EDIT: Full part 3 found here.
"Is this town still dry?" My way of life was at risk, making it the perfect opportunity to drink myself stupid. I had to adapt to my surroundings somehow.
"No dry. Lake is close. Ocean is close." Dmitry's English sometimes made him sound like a child. "Not good idea to swim though. You'll zamerznut'."
"Alcohol, Dmitry. I meant alcohol."
"Oh! I can get beer from kitchen!"
I entered my room and he scurried off like an excited frog wearing a lab coat towards the kitchen returning five minutes later with a six pack of Budweiser and a box containing the classic game Scrabble.
"You like this game? Is all I find."
Budweiser and Scrabble wouldn't sound like a tempting evening back at home, but here in Barrow there wasn't much else to do. At the very least, my opponent would surely give me an easy win. "Are you sure you want to play that? I mean...with English being your second language and all.."
"Is fine." He handed me a beer and set up the game on the table.
"Alright. But don't think I'm going to go easy on you."
Back at home my wife always beat me in Scrabble. But now, I had a golden opportunity to claim victory. Sure it wouldn't be something I could brag about when I eventually left this dreadful place. Beating a dorky Russian at Scrabble...not exactly the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest. But it was good enough for me.
Dmitry laid out the first word horizontally across the center of the board, spelling out CAR with the letter C starting on the center.
This is going to be a cakewalk. I thought.
Vertically from the letter R I played the word PERSON with the letters P & O gaining triple points for a total of 19. Not a bad start.
Dmitry sprung into action before I could even grab new letters. His arms covered the board as he arranged his letters concealing his move. I ignored him and focused on selecting my replacement letters and arranging them on my rack.
Dmitry had a pretentious look on his face when I finally looked back him. So cavalier, he seemed.
"What's with the face?"
He gestured towards the board with a slight tilt of his head. And I realized why he was making that face after I glanced at the word he played. Horizontally from the letter N I played previously he had spelled out the word ONYXES. And it was laid out over a double word tile. 30 points.
"Are you hustling me, little man?"
He crossed his arms over his chest. "I believe you Americans call it 'Swagger'."
Saturday, January 30, 2016
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