Blockade

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Blockade

Good heavens Sir R----- you look quite pallid! Come take a seat and let me fetch you a measure of rum to restore your humors.
To further improve your sanguinity might I suggest a small wager?

Splendid fellow!

I have in mind a game invented to commemorate my successfully quashing the Caribbean zombie uprising some few several years ago. Now, as I'm sure you well know, zombies have ever been a persistent, if sporadic, scourge of those islands. On that occasion, however, there arose a formidable leader from amongst their number; the zombie Lord J------ the Insensate.
Against all reason and contrary to historicity, the mindless Lord J------ was possessed of a remarkable proficiency in the art of soldiering. He rallied the shuffling horde into a singularly effective fighting force and proceeded to make war upon the unfortunate islanders.
I was out scouting atop the mountains in the south when I spied the zombie army marching in a westerly direction deep in a ravine beneath me. As I turned back to give report of their position, my steed lost his footing and we came sliding down the mountainside. We gathered quite the collection of boulders during our descent and it took all of my not insubstantial horsemanship to keep from falling; were I a lesser man my horse and I should surely have perished.
When we reached the bottom I realised that our motley collection of boulders had completely blocked off the eastern end of the ravine. I saw immediately what needed to be done; I took one of the larger monoliths and, employing my saddle as a sling, cast it the ten miles to the left hand slope at the westward end. As I had anticipated, its impact set off a second landslide trapping Lord J------'s forces between them. Safe in the certitude that they could not escape their mountain gaol, I proceeded at my leisure to alert the artillery of their target.

But I am delaying us from our contest!

The game shall take place upon this six by six checkerboard that I have set here before you, and I shall begin by placing two dominoes upon it, as soever takes my fancy. You shall then endeavour to cover every remaining square with dominoes so that every line running between the ranks and files of the field are straddled by at least one of them. If you succeed then you shall have one coin of mine; if not, I shall have two coins of yours.

When I described the manner of play of this delightful test of military planning to that wretched student with whose acquaintance I am so tediously burdened, he took it upon himself to describe, at some quite unwelcome length I might add, his newfound interest in pigeons. Now I will happily admit to some small interest in ornithology, albeit principally the noble falcon and not in any way that verminous fowl of his fancy, but quite why he imagined that I should wish to discuss the subject with him is entirely beyond me.

But talk of that cur will surely raise your yellow bile as much as it does mine. Let us put it aside and take another draught whilst you think upon your plan!


Based upon an article I wrote for ACCU's CVu magazine and with thanks to the "p-zombie" Lee Jackson.

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