Teaser 209: It’s the Parcheesi Way

In his usual faultless style John reserved a suite with two bedrooms for Serena and our contingent, so Sofia and Carla could share the smaller bedroom and Serena and I would share the bigger. It worked out well for all, though Sofia, and to a lesser extent, Carla, were a little exasperated when Serena and I wouldn't emerge from our locked bedroom until well into the morning. We were engaged in a parcheesi duel, this one with Beverly Hills hotel rules, which are more sophisticated, elegant and stylish, no bitter fighting, more like teasing acquiescence, coming from admirable respect for the other side. It was long and painless, though if you could hear the noises you might not think it was painless. It would probably be your last choice. Sofia wanted to know why it took us so long to come out of the bedroom. Because the noises could be heard in the main room of the suite, Carla sat on the sofa trying to hide a smirk.

“Gregory lost a button from his shirt and it took us hours to find it,” Serena advised her daughter. For proof she emerged from the bedroom holding a button from the shirt she tore off before we fell into bed. She struggled to get it off, since we were taking turns undressing each other, gave up and ripped my shirt off, sending the button flying and causing me to hunt around the carpet for a few minutes to retrieve it. Now I was going to Africa with the expectation I would have to sew on a button on one of my favorite shirts and I wasn't taking many clothes to begin with. Fortunately I had the good sense to send my big bag to the Farabé's house in Bamako earlier this week since I was facing three—that's right, three—stops on the plane trip to Bamako, one in Miami, one in Casablanca, finally to Bamako. I expected no luggage when I arrived so I wasn't checking any. However, I wasn't expecting sewing duties upon arrival.

Sofia wasn't buying her mother's explanation. “Do you always make those noises when you look for a button, Mama?”

“She was pretty noisy, wasn't she, little squirt?” I asked, innocently. Serena frowned at me severely. Carla couldn't stop laughing for minutes. Sofia, in her cute adolescence, shook her head and wouldn't look at either one of us. Occasionally there are sideline casualties during parcheesi battles. This is the hazard of war. It's why human beings should avoid war. Innocents suffer. In this instance, though, the innocent were only damaged psychologically and would soon be able to understand and rationalize it from an intimately personal perspective. It's the parcheesi way.

- Just Desserts, Segment Twenty-SixAn African Experiment Begins” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021

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