Game Night

Game Night

Stan and Linda Masters had a party.

There were no drugs. It wasn’t that kind of party. They weren’t those kinds of Masters.

They invited two guests only, Gale and Mark. They lived in the neighborhood. Stan and Linda didn’t know their last names. They hardly knew them at all.

They brought a bottle of red wine to the Masters’ house.

But Stan and Linda had already opened a bottle when their guests arrived. It was a cabernet that cost $5.99. Stan had found it in the wine discount bin, at the grocery store, near the wine aisle.

They ate dinner and drank wine. The food was horrible. Stan and Linda served five things. All five came from different cuisines, and they were awful: sushi with brown rice and canned tuna; naan bread that tasted like fish. Gale spent the better part of dinner in the bathroom, not because she had to go, but because if she went there no one would ask why she wasn’t eating.

Neither she nor Mark said a thing about how bad the food was. They wanted to be good guests, and not insult their hosts.

When dinner was over, Mark said, “Here we are, folks. We’re done with dinner. There’s no dessert. We have drunk one bottle of wine, and on the table we have another, which is full.”

“I can open it,” said Stan, “as that would appear to be the most appropriate action.”

“No,” said Mark. “Don’t do that. I mean, yeah. You could. It’s an option.”

“It’s definitely possible,” said Linda.

“We live in a world of possibilities,” said Stan.

Mark held up one hand. He smiled and said, “I was going to suggest we play a game. Spin the Bottle?”

“You were going to suggest it,” said Stan, “or you are suggesting it?”

“By saying I would suggest it,” Mark said, “I have suggested it.”

“I love this,” said Linda.

Mark was like a magician, but with words.

“I thought,” said Stan, “you were supposed to play Spin the Bottle with an empty bottle. And we put the first wine bottle in the recycling bin already.”

Mark said, “No rule says you cannot use a full bottle, such as this one.”

He held up the full bottle. It came from the same winery that produced the red zinfandel “Seven Deadly Zins.” This one was called “Zinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”

Linda wanted to stop and check the rulebook, to see if using a full bottle would delegitimize their game of Spin the Bottle.

She knew she had a universal rulebook somewhere in the house. Or she could look up the rules online.

But she wanted the neighbors, these virtual strangers, to like her. She wanted them to think she was cool. She wanted them to want to be her friend, and so she didn’t look up any rules.


Throughout history, basically, people have been playing games.

In Egypt—ancient Egypt—they played a game called Senet. It was a little board game that fit in a box. It had three rows of ten spaces. The spaces were on top of the box, and the pieces went inside, so Cleopatra wouldn’t lose them.

Egyptians played Mehen, too, and Hounds of Jackals.

They played games constantly, because they were drunk pretty much all the time.

Not very many people know that about ancient Egyptians.


Stan, Linda, Mark, and Gale went to the living room. They sat on the floor.

Mark sat back and said, “I’m not gonna lie. I don’t have an erection, but moments like this make the end of my penis feel fuzzy. Like, tingly. Just a little.” He nudged Gale. “It’s like when I saw Winona Ryder was on that show? I told you about that.”

“I don’t have an erection, either,” Stan said.

But somehow, when he mentioned his flaccid penis, it didn’t come off the way it did when Mark mentioned his. There was something about Mark that kept him above the fray.

Linda went first. Mark insisted she go first. She was the hostess.

She took a deep breath and spun the bottle.

When it stopped, it pointed back at herself. Everyone laughed.

“Spin again?” said Gale.

“No,” said Linda, “I can take this on.”

The others watched as she sucked her own fingers and licked her own hands. She licked and sucked her arm, her elbow crook, her leg, and the sole of her foot. She made lots of lip and tongue sounds before she gave up at last and said, “I’m sorry, guys. I’m just not getting any passion out of this.”

“My dear,” said Mark. “You’ve done wonderfully. Let me take my turn.”

He spun the bottle. When it stopped, it pointed at Linda.

“Well,” said Linda, “this should be easier.”

Stan watched as Mark and Linda’s faces met and they licked each other’s tongues. Their mouths slorped together and they sucked lips and bit lips, too. They didn’t touch below the neck, but they kissed a long time and even drooled some.

When it was over, it was Stan’s turn.

“You’re going to love this, babe,” Linda said. “This is a great game.”

When Stan spun the bottle, it pointed at Linda.

“Wow!” she said. “It’s my lucky night.”

Stan kissed her with passion, for at least five minutes.

Gale’s turn was next. She spun the bottle as hard as she could, and when it came to a stop it pointed at Linda.

“Hat trick!” Linda cried.

Linda’s and Gale’s kiss lasted a while. Linda took Gale in her arms as Gale, halfway through the extended kiss, lay atop Linda’s legs, leaning back so Linda could hold her and slorp her mouth and neck.

Stan asked Mark, while they watched, what he thought of the recent slate of city ordinances on sidewalks and trash collection that had passed despite the public outcry. “I mean,” he said, “when I saw the one about the maximum number of trashcans we can have within city limits I almost lost my mind.”

Mark didn’t seem to know what Stan was talking about.

He had his hand down his pants. He was watching the women kiss and stroking himself.

The kiss ended. Linda’s face was red. She was breathing hard. She looked a little embarrassed, but she was clearly turned on.

“It’s time for round two,” Gale said, grinning, flushed with passion. “And there’s a new rule.”

“This round?” Mark said. “Only the one who spins the bottle uses their lips.”

“I’m sorry?” said Stan. “What do you mean?”

“Whoever spins the bottle,” Gale explained, “kisses whatever part of the other person’s body they want.”

“Okay,” said Stan. “But what if somebody wants to kiss another person’s lips? And, like, tongue? Like before?”

Mark shrugged. “You can do that. It’s allowed.”

“But that’s not the idea, really,” Gale said.

“But it’s permitted,” said Stan, “is it not?”

“It is permitted,” Mark said.

Stan nodded, visibly satisfied.


People all over the world have been visibly satisfied for decades. Benito Mussolini was visibly satisfied.

A lot of dictators are visibly satisfied, mostly with themselves, right up until they get strung up on lampposts, or shot in the head, or whatever.

But everyday people get visibly satisfied, too, when they smoke weed and watch TV, and when they mow their lawns and observe how good their lawns look and smell that green lawn smell.


Round Two of Spin the Bottle began.

Mark went first. He spun!

When the bottle stopped spinning, it pointed at Linda.

“Wow,” said Linda. “This is my night.”

“Yeah,” said Mark. “Something’s up.”

“Choose a place!” said Linda.

“I choose thigh,” he said. “Right thigh.”

“I’m wearing jeans,” Linda said.

“Then you’ll have to take them off,” said Gale.

Linda shrugged, stood, and took off her pants. She had on red shorts. “Good thing I shaved,” she said, and Mark crawled forward and pressed his lips and tongue against the inside of her right thigh.

It was just as he’d promised. He kissed and licked that thigh and got it all wet with saliva that smelled a little like wine, a lot like Mark’s mouth. He held onto her legs with his hands like she was an altar he sought to defile with his face. Linda looked down at him, watched him lick and suck and kiss. His face traveled up and down the inside of her leg.

“Whew,” Linda said when it was over.

When Stan spun the bottle next, he got Linda again.

“It’s really always Linda, isn’t it?” said Gale.

“I choose breasts,” Stan said. “Lemme at ‘em.”

Linda took off her shirt and bra, and Stan alligatored over there and licked and sucked a while, a little too long, really, considering they had company, and that he must have done this before. Right? Mark wondered if they should have established a time limit, maybe used a plastic hourglass, like the one that comes with Pictionary.

When it was Gale’s turn to spin again, again she got Linda.

“Seriously,” Gale said. “Is the floor uneven?”

But she didn’t really mind. She liked Linda.

“I’ll show you where my kiss will go,” she said.

Linda was wearing only those red shorts. Gale pulled them off her hips and down her legs. She pressed Linda’s chest gently with one hand so she lay back on the hardwood floor. She descended to her vulva, and with her tongue she found Linda’s clitoris. She stroked it gently with her tongue, stroked it harder, moaned while Linda rubbed Gale’s scalp rhythmically with the fingers of one hand. Linda nearly came as she lay there on the floor before Gale pulled away, hand to her mouth, laughing, looking Linda in the eyes, about to remove her own shirt and really get things started.

“This was really fun,” said Stan. “We’ve got other games, too.”

“I’m sure you do,” said Mark.

“Here,” Stan said. “One second.”

He left the room.


We are living in a golden age of board games. People who grew up on Monopoly and Life, Go and Othello, can today, in adulthood, play elaborate board games that simulate the growth patterns of forests, the development of railroad monopolies, the settlement of continents.

There’s a Chinese lantern festival game. There’s a game that’s based on quilting.

If an Egyptian guy—an ancient Egyptian guy—saw how many board games there are now, he’d lose his shit.

All his life, all he had to play were Mehen, Twenty Squares, Hounds of Jackals, and that other one from before. It was a nightmare.

Today he could play Endless Winter, Zombie Dawn, Ambush!, Vikings Gone Wild, Caverna, Lewis and Clark: the Expedition, Nautilus.

And that’s just the beginning. It’s unreal.


When Stan returned to the room, he carried colorful boxes with nice designs on them.

There were board games inside. One was Patchwork, the quilting game.

“There’s this one game, Kodama,” he said, “that we haven’t even opened yet. I think you build a tree in it?”

Gale grinned. She began to crawl across the floor to Stan. “How about,” she said, “we play Taste the Neighbor’s Wife on Your Lips?”

Stan said, “What are the rules?”

She started to laugh, but he was serious.

She blinked up at him.

“That’s what I thought,” Stan said. “There’s this other game, Goblins Go Home. It’s a dexterity game. That means, like, you have to do things like launch pieces over other pieces. Some people insist a game like that is for kids, but I say that’s not true at all. Not at all.”

“Stan,” Mark said, unbuttoning his shorts, reaching in, pulling out his thick, hard cock, “we’re not here to play those kinds of games.”

“Oh,” Stan said. “That’s all right.”

Mark kept stroking himself, watching Gale take off her shirt.

Stan said, “There’s nothing to be afraid of. These games are kind of complicated, but they’re easy to learn if someone’s played before.”

He opened one called Public Registry and dumped the pieces on the floor. It was loud.

“First,” he said, “we have to get all the pieces organized, and sort the currency. The game uses Euros, I guess because Germans made it? Each player is a public servant at the registry office. Right? And the land title claims come in fast. It’s turn-based, so it won’t get out of hand, but it’s a hectic game, and you have to pay attention.”

Linda had put her shorts back on, and her shirt. “This will be great,” she said.

“Are you sure?” said Gale. Her shirt was off. She’d been about to unhook her bra.

“What’s wrong?” asked Linda, pulling on her jeans. “We thought you wanted to be friends.”

Mark, whose fat, hard cock was still hanging out the top of his shorts, said, “We do want to be your friends. We kind of, though, you know, thought we could be more than that?”

“Like acquaintances?” asked Linda.

“No, babe,” Stan said. “Friends are better than acquaintances. He means they want to be best friends.”

Gale said, “No. I mean, maybe. But what we were really talking about was being intimate together. Not sharing secrets, but being physically intimate.”

“Are you swingers?” asked Stan.

“Aren’t you?” laughed Mark.

“No way,” Stan said. “I mean, it’s kind of appealing. But I’ve got a jealous streak. You know?”

“It’s true,” Linda said, still flushed from the cunnilingus she’d enjoyed a couple minutes prior. “Stan is a sensitive man. He can’t help it. His dad was a bully, so it’s connected to that. Like, a lot.”

Stan pointed at Linda and nodded. “She knows me better than I know myself.”

“But Stan,” said Gale. “A minute ago, Linda was naked. I almost made her come with my mouth. You watched me do it. I think Mark had his dick out half the time.”

“I did,” he said. “It was out.”

Gale said, “You don’t seem like you’re jealous about that, Stan. Not at all. You guys might actually be swingers.”

“That wasn’t swinging, though,” said Stan. “That was Spin the Bottle.”

Mark’s erection was gone. Everyone saw.

He pulled his penis back into his shorts.

“You’re not wrong,” Mark said. “I guess. But I don’t get it. I was sucking on Linda’s leg for a while, man. And Gale was going to town on her pussy. Linda’s clitoris was swollen like an engorged tick, or something.”

“Okay,” said Linda. “I’m not crazy about that simile.”

“Yeah,” said Stan. “This isn’t Simile Crackdown. Though we do have that, if you want to play.”

“We really don’t,” said Gale. “We’re not as into games as you. We thought Spin the Bottle would be a good way to get things going. You know?”

“That explains a lot,” said Stan. “I thought it was weird when you wanted to play Spin the Bottle. It’s such a limited game. You know? I mean, a lot of good games rely on randomness for the generation of tension and intrigue, where you roll dice, or whatever. But with Spin the Bottle, that’s all it is. It’s just random. There’s no currency system, you don’t level up. Who even wins?”

“Everybody wins,” said Gale.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’ve won anything. Whereas, at the end of a good game of Public Registry, there’s a clear winner. It’s whoever’s filed the most commercial records and land titles. That’s who wins.”

Gale said, “I think you’re missing the point, here.”

“I think it’s Stan who has the point,” Linda said. “I mean, did I like how our game of Spin the Bottle went? Yes. I did. I love that kind of attention. I’ve never been with another woman before tonight, and I think it went well. But do I have that feeling of euphoria one gets after playing a well-made, engrossing game?”

She shrugged and shook her head.

“Should I have kept going?” Gale asked her. “I don’t get it.”

“You could have kept going,” Linda said. “But still I think I would be lacking right now the sort of frisson one gets on a good game night. That unique blend of joy and suspense. Do you know what I mean?”

“I know what you mean,” Mark said. To Gale, he said, “We should go.”

“Okay,” said Stan. “Are you sure, though? We’re up for Kodama, still. Or something shorter, like Phillip Trainsdale? You have to take turns moving Mr. Trainsdale around the board, to collect ice cream. It is intense, though.”

“Guys,” said Gale, standing with her shirt back on. “It’s okay.”


People have been saying things are okay when they’re plainly not okay for a long time.

Benito Mussolini said things were okay. He said it in Italian. But with that guy, things were never okay.

Sometimes, though, things really are okay. Things aren’t always so bad.

There is still justice in the world. There is still beauty.

We’ve had to squint our eyes to see it, lately. But it’s there.


When their guests were gone, Linda said, “They were nice. Should we invite them tomorrow?”

“To the orgy?” Stan said. “I was wondering that, too. I don’t think so, though.”

“Me neither.”

“Mark’s got a monster cock, but they’re uptight. Did you see how he turned his nose up at Public Registry?”

“I couldn’t believe it. It’s Public Registry, people!”

“I know you hate it when I say this, but—” and in unison they said, “some people are just unbelievable.”

They laughed and laughed.

They played three rounds of Portnoy’s Penguins and called it a night.


About the Author

Robert Long Foreman's books include WEIRD PIG and I AM HERE TO MAKE FRIENDS. He lives in Kansas City and is online at


Image by Markus Spiske from Pixabay