Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Gambler

At times, the big empty closes in too hard on me. Through the years I’ve

learned to battle back and now I’m surrounded by electronic distracters and their

moronic life sucking issue. Still my overriding thought is: I got no action going

on anything. Too much life is out there, I need some action on something. I’m

forced to move from soft overstuffed to hard bar stool.

It’s the overpowering pain of reality crashing hard against a stone wall built

over the last 5000 years. I feel I have read every book, thought every thought, but

the lines all stretch to the same tedious argument, an argument which cannot

be solved, and I cannot snap those lines or even stretch them a tad without

destroying some of the sanity. No matter the cost, the empty needs a bet down

or it becomes overpowering. Fuck it, fuck it, I got to go. Three months of control

has been three months too long. I know I can dodge one bullet. I slip on my

shoes, throw on a jacket, and I’m off to the Tap.

On the stool next to me tonight sits Ottis, a man who has solved his

problems, slipped his burden, and found a way to say that which has to be said

without the disapproval of the world. He screams, grimaces, mouths, and

whispers the deepest secrets of his being to his drink. But no sound comes forth

from his lips.

He seems startled when I ask, “How’s things tonight, Ottis?” He jerks

back, eyes wide. Looks at me without comprehension, then regains his composure,

turns, and again pours forth his silent lament to his as yet untouched drink. I’ve

watched Ottis over the last five years and never heard a sound issue from his lips.

When Larry comes over, I order three shots of gin, three bottles of beer,

and tell Larry to put a K on the Knicks tonight. Larry turns to look at the very

large black man sitting at the right end of the bar.

“You been gone some time now, Matt. You sure you want to start the

Merry-Go-Round again?”

“Damn T-Bo, you turning social worker? You know I always pay.”

“Take it,” nods T-Bo to Larry. “Some people learn hard. Just be in to pay up tomorrow, by two.”

“Pay up by two, pay up by two. You ever think about learning a new song?”

“Don’t be jacking your jaws at me, Matt. Best remember this business, we

not friends.”

Gambler’s Rule Number One: don’t piss off your bookie.

I turn back to my drinks, line them up neatly in a soldierly formation. I used to

order scotch shots