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Second Life rebirth. I’ve heard about this — the return of Philip Linden. If only this guy would stop screaming at the TV every time someone kicks a little ball around a field I could concentrate.

“Can I take this outside?” Edward Daigle indicates the paper.

“No. Have to read it here,” replies Doris, who’s running the bar tonight in place of Debbie. Soccer is her thing and soccer you’ll enjoy here while she’s working. No Masterpiece Theater for her, no basketball or any other sport either, although when the Olympics are on she’ll sometimes switch over to rugby, which currently only features women’s matches. “Rugby is similar to football,” she’ll rationalize to the attendees at the time. “Women need support too.” But the support only lasts until the next soccer game of any gender variety revs up, which always takes precedence. Good to have your priorities straight.

“When is this… *sport* over with?”

Doris checks the clock behind her. “10,” she answers. “8 now. Quite a wait for a read.” She takes a better look at the rugged, broad shouldered man in front of her; leans in closer. “Tell you what, buy me a drink at 10:05 and afterwards I’ll find you a nice, quiet place to skim your newspaper.” She picks up one edge of the paper and expertly flips through all 20 individual pages in a split second, like it was a deck of cards. Talent. The woman has talent with her fingers, Edward thinks here.

While Edward mulls the offer over and the possibilities involved, the man on his right side starts pointing to the screen, saying in a non-shouty voice, “Blackjack.”

“Blackjack,” he repeats, still pointing. Doris is mixing another drink for the actual shouty man. Great, he’ll probably just get more boisterous now, Edward ponders, as he screams at another kick or something.

“Wrong sport,” Edward says to the pointy, non-shouty customer.

“Blackjack.”

Doris glances at the screen while still shaking her drink. “What are you saying, Donald? Do you want to switch to cards? You know we can’t do that here. That’s a Debbie thing.”

“Blackjack,” he says in the same tone of voice, no higher no lower. Debbie keeps looking at the TV, trying to figure out what he wants or what he’s thinking. She knows Donald is a special case. Highly psychic, some say. Most say, “plain nuts”, but a good number of people in town, a growing number at that, respect his talent for numbers especially. If he, for example, says there’s 12 frames to that queer animation continually playing over in the Towerboro Record Store, then that’s how many frames there are. Stranger named Daniel found that out just the other day. Car careened over a cliff into Thirteenville next door just afterwards — bloody mess. So if Donald says this is 21, let’s say, then Donald is most likely on to something.

“Blackjack.” Edward thinks of cards, of the paper, of the flipping. Doris realizes there are 21 players on the field, not the regulation 22. Blackjack. A whistle sounds from the referee.

“Blackjack,” he says over the call.

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0033, 0112, Jeogeot, Towerboro

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