Since we have about 15 minutes worth of levain work to do on Wednesdays, this leaves Lucy and I with lots of spare time to spend on our favorite Wednesday pastime – Dominoes! But it’s not any old Dominoes game either. If you know of some of Lucy’s wild bread recipes you can imagine what her version of dominoes is like…or maybe not since it so weird.
This version requires the players to slam their pieces down on the table with a loud wooden crack while saying something special about the other player’s mother and incorporating the number being played. Now so far, this isn’t anything special were I come from.
But, if any of what the player doing the slamming says about the other player’s mother is lewd, risqué, profane or just plain nasty, then they have to say that part in a language that starts with an S and also in one the other player does not understand - at all. Before the game starts, you have to declare what S languages you speak.
It is only right that, when you are insulting someone’s mother, that you do it in a way which won’t make them mad or... bring them to a point they want to slit your throat - especially if you are playing with Lucy. Now don’t get me wrong, Lucy is every bit a gentle and lovable creature in every way but, she comes from suspect lineage on her mother’s side and it is prudent to be careful when playing dominoes with her.
Her mother, Gretchen.Von Sniggle-Fritz, was quite well known in professional domino circles for being a good player but also as a great knife fighter. The knife fighting part is the main reason we insult, while playing dominoes, in S languages that the other player can’t understand today. In the old days, Gretchen would get all upset about the other player making fun of her mother - even if it was good nurtured and just trash talking. Most of the time she had no good reason to be put off - but not always..
Eventually as the game progressed, she just couldn’t take it anymore and would jump up from the table on her two hind legs when you least expected it…..drawing a scoring knife in each paw from who knows where since she was short hair Doxie. She would slash the other player thigh high, quickly bringing them down to her level where she could get at their throats fast and easy. Being a small but determined German also helped her no doubt and she could slash a loaf like no one's business.
You would think, with her penchant for thigh and throat slashing her domino opponents to death, that she would have had a hard time finding someone to play with but, the opposite was the fact. People would come from far and wide and pay to see Gretchen play and she got part of that gate. Domino players, who fancied themselves decent knife fighters and in her league, also sought her out like gunfighter’s did during the Wild, Wild West. They actually paid her to die, fair and square, during a dominoes game where S languages weren’t required for insults as this was a top notch professional league.
Gretchen made a fantastic living by taking on all comers for nearly a dozen years and left quite a fortune to Lucy who really needs it today. I mean, she is only a 2nd Rate Baking Apprentice and doesn't shop at Goodwill like I do. At least she has room and board paid for even though she is not nearly as talented on the slashing side of things as we know all too well from the photos on TFL.
Gretchen was getting up there in years and her blades had slowed down a touch but ....she just couldn’t say no. She also couldn’t see through the domino table when her latest opponent, a twin peg legged, Swedish, swearing sailor, who’s ancestors had really discovered America, was seated. Little did he know that Gretchen spoke perfect Swedish - being European bred.
The game had barely begun when the Swede said something about Lucy’s grandmother to Gretchen that only a salty sailor could come up with…. and in perfect Swedish too. The next thing you know, Gretchen is growling something Swedish under her breath as she leaped to her hind legs and drew her blades from who knows where.
She slashed and hacked like the pro she was but got nothing but wood chips for all her efforts. The Swedish sailor laughed heartily and quickly laid her low by doing beautiful 'artisan scrimshaw' on her noggin faster that you could say Pain Levain. His mother would have been proud.
Our domino playing today isn’t nearly as violent as it was in Lucy’s mother’s day but it is nearly as fun anyway. I specialize in Spanish and Slovak and Lucy uses the Swedish from her youth and Swiss. I tell her that there is no such thing as a Swiss language but she has told me other things about the Swiss few seem to know..... that are definitely true.
Like the fact that, the Swiss don’t brush their teeth for fear of removing those huge chunks of chocolate stuck in them and that the Swiss love time pieces so much they wear coo coo clocks on their feet for shoes. See, i told you Lucy knows some really weird, true stuff few others know.
Lucy also says that it is totally impolite to reach out and grabs a chunk of chocolate from between their teeth when they smile at you too – which is pretty often and making it pretty tough. You also need to know that every Swiss family is armed to the teeth, military trained and just spoiling for a fight most of the time like Gretchen. It is best to keep your fingers to yourself if you want to keep them .....and just yodel instead.
Still, it must be unnerving and a little frightening to be talking to any normal Swiss person on the street and have a couple of coo coos shoot up from way below from the clocks they wear on top of their toes. These birds get in your face, 6 feet from the ground and scream at you “it’s 8 o’clock you $#@*&)%^%$#@,”
The last part was in Swiss so that no one, even Lucy being fluent in Swiss and the Swiss themselves, can’t understand. a lick of the last part. It would definitely be too scary for me and other children and,,,,, plenty enough reason to skip Switzerland on our or your next European Grand Tour …. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t keep my fingers to myself with chunks of chocolate just sitting there for the taking either. That should be illegal. Back to our current dominoes game…
For example when Lucy wants to play off of my open 2 on the table, she would slap down her mate and say Dabrownman’s mother wears tube tank tops two sized too…..and the rest would be in Swedish or Swiss. No harm no foul.
Combinations are really interesting and more complex. They are sort of like a rye bread with double chocolate Swiss stout, a scald, prunes and walnuts vs. white bread. Let’s say Lucy has left an open 4 on the table. I might slam my 4 down and say Lucy’s mother had 4 big old *#(@!)&^%$ in Pigeon Spanish, on her hairless belly that made her look like a *&^%#@#))(&^ in Slovak.
Pigeon Spanish is just like Pigeon English except the pigeons aren’t from Trafalgar Square and speak Spanish instead of English - easy enough. Some say they taste better too like how Spanish olive oil tastes better than English olive oil - which hardly anyone disagrees with.
We wouldn’t know about that though since we haven’t had any English pigeons but, we do like wild Spanish pigeons better than the French ones and they are certainly better than the farm raised American squabs which are just too fatty. Lucy keeps trying to order some wild English pigeons from Trafalgar Square online but, so far, no luck. But that is another story.
So, if you are a little bored while waiting for your no knead bread to rise and have a baking apprentice, you might want to give Lucy’s Dominoes a go. Who knows? It might even help your slashing like it did Lucy’s mother if you mess it up!. To be honest, I fell pretty darn lucky just to be alive having played dominoes with Lucy every Wednesday all these years. No wonder my slashing is so poor....