Part 1: The Garage
4:45 p.m. Tuesday evening. Incoming text received from the Commissioner. “Just putting this out there. I’m down for a game tomorrow if we get enough.”
It had been too long since our last game. I could feel it in my bones an aching no a longing to compete.
Wednesdays had been a regular event in our group for the last 5 years. No matter how far you drove, what city you resided in, and how you felt about life and love. There was always going to be a game at Kay’s.
I really don’t know much about Kay except he dealt blackjack for a few years. His ideas for creating a family friendly music show where he would read poetry dressed as a clown got more elaborate each time I would see him.
“I have a new idea for the second act of our show. You come out with your guitar and it’s on fire. Don’t worry it’s not real only an illusion. The faster you play the larger the flame will get. Then I will come flying out on a rope and douse you with water to save the day.”
As usual I smiled and nodded. Of course I am not opposed to such antics. In fact that sounds like an incredible idea for a kids show. I mean really pretty epic. But Kay isn’t the kind of man to get into business with.
The garage with it’s rundown fridge filled with cherry cokes, grape sodas, beer, and water reeked of abandon. It’s outer walls piled with forgotten and unused tools. Cigarette boxes, empty chewing tobacco cans, and beer bottles resided on the floor. Sam Kinison’s Wild Thing poster hung slightly construed off the wall as if to further personify the garage as a misfit rebel on the lamb.
Directly in the center of the room sat a massive rectangular table. Nothing like the round table of old. Where great leaders and knights came to regale tales and discuss important matters such as the safety of their borders. Around this table sat dragons, wolves, and serpents. This was no place for a clean cut white boy who hadn’t so much as had a single speeding ticket in his life. But the game had drawn him. She had a high price of admission and an even larger education fee. Her magic intoxicating, brutal, and alluring. Was my soul at stake? No… Maybe. But, my money certainly was.
I had walked into a coliseum of sorts. Instead of armor clad gladiators sporting swords of doom and maces of destruction. I sat across from assassins in hoodies with cigarettes between their teeth and chips in their hands. I was dealing with hardened lifers who were one trip away from falling into the outer edges of separation. They had no sympathy for an up and comer such as I. They had no charity for a polo clad, khaki wearing, wet behind the ears 18 year old wannabe poker player. I would be molded by fire and pushed to the limits of my humanity. I would be tested, insulted, and ignored. Mercy would be left at the dual doors of the garage. My game would not come easy, there would be no shortcuts.
4:46 p.m. Tuesday night, again.
I couldn’t wait, I wanted to play. The game at Kay’s had died and hadn’t been running for the last year. Sure we played every once in awhile. A Sunday here a Thursday there. It wasn’t the same. I wasn’t the same. I had changed. I was reading again. Writing even and I was eating better and working out. I wasn’t consumed anymore. I didn’t need it like I used to. But her magic is strong and I wanted it.
“Anyone down for one tonight? 8?” My response to the Commissioners request. Like a fire spreading slowly then erupting, the responses started to come in. “I’d be down”, “8pm? I can”. We were to have a full table… The Sandwich was back.
Next time on Sammy’s Adventures. Sammy duels a two-tailed serpent.