This is Herky, the mascot for the University of Iowa sports teams, the Hawkeyes. When you live in Iowa City you see Herky every day, everywhere. Herky exudes defiant pride from license plates, store windows, chalk drawings on the sidewalk, and the back of innumerable loose-fitting sweatshirts. This year, Herky is even more prevalent, due to the Herky On Parade program, which has placed 83 individually decorated Herky statues all around town. One of these, down on the highly-trafficked ped mall, is named Checkmate Herky, presumably because once it sees you there is no escape.
Checkmate Herky is the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen. Checkmate Herky will find you. Checkmate Herky will trap you. Checkmate Herky will chase you through the light and through the darkness. Life and death are trivial pastimes to Checkmate Herky, and struggle as we may, he will be there, waiting for us, in the endgame.