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Gabbi WernerGirl Friday – the Book of Bad 08. The Game

Von | 31.05.2013, 13:47 | Kein Kommentar

„Go on, play your little game!“ – Opium for tea, Backgammon in the hotel room. And the winner is: the loser.

Welcome. To the stories I told in many hotelrooms. To a man who had trouble falling asleep. A business deal, men usually pay for different services in hotelrooms. He just paid for my words. Here they are.


R. looked at me, his smile was a smirk. I was silent.

„Well“, R. Said, „go on, play your little game, let´s see who wins.“ –

I continued my story.


„Franca starts to put the stones on the board. They are not perfectly round, seem to be hand carved. The felt on which the stones are put is, of course, red.

Franca: So you want to win?

Ivo: That is not the ultimate goal.

Franca: Then, what is?

Ivo: The game, the tactics, the moves you make to distract the other from the ones you consider important.

Franca: Everybody wants to win if they play against me, because I never lose …

Ivo (interrupts her): The element of chance, if you only have bad dice, I win.

Franca(ignores his remark): We play for 64 points. And you are the one to decide how quickly we get there. Each of us is free to double the stakes at any time.

It is obvious that Ivo is irritated. He is not in the mood for a game that could take hours. He still cannot believe that she invited him just to play a stupid game. He is moving uncomfortably at his pillow and looks rather galled at Franca. His eyebrows go up, he does not have a clue of what she is getting at.

Franca: We still have to decide the prize for the winner, and the punishment for the loser.

Ivo: Punishment …

The conversation now takes a turn that Ivo is not pleased about at all. Reward, Punishment, those words are only fun if it is a game indeed. Franca is way too serious. He distrusts her smile. But he keeps mum. He tries to observe her moves, to find out what she wants.

Franca: This is an incredibly old backgammon set. Did you know that the game has been played for centuries and that the rules have hardly ever been changed?

Ivo: Nope, I only know that backgammon is played in coffee-shops in Amsterdam by people who are way too stoned to do anything else.

Franca: True, but those guys only play to win. I want us to play to lose.

Ivo: So that we can receive punishment…

Franca: One of us will be punished…

Ivo: And who decides what the punishment will be?

Franca: Oh, the loser gets to choose his own penalty.

There it is again: her sweetest smile. She takes another sip. Ivo does the same.

Ivo: You are beyond weird. And your tea tastes like piss.

Franca blinks her eye at Ivo. But reaaaallly slowly. As in slow-motion, more of a grimace. There is no kindness in that gesture.

And Cut. The director of the movie has to step in now. The scene is way to static, there is no advancement in the scene, it is not working. But the scene will have an end one day. I can  tell you how it will end, I know that my prediction is pretty accurate as well. It will be far from an happy ending. But it will be a pretty one, aesthetically. These two will start playing. And she will play to lose. She has a good reason for that. I have a feeling that the game will take weeks, and that she will not be defeated easily,  if her goal is to lose. The punishment she will inflict on herself is that she will become his.“


R. sat up. „And the tea?“ –

„Opium of course, you silly!“ –

R. rolled over on the bed and gestured me to hand him a cigarette. I gave it to him. He smoked it. „So, you take drugs, and you like to play games with men?“ –

I remained silent.

„You like games?“ –

„Not unless you mean the backgammon, it is just a story.“

R. said he felt that this story was a good bye story to someone I did play games with.

I said it was a make-believe, a movie script.

„This story is true. I can feel it. You are playing, and you know you have lost. Anyway, I have to sleep. See you tomorrow same time.“ –


I went back to my boyfriends room. Again, I did not want the elevator ride to stop. But this time for another reason than in the afternoon. All had changed. I did not feel comfortable anymore. Maybe R. was right, this was the moment I was losing the game.

My boyfriend had been waiting. We took a bath, we made out, but we didn´t make love. During the night I willed myself to be in love with him again, like I always had been, to be his girlfriend completely, but it just didn’t work. The whole precious mild erotic dream about going here  that had cherished and embraced us so tenderly had evaporated. We were now balancing most uncomfortably between awkwardness and longing for the other. What was supposed to be an adventure had become the worst time we ever had since we had met. Neither of us could explain why, nor dare ask.

That night, as I lay beside him, watching him sleep, I realised that we could split up without reason. The smallest event could tear us apart. There was no forever after guarantee to us, as I had always presumed. I would have to work hard to keep him, and beg the stars that he would stay with me for as long as he would.

I woke up some time during the night, and saw him sitting at the desk, he was writing a letter. His back was bent over slightly. He chose his words with care. Long pauses between each word or sometimes maybe a sentence. He remained in the same position whilst writing, never looking up from the piece of paper. He then carefully folded the paper, and put it in his wallet. I pretended to be sleeping when he got back to bed, quietly, not trying to wake me. He kissed me on my shoulder, turned his back towards me, and went to sleep.

To be continued. Next friday. Every friday.

Link to German Translation: click Girl Friday – Buch des Bösen 08. Das Spiel

Artwork: Gabbi Werner

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