I lifted my bishop. "Mate," I told myself. I was playing chess against myself. The nice thing about playing with yourself is that you always win.
I bought the chess set for ten cents from my mother. She said she'd sell it to me for very little if I would learn how to play. My mom got it from her dad, who got it for a penny from his dad. His dad, my great-grandfather, just had it.
I am very old. I am eighty years old. I think.
All I do with my time is play chess. It suits me fine though.
I walked over to the door. I really did need my cane. The mailman had just delivered a letter. It had been so long since I had gotten any mail.
I pulled out my spectacles. I opened the letter.
Dear Ms. Werittia,
The chess set that you have in your possession has been proven to have been stolen by Mr. Greenling, your great-grandfather. If you would kindly return it, I would be quite pleased. If not, I'm afraid I'll take the matter to court.
The chess set always meant so much to me. I knew that. But it seemed so impossible for me to give it up. I didn't know it was stolen. I began to cry.
It was hours later that I started to get more sensible. I set up the chess set, and began to play, to cheer myself up.
I thought while I played. I would take the matter to court. That would be better than just losing the set, wouldn't it?
"Mate," I told myself, "caught you while you were thinking about something else."
After my game of chess, I sent a letter to Jessica Rithehn, that said, I think I would prefer taking the matter to court. I've never been good at writing letters.
I took a taxi to the court.
After Jessica gathered her proof that my great-grandfather had stolen her great-grandfather's chess set, which was now in my possession, it was my turn to speak.
"Did you know the chess set was stolen?" my lawyer asked.
"Of course I didn't!" I yelled.
"Did you pay any sum of money for it?" my lawyer asked another stupid question.
"Yes, I paid my mother ten cents for it, and she got it for free from my great-grandfather, who paid a penny for it," I stated proudly.
My lawyer smiled.
"The chess set is to remain with Ms. Werittia," said the judge.
I grinned. The set was still mine!
I went over to Jessica, because she looked so very sad.
"The set may still be mine, but you can come over to my house, and play anytime." And she like me, is very old, and does little with her time. She comes over every day and we play chess. I am much better than her, but playing with myself was getting boring.
I lifted my bishop. Jessica and I were playing chess at the old age home, where we live now as roommates. "Mate," I told Jessica. The nice thing about playing chess with Jessica is that I always win! n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.