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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 3, September 2015


Donna Buck
Carlsbad, California, USA

Guardian Angels

I am at the blackjack table at the Montbleu Casino on Highway 50. Watched a dozen games, secured my two free chips with the new membership card, and take a seat. My debut.

Gaspar is dealing. He has an easy manner. Trim nails, smooth hands; aqua-blue eyes behind rimless glasses. He looks my way, waits for me to place my bet. I put my black crochet purse with the red flower and the Frida Kahlo pin onto a chair facing the table and start with a $5 chip.

I get a face card and a 3. I signal for another card and Gaspar murmurs that it’s a good move. As he pulls his last card, he busts. I win. He smiles at me. Positive reinforcement for a beginner.

Rounds continue and miraculously, I mostly win. Now I am playing with house money! This time, I have another face card and a 4, and Gaspar has a bust hand 4 card on top. When it’s my turn to signal, I freeze.

“What would Frida do?” he asks, nodding at the sternly confident icon on my purse. I signal for a card and get a 7. This makes 21!

After he pays me, he winks. “You can go now,” he smiles, and nods at the Frida pin again. I get up with my chips and head for the cashier.

Gaspar and Frida. What a team.

Sister Beatrice says
always wear your scapula
so the saints
are with you



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