Tuesday, August 1, 2017

New Saddle, Same as the Old, Just Better Leather pt. 1

I was laying the bed, watching the ceiling fan cast odd shadows in early Monday morning light, when my lovely wife rolled over and slid her arm across my chest. "Honey," she whispered before blowing a loose strand of hair away from her mouth, "what are you still doing in bed. Don't you have to work?"

"I've been thinking that I'd like to run a game this weekend."

She rose up on her elbow to get a better look at me. "Are you sure," she said, "you haven't run anything in a year."

I watched the fan wobble overhead for a moment before I said, "Yeah, I think I would like to run again."

There was a slight intake of breath and even with her face blackened by the cloying darkness I could tell she was pensively chewing her lip. Finally she said, "Can I play?"

"Yeah," I said as I smiled at her, "do you think anyone else will want to play?"

"Are you fucking kidding me," she said as she rolled over and grabbed her phone. "I'll send out the invites. How many do you want at the table?"

"I'd like to keep it small if you don't mind."

"Sure, Honey," she said as her fingers moved deftly across her screen. "I'll just invite our core group."

I got up from the bed, "I'm going to get a shower and get ready for work." 

I took a quick shower, got dressed, and took my medicine as my Darling Bride came out of the bedroom. Her hair was a wild mane surrounding her face and she held her phone out towards me with her eyes closed, "the Master Planner, Brittle Betty, Poot, Bigg, and Icarus have all said they're in if you've got spots left."

"What are they doing up at five in the morning?"

"Who knows," she said as she turned back into the welcoming darkness of our bedroom, "but the game is set for Saturday at two."

"But I didn't tell you a time," I stammered.

"I didn't ask," she said as she closed the door.

"Right," I said to myself as I got up from my computer desk and switched off the light, "guess I'm running then."


It's been a few years since I've been back home for longer than a weekend and as I pulled up to the new game shop, Dungeons & Dames, I found myself missing the old back corner streets with their busted streetlights where the dope dealers crossed to the other side of the street because two  dozen nerds poured out of a metal door in the side of an old factory building billowing smoke and talking about esoteric nerd shit. Those dope dealers would stand under the flickering neon sign of Lucy's Dinner while we stood under the orange glow of the sensor light and I would watch meth heads slink up in the eerie, flickering neon to buy their latest hit. Once I even saw a girl I had loved with all my heart over there. The beautiful girl she had been, and woman she had grown into, had been replaced by an emaciated skeleton covered in sores that reeked of cheap cigarettes and cat piss. She saw me too, and then she pulled up her hoodie and ran off down the street into the cavernous back of a van with no windows.

I haven't seen her since.

I climbed out of the Blue Fox, a little Chevy Spark I had bought for my wife earlier this year, and watched as the Master Planner came out the door with both arms wide open. "About fucking time you ran again," he said as he enveloped me in a hug that nearly took my breath away. "God, I've missed you."

"I've missed you too," I said as I squeezed him back.

"Come on," he said breaking our hug, "people are going to think we're fucking if we keep holding on to each other out here."

"Right," I said as I looked at the door of Dungeons & Dames and saw Icarus bent over while Bigg feigned humping him from behind, "we're the ones they're going to think are fucking."

As I walked into the shop, saying hi to everyone I had missed over the last few years, I found myself slightly underwhelmed with the Dungeon & Dames role-playing game selection. They had a single bookcase to the left of the counter that housed all of their role-playing games. Behind their glass counter were Magic and various card games; and in the big room they had a Warhammer table set up and more figures than were probably strictly necessary for their volume of business. We went past all of this with Icarus leading the way through a winding corridor of rooms and dead end hallways until we reached the "Gray" room where they all turned to me with these tremendous grins on their faces.

"It's the 'Gray' room," my Darling Bride said as she nudged me in the ribs. 

"I noticed," I said with a repressed smile.

"Do you get it," she as she pointed to the gray walls and then to my notebook, "the gray room? Like, as in Greyhawk!"

"I get it, Darling," I said with a chuckle. "Gray and Greyhawk. You're all very sweet."

"So what are we going to be playing," Poot asked as he sat down beside me. 

"I bet it will involve dungeons," my Lovely Bride said.

"There's going to be dragons," Brittle Betty said as she took her seat next to my Lovely Bride, "I just know it."

"Well," I said as I opened my notebook, "let's see where you guys end up."

Found on Pinterest, Artist Unknown

New Saddle, Same as the Old, Just Better Leather
Part 1


  1. It's always nice to see you writing stories again. Since the 'Nobody Makes it Out Alive' I was missing the thrill of waiting for a new chapter of your novelizations.

    1. Thank you! I hope you like this one as much.

  2. Its been far too long since you've written a post like this. It reminds me of why I started following your blog in the first place.

    Also, your wife rocks.

    Welcome back Chuck.

    Welcome home.

    1. Thanks Adam! I hope you like this one as much as the old ones!

  3. What the guys above said :-) I missed those stories!

    1. Well, I hope it lives up to your memories of the old ones!


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