We watch the corners of his eyes, a little black game of tennis against the edges, as they make us want to cry. Half of my cattle, a third of my mother’s rubies. The brothers are broke to their careless loin-cloths; a shameful day to pick a windy verandah for a game. The lines on his palms have lost to the crackling-rubbing of his dice. He barters any remnant self respect for precision in one smooth whisper to probability; a thirty-sixth of my cattle to feed the gods, cackles he.
He tosses the dice to the board, as they thump the vicious snakes in their eyes; his bold golden kings nifty-catly climb ladders. Up and up, while my fingers burned, and palms frazzled, and my cowardly cowries snuck their tails in and roll down, snake-bitten-blue.
At least the alcohol is good and foreign. Ten thousand pipes, they say, from a distant land, where there were no hangovers, or rubies. At least not for a few thousand years more.
Sending word to the accountants, they flank my side in nightly servility, smelling of sleep and breast-milk, with rolls of paper-wealth, that they toss in the ring for the next round. Government and all.
Twelve minutes, each one for each face of a pair of dice. I lose it all, including my accountants, that are sent away with wishes to finish their paused women near, and a condom.
I think one of the beastly guards clobbered me on a bathroom break. Back on the floor, loin-cloth and all, I smile and throw up.
Did we know that his palms were the kings of chance, as we pawn our woman?