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[Writing time: Not sure, less than 15 minutes]

Z is for Zaftig

A poker chip is a thin thing. A playing card is even thinner. Turn it sideways; it’s not even there. Just a thin line that bisects one thing from itself. You need a whole pile of chips, a whole deck of cards to make a thing with heft. So big you need a container to keep them in, a box, a rubber band. Hands aren’t enough to hold their weight.

Queen of Hearts — that’s my mother. One side is double-round, the other sharp as scissors. Turn her over — with or without the slap — and there’s just the same blank space, the confusing swirl, the name brand. Pick me back up, the Queen says. Feed me your greed, your fears, your pain, your boredom.

I was 16 the first time my mother took me to a casino. Illegal. A blonde girl with blue eyes who hadn’t had sex yet, who barely had her first boyfriend, who was still rubbing her tongue over her teeth all the time because she’d just gotten her braces off after ten years. My mother got me in the door because she knew everyone. Because she was beyond curvy and that made her not-at-all-a-threat, and because she had the best, biggest, strongest calves this side of the DelMarVa triangle, and she’d worn a short skirt and shoes with straw-woven wedged heels.

I basked in the daughter praise, the being with someone who knew everyone, the self-assured creature who led me through the velvet and seam of the place without shrinking. She took up a lot of room, but in that place, where she felt at home, there was still room for me.

I’m not fat, although I’ve been fat in my life time. When you’re average sized, no one thinks you have the strength to carry pain. My arms are heavy with these risky bets I’ve placed, my hands tremble with the bad hands I’ve played. I work at this, don’t get me wrong. Don’t mistake this container of mine for a lucky draw.

Knave of Diamonds — that’s me. I don’t play cards anymore. I don’t even play the heart lottery. Risks are not my forte. Spin the wheel for me, will you? I want to watch it go round. Let me put my short skirt on, my high heels. Let me find someone who loves me enough to never fold beneath the weight of my hardest deals.


Read all the Quick Fiction A to Z Stories Here

Beautiful image by this artist