A Positive No

“Mr. Lovelock?”
“They’re are rules to this game Suzy.”
He placed her pawn back in its original position.
“No, it’s just that you seemed kinda off in your own little world.”
“Well, I can afford to be, you take so damn long moving your pieces.”
“What were you thinking about?”
“This,” he swung his bishop into her swarm of pawns and knocked one over, “check.”
“What else? Everyone knows you could beat me at this blindfolded. Don’t tell me those neurons are only half firing.”
“They’re going full tilt,” he looked down at the chess set, “I just don’t think you’ll understand.”
“Try me.”
She smiled.
“Fine. Everything is an equilibrium, right?”
“I guess.”
“Take this chess board, it’s equal. Whenever I take something of yours, you take something of mine, or at least you would if you were at least half-way decent.”
“I’ve just been thinking about how everything is in equilibrium.”
“Not everything is.”
“Well it has to be. How else would the earth function?”
“It just does.”
“What if I said it was alive?”
“What? The earth? See, now you’re crazy.”
She moved one of her pieces and picked up his bishop.
“Now we’re even Mr. Lovelock.”
He surveyed the board.
“You’re backtracking. The earth is alive. It’s a living thing.”
“I just want to change the subject. This one, is… well, kind of worrying.”
“Why? Because we’re killing it? Choking it to death? Frying it? Turning up the heat?”
“Oh. So if it’s just the animals and plants that we’re killing, no big deal, eh? But if it’s the whole damn planet, suddenly it’s personal? Don’t be a murderer.”
“I’m not a murderer.”
“You’re just an accomplice.”
“Mr. Lovelock, stop.”
“You wouldn’t just walk by if you saw a murder, would you?”
“So people can murder the earth all they want and you won’t bat an eye?”
“It’s different.”
“It shouldn’t be.”
They didn’t look at each other for a few moments. Mr. Lovelock placed his knight behind her pawn cluster.
“This is stupid. Larry, the planet isn’t alive.”
“Prove it.”
“I… I can’t.”
“Exactly. The planet is alive. How else could it be so regulated? It’s a masterpiece. A biological equilibrium.”
“Maybe. And I guess pollution is still a horrible thing to do the environment…”
She reached for her queen.
“Susan, don’t go home tonight.”
He placed his hand on hers.
“Don’t drive your car away. Don’t kill the planet. Stay here. Drink some brandy.”
She withdrew.
“If the choice is killing the planet, or sleeping with you, I’d gladly kill the planet.”
“No Larry, I love James. I married him. Get over it.”
“I loved you long before him!”
“It’s too late Larry.”
She dragged her queen along the board and stopped.
“Checkmate Mr. Lovelock. I’ll be sure to tell James about your little idea.”
“Now you keep your mouth shut about that theory.”
He shook his finger at her back as she walked out.

A Positive No


Chemainus, Canada

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