FADE IN:

INT. AUDITORIUM-DAY

An ornate table set up on stage hosts a game between intelligent, suitably impressive looking men. A chess clock sits between them. They hit the timer after every response. An intent audience quietly observes.

#1

Giraffes clean their own ears.

#2

Beavers teeth never stop growing.

#1

Hippo milk is pink.

#2

The dyes used to produce the color pink were known as Madder roots.

#1

The square root of 529 is 23.

COMMENTATOR

(whispering as the two competitors continue)

We’re 2 hours into our Championship round. Neither competitor shows any sign of fatigue.

#2

Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President.

#1

James Garfield was the first left handed president.

#2

Ullyses S. Grant was fined for speeding on horse-drawn carriage.

COMMENTATOR

(whispering)

They’ve moved to Presidents. That’s a notoriously temperamental subject. Let’s watch it play out.

#1

George Washington was the only unanimously elected President.

#2

William Mckinley was the first President to campaign by telephone.

The two competitors slow down in pace, using more time to think in between responses.

#1

Barack Obama collects Spiderman and Conan the Barbarian comic books.

COMMENTATOR

(whispering)

His first mistake of the tournament. Could potentially be a costly one. He’s left too big of an opening for his opponent.

#2

For the 1982 film version of Conan the Barbarian, director John Milius wanted his star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to narrate. Executives at Universal had problems with Arnold’s accent, so Mako narrated it instead.

COMMENTATOR

(whispering)

Crafty play, and the pressures on competitor 1. Let’s see if he can maintain his composure, and return serve.

#1

Mako was nominated for a Tony Award in 1976 for his performance in Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures.

#2

Stephen Sondheim wrote one feature film screenplay, The Last of Us, a whodunit written with Anthony Perkins.

#1 thinks.

COMMENTATOR

(whispering)

He’s on the ropes again. If he could be said to have one weakness, it would be his Stephen Sondheim knowledge. Competitor #2 always reads his scouting reports.

#1 sits, still thinking.

COMMENTATOR

(whispering)

Competitor #1 had really overcome a lot of adversity to this point, just last Tuesday losing his beloved Pomeranian to infection, and there’s a large portion of today’s audience pulling for him. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that he’s become a fan favorite. But he’s running out of time now. He might simply be out of gas.

#1

Anthony Perkins has no middle name.

Some murmuring in the audience. A few stifled claps. #2 thinks.

COMMENTATOR

(whispering)

Ladies and gentleman…

#2 thinks, looking stumped. After some time, a bell from the chess clock rings. Applause from the audience. The two competitors stand up and shake hands.

COMMENTATOR

(whispering)

Check and mate. He’s done it. The improbable finish. Brilliantly played, and it had to be to unseat the two time defending champion who brought everything he had to the table. Dare I say, the most thrilling championship yet?

#1 is handed a trophy by an old gentleman, and poses for a picture.

COMMENTATOR

(whispering)

I dare.

THE END

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

 

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