I had just published an essay on magical theory in a local weekly. It was making waves through the community and everyone was wanting to talk to me about it. That's why it didn't surprise me when that the first words I heard when I entered the cafeteria were, "Can I ask you a question about your essay?"
It came from a well-dressed gentleman who was eating a large meal over in the corner of the room. I waved at him pathetically and got in line. However, I quickly learned I had left my wallet at home along with my money.
With nothing better to do, I walked over to the man and sat down with him. He was a freelance journalist and wanted to do a story on my essay and that he needed to ask me some questions. I told him I'd agree as long as he got me a slice of cake and a tea. He smiled and without a word made the purchase.
After getting my name and other information he checked his notes and said, "First off, I need some clarification. In your essay, you make a passing reference to something called 'Human Chess,' what is that exactly?"
I leaned back and said, "Human Chess is the art of manipulating human beings to meet your needs and desires."
"So basically it's forcing people to do what you want them to?"
I scoffed and leaned in, "Hardly, forcing people is one of the poorest moves in the game. It's best to alter other's wills so they match your own. If you convince the sheep it's better off shorn, he'll smile as you take the razor to him."
"So, you in trick people into doing what you want them to?"
I looked at my empty plate and then over to his tray. I motioned over to his corn and rice and asked, "Do you mind?" He nodded and I sank my fork in.
"As you were saying," he said.
"Tricking people is worse, tricks are eventually discovered. You have to position the world around people carefully and use words gingerly. Most people don't know what they want and are waiting for direction. Others do know what they want and they can be dealt with by trades and deals."
"It can't be that simple," he interrupted, "you can't honestly manipulate people that easily!"
"People are soulless creatures by nature. They seek television, advertising, bosses, wives, anything that can tell them what to do. Most men are either slaves by choice or ignorance. Either way, I win."
I glanced down at my bowls and asked if I could have the last of his turkey cutlets. He once again nodded and moved it to what was the rice bowl and began to eat hungrily.
"So what you mean is that you can manipulate the masses through suggestion and trades?"
"I don't waste my time with the masses, I focus on people. A person has value, talent and even a sense of intelligence. People are stupid and emotional. One man can do more than a thousand when given a purpose. That's all I provide, purpose."
With that he slammed his hands down on the table and exclaimed, "I'm never going to understand this or you! I'm giving up before I get a headache!"
I got up, took one more bite and said, "But can I say one more thing?"
"Very well," he said with a sigh.
I tossed the fork onto his plate and said, "Checkmate."