The sign says it´s called John Rentz Peters but Victor and Michael have always known it as Guatemala Square. As kids, back in the 60s, they used to come here to play football and talk to Mary from the eighth grade, the girl with black hair, a shadow of a moustache and fat legs.
Now, fifty years later, they are back. A lot of water under the bridge, Victor thinks. The reason for the comeback is an ancient Persian (or is it Chinese?) game called chess.
Victor is separating the black pieces from the white ones, setting them on the board like two disciplined armies. They toss a coin to decide who goes first.
Victor opens with e4. He waits for Michael's Sicilian Defense (predictable!) as he remembers Mary. She was strangled by her husband aged twenty-one.
He looks up sharply at an unexpected birdy tweet above their heads. Swallows, swooping low, their chess piece-colored torsos nearly graze the ground, then shoot up high to skim over poplar tops.
“He didn’t do it…. You did,” Victors says suddenly.
“What you mean?” Michael asks pondering if Sicilian (predictable) is the right approach.
“You know. The bullying. You destroyed her self-esteem. Fat legs, you called her. Lardy ass, dumpy lass. Hairy lips, fatty hips. No wonder she married that horrible Paul guy. She thought she was ugly. Because of you.”
Michael´s not listening. He is concentrating on the final gambit – 2.f4. King to Queen. Over.
“That´s what I call a brilliant checkmate,” he chuckles and topples Victor´s Queen.
“Yeah,” Victor replies.
“The other thing… I call it femicide by bullying.”
(c) JB Polk