“Does being bad at chess make one bad at life?”
Scum looked up at his opponent, having finally realized he was checkmated after attempting several moves, each of which had prompted a corrective noise – and occasional slap – from the man across the table.
“In your case,” replied the man, who appeared quite annoyed, “it does.”
Scum had played chess with everyone he could find, challenging newcomers to his family’s tire shop waiting room with his splintered board and bag of filthy pieces. And he never won.
“Where did I go wrong?” Scum wailed, pitifully. Never a strong man, this latest defeat (in four moves) was affecting him more than his swift defeats usually did. The man looked at him for a moment, and offered a short explanation as he rose to leave.
“You opened with f3.”
Scum watched the man as he departed, trying to understand the meaning of this cryptic statement. But Scum did not understand algebraic Chess notation – or algebra itself, for that matter – and was flummoxed by this reply. After staring for a while (one of his primary activities) he slowly packed up his chess set and made for the door.
“Where do you think you are going?”
The stern voice was that of his sister, who was also his shift manager. She had not forgotten her request for Scum to clean the restroom, and a quick blow to the side of the head was enough to jog his memory. And so it was that, after an hour spent cleaning up excrement, which reminded him of his last game of chess for some odd reason, Scum began to devise a plan. It was so far beyond anything he had ever attempted that the thought alone made him feel weak, frightened, and slightly incontinent.
Originally named Scum-of-the-earth (devised by a mean-spirited woman who had been asked by Scum’s illiterate mother to spell new newborn son’s name for the birth certificate), it was later shortened to Scum (for it is far faster and nearly as insulting). Ever since his earliest memory, Scum had failed at everything he had ever attempted. Learning to tie his shoes was a low point of his youth (a discipline which remains a bit of a mystery to Scum to this day), and teaching him to read took years of intensive phonetic training, with limited success. A weakling by disposition, he augmented his physical limitations with a similarly low intelligence and a propensity for making excuses for his many failings. It was a seamless transition to video games, and his constant – and excuse-ridden – incompetence. Upon completion of his custodial work at Thicko’s Tire Emporium, Scum would return in the late evening to his filthy basement apartment and turn on one of his many original PlayStation systems, “honing” his gaming “skills”. (The images on the screen of his flickering television would have been enough to frighten even the strongest of will, and the details of his attempts will be omitted from this account.)
What followed was years of obsessive collecting, and an ever-growing library of games that Scum had neither the time (tire shop bathrooms do not clean themselves) or skill (repeatedly dying minutes after starting a new game in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night helps no one, and should not be practiced) to finish any of them. And so the back-log – and console collection – grew and grew, until there was no room for Scum in the basement anymore. While this could (and should) have resulted in the end of this story, with Scum left to wander the streets, unable to enter his apartment for all the mess within. However, some latent intelligence (very slight, but intelligence nonetheless) was tapped while cleaning a blockage in the tire shop’s restroom (as alluded to above), and now Scum felt that it was time to set his incredible plan in motion. He was going to buy the house above him. Yes, he would be a renter no more, using his life savings to put a deposit down on the mortgage that would transform the lowly Scum to the enviable rank of homeowner. This move was – surprisingly – actually feasible, as the owners of the home had left years before, leaving Scum to rent only the basement of an empty house. (Between Scum’s long hours of noisy failure and his opprobrious smell – as there was no shower in the basement – the home’s original owner had simply doubled Scum’s rent and used this to purchase a second home.) After moving up into the house proper, Scum would be free to redouble his efforts and purchase more piles of junk in lot sales from internet auctions, thus ensuring his retirement from the untold millions in gaming treasure he would obtain. Or his inevitable death in poverty on the streets. Either one.
The story could easily have ended here, if not for the day when Scum carried out his next great plan; though the world could have done without the end result. Scum (now a proud homeowner) had unfortunately stumbled upon this very website, enjoying what little he could comprehend of its contents, and sending whatever donations he could afford whenever possible (which we really recommend you do, too!). After months of inner-debate (a terrifying thought that should really not be considered), Scum finally set out to complete the greatest challenge of his life: the composition of an email addressed to the editor of Lusipurr.com. Weeks later, after deep consultation with a thesaurus to feign intelligence, Scum observed his handiwork with great pleasure. A full transcript of this original email is reproduced below:
Dear Mr./Ms. Lusipurr.com,
It is with imposing and contented amusement that I am permitted to address the ensuing correspondence to your admittance upon this fine morning, within which I anticipate it finds yourself quite amicably amiable, indeed. Circumstances related to the perusal of this exquisitely superb institution’s literature has resulted in the author’s interest in acquiescing to the impulse to presumptively assume the pleasure of an audience related to this author’s potential assistance in erudite remonstration applied to the readers-at-large.
Your immediate reply is requested regarding the application process of which this author is in ardent desire of receipt, upon your earliest convenience forthwith and untoward.
Your humble servant,
Scum “Sebahamut” Thicko
It is still a mystery to the staff of this website how Lusipurr managed to overlook Scum’s obvious – and crippling – deficiencies in bringing him onboard (though Mr. Lusipurr has admitted to his mistake in private meetings with disgruntled staff members), but it is pointless to question that decision now, however horrible. The fact remains that Scum (who took to calling himself the unpronounceable “Sebahamut” around this time, for no known reason) is a staff member at Lusipurr.com, and therefore something of a success. However small. And that is the story of Scum Thicko. So far.