By J. Pharoah Doss
Wednesday, August 29, 2012.
only thing I’d place neatly inside a time capsule is an hour glass and a chess
piece - a pawn. A black pawn to be exact. And my choice of
black has nothing to do with race. I always played my older sister.
And she always had to be first at everything, and white moves first
in chess. I don’t know why. I didn’t make the rules. But
pawns have character. Pawns have all the characteristics of the King’s
other subjects. Pawns attack diagonally like bishops; move forward like
rooks, and are just as cunning as knights when the en passant capture is
enforced. Pawns can also transform. They can become royalty.
That’s why I never understood the usage of the phrase: You are just a
pawn in the game.
once beat my uncle with two pawns and a bishop. I don’t know how.
He’s the one that taught me how to play. I was only eight. He
told me never play for pieces. He said never play piece players. He
said piece players think chess and checkers are similar because they use the
same board. That’s why they value pieces instead of positioning pieces to
checkmate their opponent. Piece players sacrifice pawns because they have
more than two. They assume their quantity make them lack quality.
He said pawns aren’t the most powerful; pawns have the most potential,
and potential is your capability to change. Then he asked me if I ever
heard the saying: The last shall be first. I shook my head, so he
changed the subject. He said, “Let’s talk about you.” I was only
eight. I had nothing to talk about. I wanted to hear more about
pawns, and how something last could be first. But I ended up
talking about nothing.
never played again after my victory. Not long after that he went to
prison. I never knew the whole story. Who knows the whole story
anyway beside the story holder? All I overheard was drugs, somebody owed
somebody, and second degree murder. My mother acts like she never had a brother,
and I haven’t said my Uncle’s name in eight years. Time flies when you
just won a chess tournament at the library, and I only took three pieces off
the board. All three of them were pawns. I haven’t forgotten what
he said about pawns. And years after I’m forgotten, when future hands
possess the hour glass and the chess piece from my time capsule, I hope they’ll
understand potential should never be place in check by time.
J. Pharoah Doss was
born in Pittsburgh, USA, and attended Geneva College. His writing has appeared
in The New Pittsburgh Courier, The Shepherd, and Commonline/The E Journal.