Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2003, 12:32 AM

Luck of the Draw

Luck of the Draw

The five of them sat huddled around the table amid smoke, music, cards, and a dizzying amount of money. That's how they played - all of them accepting the hand that Life dealt them and none of them complaining.

Life dealt the cards. Greed, being to the left of Life bid first. By nature, greed always bid high with a slightly glazed look in his eyes. The bid is then passed to Reality who usually eyes his hand and then contemplates himself before folding. Blind Faith always goes on to match Greed's bid figuring that there is no way that he can lose with divine intervention on his side. The bid then rolls around to Fate who either smiles and folds, or stays in to win--always attributing the outcome of every hand to himself.

It went on like this for several hours. Reality and Blind Faith slowly losing everything they have to Greed and Fate. This monotonous game was only interrupted twice; once when Fate asked Greed to stop laughing and running his hands through his coin pile, the other occurred when Reality started singing along to the song playing on the jukebox. Blind Faith turned to Reality and told him not to quit his day job. They all laughed at this because none of them would ever consider quitting their day job-- after all, it was their lives; or at least other people's.

The night went by, just as every night does, until morning came nipping at its heels. Dawn was waking up when the door opened and Luck walked in with a smile on his face. He walked over to the table where Life was dealing and pulled up a chair.

Reality, having folded after the opening bid, was the first to notice Luck sitting at the table. Reality waved and Luck winked smugly in return before focusing on the game at hand. The bid went round and round until a high enough stake had been reached. After the cards were shown, Fate took all the money and exclaimed that he knew he would win.

Luck shook his head and then cleared his throat to get everyone's attention.

Life looked at Luck and said, "Gettin' in kinda' late aren't ya, Luck?"

Luck chuckled and replied, "You know my boy keeps some funny hours. But I finally got him into bed."

"With someone else, I'm sure," Life replied.

"But of course."

Greed looked up from his pile of money and said, "Geez, is that kid getting laid again!?"


Fate smiled and said, "He's gonna catch some disease."

"Now you stay out of this," Luck shot back, "This is my boy and I won't let that happen"

"Oh sure," Fate said in a very mocking manner.

Blind Faith, who usually doesn't say much when Luck is around suddenly turned to him and said, "You know I get more requests to follow that damn kid around than I do for most conventional religions."

"What can I say," Luck glowed and said, "He's good."

At this point Reality nudged Luck and asked him if the kid had Luck do this one alone. Luck leaned back in his chair and said, "Nope. The kid thought that this one would be pretty hard so he called in some big guns."

Greed shook his head and said, "Don't tell me he brought Lust in again."

"Nope, better. He called Romance and Chivalry." Luck gloated.

Fate snapped his head toward Luck and said, "I thought Chivalry was dead!?"

"No," Luck replied, "Just old and hard to find anymore. A long time ago..."

"Just finish your story," Blind Faith groaned in disgust. He never wore a happy look well. But that is understandable-- Blind Faith is tall and chubby, a genuinely hard size to fit, and happiness is always in short order. It's not his fault that happiness doesn't fit him.

"Well," Luck continued "He had a little bit of trouble early in the evening and was sure that he would be visited by Defeat by the nights end, when, as I would have it, he discovered Desire hiding behind Caution and quickly went for the kill."

"I don't know anyone better at placing desire in someone than that kid," Greed burst out, "It's simply amazing!"

Blind Faith chuckled and said, "Let's not forget how many times he mistook Obsession for her little sister Desire. He never was very good at telling those two apart."

"Stop being such a party pooper," Fate told Blind Faith, "He's still an amazing kid. You said yourself that you get tons of requests to switch to him."

"More than the number of people switching to AT&T" Blind Faith nodded in agreement.

Life, who sat shuffling the cards said, "What makes this different than any other night?"

"Well," Luck smiled, "He's in bed with his girlfriend's best friend."

"What did Common Sense have to say about all of this?" questioned Greed.

"We kind of left her in the dark about all of this."

"What I don't understand," Fate interrupted, "Is why you follow that kid around so much."

"Yeah," reported Blind Faith from across the table, "I'm surprised that you don't ask me to have you follow him around like a lost puppy."

"I'll tell you why I follow him so much," Luck retorted "He's a lot more fun than you guys."

At this statement everyone at the table caught their breath. Blind Faith changed his look of disgust to that of abashed, and thought as he did so that he should do laundry soon--His disgust was getting a little stiff under the arms.

During this lull in conversation a gentleman from the next table who had been sitting alone walked over to their table. He had a slightly crazed look about him. The man stared at luck for a short period of time before screaming at the top of his lungs, "I DON'T BELIEVE IT! I DON'T BELIEVE ANY OF IT! NOT ONE WORD!"

For a second nobody moved, the Luck spoke up, "Put a cork in it, Denial. You don't believe that you exist half of the time."

Just then Reality struck; lunging over the table and catching Denial square in the nose with a surprise left. For a brief instant Denial couldn't believe it, (of course) but when the pain flared up in the middle of his face it was indisputable. Holding his nose with his left hand, Denial apologized to everyone at the table, thanked Reality for showing him that he existed (once again) and slowly walked away in a very dejected manner.

After Reality righted his chair and seated himself at the table he glared at Luck and asked him what he meant when he said they weren't any fun.

"Well," Luck stammered, "I mean, you guys sit here and do the same thing every night." Luck looked at them and started on his left, "Okay, look. Life, you never play--just deal. Greed, you always bid the highest and then take every third coin that you win and stick it in your sock. Reality, you sit here and lose all of your money. Don't be such a stick in the mud--take a chance once in a while. Blind Faith, you'll never learn-- it takes more than a pair and a prayer to win. Fate, you're such a conceited egotist. I've never met anyone more anal than you. Isn't it ever boring when you know all the answers?"

Blind Faith, outraged by this comment said, "You never join us, so how would you know if we have fun or not?"

"Alright," Luck said, "Deal me in!"

Luck's sudden interest in playing had a different effect on everyone at the table. Greed, always happy with the prospect of more money, was anxious to begin. Reality was prepared to fold after the opening bid, so he didn't care one way or the other. Blind Faith was sure that he would win and avenge all the sin in Luck. And Fate was certain that he would win, naturally. Life shook his head and was glad that he wasn't playing. Life, who had once dealt in Vegas when he was younger, recalled a time when Luck swept the table he was dealing for so long that the management asked him to leave.

After winning ten straight hands Luck stuffed his winnings into his pockets and announced his boredom before leaving the table. On his way out he stopped at the table where Self Pity sat drinking alone. After a moments thought he emptied the contents his pockets onto the table and said, "There, maybe this will help change your tune."

Self Pity took a quarter from the pile on the table and made his way over to the jukebox in a very morose manner. He cut off the song that was playing--"I'm Broke" by the Kollege Kidds, and punched up "The Tax Man Is Comin' To Town" by Uncle Sam. When Self Pity returned to the table Luck opened his mouth to say something, shook his head, and walked away.

Luck had just made it to the door to leave when he was forced back into the bar. Seeing that his way would be blocked for a while he returned to the table where Life had just dealt another hand. As soon as he sat down Fate said, "I knew you'd be back." Luck cast an indignant look his way and turned to face the door. Reality was about to ask Luck why he returned when the glasses on the table shook and bits of plaster dust floated down from the ceiling. The front door shot open and all eyes turned to watch as the most enormous man slowly tried to slide through sideways. The doorjamb bowed on both sides and the floor groaned as he pushed himself halfway through the opening. With this done, he put one hand on either side of the door and pushed. He came the rest of the way through with a loud "POP". He stumbled a moment to catch his balance, and quickly returned it to the shirt pocket from which it had fallen. He then pulled three chairs over to the bar and sat down on all of them. They creaked under his great weight. The middle chair was going to complain about his knees buckling when he remembered that he didn't have knees --just legs, and whined instead about a sore back. It wasn't until the obese man was seated and had ordered half the menu that the jokes started.

Greed looked up from behind his cards and asked Luck, "Is that Guilt?"


"He's put on a little weight."

"About two trucks worth," Reality interjected.

The six of them sat absorbing the immensity of Guilt seated at the bar when someone across the room chimed in, "Boy, looks like Guilt is weighing heavily on someone."

That was the joke that broke the silence and opened the floor for a slew of jokes that went on for about fifteen minutes before suddenly dying out. Luck accepted the fact that the fun was over with guilt and was getting up to leave when six burly bikers strode through the door. Everyone in the room fell silent and turned away from the group--after all, no one enjoys facing The Consequences. After all, they were the meanest, nastiest, and most persistent gang around. The bar was totally silent except for the sound of Guilt slowly gnawing at his order. The Consequences fanned out across the front wall of the bar and the leader cleared his throat and spit on the floor. After wiping the remaining spittle from his chin Ugly said, "I'm lookin' fer Luck."

Nobody stirred, knocking a glass from his table, and then passed out.

"Ya see, we had a deal goin'," Ugly spit forth, "and halfway through Luck ran out." He slowly eyed the crowd, "So when my boys came and told me I said we was going to tie him to the back of our bikes and leave a lucky streak behind us. We're serious and you all knows it. Everyone knows that when The Consequences get Ugly someone's gonna' pay."

With this statement Luck stood up from the table and turned to face The Consequences by saying, "Come on, guys, my credit's still good."

Ugly cast a look at him, which Luck easily dodged, and then said, "Your Time's up. Luck."

Luck paused to call his broker who confirmed Ugly's statement by telling him it was up two points and that he may consider selling soon.

Ugly waited until Luck was off the phone and said, "C'mon, Luck, time to pay Up."

With this, Up, accountant for The Consequences, stepped forward saying, "Cash or charge, no checks please," and held out his hand for payment.

Luck looked Up in the eyes and then threw The Consequences a loop, which he knew would entertain them for hours as a hula-hoop, and snuck through the kitchen and out the back door. The Consequences fought amongst themselves for the hula-hoop until the bartender pointed out that their Luck had just run out again.