A game of musical chairs could go one of two ways with Rubin Grayson-Merriweather. Either he’d be high as a skyscraper and stumble his way through the game with his mind in a cannabis cloud, or he’d be completely sober and everyone playing and possibly some bystanders would die. Isaac hoped for the former, but when Rubin walked into the living room in his tight white tank top and paisley joggers with a frightening fire in his blue eyes, Isaac knew blood would be shed.
“Let’s do this!” Rubin barked. “I’m going to make these chairs my bitch!”
“Oh my God,” Filiz said, angling herself so that she could both direct her words towards Isaac and still perfectly monitor Rubin from across the room. She had opted for an azure hijab that evening and sported a pair of nonprescription glasses with blue frames to match. “I thought he was going to smoke after dinner so that he wouldn’t be so…himself.”
Isaac watched from across the room as Rubin started to do some lunges which he declared everyone should do to limber up before the game. He didn’t want anyone to pull a hammy.
Eleanor, hostess of game night, had pushed the couch and love seats against the walls and was setting up four chairs in the newly cleared space.
“It’s musical chairs, Rubin,” she said, rolling her eyes. “People don’t usually pull a hammy during musical chairs.”
“People tend not to get bloody noses from a game of Parcheesi,” said Jericho. He had just emerged from the kitchen with a Dixie plate piled high with mashed potatoes and drumsticks. “And yet I went home with tissue shoved up my nostrils last game night.”
“I said I was sorry,” said Rubin who was now jogging in place but Jericho didn’t look convinced.
“Why are we even playing musical chairs?” Filiz asked Isaac under her breath, as if to not agitate Eleanor. “I haven’t played musical chairs since second grade music class.”
“We’ve played every other game imaginable, remember? I guess Eleanor thought this was the best option. We don’t want another Candy Land incident do we?”
Filiz sneered and shuddered at the memory.
“Can we get this game going?” Rubin asked. “I’m running on adrenaline here.” His blond hair stuck up in odd angles, giving him a wild look.
“If you punch me in the face again, I’m going to be pissed,” said Jericho through a mouthful of potato and chicken. As he talked, a dribble of potato fell from his mouth and clung to his graphic t-shirt with a Star Wars logo printed across the front.
Eleanor plugged her phone into the audio jack connected to a pair of speakers stationed against the wall and clapped her hands together. “Okay people, enough chatter. I want a fair and clean game. No hitting below the belt and no dirty talk.” She spoke like one of those referees at a boxing match.
Everyone took their places around the chairs. Isaac craned his neck to look at Rubin standing behind him and said, “I’m going to be pissed if you break my leg.” He tried to say it humorously, but his grave concern was palpable.
Rubin merely smiled his moon-crater dimpled smile and winked an eye.
Taking her place in front of Isaac, Eleanor clicked the play button on a tiny black remote and music came over the speakers.
“Okay, here we go,” said Eleanor, words riddled with trepidation.
“Gird your loins,” Jericho muttered.
“What have I gotten myself into?” Isaac asked himself. He figured he’d find out soon enough.