Going through Cuberty is a title gifted to me by an anonymous fan. Just before my finals match with Dennis Culpepper at the 2001 Pittsburgh Open a local player came up to me, and claimed that he had a great title for a book. “Wonderful, “I told him, “Now you must write a great book to go with it!” He demurred, claiming such a feat was beyond him, but he was really proud of the title, and would be satisfied as long as someone used it. Going through Cuberty is a great title, and I’m pleased to grant his wish. I never got your name, but whoever you are, thank you! I hope the book does your title proud. Cuberty is the third of my collections, taking up where The Prime of Our Lives left off, and like Prime and Four-Point includes new material.



           “This is the best sashimi restaurant in Tokyo,” Kenji confided. He leaned over conspiratorially, “The Rolling Stones come here whenever they are in town.” If so, they must leave the roadies back at the hotel. If they brought their instruments, they’d have to leave them in the street. In fact, if they showed up tonight, they’d have to wait in the street. Kagetsu, our restaurant, seated 14, knee-to-knee, and cheek-to-cheek, and with my cheeks splayed over two sets of cushions, we filled the restaurant. “We” being members of the Japanese Backgammon League, like Kenji Shimodaira, who would be directing the 5th Japan Open, and Honored Foreign Guests, that being Robin Swaffield of Hong Kong, and me.

            “Many people think that sake must be drunk warm,” said Kenji, as he filled my glass. “This is a mistake. Good saké should be drunk cold. Warm only disguises bad saké’s mediocrity.” The sake he poured was icy cold, and very smooth. “What’s it called?” He frowned at the bottle, willing a translation. “Aha! ‘Excellent Moon.’” It was a very good moon, indeed.

            A platter of food arrived. I won’t say sashimi is wasted on me, but I’m no connoisseur. I do know that the signs of excellence are: top quality ingredients; artful presentation; and finally, freshness, the fresher the better. Before us on the china platter the selection was arrayed in a perfect circle. The prawns’ tails were fanned like preening peacocks, the abalone was an alabaster white, the ahi tuna a scarlet red, and the prawns’ upper bodies still bore their shells. I noticed the legs were waving feebly, when one of the heads gave a violent lurch, as though to sit up and lecture me on the rudeness of eating it. “Damn!” I said. “Now that’s fresh!”