Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Streak - 84

"I smell smoke. Do you smell smoke?" I'm asking Kyle.

"Where there's smoke, there's fire," he responds. Vaguely. The way he does.

We're sitting at the bar now, taking a break from cards.

"Didja talk to Lisa?" I ask. "Hook up some girls?"

"Hook up some girls," he repeats. He sips an ice cube from his finished drink, swirls it in his mouth. Crunches it. Spits back out the shards. "Hook. Up. Some. Girls."

"That table sucked the will to live right out your ass," I remark.

"It's not that, it's not that, it's not that." Kyle's fidgeting more than usual.

"The fuck is it?"

"Been doing a lotta thinking."

"You could hurt yourself."

"Fuck you. Been thinking."

"Go on."

"Mark Jensen has really opened my mind to some things, man."

"Mark who? You mean that fucking guy?! Fucking Kumbaya motherfucker?"

"I know, I know, I know. It's not cool because Evan Benjaminson fucking disapproves of it."

I feel a chill come over me.

"Alright, man. Sorry. What is it all about? I'm listening."

Grim silence from Kyle.

"Don't be fucking pissed. I'm listening."

Kyle turns to me but looks over my shoulder, far into the LED-and-neon lightscape of progressive jackpots, keno boards all the other glowing and blinking enticements.

"He's opened my mind to something I never knew existed," he finally says.

"What? What? What?"

Kyle shakes his head. "Dunno if you'd understand."

"Jesus Christ, man. We play baseball together."

"Nothingness."

"Nothing?"

"No. Not nothing. Nothingness."

Kyle signals the bartender for another round of drinks.

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