“Why don’t you say so?”  It was her gambit, a mandarin move.  But, ultimately, it would appear that he was ever faithful, foolishly, of course, to his own strategem of moving the king to his corner—for that exactly was what he had always planned, play to lose.  But could it have been otherwise?  Could he have pushed the pieces across the squares & drawn the winning line that will defy the habit of his fate?  That, indeed, the future lies in the very purging of his heart, the poison & the fear that freeze him to stone?  But he would not presume, when, alas, the game itself is a war of presumptions & lovely fools!

It nonetheless dawned on him that losing, in his repertoire, was his winning line, a mode of madness he was always quick to Solomonize.

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