Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"The Game of Love"

by M.L. Hickerson from the February 21, 2011 issue

Tagline: It might have started with a coincidence, but Justin and Gail's romance was meant to be...

In A Nutshell: Gail is on standby at the airport. She meets a guy waiting for the same flight because he's playing the same word game on his phone as she is on hers. They decide whoever finds the longest word will get the ticket. He wins, but declines to take the flight because he wants to spend more time with her.

Observations: This reminds me a lot of the story in which the two people vied for the same vintage lunch box, but this story had more of a tech feel because of the important props--his iPhone and her Blackberry.

This is one of those stories where as a reader, you're the fly on the wall. Personally, I like this type of story because it's easier to believe in the connection between the characters. I see it happen, vs. the author telling me.

There's also the story element of circularity, which I'm also fond of. That's when you drop something in at the beginning of the story and bring it back in at the end, too. In this case it's the idea of coincidence. When Justin shows her the screen on his iPhone so she can see he's playing the same game...

"That's a coincidence!" to which he replies, "'Coincidence', eleven letters."

Then at the end you get not one, but two, references. When Justin suggests they grab dinner, they both happen to have the same favorite restaurant on the concourse. Then, the last sentence claims:

As they smiled lovingly at one another, they knew their chance meeting had nothing to do with coincidence.

Finally, there's another story element in this tale that I like a lot--the black moment, when you think all is lost. Justin's name is called to board the flight, and Gail is left alone, but then she hears her name over the loudspeaker. Justin, that chivalric guy, has given up his seat for her. But then, bam, backatcha, Justin. Gail doesn't take the seat. She'd rather have dinner with you. Viva romance!!!

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