Saturday, May 27, 2017

Casino at the End of the World (Blogophilia 13.10)

This road trip was endless, running from one tourist trap to another in the misty rain. Jerry had to admit, “The Museum of the House Cat” and “Goats on the Roof” were fun. But did she really have to hit every tchotchke shop like it was the last day on earth? He fought tooth and nail not to go in them. But Martha was THE WIFE. Dutifully, he dodged the rows of Mommy tanks to stand bored in front of Jesus snow globes and “hand made” dream catchers, only to have her complain about everything being too expensive. 
A double billboard came in to view. On the left was for the “Can’t We All Get A Loan?” pawn shop. Cute. It reminded him of the “Free at Last” bail company next to the jail. One of those jolts they make you remember the business. The other board touted “The Casino at the End of the World.” That would work. Gamble yourself broke, pawn your car, and then you can die. 
“Oh, Jerry. That casino looks fun.”
“Yeah. Doesn’t it?”
“Oh, please. You only live once, you know.”
Yeah. He knew. Groaning, he turned on the highway exit, just as the rain got harder. A State Trooper was getting a treasury payment out of a fellow tourist. on the far side of McDonald’s. Old one level motels littered the highway. Ones trysting couples use to hide from their angry spouses. It just went to show that all of life was a gamble, really. It was only logical, right? And logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end. The House always wins in the end.
They spotted the pawn shop about half way up the hill. The casino was just beyond it at the end of the road. Marked by a modern diamond vision screen listing the coming attractions. The building resembled a large warehouse without the loading doors. Covered in a fake mauve stucco, it stuck out from the mountainside like a zit. The only way around it was to turn around and go back to the highway. A tractor beam force took hold of the vehicle and pulled it through the gates. A parking space opened up next to the front door that had their name on it. They looked at each other. She shrugged her shoulders and got out of the car, popping her black umbrella open just as the car door shut. He decided to make a run for the door. 
Inside the door, the Foyer routed the patrons to a glass railed balcony with a double set of escalators funneling you into the large arcade. At the bottom, they were met by an attractive young woman in a red dress.
“Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Goldstein. How wonderful you could make it. Here is your complimentary rewards card to get you started.” 
Jerry and Martha looked at each other. How did they know us? 
“We have license plate scanners at the front gate, if you really must know. Your drinks are ready at the bar.”
The bar seemed to stretch the length of the room. As they approached, a black suited girl handed them their Sam Adams. She suggested beginning with a set of penny slot machines just to their right to start. They passed about a dozen until they found one with a mermaid theme and no one in the chairs. There was no where to set their bottles, so they just held them between their legs.
“Martha, why don’t you go first.”
“Oh, OK.”
With a swipe of the card, the machine was loaded with 500 credits, the equivalent of $5.00. Each play used ten credits, though. With a press of the button, the screen simulated the reels of an old fashioned Vegas machine. The first three plays came up nothing, but she then hit the next two for a total of 75 credits. The game went back and forth like that for about ten minutes before all the credits had run out. 
Jerry made his swipe. He hit a 100 credit win on the first go around. The thrill was visceral. It felt almost as good as winning a contract. But not it really wasn’t very satisfying. He played five or six more times, got bored and cashed out the machine with about nine dollars to spare. He never did ask how much was on the card when they handed it to them, but when it came back it had $109 credit. So, at least for now, they had the advantage over the house. He was sure that wasn’t going to last.
“God, Jerry. It’s noisy in here.”
“Yeah, it’s why I never hit the Casinos in Vegas when I’m there.” He took a sip out his bottle. “It gives me a headache.”
As they went down the aisle between the machines, an old woman passed them in a mobility cart smoking a cigarette, the white exhaust trail going behind her.
“Aw. Look at that poor thing.”
“I guess gambling is the only pleasure she has left.”
As they looked around the room, they realized they were the youngest people there. Bald and greying heads bobbing around on canes, they were chained to the clinking, flashing machines. No one spoke to each other, except to scream when there was a big hit. It kind of reminded him of the movie “Cocoon”, where everyone was waiting to be reborn. 
A little further down the aisle was a set of table games, mostly for a ten dollar buy in. Again, the faces around the table showed the wear of bad decision making. These people would be stuck here for all eternity...
They looked at each other. This was what the sign meant. This WAS the end of the world for these folks. Quickly, they finished their drinks and made their way back to the front. The hostess table was blessedly empty and they escaped what they thought would be their final fate. They left the rewards card on the stand. 
As they got back in the Mercedes, Martha looked at Jerry, then kissed him.
“I don’t need those. I won at life when I got you. Let’s head home.”

Topic-Dave Coon
Pic guesses” Butterfly, Chrysalis, Cocoon (in blog), Spring, Monarch, Woman. Pollination, Rebirth.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Basement Bar (Blogophilia 12.10)

I have a number of characters that I have developed over the years. Kari Summers, Jerry Goldstein, Jeremy Allen: they all represent a piece of my personality. I’m going to pull one out of the vault I haven’t worked with in about 30 years: C. Hartridge Heath IV, Esq., Attorney to the Rich and Useless.
“Glad to meet you on this beautiful Atlanta day. But you can’t tell it in this dank drunk tank. The name is Hartridge Heath, most everyone calls me Hart. Glad to meet you. As you can tell by the ‘esq.’ behind my name, I am a bar certified attorney. What kind of law, you ask? Any law that supports the American Pie way of life, Son. And don’t you forget it. Truth, justice and estate loop holes for the right folks, like me. My family tree comes with ties to Nobility! Why I can trace my lineage on my mothers’ side to William the Conqueror when he raped some local lass on his way through. At least that’s what the Parish directory said.”
“Why yes, Son, I have never left the south. Daddy sent me to military school when I was seven and stayed there until was time to go to Athens, and with a few strings pulled, did law school at Emory. Such a shame they let the liberals in there, I finally had to stop my contributions. Of course, ol’ Georgia has changed a lot, and not for the better.”
“Hey, Hope! Can I get another mint julep? And another martini for the young man, here.”
“I’m a stick in the mud, you say? Hush your mouth. My ancestors were always right, even when they weren’t. They were paid to leave Britain by the Crown, that meant something. Then we carved out the greatest agricultural economy anywhere. Slavery? Now, I admit they got too attached to it. And more than a few of the farms were lost when the Yankees invaded. That’s when my Great Great Great Grandfather Elias found there was more money in juggling words than worrying about cotton. You always got at least a fee, if not a cut of the crop, when you wrote the contract right.”
“This tradition continues as he fleeced all the Yankee carpetbaggers trying to pick up land for cheap. Elias realized money really was God. And it was a God you could work mostly to your advantage. His sons, Jackson and Bryant continued this trait when they moved into Savannah permanently and set up the firm. They cemented their place in society down there when Bryant, how to I put this delicately, had to marry Cecilia Hartridge. Now we have offices there, here and in Nashville. All cities with like minded clients interested in preserving our lineage from the savage threats we see on the outside. People with very old assets tied and ways.”
“Oh, I’m aware we are dinosaurs. And many think it is evil we still exist and will go to lengths to eliminate us from the world. What those fools don’t realize is they are just like us in most ways and you cannot separate the just from the unjust, or the good from the wicked. They stand together as black and white thread. When one thread breaks, the weaver will check the loom.
“What? That was too deep for you? Well, if you must, go on. I don’t have court today, or any clients to worry about, so I’ll just stay here in Hope’s Dungeon. Don’t like the sun anyway”
“Hope! Can I have another one? I’ll get you a check for the tab when I get back to the office.”
Blogophilia 12.10-American Pie
Pic Guesses: Basement Bar (in blog)Hope’s Dungeon (in blog) dank (in blog), drunk tank (in blog), tavern, cabin, closet, storehouse, wine cellar, workshop. 
Hard Prompt is a paraphrase to fit the narrative.
You cannot separate the just from the unjust
And the good from the wicked; 
For they stand together
before the face of the Sun 
Even as the the black thread and the white
Are woven together.

And when the black thread breaks,  
The weaver shall look into the whole cloth
And he shall examine
The loom also.
Khalil Gibran- On Crime and Punishment-The Prophet. (c) 1923.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bowsprit (Blogophilia 11.10)

On the dock
Golden sun shines
From a bowsprit view
To the wide harbor pass
Anyway the wind blows, I’m
Open to the sea.

Meet me, Captain Saint Lucifer
Darlin’ I’ll be there.
To buck the seas and drink the teas
Of dream lands far away.
Don’t stay at the bridge,
Let her go where she may.
As we meet
Our watery grave.

Topic (Any way the wind blows): Colleen Keller Breuning
Song Lyric-”Meet me, Captain St. Lucifer
Pic guesses: Dream Land (in blog), Cave, Sanctuary, Isaiah, Sunrise, Sauron, Perch, Spirit.

Friday, May 5, 2017

YouTube musings...

Hey, Heidy and Howdy! It's your old buddy, Harry Handy floating along the Geritol trail. Over the years, people have asked me: "Harry! Is you life only moldy and oldie?" No, not really. I do wander what they refer to as "Socialist Media" from time to time to get ideas for good ol' WOFT.

Let me guide you oldsters in some of things available. Trolling along one day, I found a second generation Hippy couple walking the talk about being off the grid and out of the MAN'S grasp:

The wife, Esther is the daughter of Carla Emery who was one of the ultimate Hippy Chicks. She's got some interesting things to say

And then there is this youngster living the ultimate "Year Off Dream"

And when you select any of those, the YouTube algorithm sends you down the rabbit hole of crazier and crazier stuff.

Yep, clear out before the bombs come...Where have I heard that before?

A good reminder that no matter how the kaleidoscope changes, it all remains the same. Someone, somewhere wants to destroy your world and everything in it. With luck, we'll already be dead when it happens. If not, we'll still be dead.

Sleep tight, Ladies and Gents.

If you can. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sunday Morning Haiku (Blogophilia 10.10)

Looking out window
To Sunday morning sunshine
Empty street below

Coal dust blankets cars
Delivery truck brings meat
To the starving ones

Man reads on voting 
Not intending to join
His lover in there

The secret to get
Ahead is getting started
With a coffee cup

Topic-Doris Emmett
Pic-Sallon Newlove
Pic Guesses-Streets cape Coal Dust (in blog), Delivery (in blog), Empty Street (in blog), Midtown, Sixth Ave., Diner,