There was a time during high school
when Ronn and Scott and I would get
together at Nick's house and play role-playing games
Nick ran Gamma World
and Star Frontiers
and every week or so we would
load up on peppered beef jerky
and Dr. Pepper
at the Stop n' Go
the street and have all-night gaming marathons. Nick's room was a converted
garage so he had a sliding glass door on one side that looked out onto the
driveway, and a door into the main house on the other side.
So we were gaming there one night, the floor covered with papers and many-sided dice, when the sliding door opened and a very old man in a
suit shuffled in. He looked at us and gave a wheezing chuckle.
"Yez boys shootin' craps?" he asked. His voice rasped as if he had gargled
with red-hot gravel twice a day for his entire life.
"No," Nick said. "We're playing a game."
The old man chuckled again. "I saw the dice there and thought yez was
shootin' craps." He shuffled to the door that lead to the house and went
through it, closing it firmly behind him.
We looked at each other, and then at Nick. "That's my great-uncle," Nick explained.
"I'm guessing he smokes a lot," I said.
Nick shook his head. "Someone cut his throat one time while he was sleeping."
"Jesus! What happened?"
Nick shrugged. "He woke up and went to the hospital."