One day Slothrop gets a chance to check this out. Seems Dodson-Truck is a chess fanatic. Down in the bar one afternoon he gets around to asking Slothrop if he plays.
“Nope,” lying, “not even checkers.”
“Damn. I’ve hardly had time till now for a good game.”
“I do know a game,” has something of Tantivy been sheltering inside all this time? “a drinking game, it’s called Prince, maybe the English even invented it, cause you have those princes, right? and we don’t, not that that’s wrong understand, but everybody takes a number, a-and you start off the Prince of Wales has lost his tails, no offense now, the numbers going clockwise around the table, and number two has found them, clockwise from that Prince, or whatever number he wants to call out actually, he, that’s the Prince, six or anything, see, you pick a Prince first, he starts it off, then that number two, or whoever that Prince called, sez, but first he goes, the Prince does, Wales, tails, two sir, after saying that about how that Prince of Wales has lost his tails, and number two answers, not I, sir—”
“Yes yes but—” giving Slothrop a most odd look, “I mean I’m not quite sure I really see, you know, the point to it all. How does one win?”
“Ha! How does one win, indeed. “One doesn’t win,” easing into it, thinking of Tantivy, one small impromptu counter-conspiracy here, “one loses. One by one. Whoever’s left is the winner.”
“It sounds rather negative.”
From Thomas Pynchon’s novel Gravity’s Rainbow.