COME, it said in big red letters, so I shoot. The dice flew out from between thumb and index finger, the unnatural feeling of the backhanded throw made my elbow itch. Someone across the table coughed while the dice were in the air. The shining crimson cubes hit the felt and went back up into the air as I closed my eyes.

When you throw a stone—in your mind almost certainly a smooth pebble, perhaps a speckled gray or auburn—into a calm lake—absolutely calm, to protect against the vagaries of chance and chaos—you produce ripples. These are perfect concentric circles of light and dark, expanding and softening as the lake returns to its unnatural stillness. When two such platonics come into conflict you can see the interference pattern, the breaking of the clear alternation of waves.

Pepper the surface with stones and it will be deformed, but wait a moment and your reflection will reappear. Where do the stones go? They sink to the bottom of the lake, the water level rising imperceptibly. When the stone stops breaking the surface and the last upside down drop splashes straight up from the point of entry completing the ripple's genesis, a much grander thing is occurring beneath the surface.

Whirling eddies form around the descending stone, spirals twisted around spirals until they are chaos. The stone travels in this anarchic embrace, leaving a wake of dissipating confusion, ending in its final rest on the bottom.

When I open my eyes the dice have stopped. In the game of craps only one player, called the shooter, rolls the dice at one time. This duty travels clockwise amongst the players that surround the table. The current shooter initially rolls the come-out roll. If a seven or eleven is rolled, it's called a natural and the shooter has another come-out roll.

I roll again.

Two ones, a one and a two, or two sixes on the come-out would rotate the dice to the next player but any other outcome, and a point is established. Rolls continue until either the point is rolled again, or it's a seven-out.

As the dice pirouette through the viscous casino air, I imagine the room filled with wispy smoke that has the urgency and grace of steam rising from a rich soup. The edges of the dice clip the silken vapors with each revolution, throwing the smoke into paroxysms of panicked escape. The particles turn away and unto themselves, spirals upon spirals.

The perfect circle is complete and flawless in a way that nothing human can be. As soon as you probe it you are lost, for you cannot trace its edge which returns unto itself. The spiral, on the other hand, is man's gateway to the infinite. You know not where to start your path on a spiral, but you suddenly have a choice, a locus for your will. You can reach the spiral's ends, which fling you forcefully out or compress you further and further. You are drawn into the spiral, but you will emerge unscathed, with the sweet taste of more on your lips.

You have left spirals in your wake with the first cave marks of ochre and coal, for spirals mark your digits uniquely and stamp the walls with your identity. Soon after you carved spirals into rock proclaiming your humanity.

How fitting it is that your reduction of the world into human terms and thoughts should end with a spiral of reduced knowledge, every extra molecular twist promulgating entropy. Every collision and deflection a step in the inexorable march of encroaching ignorance. When a billiard ball rolls across the green felt you know its trajectory quite well, as well as the possible routes it may take after encountering another of its kind. Every subsequent collision robs you more and more of your knowledge, as the possibilities multiply. Surprisingly soon—sooner than a Shah placing grains on chess squares wises up—you lose track of the ball entirely. Knowledge is in constant active decay.

I roll again to hoots and cheers. The hands of other players hang off the rail into the rich emerald aquarium of the table like fleshy pink gargoyles watching the blood-red dice I fling.

As an utter novice to gambling and even more so to craps, I felt an exciting dread as I approached the table and took up a position. I made small bets until I became the shooter, the one who rolls the dice. I wanted to feel the power of taking the very symbol of luck in my hands, and throwing it at the the wall. Fortune is made with the throw, the punch, the heave, never an embrace. As once I may have smoothed my hand over my animal skins, and reached far back with a spear and squeezed every calorie in my body into the violent hurl.

Craps more than other games brings out the old tribal feeling, as all players are rooting for the shooter who battles with the bank. The energy from them leads to that same kind of warm embarrassment that I crave every time I walk up to a pretty girl. I just wanted to roll and roll and roll again. I wanted to feel in control for the first time, I wanted feel my fate in my hands in the only way a human knows. I finally felt the simian blood thirst that drives you. The pack howled as I sent ripples of destiny across the green expanse.

After I rolled the seven I colored up and walked away, my right hand still twitching slightly and a warm metallic taste in my mouth.

The End

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