Agent for a Cause (Chapter Six - Checkmate, page 1 of 8)

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Kevin sort of just roamed the small city park. When he got too close to the street I took his hand and steered him back into the park. At any moment I was prepared to tackle him to the ground should he suddenly try to dart off, but he didn't and I gradually became aware that in his own way he was enjoying the park even though he appeared to be just aimlessly wandering around it.

Even with the autism I could sense that there was a very bright intellect at play behind his eyes. He stopped suddenly and stared intently at something. I followed Kevin's gaze to where two men were playing a game of chess on a park bench. Now this I could do!

I approached the men pulling out enough money to do the job. The men quickly moved off, their hands full of the money I'd given them. Gathering up the chessboard and pieces I led Kevin to a more secluded table and got him seated.

Kevin's form of autism rendered him nonverbal and instead of talking to him I found myself silent as well, favoring instead to just show him what I needed from him in order to play the game. The silence didn't bother me as I was quiet by nature myself.

I laid all the pieces to the side of the board and took each piece and showed the specific movements that piece could make on the chessboard. I did this for both colors and I grouped like pieces together and divided by color.

Maybe I was shooting up the wrong apple tree, but heck I figured it was worth a shot and it was keeping him interested. I set the board and began to play. I played both sides illustrating further the possible moves of the pieces. I played three games by myself and I was getting a little tired of it.

I started to reach for a piece on his side, but his hand was already on it. I withdrew my hand and he moved the piece correctly. He didn't do so well on his next moves though. I had to keep him from double moving in a turn several times and I was starting to think that I should just let him move the pieces however he wanted to, but I didn't give into that thought.

He may be suffering under a handicap that most people didn't have to deal with, but he should still learn and be taught how to do something right. Anything else wasn't fair to him. We got through the game and started another.

On a whim of thought I turned the board game around and gave him the black pieces, which was a concession on my part because I favored those over the white pieces personally. His moves were correct and he stopped trying to move twice in the same turn. He'd gotten radically better in just one game and I couldn't but feel excited for him. I was sort of proud of myself for sticking with it to. What had changed?

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