Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Joseph F. Lynch
Maura pulls a queen of hearts from her pile and places it on my deuce of clubs. Her green eyes beam joy.
"I won - that one." She quickly snatches the cards and put them in her pile of winnings. Other than her thick mane of dark brown hair curling from the humidity and her white cheeks showing red from the temperature, she seems unaffected by the heat. I, on the other hand, am suffering. Maura is five. I am - well - much older.
I put a ten of spades on the thick oak table. Maura puts a nine of diamonds on top. She reaches to grab the cards.
"No, I won that one." I can't let her win all of them.
She plays another nine and I play a Jack.
"No, you're not. You still got way more than me."
The cards grow sticky with sweat. I keep wiping my hands against my shorts, but I can't keep up with the deluge running down my arms. On days like these my mother's thick brown hair would curl, and she would say, "It's ungodly." I've never heard it described better. I want to run from the oppression but there is no where to run. We've escaped from the city for the week to this cabin high in the Pennsylvania hills but the heat has followed us. It is as if we're trapped in a firefight with no way out. It is only a few degrees cooler and there is no air conditioner. The heat has even driven us inside the rustic cabin away from the beauty of nature. The only relief is a small box fan and to my delight, hidden between the country and western stations I find Mozart on the radio.
I put down a seven. I hear a plane buzz overhead. It is rare to hear to a plane on this hill and I wonder where it is going. It causes the radio to become static. When I turn to adjust the antenna, I catch Maura from the corner of my eye. She searches through her cards for an Ace and puts that down.
"I win." She giggles. When her mother was her age, I would have lectured her on fair play but with the grandchildren, I just let them win. Besides, it's too hot to even talk anymore than necessary.
The news interrupts the music; just as our kings meet in the middle of the table. There is more news from the Mideast. Ancient enemies march against each other in Lebanon.
"War," Maura says with a smile. She brushes her cascading hair from in front of her face. I look deep into her green eyes. She is just so beautiful that I find it hard to breathe. We count out our cards. I turn over a ten and then intentionally turn my head. I don't care who wins. I just want it to be over.
Joseph F. Lynch has worked as a Philly firefighter for over twenty-five years. He currently work as a captain in South Philadelphia. In prepartion for retirement, he's finishing his MFA in creative writing from Rosemont College.
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