The acid laced judges threw up their 6 and 7s, as the Valium laden dancers left trails on the floor, scores hitting a glass ceiling, remnants of the chaos their bodies left on the center of the universe long after the last legs moved. “I loved it”, the judges thought, “but they were just not emanating the life we were looking for.” Panning out, the drunks and romantic lovers stared intently at the cookie cutter logo in the bottom corner of the cell, debating the station the way the judges did their place in history and the world alike. “Pass me another..”, it was heard, as an empty glass of lost time clanged the wooden bar top that has seen one president murdered, another nearly, and another at the height of pleasure, on her dress a famous Clinton pearl. It’s pores, time capsules of smoke and broken dreams, tears the catalyst that locked in their permanence, if only cries from a hapless mouth missing it’s mark. Local outsiders pass through with eyes addicted to strangers, waiting for inevitable word that they aren’t welcome, a reception not unlike the scores of those through the airwaves, reality but this time for real. Regulars stared blindly through their ever deepening hate at the joker seated across the range from them, lining up their sights at the trespassers taking space. The hired magician worked the corner like it was Carnegie in the flesh, to empty seats and deaf ears and cares on not one face. This is my life, he thought, why don’t they give me respect, as the rabbit appeared and the woman sawed in half clapped for the lonelies. The bartender, required to show their love, gave out the drinks and more, with bloody noses and itching shells, and bugs; my god, this place was infested with skin insect cronies. To each their own, and why should it be any other way? But it never is, not in here, the tavern where you forever stay. By now, as the moon crawls, the laughs are belly deep, the conversation as shallow as the mushroom pond landscape, and the vibe as eclectic as the worlds playlist. Rodeo clowns save the endangered, inserting their souls to allow the escape of those who’s connection just missed. Hidden in a back room, beyond the searing eyes of those on the outside, the gambler plays his hand, not knowing it is to be a losing one. The grins take shape, the I-told-you-so’s muttered under breath, and the chips begin to fall how they will, soft as this was all intended for fun. But just like for the dancers, the drunks and the romantics, the magicians and the strangers, the regulars and the rodeo clowns, the card sharks and the nobody’s, the jukebox music stopped long ago, the soft landing going to hurt. And as the gambler stood up and threw his 52 chances to the wall where on this night lived the writing, he came to the only senses he had left up hidden up his sleeves, recalled a distant memory of a smile, and proclaimed – you and I, it just wasn’t in the cards.

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