Remember Kirk and Andy? Of course not! I glossed them over last week. Today’s story is all about this dynamic duo. Albino Andy and Kirk Ape – that was Steve Curry’s nicknames for them. Steve came up with all the nicknames in New Orleans, including the aforementioned Serendib Jim and Clay of Sardia.
Kirk and Andy were in their early twenties when the Magic scene in New Orleans started up. The two of them competed in most of the same tournaments that I frequented, and they usually finished near the top of the standings. Neither of them was particularly bad at the game, but neither was that great either. Kirk would always play a base Black aggressive deck. If you sat down against Kirk, you knew you’d be facing Hypnotic Specters, Sengir Vampires, and Juzam Djinns. Andy jumped from deck to deck, but favored White cards.
If Vinny the Pimp and Chris Wong and Josh were the chief rivals of the Tulane Chess and Gaming club, then Kirk and Andy were the sworn personal enemies of me and Steve. We took special pleasure in beating them, because they weren’t particularly pleasant people. Andy had survived cancer at an early age, which caused his hair to turn a ghostly white. The mix of Cajun and survival that swirled in his head made him pretty inconsiderate of other people’s feelings. Kirk was a big buffoon. He was swaddled in his obesity, and was the stereotypical large man who grew extremely overweight into adulthood as an escape from childhood insecurity.
Now, I’d just like to make one thing clear: I have nothing against large people. I realize that this is the second straight blog in which I’ve made references to fat people. People get fat for various reasons: physical problems, emotional stress, laziness – and it is not my right to make any sort of judgment on a person’s worth based on their weight. You’ll never, ever hear me calling someone fat as an insult. Some people can’t help that they are physically large. For those who can help it, it does not help to rub salt in the wound. I’ve had friends who were stick thin and those who were grossly obese. Regardless of physical body type, it’s what’s inside that counts to me.
With that said, you have to understand that Kirk’s weight was a shield against the cruel outside world. He and Andy had been longtime friends, and Andy kind of looked after Kirk – they had other friends they brought around to Magic tournaments, but Andy was always the leader of the group. Kirk mostly followed what Andy said.
After I won a few straight tournaments at Steve & Keith’s Mox tournament, Andy approached me about going to another Magic tournament in the suburbs. I didn’t have a car, but he graciously invited me to go along with him, Kirk and a guy name Ray. I don’t remember much about Ray, except that he wore flannel and had a horrific temper. His rage came out that night during the third round of the tournament.
4 Animate Dead
1 Black Lotus
4 Dark Rituals
1 Demonic Tutor
3 Disrupting Scepter
4 Hymn To Tourach
1 Mind Twist
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Sol Ring
1 Storm World
4 The Rack
Man, what a pile! Sixteen lands, sixty-two cards, Atogs in a deck with a minimum number of artifacts, a complete lack of Blue for Blue power cards, and the great kill condition of Millstone and Animate Dead! At the time it was high tech, and nothing was better than getting down the soft lock of Millstone and Orcish Spy. Yes, Orcish Spy was a complete pile. He was my complete pile though, and I loved him. I would only use the obviously superior Daniel Gelon picture, with the orc looking in a stick of wood.
This was the first deck that I played where other people literally refused to play against me for fun. I’d sit down and they’d demand I not play the Millstone deck.
Me:”Hey Anthony, you want to play a game?”
Anthony:”You’re not playing that Millstone deck, are you?
Me:”Mayyybe. Mayyybe not.”
Anthony:”I’m not playing.”
Me:”I’m not playing it, this is a new deck.”
Anthony:”Okay, fine, I’ll play.”
Anthony:”What the hell? You said you weren’t playing that deck!”
Me:”I changed a card since yesterday.”
I’d get all sorts of into this deck – whenever I milled an opponent, I’d quote the flavor text of Millstone itself:”More than one mage was driven insane by the sound of the Millstone relentlessly grinding away.” Let me tell you – More than one mage was driven insane by the sound of the Bleiweiss relentlessly quoting away. Each and every time I activated Millstone, I’d remind my opponent that”more than one mage was driven insane by the sound of the Millstone relentlessly grinding away.” Woe be it unto the person who faced down multiple Millstones on the board.
Back to Kirk and Andy and Ray. Andy had hatched a plan where he and Kirk were going to pick my brain about how to become better Magic players. They were trying to get on my good side, and were also about to start up their own bi-weekly tournament at a library in Metarie, a suburb of New Orleans. I wasn’t really into Kirk and Andy, but I was open to spending an evening with them at a tournament to see if they were any different when you hung out with them. They weren’t.
Ray, on the other hand, I knew had a temper. What I did not know was how bad his temper could get. In the third round of the tournament I went to with Kirk and Andy, I got paired up again Ray. He was playing mono-Red with 20 Mountains and 40 burn spells. I had my Millstone deck. He won the first game handily, and I pulled out the second. In the third game, he let my Orcish Spy live, and concentrated his burn on me personally. I finally got all of the cards out of his hand, and proceeded to drop a Millstone. Unfortunately, he had around forty-five cards left in his deck, and I was at a precarious one life. Fortunately, my Orcish spy allowed me to control his draws. Turn after turn, he could not manage to draw a burn spell to finish me off. Literally any spell in his deck would have worked, but there always managed to be a Mountain as the first or third card on his deck, allowing me to mill safely. As the game went on, Ray grew more and more livid. Finally, fifteen turns later, I managed to deck him completely.
Ray:”This is ****ing bull****. I’ve never seen such bull**** in my life. You are so ****ing lucky. All I had to do was get a spell as my first and third card in forty cards and I never got it. How the **** did that happen? That’s just not ****ing possible!”
Me:”Dude, what’d you do to make God hate you so much?”
The room went completely silent. These people knew Ray, and they knew what was coming. Ray’s eyes flared up. His entire face went red. He picked up his deck and heaved it as hard as possible at my head. Luckily I managed to duck in time. Rather than push confrontation, he stormed out of the room (without his cards), knocking over every piece of furniture along the way.
“Well,” I said to Andy, after the round had ended.”More than one mage was drive insane by the sound of the Millstone relentlessly grinding away!”
I wasn’t invited back to play with Andy and Kirk ever again. In fact, I would only ever see them again twice more in the realm of Magic, and both times would be at Kirk and Andy’s Metarie library tournament. And what happened there went down as the single biggest con in New Orleans Magic history.
Ben can be reached at [email protected].