Herb Neufeld and the case of the Chinese Checker


                  Ulla Thomsen














Frank Réage

0044 844 704 8170










FX: we are in a games/joke shop in Heidelberg

Herb V.O [whispers]:    Under threat, my awful neice,         Amarilla, has requested that I get her a game        for her birthday.. so here I am in Kaufstrasse,         fulfilling her every wish, gamewise...

Herb:     Excuse me Fraulein

Annie [the assistant]:  Oh, you're the one who's          whispering!  Yes, what do you want, I haven't       got much time ..

Herb:     Ermm.. I was thinking about buying a game

Annie:    well, it's certainly good to hear that you're        alive from the neck up! ... carry on then,       there they all are over there, that at least is        obvious ... even to a blind-

Herb:     What're these here?

Annie:    Oh, just other boring games

Herb:     Boring games heh, just ... boring games ?

Annie:    Let's talk about something more interesting,         shall we, I find this sort of discussion          completely unenlightening ...

Herb:     Hows about the Pelopennesian Wars, for example?

Annie:    Current affairs have always been my weakness

Herb:     Dancing then ?

Annie:    Ha.. Dancing!

Herb:     Arabic Tribal dancing ?

Annie:    ..anyway these games over here are blocking          games, as you probably know, based upon the          ancient Chinese, Norse, and Medieval Blocking       Games..

Herb:     Yes .. very interesting .. I'll take that one        over there.. you know.. the checker game .. see         it!

Annie:    Why!

Herb:     Why?

Annie:    Yes, why!

Herb:     I can't think.. ah yes.. my Niece's game..

Anie|:    What's her name?

Herb:     What's her name?

Annie:    Yes, what's her name!

Herb:     But what's this got to do with..

Annie:    My name's Annie

Herb:     Oh, really, Hullo .. where was I ...

Annie:    No

Herb:     Really? I mean ... no?

Annie:    Really no, you mean!

Herb:     Well,......  first could I consult my lawyer a       moment please..?

Annie:    Ah hah, got you there!

Herb:     Where's the referee?!

Annie:    You must be joking.?. you can't be serious!

Herb:     Anyway... no you didn't

Annie:    Yes I did!

Herb:     No you didn't!

Annie:    Oh,... what the hell!

Herb:     Anyway, her name's Amarilla

Annie:    Buon Giorno

Herb:     Now, to get back to the game..

Annie:    Ah, the game.. yes the game's the thing, the         English always say

Herb:     Well, well

Annie:    You said something about a game ...

Herb:     Ah Yes, my niece's game..

Annie [scrabbles around]: Look, take this one..

Herb:     Why ?

Annie:    That's not a question. More of an answer,       really, on a philosophical level ...

Herb:     Is it?

Annie:    Got you there!

Herb:     Just a moment ... you know, despite everything,           I don't believe that this is a game I've ever      played before

Annie:    Just ask yourself... just what is the practical           significance of a game.. the very Gestalt of         the thing, the fine red line as they say         between the software of the game and the I, the        single most important fact in our personal,          equivocal world..!

Herb:     Yes.. I must see your reading list but anyway.. about this-

Annie:    It's not as simple as that of course

Herb:     No... no?

Annie:    The software of the game is a living process..       a development into symbols of all our thouights        and deepest fears.. a..

Herb [clears throat]:  I-....

Annie:    Well, you know, game shops and joke shops..                                                sometimes the two become interchangeable ..           it's part of the dilemma of the modern woman,        the problem of personality and the demands of          society.. the perception of women as a         permanently fecund, youthful, person.. the      woman as whore, as mother.. the problems of      physical and psychical aligmnment ....you see       what I mean ...?

Herb:     Yes.. yes .. quite...actually, I came in here        to get my nasty niece a game..!

Annie:    Ah, so it was

Herb:     Well... I-

Annie:    We don't sell firearms here!

Herb:     Well, that's one thing clear, at least..        actually, I thought you sold games here..

Annie:    Games.. games? ... What?

Herb:     What about that one there, for example ..

Annie:    It's very good!

Herb:     And that one?

Annie:    Chancey.. that's how I'd describe it..

Herb:     Chancey..?

Annie:    Why, do you like your niece?

Herb:     She's a monster..!

Annie:    Ahah!

Herb:     Ah hah!, what does that mean ..?

Annie:    Give her that one then...!

Herb:     Why?

Annie:    We can't sell them.. they must be awful ..      look, I'll reduce the price on two or more..

Herb:     Well, now you're talking.. but anyway, they,re       awfully cheap.. you'll be paying me to take        them away next!

Annie:    At last, we have communication!

Herb:     Well, I'll take one then ..

Annie:    Why not take two..? take two.. go on.. look-

Herb:     Now you're pushing your luck!

Annie:    Well, one's better than none.. after all now         we've only got another 89 to go.. you've got to       see this thing in perspective, after all ...

Herb:     Umm ...do they always deliver such large        amounts.. I mean 90 games seems an awful lot       ...?

Annie:    Not usually.. but this lot're a cut price       bunch..

Herb:     Reduce the price and I'll give it a thought..

Annie:    25% Discount then..

Herb:     Well.... [thinks] I could give Habicht one for       christmas, after all it's only 5 months away!

Annie:    Why not take three; one for her, one for your        other friend, and one in reserve for someone          else you won't like next year.. !

Herb:     Err... is it really, really boring ?

Annire:   My God, it's a killer here sometimes.. some          days I just have to evaluate my life, examine          my nails, that sort of thing.. life can be so          trying sometimes.. and sales are slow at the         moment ...

Herb:     No, I mean that game

Annie:    Oh that, oh, deathly, deathly..

Herb:     Well, three then ...

Annie:    Good, well I'll find some newspaper to wrap          them in so no-one will suspect that you've       bought anything..

Herb:     .... that's one way of looking at it!

Annie:    I try to think of things in a structural way,        you know ...

Herb [aside]: All the Philosophers live in Heidelberg         dear readers- it's the Philosophical crossroads      of the Galaxy!

Annie:    What's that!

Herb:     Oh, nothing, nothing

Annie:    You said something !

Herb:     No, No, hardly a word, actually, I mean sorry

Annie:    Something nasty, I heard you ...

Herb:     Me? Impossible ..!

Annie:    Some garbage about philosophers

Herb:     What ? ...No.. I was.. I was.. thinking about        the ...Philosopher's Walk.. immortalised by ..

Annie:    Listen, I've heard that line, get on to         something more interesting ...

Herb:     Ehmm.. have you walked there recently..?

Annie:    Well, now you come to mention it..


Fade To: FX Philosopher's walk: