Tuesday, December 13, 2011

You gotta know when

Joker's Wild Card. 2010

You gotta know when to hold em' know when to fold em'
Know when to walk away, know when to run.

Now every gambler knows the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away
And knowin' what to keep
'Cause every hand's a winner
And every hand's a loser
The Gambler - Kenny Rogers

Gambling. Gambler? How about card player? For moi, I happen to love to play a hand of cards. And most people who have played cards with me, well they know there's no cheating at my table. How about bluffing? See there's the thing. Bluffing is a way to try and draw out what the other players might have in their hand. It's not quite telling a lie, but sure enough if it don't make the other guy lay out his cards in a hurry to see what you got. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. No telling until... those cards are laid. But that's gambling for you. Would you gamble with money, love or your life? Tell me... I'd love to know. leave a comment. and enjoy the story if you've never read it. kisses. m.

Tonight I feel like a dead man…
Resolved as I sit here packing it all up.
Saying goodbye to it all for the last time.
It’s not as if I didn’t have it all once.
I did. But that was a long time ago.
Sometimes longer than I’d like to admit.
A different life.
A different man.
If there’s anything I could do to get it back, I would.

Joker’s Wild.

It’s the game of a lifetime. A one way chance to get exactly what you want. Suppose you don’t know what that is. Well, that won’t do you a damn bit of good. Cause you can’t play cards here ‘til you figure that out. The rules are that and they are simple. Know what you want and you might just get it. But don’t forget it comes at a price. Ante up.

“Five Card Stud. Joker’s Wild.” The Man calls the game and looks my way. “You in or out?”

I’m in.
All the way.

Wild card. Wild game. All bets are off.  Any man can win it and win it right.

Most people count their blessings before they’re in their hands. Others never count them at all. A few are actually thankful for the little things that life drops before them. And I wasn’t one of them. Never caring for more than what I could get into my hands. And losing all those little things along the way. My life. The one before this one. A life filled with love, happiness and the man I used to be.

Been playing cards as long as I can remember. Night after night. Game after game. Tonight’s no different. Another poker game. Another that I know I shouldn’t be playing. Not after everything that’s happened. After losing it the way I did. But I have to this time.  Any chance to get it back I have to take. That’s why this one’s different. It might be the last one. And the one to turn all that around. So I’m betting it all on the line. Cause if it’s my last, I can’t help taking it. Even if it means folding once more on my way out.

Funny business playing cards. Cards are playing you as much as you’re playing them. The games are never fast and the betting gets pretty ruthless by night’s end. But this game is different. There’s no money changing hands and the only way you’ll leave the table is if you win big or bust. You see, it’s the kind of game where the winning is worth it all.

As I live and breathe it’s worth it. This one ain’t for everybody and they’ll tell you that at the door. This one is an invitation only poker game, where the winning pays out better than you’d think. Men and women will do just about anything to get the chance to sit at this table. If you don’t accept… well it’s a damn shame if you don’t. Sure the stakes are high but chances like this don’t come around too often.

After some people realize they’ve lost something they’ll give anything for a chance to get it back. A one time opportunity to do it again, see it again and get it all back. Other people, well they’ll wait ‘til opportunity has passed them by to wonder if it will ever come again. My thinking is why wonder when you have a chance to do something about it right in front of you. Here it is.

The way I figure if you pass on this, then you won’t get another chance. See those people that pass on something. They do it cause think they’ll get another chance. A better chance. I’ll be the first person to tell you that’s not the case. You don’t get another chance. When you miss your opportunity the next one might look the same, feel the same, smell the same and even taste the same but make no mistake that sure as hell ain’t the same thing you left behind the first time. Opportunity only knocks once. You keep passing too long and the golden one may miss you.

There’s no better time than the present to live hard and live it right. You ever hear that one? No time like the present. I bet you have. If you’ve missed that lesson well now you have it. Right in front of you. Take a chance. You never know it may be the thing that changes your life.

Sitting at the table.
Sipping my last drink. Whisky. Southern Bourbon. Rocks.
Looking at the faces around me .
Getting ready to play these old cards.
One last time.

The last players to arrive take their places on each side of me and the man starts dealing the cards to the table. Every card that lands sends my heart pounding inside my chest with the fury of a thousand horses charging. Each one hits the table like its carrying a bit of destiny with it. Every face at the table knows what’s at stake and it’s every man for himself. We’re all eyeing the guy next to us and the one across the table as the dealer drops the last card for each of us. This game is worth more than any other. It’s not like any other. Winning means more than your life and you’ll bet more than that in a pinch.

Face on my left doubles down before lifting the top card after tossing a few out. She’s lost a life close to her and there’s nothing left but grief mixed a whole lot of tears in her glass of white wine. Life for a life and a little luck. The Lady’s got the touch and a wink for me through her tears. Face on my right matches the Lady’s double and raises the stakes a little higher. Dealer tosses her left another card before looking my way. I mask my fear with a shrug and toss back two with a hard swallow. I’m already holding a trio of hearts. The chances of getting what I need are slim but I’m hoping that there’s a surprise or two left to this game.

Every bet I match sends my blood pressure climbing. Every chip drops like it’s my last breath. Another spin round the table folds the man on the right and hands me another card closer. Another raise claims the life of the face on her left and leaves me a lucky fool for my hand. A smiling fool with enough of a wild streak to spare my life and give me a chance to get it all back. The Lady keeps her eyes on the prize. No more winks. No more bluffs. She’s in it to win. Nothing better than when life is on the line. What better reason could you have for winning big?

Bluffing or not the Lady’s proving to be the only true opponent at this table as she raises for the last time. Beat of my heart is nearing closer to the edge. I’m holding something special in my hands. I’ve either got the winning hand or the last near miss I’ve ever see in this life. I can feel the destiny coming closer as the call nears. This is crazy. But what can you do when crazy is all you got. You give it all. No time like the present. Live it hard. Live it right. Time to call it...

The man calls the game.
One last time.
My hand is out on the table and I’m not looking.
Cards are down,
So is the Lady. Both eyes roll back as she drops ‘em.
Pair of Aces. Joker’s Wild.
The lady’s dead. Busted.
And I’m a man with another chance to make it right.
As the man stares down my end of the table, I look one last time at the thing that just saved my life. Handful of royal hearts. Joker’s Wild.

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