Once again he was drawn to table.
High stakes, the not so cheap thrill,
the roar of the crowd all around them all.
 
The game was simple enough,
almost like ‘Snap’ in fact.
If your cards matched those dealt by the dealer, you won.
If not, you end up dying inside, depending on how long you had been playing that game.
 
He sat, looking at his hand. Oh, they were so familar to him now.
Positive cards…. Strengths, beliefs, those which showed what he could give.
And of course the negatives….. The relative immaturity, the lack of money, his apearance,
those which made them run away. Or at least fob him off.
 
He eyed up his opposition, other men who had seen the dealer and wanted a piece of the action.
None were as young as himself, but they hid their demeanour behind their fake smiles,
their own cards snatched tighter to their chest’s than even he dared to.
But they all wanted her, desired that which perhaps their cards might give,
knowing the longer they stayed in the game, risking their inner core, the greater the rewards could be.
 
The first 5 cards were the dealers prerequisite cards, her definites, her ‘cannot do withouts’.
 
He smiled smugly as they turned over, he’d seen them all before in previous games,
but the novices, those with age and no experience howled and stood up.
Gone at the first hurdle.
The dealer gave us all a wry smile, she’d dealt the cards a fair few time too.
She swept those first cards away, now was the time for the main event,
the desire cards.
 
These were those which seperated the possibilities from those the dealer would actually like,
as a person, a rounded soul. With conversations, depth and character.
Her delicate hand slowly flipped each card, drawing groans from those about to walk away each time,
and a chuckle of satisfaction from people like him.
Those who feared nothing from this time in the game, if the first set hadn’t been shallow or cruel enough to force them out.
 
He looked around the table again, barely 5 people left, 4 others to overcome.
Then she would be overcome, literally……….. He hoped.
 
Now was the time for nuances, the cards which asked specific questions of time, space and thought
He looked at his cards, only getting to this point a few times in the past, crossing his fingers as the moment came to pass.
She turned them, individually, one by one. Slowly, purposely drawing out the suspense.
The first card forced one to scream obscenities at what, to him, seemed a ludicrous expectation. Bt e walked away.
He saw the first, second, third and fourth card turn. Staggered by what he saw in his own hand.
A perfect match for what was on the light green baize in front of him.
 
Only 2 left, him and one other. A man of age and clear experience, 4 seats down to his right.
 
This was new, a set of cards to be overturned, but for what he had no idea.
The dealer spoke, softly but purposefully. An explanation.
She said that the last set of cards to be used to differentiate, the final hurdle, the end of the game
were the contradiction cards.
The cards which, at this point in the game, went against those from the earlier rounds.
Her voice, so melodic explained that as the game went on she decided that perhaps some of the cards turned over earlier
might have not have been meant.
Might have been without consideration, with merit but dismissed.
 
He choked.
 
The first card contradicted the mental maturity, but he could palm that off being so much younger than the dealer.
He’d been through so much, he had no worries.
His wisdom was without question, without peer.
The second was more complex.
She had asked, with a flick of her wrist, to be wanted for who she was.
Several had walked at that point, deeming that their cards were not sufficient.
The turn posed the question that can she be expected to want someone for who they were,
knowing that she could not just let everything about them simply ‘be’.
 
He knew immediately what that meant, the implication, the underlying feeling.
That she felt she could be herself, and know that she could not compromise the person she was.
But she had to at this late point in the game, as she turned the cards, expect the winner to score despite her moving the goalposts.
 
He looked at him, and got a glazed look back,
And without a word they stood up together,
shook hands.
Leaving the table, and the dealer, alone.
 
He took a quick peek over his shoulder as she swept the table for her cards,
preparing herself for the next time she had to deal.
And he wondered if anyone could win her as his prize.
She was beautiftul, elegant and clearly knew what she wanted.
But her ideals changed as the game progressed.
 
He walked to another table, a game with dice and less risk to the soul.
Standing at the rounded end he picked them up, turned and said:
 
‘My life is a chip in your pile. Ante up’.
 
 The dice flew, and the crowd went wild
 
Steve B 01/08
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