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“Knock it off, it’s quiet hours.” I point to the sign nearby that lays out the self-mandated rules about music. He had been an extra in several movies and even had small parts in a few like the Michael Mann film . Seems fair to me.” “I’ll tell you how they’re hustlers,” Josh says. My mother taught me the rules to chess, but Josh taught me how to play.
He scowls at me as he puts his guitar back in its case. Maybe I’m feeling punchy because in two hours the police are supposed to show up and arrest all of us. Tonight, however, all we want to talk to him about is chess. Sitting in a pizza parlor one summer afternoon in high school he showed me about backwards pawns, knight forks, bishop skewers, and open files.
I got here around three, right after the rainstorm quit, after getting several emails and text messages that the cops were planning to storm the park at seven. He kept texting his wife to let her know he was still okay and not in jail. Then he brought me back down to earth with one question. “It isn’t fair to you and it isn’t fair to real hustlers.” “What do you mean, real hustlers,” the guy on my left pipes up. That summer I lived cooped up in a dingy Motel 6 with my dad, eating baloney every night and playing through the games in the magazines. In fact he was the one who first introduced me to get me into this club.
I packed my bag with extra clothes and some comic books, wrote the National Lawyer’s Guild phone number on my arm, kissed my wife on the forehead and told her I was going to go get arrested at the park. He had on a 59fifty Yankees cap, a grey hoodie and a backpack. He told me he was “a little rusty.” I beat him pretty easily in our first game. And on this night he unfortunately was sitting to my right, which meant he was winning most of my money.
More likely it has to do with the fact that I’m down two pawns going in to the endgame. In addition to poker, Poe was also a skilled chess player and a frequent player in Washington Square Park. He gave me a chess set and a dozen back issues of magazine.
“Sorry, man, but this is a money game,” is all the apology I can muster. It looks bad now, but you should have seen me earlier. ” We’re sitting around a poker table at the old Play Station, the last of the great underground New York City cardrooms. We were in the corner playing -20 and everyone was quizzing Poe about chess. ” Poe was a fixture in illegal New York casinos for as long as I had been hanging out in them. “I think it’s a shame that everyone calls you guys hustlers,” I say. A few days later I left town to work construction jobs on the road with my dad. It doesn’t make any sense.” Josh also taught me to play poker.
While money isn't an issue, it makes sense for them to have a more permanent base and get to know one particular area.