This Game of Chance

by Reid Laurence

"Come here and warm your hands by the fire, Mary. Isn't it great!? This is liv'in!"

"Hold on a minute. I'll be right there," replied my wife, in an anxious tone. "You could help me get the snow off Solomon's feet you know. He's gonna get the carpet all wet."

"Alright, I can do that," I said. "If you promise me you'll sit by the fire for a few minutes. You don't wanna get frost bite, do ya? Yer fingers an toes get all green an fall off an junk. It's gross."

"If you stop bugging me about the fire and tend to your dog here, I can go get you your birthday present. It's in the bedroom closet."

"God, I can't believe it's my birthday already. Another July's passing by like sand through an hourglass. How quickly time flies."

"Here we are," said Mary, on her way back to the living room. "Open it up. The excitement's killing me."

"Oh boy!" I remarked, as I removed the lid from the top of the box. "Just what the doctor ordered! Gloves with a matching hat! I'll be snug as a bug in a rug. Thanks babe," I said, as I embraced my thoughtful mate and kissed her cold, red, blushing cheek.

"That's not all I got you, either," she said. "Go check out the truck!"

"Oh boy!" I exclaimed. "Did'ja get me the new, twenty speaker, remote controlled, eight-hundred channel Boose sound system with auto scan, seek, lock an load, or am I just dreaming?"

"Go an see," replied my better half. "It's yer birthday. I had ta get you something nice, didn't I? It only comes but once a year."

"Oh wow!" I exclaimed, when I laid eyes on my new eight ton, Stoodge Rammit pick-up, standing idle in its parking space with its roof just touching the bottom of the garage framing. I couldn't believe it when I saw the beautiful, chrome, thirty inch, spinning wheels Mary bought me. Kneeling, I could see myself in the bright shiny metal and for a moment, I forgot about the eighteen inches of snow we'd gotten the day before, due to sudden and dramatic changes in climate. Touching the polished hub, I pushed on it with two fingers and watched it spin like a Las Vegas roulette wheel. Reminded of the game of chance, I wondered where and when the wheel would stop and in what position. Does it matter? I thought to myself. Who cares, anyway?

Getting in, I started up the massive V18 engine and with the roar of a caged beast, It suddenly came to life.

The new Boose sound system replaced the old, factory installed unit just as I'd expected Mary to do, and when I touched it's blank, dark face plate, a score of multicolor lights came on, illuminating the interior of the truck like fire flies on a warm summer night. Nights, the likes of which I'd enjoyed as a boy, but now it seemed, may be lost and gone forever. Since the new ice age had suddenly struck the planet, I didn't expect to see any more of the summer nights I'd known in the past. Those were just a bunch of fond memories in the back of my mind, like my first bike or the catchers mitt my father bought me when I was a kid.

The sound of the stereo was the most incredible thing I'd ever heard. After all, I thought. Ten thousand watts outta sound pretty good, shouldn't it? But just as I was learning how to scan for channels, Mary walked into the garage to tell me she had to go food shopping and jarred me back to more of the world's real life, immediate concerns.

"I'm glad you like yer new stuff, but I've gotta get to the store or we won't eat dinner tonight."

"Okay, okay," I muttered, grudgingly handing over the keys to my powerful new, band-on-wheels. "Here," I added. "You'll need some money. Take this. It's my last hundred bucks."

"Super," replied Mary. "But the truck needs gas and at twenty-five bucks a gallon, that's not gonna get me very far."

"It'll get you ta the store and back, won't it?"

"Yeah, but what do I buy food with?"

"I don't know Mary," I said. "I guess you'll have'ta charge it. Use your Visa. What else can we do?"

"We can sell the truck and buy one a those flashy, new, Bord Fartstain's that's what. Or how's about a new Swedish Snaab. It's gotta be better on gas then the truck."

"I need my truck, Mary. I told you. We've been through this before. I need the torque. I need pulling power. Girls just don't get it."

"What do you pull? You don't pull anything. You just drive it back and forth to work."

"I have an image I have'ta maintain Mary. You just don't understand."

"Oh, I understand," she replied. "It's a macho thing, isn't it? Lemmie tell you, It's time you put some thought into what your image is costing us, not just in gas either. Look at this snow in July! What about all the emissions from that V18 of yours!? We're helping to wreck the world, that's what we're doing."

"Mary, put your snow shoes on and go already, wouldja? I can't argue with you anymore, it's senseless. Besides, your just another one a those Greenhouse gas nuts who wanna point the finger. Any realistic scientist will tell you that the weather is just going through a normal cycle, and that's all it is. It's got nothing to do at all with my truck, or any a that Greenhouse nonsense."

"I just can't get through to you, can I?" said my wife, as she backed out of the garage, scraping the top of the truck on the bottom cords of the roof trusses as she went. Standing there watching, I wondered if I should surprise Mary and buy her a matching new Stoodge truck of her own. We'd be the envy of everyone with a his and a hers. After all, everyone knows women always say yes when they mean no, or no when they mean yes, and I knew she loved that truck just as much as I did. I just know it. Who in the world can say I'm wrong?

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