The desert

Poetry

You wake on cracked earth.
Your entire body feels chapped and hurts.
What happened?
You remember drinks, cards and a casino.
Your skull feels like splitting.
Thinking back, the night had seemed slow.
You held back, drawing punters in as you got into your proper mean flow.
Palming cards and charming staff.
It was alarming how quickly things stopped being a laugh.
First you swindled some hillbilly.
Fully expecting to feel his wrath.
But he took it well, it caught you off-guard.
Then things went downhill fast.
Bleeding chips slow you decided to take a chance.
Drawing attention from the wrong sort you knew this run wouldn’t last.
So you cashed in.
Leaving the tables weaving between gleaming slot machines.
Dodging grannies as they desperately tried to live the dream.
Knowing full well you’d been cold made.
Heavies closed in as you spied the exit, their intent a bold display.

Next thing… impact and darkness.
Your conscious self floats away lost in space and its vastness.
You wake in pain.
Blows rain down in fast hits.
Then… light and sound.
You took quite a beating.
In some ways you feel mighty proud.
The casino boss looks at you, his face a contorted frown.
It’s rare he’s at a loss so you decide to double down.
No longer playing for money you’re now betting your life.
You were dead anyway so now you’re really only betting it twice.
The boss offers you exile and broken limbs.
You counter with a fair trial and a series of fake wins.
Now you’re in his pocket.
There’s no way you’ll escape him.
But, puns aside, you’ve got an ace up your sleeve.
One last hand to play and scam you’ve saved before you split and leave.

So that night you enact your plan but play it cool.
Distracting security with impersonators called Mr T as they shout ‘Pity the fool!’
Then you head to the lower levels and break into the vault.
The plan goes perfect, without a hitch at all.
Now you’re in van at the end of your scam heading for the Mexican border.
There’s guards you can bribe.
You’ll never be caught up, everything’s been thought of.
So why are you sweating?
Next thing… bam!
A truck hits and you spin hard into a wall.
Last thoughts come to you, thinking the border wasn’t far away at all.
It’s so cruel, you’ve been proper schooled.

All fades to black.
Again, you wake in pain.
Feeling like your spine has been smashed in with a spiked bat.
And you’re back to the start.
Sweating on cracked earth.
Your stomach churns, brain hurts and pride burns.
Probably no more than you deserve.
Yet part of you thinks you almost pulled it off.
Sure you got schooled, but as far as those casino con artists go, you almost fooled the lot.
If this was your last job, then it was one hell of a way to stop.

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