The Seventh Game (Of Connect Four)

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[Interior]

A locker room training facility. Two massage tables where each person sits. In between

the tables is a game of Connect Four.

___

Chandler: Are you prepared?

Rajon: I am frightened, but my body is not.

Chandler: That’s not what Coach says.

Rajon: Wait a moment…

Chandler: That’s what they all say. You play Connect Four, don’t you?

Rajon: How did you know that?

Chandler: I have seen it on blogs and sung in ballads.

Rajon: Ballads? Yes, I am quite a good Connect Four player.

Chandler: But you can’t be better than I am.

Rajon: Why do you want to play Connect Four with me?

Chandler: I have my reasons.

Rajon: That’s your privilege.

Chandler: The condition is that I may live on the Mavericks as long as I hold out

against you. If I win, you will release me from this injury. Is it agreed?

___

Chandler holds out his two fists to Rajon, who smiles at him suddenly.

Rajon points to one of his hands; it contains a black piece

___

Chandler: You drew black.

Rajon: Bruh…

Chandler: I want to talk as openly as I can, but my heart is too empty.

[Rajon doesn’t Answer]

Chandler: The emptiness is a mirror turned towards my own face. I see

myself in it, and I am filled with fear and disgust.

[Rajon doesn’t Answer]

Chandler: Through my indifference to my fellow teammate, I have isolated myself

from their company. Now I live in a world of phantoms. I am imprisoned in my

dreams and fantasies.

Rajon: And yet, you don’t want to leave Dallas. What are you waiting for?

Chandler: I want knowledge.

Rajon: You want guarantees.

Chandler: Call it whatever you like. Is it so cruelly inconceivable to grasp

a championship with the senses? Why should He hide himself in a mist of half-

spoken promises and unseen miracles.

Chandler: Why can’t I kill the Championship within me? Why does He live on in this

painful and humiliating way even though I curse Him and want to tear Him out

of my heart? Why, in spite of everything, is He a baffling reality that I can’t

shake off ? Do you hear me?

Rajon: Yes, I hear you. But I already won a title, so….

Chandler: I want knowledge, not faith, not suppositions, but knowledge. I

want The Championship to stretch out His hand towards me, reveal Himself and

speak to me.

Rajon: But He remains silent

Chandler: I call out to Him in the dark but no one seems to be there.

Rajon: Perhaps no one is there.

Chandler: Then life is an outrageous horror. No one can live in the face of

death, knowing that all is nothingness.

Rajon: Most people never reflect about either death or the futility of life. Except me,

because I already won a title.

Chandler: But one day they will have to stand at that last moment of life

and look towards the darkness.

Rajon: When that day comes…

Chandler: In our fear, we make an image, and that image we call The Championship.

Rajon: You are worrying…

Chandler: Rondo visited me this morning. We are playing Connect Four together.

This reprieve gives me the chance to arrange an urgent matter.

Rajon: What matter is that?

Chandler: My life has been a futile pursuit, a wandering, a great deal of talk

without meaning. I feel no bitterness or self-reproach because the lives of most

people are very much like this. But I will use my reprieve for one meaningful

deed.

Rajon: Is that why you are playing Connect Four with Rondo?

Chandler: He is a clever opponent, but up to now I haven’t lost a single man.

Rajon: How will you outwit Rondo in your game?

Chandler: I use a combination of the rows and columns that he hasn’t

yet discovered. In the next move I’ll shatter one of his connect threes

Rondo: I’ll remember that.

[End]

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