Pawan Fucked Me

Tony’s Baltimore Grill

Atlantic City

me and Pawan
my friend from way back when
from AC High
we were in the same classes together

we used to go bowling together
we would play Chess together
we were on the Tennis team together
we were on the Swimming team together

well I was a diver
but you know what I mean

Ch. 1

Pawan had gotten back into the area
recently

as had I

we both got our Masters from the University of Chicago
him in Mathematics
myself in Divinity, or religious studies, or philosophy
or Judaism or whatever you want to call it

it’s not always so clear cut in the humanities
as one might imagine it to be

and there we were talking
at Tony’s Baltimore Grill

just like the old days
though not really

Ch. 2

and Pawan is telling me about
what’s been going on in his life

with his wife
with his thoughts and dreams and ambitions
and recreations

and I’m telling him about mine
I’m telling him about the time spent in Chicago
and since returning home to Somers Point
to New Jersey

South Jersey specifically

I’m telling him about the things that had happened to me
my grandfather’s passing
the car crash

the brutal boredom suffered through freezing winters
and a girlfriend
who was an infinite pain in the ass

catching up
on the sands which
pass through the hour glass

Ch. 3

and we drank our beers
and ate our pizza

sitting across from one another there in that landmark
cubby hole in Atlantic City
the great Casino-land we had both grown up with all our lives

Ch. 4

and then he says to me

“I want to go to California. I want to go to LA.
Yes, I’m going to go.

Do you want to go with me?”

and I inquire as to what for
what do you desire to acquire in that glorious city by the Sea?

and he says to me

“Well, as you know I play poker”

Of course I knew, Pawan had practically told the entire world
except for his parental purview
of his poker exploits and expeditions
how he used his mathematical concepts and notions
perhaps even intuitions
to make extra dollars quite a few
to pay off his University of Chicago tuition bills

even pocket a few coins
for himself

yes I’d heard about his travels through Chicago-land
casinos and I’d heard about all the hands he’d won
and lost with their detailed break-downs and descriptions

and I’d read the poker books and entertained
with him over the phone or email or in-person conversation
over the years the various strategies and strategems
which had come to fruition for him

Ch. 5

and he continued
“So, what I’d like to do is go to California where I can play poker
without having to bother to look over my shoulder
all the time
to not have to worry about my mother noticing me out all night.”

“And of course it would be nice to see LA to get a different state
of mind
a change of pace scenery to relax to recline
to bask in the warm sun in between dozen hour trips
in the poker table room scenes.”

Ch. 6

and then he says to me,

“Oh, and would you like to come with me?”

That was it that was his pitch casting his bait out for me
and I grabbed it

“Sure, Pawan. I’d love to go with you.
Let’s do it!”

Ch. 7

that was February, Pawan was back off to Chicago
to make plans to make arrangements to explain to his wife
how he was going to go to Los Angelas

and we kept in dialogue in conversation
over phone and email
explanation

of when exactly we’d take off on that trip
when we’d leave and what we’d do

we created those castles in the sky
which felt all too real

Ch. 8

I imagined myself sitting by his side at the poker tables
for I myself had played before many a time
in the casinos of the Atlantic Coast

but I was no math prodigy I had not found the golden keys
to unlock this great mystery

and here, here was my opportunity
to learn from the Master Pawan
exactly how

how to crack them Aces
how to bet the flush or stick it to the other players
on the river or turn
when to fold when to call when to throw it in throw it away
muck it remain silent or give away a hint

Yes, Pawan would show me I would be his disciple
and he would teach me the ways

so that I too could pay my bills someday
with money made

Ch. 9

and Pawan says to me we’re going in March
and that’s alright with me

but then it switches to April and that’s OK
too

and yes finally finally
we have our date April 19th
won’t that be

great

right after he’s done with his dentist
appointment

we will go
me and him
in his car and drive from Atlantic City
to Los Angelas

stopping along the way at all the Casinos
we can hit in Illinois in Pittsburg
in Utah wherever
hell maybe
even Las Vegas

Ch. 10

and its April already
I can’t wait

two weeks
two weeks before our departure date

and we discuss for hours on the phone that day
of the precise specific itinerary

when we’ll leave and where we’ll go
first stop second stop third stop and more
how we will get to the Pacific shore

and what we will need
to bring with us

everything written down to a tee

it’s finally finally

finally happening

Ch. 11

and the day has come and I’m all packed
I told my Dad I told my brother
I told them about going to California

I didn’t mention the poker part
that wasn’t necessary per say
just that I was going with Pawan to explore the Western
side of this great American country

to see what a new city would be like for me
perhaps holding some professional job-like opportunity

and I had too cancelled my classes at NYU
where I would have otherwise learned about business
and writing and reading editing publishing
and other such things

and I had fought with my girlfriend
about this crazy trip-dream
leaving herself stranded in Chicago
with her own feelings

and I had even bought tickets in relation
to her visits

so everything

everything was set

Ch. 12

and on that day

I waited but Pawan never showed
and I called him but there was no answer

and the next day too nothing
not a text not an email not a phone call
or a face

and the next day
and the next week

Ch. 13

and the next month
and then three

and I call to him
I email him “Pawan, please explain to me
what’s happened we were supposed
to go
on this trip but now I haven’t heard
from you in months its already the summer
in fact the summer’s already up!”

Ch. 14

and time goes by
as this dream fades into the clouds
and its next February
almost a year later

and I get a message
from Pawan

saying

HEY