Acupuncture After The Apocalypse

Tall Glass of Chocolate

Next to the placemat on the kitchen table, Dad has left me two chocolate long johns, a tall glass of chocolate milk, and a handwritten note.

“You know how when you were learning to drive, I said you can drive fast as you like on the highway but just make sure you’re not the fastest car out there? Poker is like that. If other cars are speeding faster, they’ll get pulled over instead of you; if other poker players win more, their actions are going to be scrutinized more carefully than yours.”

“Remember to take it easy. In poker, don’t ever let yourself be the big winner or you’ll attract too much attention.”

Dad doesn’t drink coffee. He doesn’t do bitter, only sweet. So it doesn’t occur to him that I might want something as edgy as coffee to counteract the sugary long johns. He’s left the house already for work, but the radio is still on. There’s a Cubs game tonight—regular season is almost over. Big surprise: the sports reporter says the Cubs won’t be in the playoffs.

It’s thoughtful of Dad: the donut, the milk, the advice. At the end of the note, there’s an arrow indicating I should turn the page over. On the back are four names with phone numbers next to them, and email addresses. These must be the contact people for other poker games, in case I decide to keep this up.

Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.