stuff.
MAN: Yeah, about the souls. How do you go about getting souls?
SATAN: Lying and manipulating, mainly.
MAN: Is it like on TV?
SATAN: Yeah, I get most of my ideas from TV.
MAN: You actually watch TV?
SATAN: Sure! Almost as much as humans.
MAN: Do you like it?
SATAN: Eh, some shows. I love that Temptation Island.
MAN: Really? I never would have guessed.
SATAN: I applied for Survivor, but I think the reply got lost in the mail.
MAN: Do you like Friends?
SATAN: Are you kidding? I own that show!
MAN: Oh.
SATAN: TV is so great. Since TV has been invented my job has been so much easier.
MAN: Does watching TV make you go to hell?
SATAN: Oh, yeah! TV shows breed twisted morality and warped family values. What sane person couldn’t see that?
MAN: I dunno, try every person in the USA! When I get back I’m never watching TV again.
SATAN: Whatever you say, Chief.
MAN: Check.
SATAN: Hmmm.
MAN: You know, it’s not very hot down here.
SATAN: Yeah, the heating bills were tremendous! It really is outrageous. Someone up there should complain or something.
MAN: We do! But no one listens.
SATAN: You have to take action.
MAN: You’re the devil! Can’t you use your evil powers, or something?
SATAN: Nah. I’ve got deals with most of the power companies. In fact, I got deal with most of the companies in the world. That’s how most Presidents and CEOs got so powerful and rich. It was me.
MAN: Not very modest, eh?
SATAN: Should I be?
MAN: If one wanted to make a deal with you, how would they do it? Is there a 1-900 number? Is there a chant or something? I’ve always wondered this.
SATAN: I contact them usually.
MAN: Oh. (pause)
SATAN: Checkmate!
MAN: What?
SATAN: Checkmate.
MAN: I lost?
SATAN: I won. You lost. You’re kinda slow, huh?
MAN: But, but--
SATAN: Might as well make yourself comfortable. You’ll be here for a while.
MAN: No, I... but...
SATAN: Well, what were you expecting? I’m the devil.

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