Rules of the game (a short story)

With Valentine’s Day almost in reach, Plato gives some perspective

“Look, I’ve known Cassie the longest, it’s only fair that I get to ask her out,” Davis said.

“Okay, but I have more classes with her. And we’re in photography club together,” Kade snapped back.

Davis took a breath to respond, but they were interrupted when a man clad in toga sat beside them. “Good afternoon, boys,” he said. Was he a new teacher?

“What do you want?” Davis said.

“Let’s just play a game. Okay? He waited for a moment. The boys nodded. There were a few minutes left before lunch break ended, so they didn’t have to leave the table just yet.

“Do you know chess?” he continued.

“I think I’ve only played it once,” Kade said.

“Well, in chess, every piece has its purpose,” he said as he set up the board. “The queen is the most powerful, of course. But none of them are in service to you. They act because they want to.”

“But isn’t the king the most important, really? I mean, the game’s all for him.” Kade said, picking up one of the pawns and inspecting it. The man shook his head.

“They protect the king, but he’s just one piece. Even if there were two kings on one side, the queen acts as a free agent. She decides to protect the king.”

Davis sighed. “Maybe we should just ask her together.”