The weeks and the seasons and the semesters slipped away, changing with the bartenders, from the bosomy beginning to other students seeking to stay in school by serving spirits, all of whom greeted the growing group at The Booth with enthusiasm because there they knew there was joviality and fun and tips, larger than usually came from professors and poverty.
And in the fullness of time, The Clark became as competent at cribbage as The Illidge. Oft they arrived earlier than the others so they could see what cards fate had dealt them. Thus it was that when The Clark built a huge lead, he would hold forth with astounding and magnificent quotations, as in, ”Mama, open the gate cause the cows are coming home and Daddy is hungry,” or “Bring in the laundry and pluck a goose, cause we’re gonna celebrate tonight.”
Such wisdom did oft seem to irritate The Illidge, and when in turn, he would manage to eke out victories, and yeah, even perchance rarely skunk The Clark, he would also hold forth, mocking with his own wisdom, as in, “Light the candles Mother, the stars are shining tonight and we’ve got to skin a hog.” That their utterances were less than sophisticated never dawned on them, thanks to friendship and Stolys and Bushmills on the rocks. However by this time of the day, booth buddies began arriving and they made mockery of the misery of the day’s loser and the mentality of the day’s winner.
And lo, when he did win, the next morning The Illidge would regale the Queen bee with stories of his victories, usually by asking her, “Ask Himself if the cows came home last night,” and thus the laughter was verily contagious from one day to the next.
Alas, it was not till years later that The Clark would realize, in an epiphany to be explained later, the significance of the way The Illidge used the word “Himself,” and it brought The Clark to tears, matching those that began to offset the laughter of The Booth, because the cards dealt by fate are not always winners.
Thus it was that The Booth was soon ordained officially, and slipped from being a noun to a verb, as The Illidge slipped from health to illness that would eventually match Job’s.
To be continued…