The light around her fades.  Her face looking like it made a mistake.  The blackjack table.  A calm atmosphere there.  Among the men sitting there.  That strange vibe you get.  When you feel not threatened.  These men aren’t playing each other.  They’re not even playing the house.  They’ve come here because someone has imagined them that wants to learn from it. Johnny is learning something.  And David too.  Facing a past that is in the present.  A time and place again.  Revisited.  Like an old highway you can drive without even being there…  The next gentlemen.  Hair parted in the middle and slicked back.  A twenties haircut.  He’s smoking in a tuxedo.  A master of the Jazz Age.  The collar loose.  And you can tell he’s recently been with a woman, maybe his wife.  He knows he’s distracted and why.  He doesn’t work.  You can tell that too.  By his hands.  The way he uses them.  But he has money, maybe that from a woman as well.  And so we will call him rich.

RICH MAN

You know you don’t have to become rich to understand the rich.  How you become rich is no secret.  Charity begins at home.  And so does money. It begins with that first voice you hear, asking “Why not?”  It begins with whether or not you answer…  You strive to win or lose so that one day you may not have to care if you win or lose.  This is what the rich have that the poor want.  And it will always be in the hands of a few who will spend it to distract you from what they have…  Maybe this will be judged.  I don’t know.  For now it works.  Somehow.  Someway.  Maybe led by that first voice in all of us…  Our butterfly…

The dealer busts.  Everybody wins.  And now you see that alcoholic bloat to his face.  Something easily cured with water.  And since this is Johnny’s dream you sense it that way.  The burnout that comes with waking.

DEALER

I just want to talk anyway…  If I could tell you anything I already have.  And where do you take it?  Where do you take it from there?  This the vanity.  The life after vanity.  Something you remember to forget.  Waiting on words…  last words.  The silence you never knew existed…

And then you hear a voice.  Maybe it’s Johnny’s.  Or it could be David.  Whispering because they’re afraid you’re sleeping.  A hint of doubt in it that you haven’t learned anything from them.  That they haven’t learned anything.  You catch it in the tone.  And you know they’re merely repeating something.  And by hearing it you repeat it with them.  The price of peeking in.  Peeking behind the curtain.  Thinking you have knowledge when really all you have is something someone told you…

Hix Calix! 

And to the mountain I owe everything…  Blah!

Advertisements