By Leslie Knibbs
He maintains stiletto like eye contact with each of those playing the game. Never looking down, his sharp eyes dart from one player to the next in staccato-like movements.
Under a crude canvas canopy, the crowd gathers eagerly, all placing coins on the table. Standing…… Like some shifty sleight of hand artist masterfully playing an ancient yet timeless slightly crooked shell game, he continues studying each player; his hands move smoothly and effortlessly rapidly sliding the shells from side to side. He harnesses the moment, mindfully manipulating and managing the crowd with consummate simplicity. His exquisite mind gently takes control of the actions of those around him. With a confident yet primitive elegance, he takes custody of every move they make. Always keeping the pea safely concealed within his closed palm…like a buried treasure waiting to be found, he smiles as he pulls the strings in this crude game of chance, a cryptic game where probabilities are best measured by the flip of a coin or roll of the dice. Regrettably for those playing the game, the outcome is predetermined by the master’s hands sliding the dice.
And he can make a deck of cards talk in 10 languages. With beautiful deliberate moves of a Vegas blackjack dealer’s manicured hands, he slides cards easily from a five-deck shoe manipulating others to do exactly as he wishes, and the pretty cards float like butterflies, fluttering lightly to green grass, falling softly to the green felt, two cards each….one up, one down, and all resting within reach of each player in the game, all looking for a win.
That’s Jay Boy, he keeps more arrows in his quiver than Robin Hood. His memory is like a data bank, a rear-view mirror into the past. And as he grew older, and did more jobs, he disciplined himself setting his memory on default going back to the good things in his life, but never forgetting mistakes made, lessons learned were never overlooked in planning his next move.
Lost in his reverie, he returned from the loo wondering if indeed he had made a mistake this time. His father had warned him about going on a blind date. Looking over at the table where she sat, he glanced towards the exit. What to do he thought. Stopping in his tracks he fished a quarter out of his pocket flipping it into the air catching it quickly in his palm he smacked it on the back of his wrist. Tails….. “you lose darlin’”.