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(TFT) Cover art

[A caution to the reader.  This account contains a disturbing scene]

Cover Art

     The AD&D books smell intoxicating.  Just like painting miniatures, or
mimeographed tests at school.  One always knows when there is going to be a
pop quiz cause the teacher is late.  They are in the office running off the
mimeographs.  Then they come in and pass out sheets with the same slightly
blurred purple test on them.  Everyone holds up the page and inhales deeply.

     I can find any rule in any AD&D book quickly.  There are two triggers at
work in my brain.  The location on the page, and/or the artwork.  Every rule
somehow I just know which quadrant of the page it is on.  I can look at just
that quadrant, turn page after page quickly, and lock onto the rule.  Fifteen
seconds, tops.  But if the rule is near artwork, its no contest.  I can turn
right to it ever time.

     The covers of the books are very cool.  The idea of a side view showing
the dangerous world underground while a unicorn posses on top really gets my
imagination going.  When I look at the world around me, I fancy I can see into
the walls and the secret space between the inner and outer bricks.  This will
allow one to get to any room if one knows where the secret door is.

     I remember once these two next door neighbor kids who are way older than
us.  They have a secret hollow behind a row of bushes along the back fence in
their yard.  My Friend Cindy Lee and I are playing in the back yard and we are
very young.  Somehow these older kids get us to come over and check out the
secret place.  Then they try to talk her into showing me hers, and her mine.

     Well she instantly looks sullen and says no.  They sweet talk, beg, and
pressure us.  Shes crying and saying no.  Im terrified not sure what is
going on or why they are starting to become angry and mean.  Then Cindy runs
away out of their back yard and back to my house.  I figure they are going to
turn on me now.  ``Im wearing two pairs of socks`` I say.  They just give up
and leave.  I run back to my house.   I tell Cindy Im sorry about how mean
the were.  I make her some ice cream.

     Of the efreet of evil on one side and the exotic domed city on the other
I favor the city.  Curved roofs that seem to be made of bronze, marble, and
stone.  All protected by an encircling wall while the whole is floating on a
cloud.  The leader of that city can take it anywhere.  Even parking it over
the entrance of a dungeon.  No travel time between excursion and recovery.

     ``Do you want to screw.``

     I close my players handbook, butterflies well up in my stomach.  I swivel
around on the bleachers to face the girl sitting behind me.  Its Latanya, one
of the only people who will let me sit next to them on the buss.  She has
short curly black hair and a really great smile.  Which she is using on me
right now.  My stomach is in flutters I wonder if Im going to cry and run
away like Cindy did.  But Latanya is really nice to me so I hope not.  Then I
notice she is holding a screw in her hands.  She chuckles, hands it to me, and
musses up my hair a little bit.  I slowly spin back and face forward.  Feels
like I have just been plunged into a swimming pool.  I save the screw though.

     The classic.  The one that moves and talks the first time I look at it.
Trampiers dark & burning ``clearing and looting the room.``  I can tell the
whole story.  Who is in front when they enter from the side hall.  The trolls
stop their chanting and rush to defend.  Then clearing and looting the room.
Finding a stair behind the alter that goes deeper still.  And finally an empty
room, quiet save for the still burning sacrificial fire, piled with crackling
green bodies.

     So before school, when we are all in the gym waiting for the first bell,
I usually have one book with me, and out.  So those seated around me on the
bleachers can see.  Or Ill use it as a writing pad to finish up some
homework.  Occasionally someone will look at the cover.  Their eyes casually
passing over it.  There is that moment where their imagination seems to dwell
on the cover piecing together what it is.  Then they look away least they be
caught being curious.  But every once in a while someone looks back.  As if to
confirm they really did just see the image the have in their imagination.

     And unlike some people, my sense of fun doesnt have to hide in the

David Michael Grouchy II
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