Love Behind Glass
by Florence Smith Nicholls

Love Behind Glass

It’s not easy to flirt when you’re being watched.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been at this game (and of course That Game) for many years. I know very well it’s sometimes better to hold your ground rather than make a play for affection. It just doesn’t help when you’re on display, gawped at by hundreds of people every day.

Hold up! I haven’t even introduced myself. I’m Queenie, about 800 years young, 9.6 cm tall (look me up online). I don’t come from England, actually. I spent a lot of time on the Isle of Lewis, before me and my people were taken from the ground and split up. Sure, Lewis was remote, but it was peaceful. The same can’t be said for my current living arrangements.

The Museum light might be good for selfies, but it’s been testing my patience lately. You’d think being put under a spotlight would make me feel special, but I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis. It’s hard not to when The Museum is selling replicas of you for the gawpers to take home and keep. Trust me, though, those fakes just aren’t the same as Queenie-accept no substitutes.

My friends and I in this glass box go way back. There’s my close friend, King. There’s been a lot of gossip about us over the years but what most people don’t know is that he’s been dating Berserker for the last 100 years or so. They’re the OTP of the group. My longest affair was with another Queen, but we split due to artistic differences. That, and she became quite distant (probably not helped by the fact she’s in another section of The Museum display).

As you can imagine, I’ve had quite a chequered past. I thought romance was behind me (quite literally in the case of some of the other pieces).

And then there was Pawn.

The Pawns tend to keep to themselves, which is fair given how snobby me and the other monarchs have been to them. I’ve always been intrigued by Pawn’s geometric design though. They’re quiet, and they can’t move very far on the board, but they’re incredibly loyal. During one of the late night games we have when no one is looking Pawn sacrificed themself for me, and since then I’ve been very protective.

There’s limited opportunity for us to spend time together, and impossible to do so alone. During the day I just have to wait, impatient for the final gawpers to leave and the lights to finally dim low.

Then, out of the darkness, I’ll hear Pawn whisper to me:

“Your move or mine?” ◒


Florence Smith Nicholls is an archaeologist living in London. They conduct independent research in archaeogaming, which is the study of how archaeology and videogames intersect. They are also very queer. You can find them online at @florencesn