Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Sporting Pleasure of Chase Ruiz

"The Sporting Pleasure of Chase Ruiz"
a careful observation of the sure-bet gambler Chase,
if it was hastily written by Ayn Rand.
by Jake Kilroy

His eyes pulsed, surveying the great crop that was the world before him. He was the beginning and the end of the existence he allowed himself. There was control in his breaths. His lungs were clean and machinelike, fitted exquisitely for a hardworking man with a healthy routine that had already seen his skin leak sweat and his muscles ache from the morning's fitness. School would be later, and he had already done his running, lifting, and ab-ripping as well as the heavy breakfast he had cooked and finished before showering.

Now, clean and dressed, Chase Ruiz felt solace sweep over his property.

The roommate's dog, Danny, feverishly spoiled his canine nerves by sprinting around the backyard. Chase watched the creature lose energy like a propeller run aground, as the animal came to a slow, panting halt, broken and exhausted. Chase shook his head with his hands clasping each other like jacket hooks behind him. He had seen people like this, men and women killing what was left of them every  day. This was not, and would not be, a life for him, nor was it what he would sufficiently deem a life. There was no brilliance or courage to a speed that had the confidence and reckless quality akin to teenage sex. Chase was aptly promised what came to him, for he growled at the helm of his future, aware that the system could always work in his favor if he was willing in body and spirit.

In the most wholesome terms of observation, Chase Ruiz was a patient man. A statuesque individual, crafted against cause and effect, in order to meander through, at his cautious leisure, what stresses he would handle and what loves he would cultivate, he sought a life beyond life; a sanctity that was, profound, almost criminal, in its elegant isolation of one. More importantly, he understood human beings. Whether it was at the clinic or at a party, he witnessed what people could do for him if he remained aware with a beastly anticipation of their actions.

Some, most of them competitors, though often novice, called him a swindler.

But that would be the iron being tested, as credit is due to swindlers. In Chase's experience, swindlers, dapper and earnest in the bending of reality or environment, typically earned their keep with boiling blood and rocklike firmness. Thieves, on the other hand, are cheap shots, played out like sneaky fools on stage, browsing society in the shadows, afraid to stroll and be important to those who matter; a scavenger, stealing to either beg another day or pay tribute to his wayfarer ego at night.

Swindlers, though, attended dinner parties and laughed in the home of the host. They had the striking ability to sit near the head of the table and rouse laughter without the wager of doubt coming to fruition until the right information had been lifted and illuminated from one's sloppy pocket mouth. Society trusts swindlers because they operate within a system. They work until their nerves have been compounded and beaten, only to be made victorious, simply by enduring the fate of destiny, a glory that can be made tragic by the populace's tendency to call it something it is not and has never been.

Chase considered this and then shifted to his dining table to taste his coffee. It was still hot, but he drank it with fulfillment. The steam whipped at his gums for a moment, only for him to lick his lips and be done with the sensation. He turned the page of the newspaper, noticing a picture of hulking athletes colliding into one another. A dull smirk drew itself across his face, pressed with strong features and a cunning disposition, as his gaze paraded down the black and white steps of the printed words. He had once again done well in fantasy football. It was of no consequence for his pride, however. There was barely an acknowledgement beyond the lull in his movement.

He just wanted to know that he could and that he was.

From outside, birds called for each other, filling the house with song; an arresting testament to what lay beyond the windows that stood behind him, over his frame, tall and complete, offering little help besides passing rays of sunlight in the quiet mornings he had grown used to with the roommates at work.

His lunch plans were quickening their pace to his doorstep, and he knew that giving way to a distraction now would take an afternoon to right. With his brow furrowed over the sports page like a church's awning, he called his lady.

"I was just been thinking of you," she answered, the tone soft and expectant.

"You know why I'm calling you now," he said, his voice not bored, nor uninterested or annoyed; simply there, abundant in presence.

She sighed, feeling surrounded and outnumbered.

"You can't do lunch, can you?"

"No. There is work to be done."

"Fine," she breathed.


"There's no point to suggest Chipotle, is there?"

"No, not today," he told her, licking his thumb and moving to another page of the periodical. "I had chili and coffee for breakfast. Pushing myself today would be of no use."

"Then I will call up the girls. Maybe there's time to do brunch. Will you..."

"I will be busy until I am done."

"Yes...I know..."

The line lingered and demanded attention.

"Do you have the games out?" she asked him, finally.

"Listen, I want you to have a nice time with your friends. Drink mimosas, celebrate life, and then come home to me. Later. Tonight. I will make sure I am done with work then, so that you and I can give each other what the world owes us after a long day."

Her teeth creaked in a smile over the phone. Chase could hear her lips move.

"Well, then I'll be there," she replied, an amused lilt cheerfully escaping her words. "See you tonight."

"Wonderful. I will see you this evening."

He set the phone down and closed the newspaper.

His girlfriend was accurate in her remarks. Spread out across the table like a feast, erupting in color and tantalizing his fingers, were board games, video games, and sports equipment. Encircling the thorough study in fun were books, heavy and complete, stacked to a poetic height, as they cast curious shadows of towers over the activities.

Chase perused the text of each sport and recreation, studying their rules and philosophy with the precision he had taught himself in high school and sharpened in each level of higher education. The hobby had started with small words and big implications from a drunkard, upset in a card game that had whittled itself down to two players one Saturday evening. Chase had built his city of chips, and business was cruel to the other sporting architect, but this was capitalism and it has never been for everyone. The other player accused Chase of cheating, but there was as much as truth to the gentleman's words as there was sobriety to his rolling pin eyes.

No, Chase had not acted the part of a cheat this time; he had just been more aware of the holes in the game. What magnificent rage will burn through a losing hand's entire body if the desperation sets in. To keep the man's temper healthy and his car without slashed tires or flames atop, Chase suggested one last hand for all the money on the table. The large man's eyes set upon Chase with cruel brilliance, shining light above a maddening sneer. Chase, however, shrugged and mumbled a few meaningless words to show that he was thoughtful, not mute.

Unsurprising to no one in the room but the scoundrel at the other end of the green felt, Chase won the last deal and collected the money with an efficient sweep of his arm. He pulled up his bag, pushed in his chair, and shrugged again, clearly, quietly, and sufficiently insulting the man.

"Better luck next time," Chase said, addressing the man with an indifference that registered on the sauced brute like spit. The man, livid and deranged, shot up, but the others eased him down.

Once the loose-tongued individual registered a few more uneasy breaths, Chase put out his hands and answered the furious card shark, shaking with anger now, in range of the victor's mocking glare, "Sorry, bro."

In the car, Chase put on Glassjaw and sped onto the highway before the glassy-eyed gambler could reach the back lot and torch his Scion. Maybe even with him in it.

Not long after that evening, Chase took up reading all that he could about card games. He attacked all that his brain could accept before his head would spin, and he would smoke hookah in the backyard to relax. Insatiable and determined, he devoured the etiquette of croquet, taking notes of the gaps in the rules and creating a bribery system. He studied every potential friendly weekend suggestion, from volleyball to Scrabble, carefully constructing the mannered persona of a sporting player, with an intense knowledge of sports and games, shelved between the meticulous and questionable guidelines he had come to recite without hesitation in the shower upon waking every day.

With a long inhale of the fresh air that wafted through the open sliding door, he picked up the mug and finished his coffee, considering the long road ahead of him and the opportunities at every turn; surefire in the efforts of expanding his reach in all direction but backward. He found his daydreams to be madness at their most difficult, but, at times like these, they were pornography for the soul.

Shaking his wrist clear of all verbiage that haunted his tendons prior, Chase wrote what he imagined he would memorize as a nightly prayer, declaiming them even years from this clear day, this brief genesis in history.

Building empires is fine work if you can stomach the dust and the blood. If both ingredients are in one's appetite, then all that holds back the kingdom is the choice of crown. And the most glorious king of brutality and benevolence chooses both jewels and thorns.


No comments: