Slop and Poker
“Gar, get your ass over here!” I shouted in his direction. He grunted. I walked over there and gave him a good slap on the shoulder and helped him up.
The slop was hot and ready. Mac was still perma-grinning it over by the stove as he slopped the slop into his fine stainless steel bowls.
I inhaled deep smelling the slop. It smelled kind of like a meat-jello. Sounds gross, but it tasted alright. Then again, any food was a feast at this point.
I tried to imagine Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with my family: Prime rib, seafood, turkey, cranberry, stuffing– Just imagining the food and good times of the holidays made me ten times hungrier. That, and it didn’t make the slop taste any better. You really couldn’t polish this turd of a dish.
We finished eating in silence. Like men. Grunting and belches. No silverware. Sloppy. Okay maybe it was in silence because everyone was out to save any energy they had. More likely it was because everyday we were starving. Gar drank a bit of his booze, got up, and headed back to the lowly bed-corner.
“Oh, hey Gar,” I said, holding back a burp, “We’re gonna head out here in a bit.” Mac dug out some cards. Gar grunted. “Mac’s got some cards,” Gar turned around, I waved him over, “let’s play a few games and then head out.”
He grunted and sat down to play a few games. Texas hold ’em this time. Gar’s least favorite game. He was more into old school games like rummy and gin. I barely even knew how to play either, so I was glad to play something I was familiar with.
Mac dealt the cards out. We ‘bet.’ The flop. The turn. The river. Gar wins with a flush. Bullshit he doesn’t like this game. Gar laughed heartily as he collected the ‘pot.’ Gar won, Mac won. I got all the shitty cards, off suited. Dueces and tres. Maybe a Jack here and there. I’d win a random game here or there, but Mac and Gar dominated the table. Flip, flop, flam — Game over, we gotta get going.
I folded up my cards. “Well we better head out guys,” I suggested. Gar and Mac agreed. We packed up quickly and moved out, once again walking over debris. Everything looked the same: gray and crumbled.
“Mac, how far ’till we get to the Forest?” I asked, anxious to see some new scenery.
“Well,” Mac answered, “According to my maps and calculations, we have about a day and a half journey until we get there.”
“Good,” I said. Gar grunted and took another swig. Was that flask bottomless or what? Gar flashed his rotten teeth and laughed his creepy laugh.
“I gon’ go live in da woods! HA!,” Gar said drunkenly, laughing.
Mac and I looked at each other and shrugged. It was time to get up and head out.
I was hoping the woods would be just as imagined them: Free of disaster and pristine. Beautiful. Beauty was hard to come by here, but I’m sure you could have found some beauty in the crumbled remains of a once thriving city.
The sun was almost at its apex when we left, shining upon us. Even though my luck in poker left me something to be desired, as I felt the sun shine on my shoulders, I felt like the luckiest man alive.