Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Show Yer Bones.


Show Yer Bones.


“Show yer bones,” Tommy says as he calls. Playing cards in a cemetery provides a great deal of privacy not to mention an eerie ambiance. The skeletons provide us with excellent substitutes for chips. Finger and toe bones prove to be the best and quickest to clear away in a pinch. Tombstones supply a makeshift table. This was our weekly haunt and only way to keep the game private. See we didn’t gamble for money, booze, or even women. The rules of this game were quite different. Winner rarely took all and loser didn’t walk away empty handed either. One could call us grave robbers. But we didn’t steal from the dead. The dead had ample opportunity to win it back fair and square. Playing poker with a dead man was a different experience. See the dead have nothing to lose. The living, well that’s the catch, you have your life to gamble with among other things the dead may take in trade. So if you won, a grave might sound like a wasted investment. But to that dead bastard you’ve just confiscated his home and his bones lay out for anyone to claim. If you don’t know about stealing a dead man’s bones, let me explain... To take a man’s bones calls his soul from beyond and tether’s his spirit to those disrupted artifacts. You can most certainly expect him to come calling one evening and take up in your home until you return his bones. Now to lose to a dead man, see that’s quite another thing. See not all the dead envy the living. It’s quite the occasion if a skeleton wants your life. They rarely ask for it. But you may have to give up your eyes, ears, or tongue. Sometimes even fingers or toes. Tommy lost his pinky one time and won it back in the next game. Let’s just say he had an interesting week without it. The dead are quite the comedians. Once I saw a man lose both legs in a poker game and had to be carried home. What do the dead want with our pieces? Nothing really. It amuses them I think. It’s quite a funny thing to look at a skeleton with a set of eyes to look back out at you. The tongue has no purpose. They don’t need it to talk, but to the lawyer who has just gambled it away it has an immeasurable value. See they don’t need these organs, but they do understand how very dear such things are to the living.

Tonight, same as the last 10 years, we’re out here playing in the cemetery. It’s witching hour. The town clock sounds three distinct times as we are coming down the wire. Unlike my other games, all those years, many, many times, I’m losing tonight. My heart is thumping, like it knows it will never beat again. Pulse racing like a engine. I’ve bet quite a bit on this game. This skeleton isn’t bluffing either. He will collect my debt without hesitation. “I shouldn’t have come tonight,” are my thoughts. I look over to my eager opponent who will relish knowing that he at long last triumphs and my winning streak, just like my life, has finally come to a close. What kind of man plays cards with the dead? The kind that has nothing left to lose. This game is different though. I came in, not looking to walk away. The love of my life walked out the door five hours ago and my heart won’t do me a damn bit of good anymore. My heart is up for ante on the table and the bones love that I’m playing dangerous tonight. Tommy looks nervous. But he calls anyway. “Show yer bones.” And the bets are out. Cards are down. Bones walks over, reaches into my chest and rips out my heart.

I honestly did not love this one when I wrote it. It came during a temper tantrum about a very nasty headache. The story has grown on me and it's probably one of my favorites now that I think about it. About the headaches... I promised a long time ago I would share some of the details. My headache was primary caused by a permanent curve at the top of my spine located in my neck. Which it's not completely correctable, but I can have it put back into place and frequent visits to the bone doctor help with that. I've adjusted to that news and no more insane headaches for the most part. I'll put something new up soon. For now... Enjoy! kisses. m.

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