Several days later, Barbara, Ralph the defense attorney and I got together at my apartment with plans we made up. Barbara finally accepted that there might be a Grimm in training she can't see or hear and hopes that everything I'll turn out OK.
Ralph the defense attorney was an all right person for being a homeless. After asking me many questions, he came up with a plan that just might work, although Ralph has never had to face Grimm as an adversary.
After much talking with Robert the psychologist and Ralph, I have decided that I couldn't run forever and wanted to end this the best way I could so I agreed to what we were going to do.
"Okay guys," I said to Ralph and Barbara.
"Let's just go over it one more time what we are going to do. This is just like planning a bank robbery."
"So here, we are just waiting, killing time until Grimm shows up again. I know that he has more souls to pick up besides me, but those have a certain times that have to be done." I said.
"As soon as the doorbell rings, only Ralph will answer the door. He will look through the peephole and say, 'Who is it?' loudly."
"If he can hear and sees someone he will open the door and take care of whoever is there," I said.
"If he sees no one and hears nobody, all of us are going to assume that it is Grimm. Ralph will signal me to get ready for my part when he opens the door. Barbara will just be there to witness if I die. Robert might be there only for a little while when he drops in because he has to work at the homeless center."
We waited all morning, drank various things, ate, hung out, it was boring. After lunch, the phone rang.
Barbara answered it, "Hi. What's up?"
Silence . . . Barbara was listening.
"Oh. Hi. Just a minute, it's your Mom Denver." She held out the phone for me to take.
"Hi Mom, sorry I haven't called you or picked up my car."
"Are you going to leave me up in the air about what is happening with you? You run into my house and then run out the back door. What is that all about? When am I going to see you again."
"Come over for supper tonight. I'll bring you up to speed as to what is going on with me."
"I'll come over if you promise not to run out on me again."
"Okay, I'll see you then, around 3 pm today. You will be able to get home before dark. Bye, I love you too."
"Mom is coming. I hope she likes the deli sandwiches we're are having tonight," I said.
Barbara said, "As long as she likes turkey breast, she will be fine."
We sat in the living room. I had a funny feeling, about what we were doing. We never turned on the TV. We just chatted about anything, waiting for the doorbell to ring.
DING! . . . DONG! . . .
I jumped up from the recliner; put my finger to my mouth motioning silence. I headed for my position behind the door. Ralph got off the sofa and headed for the door. Barbara just stood up from her rocker and walked slowly toward the door. Ralph forgot to talk so Barbara said, "Who is it?"
Ralph was looking through the peephole and saw Robert. "It's just Robert from the center," and Ralph opened the door.
"Hi, guys. Thought I would drop by and see how it's going."
"Come on in Robert. Join the party. Want something to drink?" I said.
We went through the same routine. Ralph peeked and softly he said, "It's a short woman."
"Who is it?" Barbara said.
"Barbara. Now you don't know who I am. That's just great. Open the dang door."
Ralph opened the door. "Hello, Mrs. Colorado. Come right in. I'm Ralph, a friend of your son."
"Now you have a doorman? Things sure change all of a sudden," she said as she came in. "Hi, Ralph."
"Mom, let's sit down and I'll fill you in on what is happening with me. We all sat down and we started the waiting game again. I started at the beginning telling Mom the whole ordeal. She looked at me as I told her. She always had a question and I had to justify whatever she asked.
Finally Mom said, "This is the tallest tale I have heard and I have heard some doozies. I will go along with it as you request just to humor you. I bet it's a Halloween prank."
We sat around for several more hours and nothing was happening. Barbara said, "I think I will make some coffee and get dinner ready. Are you eating with us also Robert? We have plenty."
"Sure," Robert he got up. "Can I help you with something?"
"Great, you can start on the tossed salad." Barbara said.
Dinner went fine, and by six o'clock, we were finished and we started on the apple pie and coffee for dessert. We cleared our own paper dishes and went to the living room to start the wait again.
"Remember Mom, whatever happens just stay quiet, we have it all worked out. If nothing happens soon you can leave and go home about 7:30 it is still daylight savings time and it won't turn dark till eight-thirty p.m."
Barbara went over to the TV and turned it on. Every one focused on it for a little while and some chatter started.
Grimm Shows Up
Ralph, Barbara and I moved quickly to our positions. As Ralph looked and looked moving his head around. Barbara said loudly, "Who is it?"
Ralph saw no one. He looked toward me pointing and his hand waved at me to come. He mouthed the words, "It must be him. Grimm is here."
I'm the only one that heard him when he said. "Denver open up, it's me Grimm."
"Just a minute," I grabbed some papers we had prepared and I moved toward the door. Ralph opened the door all the way revealing an empty hallway to everyone, but I saw Grimm there, faceless.
I said, "Hello Grimm, nice to see you. How has it been going with you?"
"Quit the nice chatter. You already screwed me several times and you aren't going to do it again. So just listen to . . "
"Just wait a darn minute Grimm. I don't think you have the right to take me now just because you are the one that made mistakes and lost your paper work."
"What? Who do you think you are? You don't make the rules." Grimm said.
"That is exactly right. I don't make the rules. I haven't seen any of your rules and regulations. Only thing I know is what you told me. You are the one that screwed up. You are the one that missed two consecutive pickup times. You are the one that didn't follow The Death Grimm regulations and now you are trying to undo your screw up by not following them again."
"Denver. I have had it with you." Grimm said. I could hear the anger in his voice.
"No Grimm. I have had it with you. Right here in my hand is an appeal written and notarized so it is legal. Also here is an explanation to Death Grimm why the regulations that you didn't adhere to should be applied against you and preventing you from taking me now with the emergency clause." I said handing my four papers to Ralph my lawyer. He in turn extended his hand out holding the papers that he was serving toward where Grimm was supposed to be.
I said, "Legally I can't serve you. This paper work has to be served by someone other than me. My Lawyer is holding them for you to take. Take them, examine them and you will find that they are proper and in order."
Barbara, Robert, and Mom saw Ralph's trembling hand holding the papers. Grimm put out his hand toward the papers. I noticed it was a boney skeleton hand, just bones. The papers moved into his hand. To others the papers seemed to be floating in the air in front of the open doorway.
It was silent while he read . . .
Occasionally a page would go from the front to the back of the stack. After all the papers had turned, Grimm said, "I can't accept this set of formal appeals. Nobody has ever done that to me before. I am going to have to deny It."
"You can't do that, because those appeals aren't for you, but for the party that you represent and work for, and that is Death, the real Grimm Reaper. You are just his agent. It isn't up to you. I have four witnesses right here watching how Ralph served them to you. I am sure you don't want to do something that you shouldn't just because you're angry and you don't know what to do right now."
The papers where still floating in the air. Grimm took his paper clipboard and opened it, while his head hood moved from left to right. He placed the papers in the clipboard. The paper disappeared from the view of my astonished witnesses.
Ralph looked toward me, and back at the empty doorway. Mom, Ralph, Barbara and Robert had listened to me talking to someone who wasn't there. Their eyes going back and fort, as they only heard my side of the conversation.
"Denver. This isn't over yet. I will be back and I will just drop you wherever you are the next time I see you. You haven't heard the last of me."
Grimm turned, gliding away and disappeared.
I turned around and said, "Hey. I think this worked. He's gone now. Close the door. Thanks, you did good Ralph. Now we have to wait for the Real Grimm to make his ruling."
I gave Ralph a hug, smiling so much it hurt my cheeks.
"Mom, Barbara, Robert I think it worked. I'm not going to die just yet."
We all gathered and gave each other high fives, smiling and laughing.
Barbara said, "I wish I could have seen Grimm."
"No you don't. If you could see him it means you are the next to die."
"That was weird," said Mom. "Just hearing only one side of a conversation and seeing nobody even though someone was present. I guess there is such a thing as Grimm. I hope I don't see him too soon. You know what made me a believer, it was when I saw the papers disappear"
Mom and Robert said goodnight and went home. Ralph is spending his second night in the spare room. I think it is best if he stays here since he knows how to arbitrate well. Now came the waiting to see what would happen next. I have taken a leave of absence from work. If I died, then it wouldn't matter.
slept . . . I slept . . . I slept . .
We waited all the next day and nothing happened. We got a call from Mom and one from Robert. We had nothing new to tell them. There was going to be only three for dinner tonight. It was pot roast, one of my favorites. We didn't have French bread because we decided not to go to the store. I didn't want to get caught anywhere else but here. After dinner, we watched some TV.
Suddenly: DING! . . . DONG! . . .
We all scrambled to our positions. Ralph peeking through the peephole said, "There's nobody there. It must be Grimm again."
I just stood next to Barbara holding her hand since I had no papers to serve. I said, "Who is it?"
"Denver it is I, The Grimm Reaper." This voice had a loud resonating sound, it vibrated with authority, and it echoed. It was a great, deep sounding radio voice. I was the only one that heard his voice.
"Ok. Open the door Ralph." He opened the door. Ralph and Barbara looked at each other with eyes wide open gesturing at each other because they saw nobody again. They knew Grimm was there.
I saw that it wasn't Grimm in training, but another Grimm Reaper. He was about six foot two inches tall, dressed in a long black cloak that covered his shoes. It looked as if it dragged on the floor, but it was floating. He was carrying a scythe just like a walking stick, with a sharp blade angled to one side. I noticed that the hand holding the scythe was a made up of skeleton bones. The hood covered his head and made a dark shadow on his face. I knew this was the real thing.
I said, "Hello, I'm Denver. Who are you? What happened to Grimm in training?"
"Can I come in. I think it's better than having me stand out here. It will not take long."
Silence is what Ralph and Barbara heard.
"Please come in and sit down." Grimm glided into the room. Once he was standing inside, I said, "Ralph close the door, and come and sit next to me on the coach. I will repeat the parts that I might need help answering."
"Denver I'm Grimm the Reaper. I'm Grimm's in training employer. He's no longer going to be out picking up souls that have to be taken. It isn't because of what happened to you. He has been doing screw ups for at least 350 years. But I can use him better someplace else."
"I see. So what is going to happen to me now?"
"Since you so eloquently and justifiably, put it in your appeal, the regulations that were required to be followed, I have accepted your appeal and will not allow you to be picked up at random, just because we missed the scheduled time. Is that sounding right to you?"
"Does that mean that you have accepted my appeal and ruled in my favor?"
"Yes Denver. That's exactly right."
Looking at Ralph I said, "Ralph, he says that he has accepted the appeal and has made a ruled in my favor."
Ralph just nodded smiling at me.
Looking back at Mr. Grimm I said, "Yes. That sounds very good to me so far, Mr. Grimm."
"As of this moment you won't be picked up by anyone. Your time of death will also not be known by you and it'll go back to the same rotation as everybody else."
"So when will I die? When I am old?"
"You might die tonight, next month, in ten years or when you are old. Nature and time will take over in order for all this to take, place. We are also erasing the memory of this confrontation between you, Grimm, I. and all the people that you told about it. You will have to sign one paper for me agreeing to all of this. When you wake up all those that partook or have knowledge of this matter won't remember anything. All papers and any written things will no longer exist. No one will have any knowledge of what happened. Do you accept and will you sign the form that I have created?"
"Ralph, he says that I have to sign a form in order for me not to be taken. Then the time of my death will just be as random as any one else. What do you think? Oh, and all memory of this incident will be erased from every bodys mind and/or any written paper work won't exist."
"So Denver, that means there will not even be any memory that I saved you from your death. How am I going to send you a bill? . . . just kidding, Yes, go ahead and accept."
"Yes. Mr. Grimm I accept your proposal and I will sign the three forms."
Grimm leaned his scythe against the wall. With the right hand, he opened his cloak and reached in with his left, taking out a stack of forms. With the cloak open, I could see the chest bones of his skeleton. The cloak closed immediately. "May I use the table?"
"Yes, go right ahead."
Barbara and Ralph still only heard half of what was being said, but they could see the papers floating.
Grimm laid down the forms, they were in triplicate. Using his bony fingers he took out a quill, a small bottle of ink from one of his pockets, dipped the quill into the bottle, and the tip came out red.
Grimm said, "If you will sign here on the first copy and again on all the other copies. You will not get a copy and there will not be any appeals in the future."
"Ralph. I have to sign all three copies and I will not get one. He says there will not be any appeals allowed."
"Go for it."
I took the quill and it felt cold as an ice cube. As I signed all three copies, his bony fingers stretched out pointed and they turned for me. My signature was bright red.
"Mr. Grimm. Why do you use red ink?"
"That is not red ink. You just signed the copies in real blood."
I looked down at my red signature. Picking up the forms, the quill and the bottle of blood Grimm said, "Well thank you very much Denver. I am very glad to have met with you. I will be seeing you whenever you are destined to come to me. Bye for now. Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite. Give Barbara and Ralph my good evening."
"Can I ask you one more question?" I said.
"What's the question Denver?"
"I notice you have no skin, just skeleton fingers, so how do they hold together if there aren't any connecting fibers on them."
"You are the first to ever ask that of me and I have had some strange questions." Extending his hand toward me for me to see he said, "Look. See the joints between the bones . . . Never mind that. I don't have time to explain. I have to go to another meeting."
"Bye and thank you." I said.
"Oh by the way, if and when we meet again you might consider working for me for eternity."
"I ill have to think about that. I hope it's a long time in the future."
I watched as he turned, his scythe floated into his hand. The blade sharp edge glittered from the room lights and he glided smoothly to the front door, lowering the scythe he went right through it, and faded away.
I felt the sound of silence just after he left. Like something was missing.
"Well, is he gone? Is that it? Barbara asked.
"He left. He's gone." I said.
"But you didn't open the door for him."
"I didn't have to open the door. He just went through it and faded away."
"Do you have to do something now? What's next? What did he say to you when you said you would have to think about it?" Barbara asked.
I turned looked at Ralph and Barbara and said, "He asked me if I . . No, nothing. It will take care of itself. He said for me to "sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite. He had me sign the form in red blood. I didn't want to ask where he got it. He asked me to say Good evening to both of you."
I picked up the phone and called Mom, I told her the good news. She said, "I will sleep well tonight. I won't worry."
"I'll call Robert in the morning." I said.
It's Finally Over
An hour later, we all went to bed. I lay happily pondering the day before going to sleep holding Barbara who was already sleeping. I was tired of all that had happened.
Ding! . . . Dong! . . . Suddenly breaking the sound of silence.
I sat up, was I dreaming? I thought I heard the doorbell.
Ding! . . . Dong! . . .
I got up put on my robe and went to the door.
"Who is it?" I said softly through the shut door.
"It's me Grimm in training."
I unlatched and opened the door and saw Grimm. "What are you doing here? I thought everything was taken care of.
"We have one more thing to do. We have to finish the chess game. My boss requires that we finish the verbal contract about the game. See? He knew what's going on even though he isn't here. So let's play Denver."
"I guess so. Barbara is sleeping so we have to be quiet. Come on in."
"You have to be quiet Denver. She can't hear me. Remember?"
Grimm walked over to the chessboard and with a wave of his hand all the pieces moved to the position that we were at when we stopped playing. Pointing at the clock, the time reset. Not much time left for me, double the time for him.
"Sit down Denver. I believe it's my move. Start the clock when you are ready."
I looked down at the board and scanned it for possibilities. It really wasn't that bad. I was down a piece and two pawns. Grimm had castled and the center was blocked. My attack had to be to the castled King on the right flank.
Bang! I started the clock. Grimm rapidly made his move and waved starting my clock. I made my move quickly and banged the clock. That took only three seconds. All the moves were made rapidly.
He made his move.
I moved . . .
He moved . . .
again . . . again . . . again . . . for a dozen or so moves.
The only sound was my moving the pieces and banging the clock. His moves were silent.
After one of his moves, I didn't make a move . . .
"Sorry, you just lost." I said and took his king with my bishop from the long diagonal across the board, and I stopped the clock. "You made a mistake. The game is over. You left your King in check and in speed chess, that's allowed. I don't even have to say 'Check' either and the king can be taken off the board."
"What? I didn't see that."
I got up, moved over away from the table and did a little jig dance of happiness.
"Oh brother, what a simple blunder my first loss, in several hundred years. I can't believe it. That's called 'Amaurosis Scacchistica' and thanks for finishing the game. My boss will be pleased that you beat me. I didn't lose on purpose."
"What the heck is that 'Amaurosis Scacchistica?'" I asked.
"It's just the name for chess blindness. I was there when TChigorin invented it in 1892 when he lost to Steinitz. Goodbye Denver."
"See you. Help me set up the pieces at least."
He waved at the boards and the pieces set themselves. He didn't shake my hand. He got up and sort of bowed, turned and glided into the door and he faded away.
I turned off the lights and went back to bed. Barbara was snoring lightly.
I woke up at nine a.m. Barbara had already gone to work. I knew I was on vacation but I didn't know why. I could smell coffee brewing. I got up, put my robe on, and walked into the kitchen.
I saw Ralph drinking coffee and eating toast, "Good morning Ralph."
"Morning, Denver. How are you this morning?"
"Say Ralph, what are you doing here in my apartment?"
"Well you asked me to come several days ago."
"Why? . . . What for?"
"I don't know, you were being nice, and thanks for letting me stay. I will be leaving in a little while. I'll head for the homeless shelter."
"Okay. Oh Ralph. I know Robert down at the shelter, when you see him say hello for me. I haven't seen him in such a long time."
Suddenly: DING DONG! . . . DING DONG! . . .
I went to the door and opened it. Nobody was there.
wow- nice story! Can't wait for 2nd part...sure hope Grimm does not take me before then!
I noticed.....but was surprised you let him do it!
Will somebody get that door!!!
You know Grim doesn't play touch move, since he only waves at the pieces.
BAD MOVE . . . C4?
I HAVE TO CHECK THAT OUT.
I tried to put the whole story on one post, but there wasn't enough room.
Also the font colors red changint to blue was messing me up.
I didn't know how to let you know when I would post the second half. I figured that TAX day would be good.
Thanks for the read and comments.
THANKS FOR CATCHING MY MISTAKE. I REALLY MEANT C5. I CHANGED IT.
BESIDES IF GRIM MOVED IT THERE. I WASN'T GOING TO ARGUE WITH HIM. HE MIGHT HAVE JUST TAKEN ME.
Denver High, exactly. When I read the story and Grim's first move was 1...c4, I figured he had extra rights or something! But if you change it to 1...c5, so much the better. That way people don't get stuck on the "hey, that move is not legal!" moment.....best of luck.
By the way, guess who won America's Got Talent in 2010? That's right, folks, Michael Grimm! Hmmmm....
Denver High, do you remember the story about how Capablanca beat the Devil in a chess game?
I don't think I ever read that. I'll see if I can find it. But If anyone has a link, please give it to me. I'd like to read it.
Grim just takes the souls of dead people to their destination.
The devil burns you for eternity.
Hi, here is a link. When I was a kid, I read it, and it had also a chess position as part of the story!
But I don't remember which book it was on.
Kamalakanta: Thanks that was a great piece to read. Also up above you put a link but it has an = sign in front of the http// and that is why we can't just klick on it.
If you click edit, remove the = sign.
Bye for now
Count me in for the 15th. Thanks............Ed
Hi, Denver High,
Through the chess book forum at chessgames.com I was able to find out the source of the story:
"The story's name is "The Most Important Game", and the author is Pedro Saavedra Jr. It appeared in Chess Review (July 1963, pg. 200) and also in one of Chernev's books ("The Chess Companion")."
Thanks for the information. I have access to several hundred old books and I will go see if Chernev's book is there.
I see you took the = from the link. Michael Grimm is a great singer.
I like Chernev a lot. He really loved chess, and he inspires others with his love for the game.
OKAY YOU GUYS. The second part has been posted.
Take a look at it and I hope you like the it.
Did you read the first part also?
I just need to know. Since the space that is allowed for the story was not sufficient to post it at once.
Bye for now. Have a nice weekend. Thanks for reading.
I enjoyed your tale....trying to remember the phrase for chess blindness cause that's what i suffer from :).....love your memorabilia....do you collect a lot of chess antiques?