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by Talleen Hacikyan

On the night Atlantic, off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, a casino cruise vessel glitters like Christmas.

Hit it big. FREE drinks while gaming. Blackjack, baccarat, roulette, Caribbean stud poker.

Tonight I met a girl in a bar. I liked her Southern drawl, her name--Savannah--the bands of white knotted string around her tanned ankles.

We went to her motel room. She set the ceiling fan on High and fired five shots at it with a BB gun. Rush roulette, she called it. Her boyfriend, Derrick, filmed with a stolen camera.

Savannah switched off the fan. The blades barely rotated, cutting the air like drugged knives. Three of them pierced. Muggy.

Derrick detached the string from his yoyo, threaded one end through a bullet hole, made a bowline knot. To the other end, with a perfection loop, he tied the gun by the trigger guard. Set the fan on High. The gun revolved over the bed, tracing a big black circle in its path.

Derrick gave me the camera.
“I want you to film us … and no special effects, I’ll take care of that!”

Derrick and Savannah laughed, onto the mattress. Kissed under the dark halo.
I put the camera on the dresser, framed the lovers in the viewfinder. I selected Pastel mode, transforming the mating ritual into an animated cartoon. I pressed Record and left.

I run along Ocean Boulevard to Anglin’s pier. Sit at the end of the wharf, look at the casino cruise ship. I picture a sailor on deck, tying one end of a rope to Savannah’s neck, the other to Derrick’s, leaving lengthy slack between them, which the couple turn like a skipping rope, while the sailor jumps and Savannah chants:

Jackpot
Straight flush
Bet any pair
Jack gave the Queen
Red underwear.

talleen hacikyan