Simplicity in Hell’s Casino

(Continues from Upside Down, Downside Up)

It’s the simple things we forget: a warm, welcoming hand handshake, a peck on the cheek on the sneak, an unexpected attraction during a job interview—but I digress. Loving him was simplicity, leaving him was hell. And that’s where I was—dangling upside down outside hell’s casino.

Yeah, hell has a casino, and the currency it deals in is souls. Yonder knife scything towards me was the only knife capable of carving up a spook into tidy bits for distribution.

Slot machines chime a jackpot dirge
it’s the simple things our minds purge—
spiritual tethers submerge
until they’re stretched and we diverge
my tether’s no longer a scourge
and feeling it gives me the urge
to pull myself back from the verge. 
But first, I need a surge
gotta electrocute this scourge
then my tether and I can merge.

Gripping my tether, I pulled and miracle of miracles, its anchor held. But I needed something to get me out of here. I reached into the tether and almost drew back when my hesitant touch sparked images in my head. Each link was a story. A crazy idea occurred to me. But first I swung an arm to block the knife diving toward me. I slapped it, knocking it aside and buying me time.

I worked a link free from my tether. In my mind’s eye, a wedding band spun on a pitted bar. A wasted version of the Goldilocks I’d met earlier pushed the ring across the slick wood veneer to pay for a bottle. Neon lights made the diamond flash. Her sorrow was smokey saltwater vaporizing in my mouth, and I felt the spreading heat of hard liquor, a whiskey maybe.

I threw it at my captor, and it screamed dropping me, but I didn’t fall. I had one hand on my tether, and my off hand joined it. I jack-and-the-bean-stalked it up my tether and out of that hell hole, shedding links as I went. And how cathartic it was to return misery to its maker.

Find the earlier parts of this series here.

For OctPoWRiMo, 31 poems in 31 days–all part of one story. Watch me do it.


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