Eight chairs, eight souls, eight lives, eight lingering pasts, eight emerging futures, all seated around a table covered in green felt. Tonight was poker night as it had been for three years now, here in this upstairs office over the Bouton's Bookstore and Cafe.
The blue Bicycle playing cards, two fresh packs still in their cellophane sit at the center of the table. Chips are stacked at each place, five hundred dollars worth for each player, whites are one, red are five, blues are ten. No credit, fifty dollar limit on each pot. Through the three years, all eight have pretty much swapped their five hundred dollars even up, nobody's gone broke, nobody's gotten rich.
These are the stories of these eight poker players, all here sitting around the green felt, puffing cigars, smoking cigarettes, drinking wine coolers and Canadian Club whiskey. And I suppose these are the stories of these eight poker players as they lay their bets, calculate their odds, and make their bluffs in the desperate lives they live.
They ante up, eight white chips clink into a pile in the middle of the green.