Yet, needless to say, he will always be lonely — in fact, this is the confession (“You can ask any price you want,” she is saying) only half-concealed in his muttered subjoinder: Rick Blaine is a loner, born and bred. Pity him. There is this lingering, almost primal image of him, sitting alone at a chessboard in his white tuxedo, smoking contemplatively in the midst of a raucous conniving crowd, a crowd he has himself assembled about him. He taps apawn, moves a white knight, fondles a tall black queen while a sardonic smile plays on his lips. He seems to be toying, self-mockingly, with Fate itself, as indifferent toward Rick Blaine (never mind that he says — as he does now, turning away from her — that“I’m the only cause I’m interested in . . .”) as toward the rest of the world. It’s all shit, so who cares?
-Robert Coover, “You must remember this” in A Night at the Movies