THE MERICANS: PRESSING BUTTONS AT THE WINNER MITTEN CASINO

HIGH LORDS

Waking up at seven in the morning a day after driving around for two days. Doing what? I’m not sure.

We were just driving around, five cities in two days; driving with a soundtrack of folk and indie music through town after town, so many places where people live, and those other places, where people shouldn’t live.

Before she got there I was taking notes by hand in new libraries and places where hometowns have been replaced by casinos. After, I was watching as she played the slots and talking to Betty Boots and Bartholomew Sanchez, only two names among tens of thousands of names. Standing and being dirty and out of place and under constant surveillance by men in baggy JC Penny suits who were really only this time last year, unemployed country boys starving for a chance. And now, well here’s your chance. Now, these people have jobs and eyes in sky with cameras and nice black dress shoes on while they’re taking down names for the business men who collect the money from plastic cards that’s loaded with the old money from those who don’t have anywhere else to spend it.

Smoking and debauchery not only allowed, but encouraged, and gambling given away for free for a second, and at first glance you would think holy smokes this aint a bad idea at all. You might even tell me to calm down man, because people are just having fun, unwinding; one big family of the future of the winning, and soon after, after the stakes vanish into the kaleidoscope of hoax, after you’re in the system and your name has been computerized again, well after that, you’re hooked.

Depression, the laughing at depression and why not, why not spend dollars like pennies because we’re all going to die anyway. Cops waiting for the drunkards who leave at four in the afternoon when the well is gone, when the drinks have loosened your mind up on just another Saturday afternoon. When the eyes are heavy and standing in the middle of the casino I was looking for Sarah but I couldn’t find her, everything looked the same, and I started to shake because looking at all of the lights, the video games for adults, the colors and the cha-ching, the slots, the dice, the respirators rolling and see-through glass ashtrays handed out with a free sampling of smokes; the girls in short skirts with saucers of beer and, “yeah I’ll take one” I said. “No, I better take two” I said.

“OK.  two dollars” she said.

“OK, here’s a two dollar bill. How’s that for ya’, and some quarters…”

The building gets smaller and smaller as the minutes go by and into the system my name goes because they give tokens away for free, the players card as they call it. Sarah needed another chance, I didn’t want to play the games, because ha, life is enough of a gamble for men like me.

It’s all so circular and childish, but this is the new economy in Michigan.  Waiting for your money, and so here’s a question: should it be allowed to go down like this?

The rest in…

A FLASK

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