Ace of Spades: The Next Hand



The next morning, the overcast sky meant I didn’t look for my sunglasses when I got in the car. So I sat on them. It was still muggy and hot but only as much as in the shade of most days. Every driver was sleepy and lingered an extra second at stop signs. No one honked. No one ran lights. We came to full stops before heading off and we all forgot our turn signals except the ethics professor on the bike.


I jogged upstairs, bounding over steps, feeling spry like when I was in the boxing club in Wales and dodged like Tyson and hit like a declawed cat. I clung to the railing though. The chipping paint stabbed my palm but I had taken enough falls this week. I ran past Water Lilies, The Scream, Girl with Pearl Earring, Starry Night, La Clairière, and the most overrated painting – The Mona Lisa.


After catching my breath in the lounge of Cobb, I barged into Maria’s office. “When do we leave for Wales?”


She was in class.


I found a seat and waited for her, since my classes had been cancelled by an egg-sucking dog. I read a few books on her shelves and didn’t cry once or say “Of course” at an observation. I hoped she didn’t teach her students these books and only kept them for me to use as examples of bad literature.


When she finally came in, I was asleep in her leather chair – it wasn’t school-provided plastic ones like in my office. Even my desk chair had little cushion which quickly flattened under my fat butt so it might as well be plastic too. She gently shook me to wake me. “Didn’t you take the week off after your fall?”


“When do we leave for Wales?”


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