I had seen dominoes but never played any of the various domino games. However, during the evenings there were frequently two or three tables of domino players in the Mess Hall, all playing a game called Muggins. I kibitzed a bit and learned that they were playing for five cents a point. Now I am nothing if not competitive when it comes to games and I decided that I just *had* to learn to play this game.
One evening, when a game broke up, I stopped one of the players and asked if he would teach me the game. I said "I'll even play for the five cents a point while I learn."
"Nooooo, *ten* cents a point."
Well. What're you gonna do?
When it comes to games I am fairly good at strategy, very good at tactics, and top notch at simple calculations. I figured I'd get my money back before long. I signed on, so to speak, and learned the game.
Before long I was a regular in the domino games and winning more than my share of the nickles. I bought a domino set of my own and made regular appearances in the mess hall, and one night, as I entered, I heard someone halfway across the Mess Hall say, "Here comes Hendricks and his Goddamn dominoes."
One evening in the Day Room, Buddy approached me and said "Let's play something."
Donnie: "OK. Coon Can? Rummy? Dominoes? What?"
Buddy: "Let's play Scrabble."
Donnie: "OK. How about five cents a point?"
Buddy: "Nooooo. Fifty cents a point."
Donnie: "Let's go."
We drew tiles and I won the right to go first. With an excellent draw, I plunked down the seven letter word "saintly," dropping the four point "y" on a Double Letter square. With the fifty point bonus for using all seven letters, I got 78 points, or $39.00, for this.
He fell further behind during the game and I won perhaps $60.00. Word gets around and it was the only game of Scrabble I played in Vietnam.