Wheel of Fortune

Round and round she goes,

Black ball circles targets,

Where she stops, nobody, me for sure, knows.

Patrol days are tickets to numbers game with the Reaper,

where the audience and player is me.

Kinda like going to Vegas. Ha. Ha.

All hopped up about winning, bathing in cascading lights, tingling pings of greedy bandits, sharp taste of generic booze, and the aroma of fear and pleasure mixed into ozonated sniffs.

Yeah. Like Vegas, except, I canít lose it all there.

Sandland, I can.

Here, lights barely shine through grime and dust, distant shrieks and numb buzzes --out of tune city, taste of dry mouth, and the stink fear of anticipation mixed into shallow breaths.

Vegas, I can walk away wallet wiped.

Sandland. End of day, I can walk away, given the Wheel has granted me asylum.

Asylum to banter nonsense, buddy hits on shoulders, pictures shared of real people left far away, meals en masse, man talk about mortgages, jabber about equipment fritzed, --all the time, deep down, deep down, figuring out ways I can strip mind gears to find peace without thinking.

The Wheel is cruel; reprieve is only overnight.

So, eyes on the ceiling, before curtain falls, the churning about tomorrow cranks up.

The Wheel spins stories in my face, of, what ifs.

And the fear snake worms its way into my thoughts, even though I try to shoot it with no way, not this time hope bullets.

Itís the not knowing that slips through the back door.

Probability horror.

What guyís gonna get bagged tomorrow?

One out of a thousand, much more or much less, depending upon whatís on the menu.

Somebody, someone with family who are worried sick, with bills to pay, with kids who love, with friends who wonder the whys, with a horizon of New Years.

That somebody is chosen by the Wheel to lose all the chips.

The big chips --everything stolen:

No faces of loved ones, no hugs, no world Series, no Super bowl, no mouth bang quick Coke and hot dog with mustard, onions, and everything old Joe can glob on it, no warm shower spray on a dirty face, no Lieutenant joke to laugh at, no politician to rant at, no feel of comforting doze during a haircut, no wondering what the dazzling blond getting on the bus would be like, no Stones to listen to, no itch to scratch and feel soothed, no smell of fresh cut grass, no Times Square ball dropping, no thought that I am here today and I have a world.

Fade to Black. All gone. Forever.

Those Wheel odds frighten me.

Gut wrenching question that tightens my lips into tape across my teeth is,

Will it be me?

So, when I wake up in the morning,

I repeat the mantra song, that today is a hill to get over to tomorrow Ėso near, so far.

And I knock on a wood toothpick always inside heart side shirt pocket, as the Black ball circles the targets.