Close to 35 years ago, I missed one memorial going to a SciFi convention. Being that I always expected God to kill me at Armageddon, that put the last nail in the coffin for me. So I decided with what little time I had left, I would try to have some fun in life.
So I got some art jobs working in the gaming industry. Since that wasn't much of an income, I got a job working in a game store. I worked there mainly because one of the art jobs I had, involved the man that owned the store.
In an upstairs loft at the store, he would run role playing games after the store closed. One day he invited me to play along with a rather motley crew of guys. I didn't want to play D&D cause of it's Oh No! demon image, but also cause it's just about "Go into room, Kill Monsters, Take Treasure" Boring.
So we played a more story telling type of game, Runequest. I loved it. I guess the ham in me came out. I also loved the puzzle solving aspect.
Although the owner was great at running the games, he was a lousy store owner. I think he had the store to support his gaming. So at this time, we'd had a sale going on for about a week on chess sets and pieces. My display case was pretty empty and so I started rummaging around the bottom of it hoping to find something. I found a brown wood box that contained the typical creamy white wood pieces and ebony black ones. The glass shelves in the case, were long and narrow so when I displayed a set, I would make them have a long gentle curve. The named pieces of course, where in the back with the pawns in the front, all according to how they were on a board.
So I started with the black set. From right to left I placed the castle, rook, bishop, queen. After getting them nicely curved, I turned back to the box that was laying on the carpet in front of the case. And there in the box, was the black queen.
But I had just put it in the case. I looked in the case and it wasn't there. I looked at the box and there it was. If anyone had come in, they would have seen me frozen with one hand over the box, the other still in mid air ready to descend into the box to pick up more pieces. Back and forth my mind went to what I knew I had done - put the queen on the shelf- to that "I must have been mistaken" because it was in the box. After awhile, I decided that even tho I knew I had put it on the shelf, I could have been preoccupied with other thoughts and so didn't.
So I made a plan. I would pick up the queen and the king and place them on the shelf. I would stare at the queen while I did this to be absolutely sure that I was placing it there. So although I was going along with explanation that I was wrong in believing I had put it on the shelf, it was disturbing to me.
This is what I thought as I moved the queen and king to the shelf. Here I am, I have the queen in my hand. I am moving it. It is going to the shelf. The queen is here and it is now on the shelf. I see the queen.
Once the two pieces were there, I sighed in relief. Now it was just a normal day. I must have not have paid attention to what I was doing I thought. Well time to put the rest up. I turned around to pick up some more, and there in the box, laying diagonal in it, ..was.. the.. queen... Bottom end in the left bottom corner, the top pointed towards the top right corner.
As I looked without a thought at the queen, my brain, like it was someone else's, started talking. Oh you didn't really put the queen on the shelf. You were completely mistaken. You didn't put it there at all!
I started laughing. It was ridiculous. And yet, I wanted to believe that I didn't put it on the shelf. I started to doubt that I had even given a step by step commentary on putting it on there. So I just scooped up all the pieces and crammed them on the shelf. Closed the display and turned off my brain. I didn't think about it until the owner came walking in a few hours later.
Hey he said, how's business? (Well there wasn't much to say about the business cause not a single person had come in all morning.) But I did say that we were running low on chess pieces and boards.
He nodded. I said "Where did that box of chess pieces come from? I found it on the bottom of the display case"
He looked up and thought a while. "Oh you mean that brown box?" He laughed and said "I ran a game last night. I let the guys bring all their heavy duty weapons and spells. The chess board was the castle and the Black Queen was a witch." He laughed some more and shook his head. "Haha I killed some of them off. It was a tough game and the Black Queen was really Evil"
I didn't say anything about the queen. I figured at the time, that the demons were mocking me about playing the games. But I loved playing the games so much, I didn't stop. I don' know what happened to the set. I guess if I was a good JW, I would have thrown them away or quit work and quit playing the games. But I didn't. That is the only unnatural thing that happened when I strayed from the "truth". I regret that a few years later, I went back to the meetings over the fear of Armageddon. Lost all those guy friends.