Tell me when.


When you’re ready.


You mean when.

I meant then.


Dice are cast and my life falls through the hands of snipping Fates.

I survived. Life according to Darwin. Or probability theory with Albert Lamorisse.

My back pressed to the game board, eyes still swirling from the merry-go-round. Tarred black horses leapt up and down around their titanium poles. Stationary dragons snarled in angst, watching children with golden rings fling dreams into the snow-white sky.

Finger-scolding parents mouthed obscenities in close-knit circles above me, claiming corruption. Corruption lies in your negligence, I tell them. Then they tuck purses under their arms, as if to say, “You disgust me.” But they never leave. They’re hypnotized by Blue Shield billboards beyond me.

Now I’m lost.

The survivors claim redemption, salvation in the lies their guardians passed on to them in recurrence. Others drown in the Oreo cookie frosting oozing over modernity.

But back to the game board.

Kamchatka lay desolate, war-torn as the gray armies crunched over the blackened earth. Seen from interstellar space, H-bombs left pubescent pockmarks in the arid pre-teenage wasteland.

Entire legions of red nationalists fell back to Mongolia in what was documented as the largest troop retreat in world history. Men, horses, cannons, all fleeing their envisioned defeat at the hands of the gray forces, only to prolong their existence as pawns in the game of inexhaustible war.

And while the rest of the world watched, the armies of blue and black licked their collective lips in the anticipation of invasion. The risk was infinite, but the reward meant world domination.

But no commander leads his men without some speck of hubris. Some call themselves engineers of jihad, but most resemble martyrs for entropy’s laws.

n < 1 and n < 6 when n equals any whole number. Life according to Las Vegas. Or HST. Or Tom Wolfe. Or the myriad of uppers and downers bouncing like Pong balls off the walls of my apartment. Do you believe there's nothing up my sleeve? Aces high, my friend. I try to tell the kid to enjoy the game. There's no use throwing a fit in front of competition. Then parents race up, shouting, "Poisoner!" I tell them I'm just giving their son sound legal advice. The cubicle hasn't poisoned me like it has them. They're the ones to blame for this war. Ignorance, an excuse? I'm thrown into the mud of hometown little league baseball games. Climbing fences before falling back down in it. Childhood cleats no longer fit. Base paths that should seem closer are lengthened by the inactivity of collegiate pursuits. At least the aluminum bats seem lighter, until they slip from my fingers. Coaches enforce sportsmanship. I laugh. What happened to the game? Did we forget our turn to roll, or did we just neglect the gaudy privilege? Maybe it's the mushrooms. Giant clouds billow skyward toward our dreams, shockwaves obliterating every last trace of them. We all stare at buzzing television screens while our children sit spoiling, mesmerized by Blizzard and EA Sports. A guy with orange eyebrows and snow-white hair states the blatantly obvious. Boom! Dice are cast and history, again, repeats itself. Noble martyrs sculpted by the system regurgitate molding beliefs, and creativity dies.[printicon align="left"]