Digression of Chance


A spinning wheel and a silver ball..explains a lot, doesn’t it?


I sit in the moist, over-processed cool nursing a long drink, musing that diet coke suited rum not at all while I listen to the money change hands, smooth circles clicking like crickets. Surrounded by a haze of Greek and English and Hebrew and something else I bide my time as the seconds tick away, other bets being laid.

Finally, the brunette looks around the table once again with a practiced gaze, trying hard to be jaded. “Last bets….” she sighs and I wonder where she wishes she was instead of here. At home with her kids? On the town with her lover? Getting on with her studies? Just sleeping off the mid-summer rush?

I hold a small stack of chips in my right hand, flipping them to my left before arranging them like black candles on a green felt altar. The brunette knows the drill by now, pausing a beat for me. I haven’t yet  offended her so she cuts me a little slack.

Five Euro chips, blue with gray stripes, the numbers embossed in flaked gold. I love their calm weight in my hand, they always feel like anticipation. Four chips go to corners in a twisted diamond near the last strike overlapping, four chips to pairs around the diamond, like buttresses around the nave, four chips to singles – nineteen, seven, twenty-one and fifteen. Two chips on thirteen to give the devil his due, four chips on black if all hope is lost. Two chips flipped into the air, landing where they will sacrificed to chance as the girl nods to the hustler at the wheel.

“No more bets.”

I look away out of habit once my smell is cast, watching the other players, just listening to the irregular, stuttering dance of the silver ball. The entire ritual takes only a few seconds, practiced through long years. I always bring a set amount. I don’t get up until it is gone, or tripled. All told over the years, I have probably broken even. Better than many, I suppose.

I gamble the way I choose, I know what I stand to lose or gain. Ritual and intuition, blind luck and idle hopes. No point complaining, it’s all just a ball on a wheel in the end.

Life is just roulette.


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