“I asked you not to do that, man. It’s not cool. When you’re off the clock can you just talk normal.” I yelled out to my host.
“Sorry,” replied his rich baritone. He walked back into the den where we’d set up the cards. I was nursing a strong chocolate stout. His beer sat on the art deco coffee table where our cards were laid out. He placed a bowl of kettle corn down on the edge of the table and picked up his cards which he’d laid face down on the table while he made our salty-sweet snack.
He didn’t look anything like I’d pictured him before meeting him. He had told me that most people get the description wrong. Something about seeing what they want to see. He was actually delighted that I hadn’t projected any of my expectations on him. I stared at my cards and then back at the mid-fifties man sipping from a beer bottle across from me, weighing my options. I eyed the backs of the three cards he held in his other hand.
“What?” he asked.
“I’m just debating how much of a dick I want to be.”
“You’re always a dick when we play this. One day, I’m going to beat you.”
“Today’s probably not that day,” I said, adopting my best Han Solo smile.
He snorted before he dipped his hand into the bowl of kettle corn and began munching noisily on the treat.
“Do you ever think about retiring? Or changing jobs?” I asked.
“Nah, he said, “I like what I do. I’m a people person. I get to meet a lot of people in my line of work. It’s fun.”
“I always thought it seemed depressing.”
“You get used to it. Seems like something else is on your mind though.”
“Yeah, I guess. I’m just not happy with my current job. It’s just lacking a certain…” I trailed off.
“Je ne sais quoi?” he supplied.
“Yeah. I guess you could say that. I mean. I go into the office, day in and day out. All for what? A retirement? A new sports car?”
“How are you liking the jag?” he asked.
“It’s fine, but that’s kind of the point. I mean, most people would love to have an antique Jaguar. Me, my initial response is that it’s fine. I just don’t get the same kind of fulfillment from my job and all the knick knacks that seem to accompany it.”
“Have you considered working for a charity? I’ve heard a lot of people speak of how rewarding that is,” he said with a completely unreadable face.
“I did that back in the 50’s. I know you remember that. It was nice for a while, but after any amount of time at any job I just seem to, I don’t know, brownout.”
“You could always retire.”
“What? Permanently?” I didn’t like the direction this conversation was heading. “I’m not sure I’m ready for that.”
“All you’d have to do is throw this game. I’d love to finally win.” He sounded exasperated.
“All right,” I said, “I get the hint. Less talking more playing.”
“That’s the spirit,” he said as I separated both my cards and eyed them carefully.
“Any day now,” he said before taking another pull from his beer bottle.
“I just want you to remember that you asked for this.” I said, looking Death square in the face.
I laid down my “Skip” card and quickly called out “UNO!” cutting Death off. Finally I laid down my last card, a “Draw Four.”
Apropos of: This Prompt