I was sitting in the hotel's lounge area working on my blog, when out of the blue a Swedish fellow asked to play chess with me. He was drinking a beer, and thought I haven’t played chess in a long time, I was happy to give it a go.
“I’m Claudd. Where are youu from?”
“East coast of the united states. You?”
“Are you slurring because you’re not used to speaking English or are you drunk?”
“I’m slurring cause I’m ******* high. I had some muffins, and I smoked a joint. I’m high on weeed.”
Another man sitting next to us from west africa was getting out of his seat. Claud stopped him. “Can you get me some beer?” and handed the West African some cash. He assented and went off to find beer.
Claud looked back at me and confided “I’d get it myself, but I’m too stoned.”
We played a game of chess. Half way through, the beer showed up. One bottle for me and one for Claud. I didn’t think I would do well playing chess and drinking at the same time. Claud was happy to take care of my bottle for me.
The game was close, I won, but not by a lot.
I asked Claud why he was in Oslo.
“I used to have my own businesss in Swedenn. I ran a landscaping company. I haad 18 or 19 employees. We did a reallly great job. But you know how it iss. I wasn’t so careful with the bookss. And they caught on. I spent a year in jail.”
“I hate how that happens.”
“Yah, so now those baastards won’t let me my own business. Sooo I’m here looking for work.”
Claud wanted to play again so we did. Most of the way through his second beer he was no longer able to move the pieces on his own so he asked me to move them for him.
I would not play a third game, but Claud was persistent and eventually I caved. It didn’t last long. After the game he told me “I’m hungry. Could you get me some beer? I’d get it myself but I’m too stoned.”
“Oh. Okay.” He looked up at me suddenly “Do I owe you money?”
“No.” I was eating my dinner.
“Can I have some of that?”
“No. ... Okay.” I tore off a chunk of bread and handed it to him.
“If you drink a lot of water you won’t feel as sick in the morning.” I went to bed.