Chapter 10 Money for Playing Games I decided to go home to Mobile, but the bus stopped at Nashvilleon the way and I went into town for a drink and something to eat. I was going past a hotel when I looked in the window and saw some people who were playing chess. Like I said before, Big Sam taught me how to play chess when I was in the jungle. Well, I went into the hotel to watch them, but it was a special chess tournament and it cost five dollars to watch, so I didn’t go into the chess room.
I was just walking out again when I saw a little old man who was playing chess with himself at a table near the door. I had another hour before I had to catch the bus again, so I went across and watched him. Then I said, ‘If you make that move, you’ll lose your queen.’
He didn’t look up but, after a minute, he said, ‘Perhaps you’re right.’
It was time for me to get back to the bus station, but when I started to leave, the old man said, ‘Why don’t you sit down and finish this game with me?’
‘I can’t,’ I said. ‘I have to catch a bus.’
So he waved at me with his hand, and I went back to the bus station.
But I missed the bus that evening, and there wasn’t another one until the next day. So I walked back to the hotel, and there was the little old man, still playing against himself. He looked up and saw me, and told me to sit down.
It took me an hour to win that chess game.
‘Just who are you?’ he said after the game.
‘Forrest Gump,’ I said.
‘Where did you learn to play chess?’ he asked.
‘In the jungle,’ I told him.
He looked surprised. ‘Aren’t you in the tournament?’ he asked.
‘No,’ I told him. ‘I’m going home, and I’m going to start a shrimp business.’
‘You can make a lot of money from chess,’ he said. ‘You’re very good.’
‘Am I?’ I said. The old man’s name was Mr Tribble. Two days later we were on our way to Los Angeles, to a big chess tournament.
We were a day or two early for the tournament, and Mr Tribble took me to see some people who were making a film. They make a lot of films in Los Angeles.
We were watching a man who was crashing through a window in a film fight, when a man walked over to us.
‘Are you an actor?’ he asked me.
‘Who, me?’ I said.‘We’re here for the chess tournament,’ said Mr Tribble.