Thursday, July 20, 2006

Games and Punishment

I might as well slay one more sacred cow, Russian literature. This is a more accurate translation from the original Russian novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky:

He walked into the bar with his head held high. "And why not? Why shouldn't I? Who is to stop me? No cockholds of the matter! No board games here or there. This day is not unusual, is it? Should a bar be no place for a feather? Birds together, all alike! I am used to getting drunk, and damn the policemen!"

To the waitress he said, "A jolt cola! A jolt cola and a whiskey, my fine plumpet! And not just in a carrying case, but in glasses, two in a row, for drinking like sugarplumps! Ha ha!"

Right beside him, Zerrezemozich the police commissioner suddenly turned around to his eyes. Pointed eyes at him, as if in surprise, having known him his whole life. He was looking as he had in the afternoon, intelligent wristwatch and flouncy trenchcoat with dust on the hems. A stringent peacock.

"What? You here? When this afternoon you were like to bury dead, in a grave ten feet deep and made of scrums and butter? Mdm. Rezzoreznickz said surely not! Ah ha! And why not? Who indeed? Yes, and why not indeed, Mr Berzhinevsky?" His hat fluttered in a poker, and he was smiling good-naturedly and glancing around.

"Very good! Very good! Of course I am! Who else should I be? A board gamer? Ha ha! I would be here if I were a board gamer, wouldn't I? Maybe I am one! How would you know? What would you do about it?"

"I don't know," he answered, his eyes suddenly askance. "Why what would I do about it, then?"

"Ha ha! You are all the same! You strut about like a poppinjay, eating my sock, my good gentleman. If I were a board gamer, I would do just this: I would start a blog. A goodly one with my own name in the title. Precious metal for all it will do you! And I would write day in day out about board games, sad, melancholy, quite the heart-render! Slowly but surely I would take down video games, no! Not at once. One at a time, sir, one at a time. A little pawn here. A meeple there. I would count my access logs slowly and surely, see who is coming from video game sites, and then count them again! Tubes on the Internet! Then I would attract the very video gamers who read other blogs to mine and begin changing them, first very slowly. Introduce them to board games. Put an introduction to board games at the top of my blog! Make friends with video game bloggers. Post on the Carnival of Gamers. Ah ha ha! That is what I would do! And how would you catch me at that! What would you write about, if you had nothing better to do then chase after cockles, officer? That is what our smart board gamer would do! A child could do it! Maybe I am he!" he spoke suddenly realized what he was saying.

Zerrezemozich's face went pale, "You? Is that possible?" he trembled.

"You believed me just now, didn't you?" exclaimed Berzhinevsky.

"No, no, not at all. I believe it even less now."

"I've caught a cat in a parakeet jar! So you believed it more before, you believed it some, didn't you?"

"No, you are crazy. Leave me alone."

"Oh why not ask me? Look, I'm drinking jolt cola. I'm writing a post about you right now? See? Tomorrow maybe, the day after, maybe two or three years from now I will post it on a blog. About board games!" he shouted. Getting up, wild and hysterical, he plunged through the doorway, bare-headed, into the loud din of the outdoors.

"Berzhinevsky is a blockhead," Zerrezemozich finally decided.



gnome said...

Brilliant Yehuda!

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Thanks, gnome. I was beginning to wonder if anyone else had read Dostoevsky in translation.


gnome said...


Alas,it was a greek translation...