Red, orange, gray.
Red, orange, gray.
Smoke waves around it a light dull thick gray. The paper recedes turning black and a dull yellow.
She sits in her car awaiting her boyfriend. Her dress is blue her hair long and black drapes down her back.
At length he enters the passenger seat. His red hair and beard go along with his grey suit surprisingly well.
"Those things smell like hell." He says.
"Get over it."
"I'm aware." She says as she throws her the corpse of her cigarette out the window and shifts to first gear.
"You sure you don't want to learn to drive stick?"
"Why would I bother? I can drive an automatic?"
"What if one day when we're married your car's in the shop and I get sick and can't drive?"
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
"What if you had to drive me to the hospita?."
"That's why our tax dollars pay for this lovely thing called ambulances." There is no sarcasm in his voice.
"Well maybe," She shifts to second gear. "I'll break my wrist and I'll need you to get me ice-cream."
"What is your obsession with manual transmisions."
"They're sexy!" She shifts to third.
"Hah! So what am I for then?"
"Well you're sexy too."
She drives for some time with neither of them speaking.
He stares at the cars, grey, black, red, red, blue, red. He leans back and closes his eyes. The engine whirs and the shift of gears has a certain calming cadence to it, he can hear her difficulty in pressing the clutch in heels.
"Maybe you should take your heels off." He says.
"It's fine, we're almost there."
"How much money will we lose today?"
"What are you talking about? We'll bankrupt the damn casino this time!"
"You're so much more opitimistic than I."
She pulls into the parking lot. The casino looms tall like a giant made of neon. Red, green, blue, yellow, and pink lights contorted into shapes known and unknown flash in an indistinct pattern advertising the gambleing counting and naming those who have won the jackpot while ignoring all the drunk women, and men who will return to their loved ones empty handed and scorned.
She snaps her fingers infront of his face. "We're here."
Ten thousand chips somehow is only five hundrad American dollars. According to the couple it's a scam cooked up by the casino to make you feel like you have more money than you really do, it helps you forget how much you have, they say the conversion from chips to dollars is made to destroy the customer financially.
He sits before the slot machine beer in one hand. Leans on it sipping a margarita.
"You don't even like beer." She says as the dials spin.
"Remind me why you drink it."
"It makes me look masculine."
"Are you worried people think you're feminine? You have to prove you masculinity by drinking a beverage you hate? Is that why you grew the beard?"
He doesn't respond.
"Don't worry about the stranger sweety."
He says nothing. He pulls the bandit's one arm.
She leans down and whispers in his ear. "After this we can head back to my apartment, and you can prove just how masculine you are."
"Let's go play blackjack." He says.
Eight thousand and eight chips remain as they walk to the blackjack table.
They sit by each other. Her arm rests on the border of the green felt and the black plastic. The dealer welcomes them and tosses the cards across the table.
"Hit me she says." The dealer tosses down a nine.
She turns to see her red haired companion.
The cards are seperated and new cards arrive alongside them.
Alcohol meets lips, tongue, esophagus, and liver. Light bends in unatural angles and increases in intensity. The globe swirls in black white and red. Kings set along side queens for twenty and jacks and aces for twenty-one. Time slows as the light bends ever more unaturally. Synapses close shop for the night and words are screamed in the couples head, "Aces and eights. Aces and eights. Aces and eights."
His head is a rung bell as he sits up. His black haired companion is draped over the seat in the back of her car. Her tan skin contrasts with the white leather, her blue dress is torn and rests around her ankles. A pool of brown and grey vomit emits the smell of alcohol as it festers on the floor.
She feels him shake her.
"Fuck off." She says. "Go back home."
"You'll have to drive me there." He says.
"Aw shit. Are we still at the casino?"
"No we're in Neverland, Captain Hook has invited us to join his crew.
"Don't be a fucking smart ass.
They're wordless as she drives him home. The sound of gears shifting is found nuseating by the couple; the sun is a bloody scourge of hatred and vitamin D.
He says a few words that she doesn't comprehend and exits the vehicle. She removes the key and rests her head on the steering wheel.
He enters the car with the manual transmission.
"Ready to lose some more money?" He says.
She sits up suddenly. "What?"
"You've been here the whole time haven't you?"
"What? I don't- yeah I guess. Is it night already?"
"I guess we can skip the casino."
"No, I wanny go." She says with the sound of shame and shyness in her voice.
"Really?" Asks the man with red hair and beard?
She doesn't respond.
"How about you teach me to drive this stupid thing?"
"Really?" She brightens up.
"Sure, I'll get us some fast food and a crappy movie."
She claps her hands excitedly and jumps around the car.
"Okay, put your left foot on the clutch."