The Writer's Cramp 9/5/21
“It’s family game night. Let’s go kids!” Dad yelled upstairs.
Julie and Jennifer heard Dad. “Oh great. Another boring night. What will it be this time?” Julie said.
“I pray we don’t have to another jigsaw puzzle. Or watch an old black and white movie.”
Julie added, “Old pictures, or videos. Ugh. They’re the worst. Why game night. So baby.”
“Girls! Let’s go.” Dad’s voice drifted upstairs.
“I give it an hour, then I’ll come up.” Jennifer checked the time.
“Okay, then at 9:00 I’ll say I have to check on you.” Julie unwrapped herself from the fleece blanket, put on slippers.
The two made their way down the stairs to Dad, Mike and Mom waiting for them in the kitchen.
“Tonight we’re playing Yahtzee!.” Dad opened the box and displayed the game pieces.
“What? I never heard of that.”
“Is this some new thing, where’d you find this?”
“Can’t we play Uno instead? I know how to play Uno.”
Dad put his hands up. “Enough! Stop with the whining. Yahtzee is fun. I remember playing this as a kid on camping trips. Lots of fun. Really. Fun.” He looked around the table at three sullen kids but one happy wife.
“Oh come on, guys, it’ll be fun. Once you get the hang of it. Your dad was the champ,” Mom smiled then went to fetch snacks.
“I bet you were the talk of all the school,” Julie said just a bit sarcastically.
“I’ll ignore that remark on the basis you’re a child and don’t know the awesomeness of your father when he was your age.” Blank looks met his smile. “Okay, now I know you’re all pretty smart. So, these score cards should be pretty easy for you to figure out.” He passed out paper score sheets and pencils.
Mom returned with popcorn and drinks. “Ready to start?”
“I’ll go first, show you how to do this.” Dad rolled his dice. “Five chances to get five of a kind. Three rolls to a turn. You choose which dice you want to keep on the first turn. Then you roll again. Again, keep the dice you want. Then a final turn. The goal is to get the best score. Three of a kind. Four of a kind, a straight, then five of a kind.” He made marks on the score card and totaled the round. “Got it? It’s all about strategy and luck. Luck of the roll.”
“I need a calculator. I can’t add columns,” complained Mike.
“No calculators. Use the back of your sheet if you need to. This game is about a lot of things,” Mom said. “Strategy, adding, luck and the percentages of probability.”
“Sounds too much like school. I didn’t know family game night was also school night.” Julie sulked.
“Your turn, Julie. Try it, you might find this fun,” said Dad.
The game continued on for a few hours. It seemed Jennifer was the dark horse, the quiet girl won it all. She had the high score, followed by Mark then Julie, Mom and Dad.
“Ha, Dad! What happened? You said you were so wonderful at this game.”
“I let you win, Miss Jennifer. Beginner’s luck. Next time we play, watch out. The gloves will be off and I will defeat you.” He circled her and gave a big bear hug.
“Alright all, time for bed. Actually, it’s past my bedtime. You guys need to get going now.” Mom shooed them out of the kitchen.
Mike, Jennifer, and Julie met in Mike’s room.
“Not so bad. They tried, so I guess we could do that again,” stated Mike.
Jennifer sprawled on Mike’s mess of a bed. “I guess I could do it again. You know you had so many chances to win. I wish I’d rolled what you did.”
“Oh really! I think I did better, I let you win. Because you’re the baby and all. Next time I won’t be so nice.” Julie laid beside Jennifer.
Mike lay beside his sisters. They discussed strategy for a few hours, falling asleep in a heap.
Mom came to turn off lights. She saw the three in a jumble, like they were again babies in the playpen.
“I love family night,” she whispered to the sleeping teens as she felt arms envelope her.
“Me too. Thanks for the babies,” whispered Dad with his kiss.