Prologue: Kronicle

I.

This is the story of a game, of the ace and his suites and the hands that deal them, stacking them one on top of the other, fanning them out, guiding them into a shuffle, gathering them together, slipping them into sleeves and holding them up like shields. This is the story of the table, mahogany brown and varnished like the skin on a beautiful boy or a poisoned apple. This a fable about the room that they’re in, dark like the inside of a mouth and bright like a plane crash: blinding, blindness. Here you will find the quiet girls who serve the drinks, the faceless crowd, the roaring mob, the ones who spy what is dealt in whose slippery hands the cocktails of fate are held–cards and players and games prisoners of their dreams, desires. The rules are this: the table does not know it is a table, the girls don’t know they are god, the players don’t know they are played, laid flat in the strobelight of fame–heart, diamond, clover, spade.

II.

He was born in a petri dish at the beginning of time. They slipped lightning into the mix, added a dash of salt, a pinch of malice, a sliver of desire—they set it on fire, they sealed it in ice. Future put hands into lab coat, started thinking: what for, though? Good to have monsters, said Past. He began to grow out of the foam: out peeked a slender leg, white as bone. Perhaps, said Present, squinting into the glass. No, definitely, said peering Past. What for, though? Future felt the disk getting hot, took a sip of Gatorade. Out of the bubbles came a face, flushed like it just finished fucking. Good to leave something to fate. Future used a finger to draw circles on the glass. We are fate. Present shrugs, kicks a ball across the lab. We are making. Past smiled. But we have already made—we’ve already got the serpent. Present pursed lips. Future saw, smiled. No, no, no. Not the serpent. Past wiped wetness from the surface. The Apple.

III.

They sit in a bedroom with their legs crossed, feet in mismatched socks. Bubble wrap is strewn around them like shrapnel. A cardboard box lies like a dead body on the carpeted floor. The three of them hold its contents like lovers in their laps: they caress posters, records, photocards. Which one do you want? One of them grins, tries to strike a bargain–I’ll trade the blonde one for the red one. Another one frowns. Unfair, I like him better. How about green? The third one is more reasonable. Why don’t we lay them all out and see what we can do? The pictures are shiny replicas of polaroids–old, new, timeless. She deals them like they are playing poker. The other two look over her shoulder and rock the bed in excitement. Hurry up.

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