Archive for the ‘P.I.C.’ Category

...just make sure they're even for the OCD impaired.

“Asterisks. It always bugs me when they’re uneven.” She exclaimed almost as matter-of-factly as some of the statements I’d spoken a day prior. She lovingly accepted my faux pas after a straightforward explanation of their unsettling origin. From there it was all lip gloss and SkipBo. Hours upon hours of that drunken card game where the dealer is always accused of stacking the deck and toes tap each other with random flirts from under the table.

The last time we’d witnessed a trick deck of cards was years ago on that chilly December evening; ridiculously infatuated with each other. The cobblestone path led to a large central grove which wrapped around a gargantuan Christmas tree decorated with a thousand strands of large colored bulbs. We’d passed some street magicians playing music and begging for our attention to see the “Ultimate Free Card Trick”. He showed us his “battle scarred” elbow from the last time he’d tried it. Anything involving cards and blood has to be worth 5 minutes of time to watch; a thought you and I immediately shared with a quick look to each other.

“Oh great! This is fantastic! You guys will really enjoy this!” The Card Guy assured us as he prepared a blue & red deck in his hands.

He then dropped the red to the sidewalk and continued shuffling the blue.

The guitarist lazily plucked Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” on an acoustic 6-string in a stoned tempo from the background. He and three of their friends shared hidden amusement with one another as they attempted to lure other unsuspecting people passing by behind us. They tried to play it off to us like they had never seen what the Card guy was about to attempt. You and I had a difficult time containing our giggles. The night couldn’t have begun better. I had such a difficult time concentrating on anything but the soft glow of seasonal lights enhancing your cheeks, your enchanting cool smile, and the light breeze sensuously dancing with strands of your hair.

The dude was suddenly ready with the blue deck of cards. Cold, or perhaps nervous, or maybe part of the act, he fanned out the deck upside-down in front of me with shaky hands. “Pick a card… any card… don’t show it to me… just pick one.”

Lucky 7 of Diamonds…

I’d seen and done card tricks so I wasn’t expecting grandiose David Copperfield style mysticism here. We kept a close eye on his hands as he then started flipping through the stack face down. “Tell me when to stop.”

“OK….there. Stop.”

He opened the stack. “Place your card face down right here, kind sir!” I followed suit.

He closed the deck and flipped it over, and then shuffled it three times. Now the cards were facing up as he fanned them back out again. As he thumbed through them one by one, mumbling to himself something about “it’s here, I know it’s here somewhere”, he unsurprisingly, embarrassingly, went straight past our card, missing it by five.

And then he stopped, froze, and lowered his head with a sad, dejected sigh. “I passed it, huh?”

“Yup, you sure did.” I was trying to make sure my smile was more playful than smug asshole. It was working. I began fishing through my wallet for a single to throw in the empty guitar case so we could be on our way.

And then he started yelling at himself.

“I knew it! I’m such an idiot! God, I can’t believe I screwed it up!!!”

“Take it easy, bro.” a fellow magician said with a grin.

“No! I should know better! This wasn’t supposed to happen!! GAH!!” He then took half of the blue deck and threw it to the ground with a SPLAT! Cards scattered like dry maple leaves around us. “Man! This sucks!!” He continued on.

Was I supposed to be concerned at this point? Kurt Cobain was still rolling in his grave as the guitarist missed vital chords to “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. The fellow magicians were trying very little to consol their zealous partner. In fact, they were more concerned with continuing their “Free Magic Trick” slogan to any & all who passed by.

Our Card Guy was now across the walkway, facing the restaurant, staring at himself in the reflection of the glass with a self-depreciating act of frustration. The remaining 25 cards were held tight by his hand. His sleeves were rolled up now. The gash on his elbow flashed into sight. None of this was making much sense. The dollar bill became a wad of sweaty paper in my palm. He was still talking to himself. Talking himself down… or into… the next segment. How is it possible to rip open your arm during a card trick?! He whispered something I couldn’t hear to his cards.

Then, without warning, he jumped up and threw the remaining partial deck high into the air. Some came straight down to the walkway with a slap. Others floated on invisible tufts of air with a slow-motion spin. He clapped his outstretched hands fast around a few that were falling together.

There he stood, staring at his closed fingers, as his smile grew wilder. He slowly turned to face us with a coy look of “gotchya!”

His hands opened to reveal my 7 of Diamonds. “Is THIS your card?”

***Needless to say, they got an extra dollar.*********


The pillows quickly formed a faux-feathery seal between my sore spine and the wall which it leaned against. A pink pastel pillow. A blue pastel pillow. Both cheap, flat, from ShopKo , and almost as comfortable as a mattress of drywall. However worthless, my lumbar was supported… enough. My knees were folded Indian style around my laptop; which felt oh-so-warm. My ‘Zennish’ Buddhistic entrancing flute & piano new age music somberly echoed throughout the house courtesy of A pumpkin spice scented candle burned nose tingling perfume into the air. This actually wasn’t as bad as a drywall mattress. And… I’ve never felt so queer (and so Zenny) in all my life.

Cue the transformation into a fictional character instantly self-gratifying…

My 85lb dobermans, Andre 5000 & Chris Rock, were snuggling with each other by the oscillating fan in the corner. Chris snores, Andre drools. I think their lips must be too flappy . *shrug*. I’m getting used to it. I’ve had friends like this too. Perhaps I’ll worry about fixing that problem once I’m able to reschedule the canine plastic surgery through that Mexican subsidiary company of PetCo. Nothing says “I love my pet” like needle and thread and duct tape.
The dogs were calm; a rarity I’ve come to appreciate. Although, ever since they devoured Lulu, my ex-girlfriend’s calico, nothing has been the same. They weren’t even phased when Enya starting chanting next on Pandora (utterly preposterous). They didn’t lift as much as a boxed ear when I slid off the bed to grab my monogrammed “D” red velvet bathrobe and head into the pool room. These days the only time they’d display any emotion would be from the smell of uncooked Kraft macaroni & cheese. Odd.

Instead of taking a quick dip in the heated pool, I forced myself to remain focused on the evening plans ahead of me. It wasn’t my birthday after all. People more Important than I would be there for the party in droves. People who were so important, in fact, that my meager humble status would intimidate them, causing an acute desire to pound down more Vodka-infused drink concoctions just to numb the heart flutters I ensue. Before you’d be able to say “the champagne of beers”, everyone of any measure of self-importance would be completely shnockered , tripping over their tongues to make important words work in complete sentences, moments prior to the time we should be leaving for more drinks with more important people at an important club somewhere downtown. That might have been the plan at least. I’d be left to pick up the pieces though. Shuffling & coaxing them into my yellow PT Cruiser. Dragging them down Main Street. Miraculously convincing the club bouncers that there would only be water from here on out if only they’d find it in their hearts to ignore what they were seeing. Important people have a difficult time seeing less-important-peoples-logic; especially sober-logic when the Important drunk people are already 3 sheets to totally toasted.

If I were to get in the pool now, then I’d procrastinate until 8pm; guaranteed. Hard to resist.

The birthday girl tried her best to put on a fake sober happy face… but her smile struggled to remain erect without melting into the concrete front steps of her condo. The freshly empty bottle of Crown Royal dangled between her two fingers until it finally fell and shattered into the dirt garden next to the remains of a Smirnoff & Southern Comfort bottle. She giggled manically to herself for a moment while blankly staring at a random support beam holding the upper deck in place. Great. The night just wasn’t going as planned; rather, as expected. At this point I’d be tempted to say “to hell with it all, let’s just stay home and play SkipBo” but her two wasted friends won’t stop talking long enough for me to get a worthy smartass suggestion in edgewise. Hey, I like being self-important and self-absorbed too! In fact, I sometimes make an example of it. Give me a chance to prove I can be like you.
So, into the car and away we go.

This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. Had I obeyed my fortune cookie from Panda Express that morning, “You will be better off (in bed)”, then a hangover wouldn’t have been an issue.

By night’s end, my eyeballs felt like they were being sucked forward through a dusty hose by a ShopVac on one end and a sand filled gym sock on the other. We were all fully qualified as self-absorbed jackasses at some level during some point of the evening. A finger there. A finger here. Whispers and shouts and line dancing in the isles until the bouncers began throwing out obnoxious members of our group. In turn they retreated to a gay dance club on the 2nd floor of a parking garage, halfway between the Italian and sushi restaurants. The rest of the party fizzled out shortly after midnight and the birthday girl ended up leaving with the deformed-handed hotdog vendor on the corner outside of the club.

You mustard heard the puns would catsup at some point.