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Panflick -- The Addiction Wars (short fiction)

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Boulder City Encounter“Addiction is an addiction,” Adam Panflick said, biting into a Big Mac. He was seated in his favorite McDonalds in Boulder City, Nevada.

“It’s time for war on the idolatry of addiction. The assumption we are compelled to do what does us harm. The idea that others have the right to deem what is harmful to us! Pshah!”

He was seated in the back, away from counter traffic. He had a view of the little airport and the jagged hills beyond. Well-being flooded him. He loved it out here. He could sit as long as he liked, musing away.

The climate was raw when windy, painful when over 110 but mainly sunny and warm. The colors were incomparable and ever changing. Subtle pastels. The night sky was visible.

Adam lived in the Vale Motel Annex for $85 a week. Meals were free at the casino down the hill to those who played the games. Ever capable of earning a bit by writing, he was now paid handsomely by Willie Palfrey, heir to the Palfrey billions,. His writing touched on guidance, channeling, magnetism, tectonic plates, optimism and post-Christian religion. Interesting stuff. A few hours at his Epson HX20, which printed out on cash register paper, and he was home free.

Even successive gambling losses, should they occur, would hardly touch him.
“How stupid to think my gambling is an addiction,” he thought. “If it were, I’d be down the hill pouring every penny onto the green instead of here reading odd theology.”


Boulder City did not allow gambling. But casinos were close by. Like the Gold Strike down the hill toward the Dam at the end of Lake Mead. Binions was Adam’s Fremont Street favorite, only a half hour down Boulder Highway in his used Mercedes Diesel.

“We act out of freedom if we have presence of mind. If we don’t, we act thoughtlessly. It’s as simple as that. Extreme situations are somewhat different. But more situations are controllable than people believe,” Adam harrumphed to himself.

Just then, he noticed someone who, even by Nevada standards, was a loser extraordinaire. He burst through the side door wearing but one piece of clothing. A pair of khaki-colored boxer shorts.. The man's nether parts were barely concealed. The sight was not edifying.

The man moved to a booth in the back. He started motioning to Adam and calling, "Come here, Mister!"

Adam did as he was asked. He sat down facing the nearly-naked fellow. "Do you have any other clothes?" he asked.

"f*ckers," the man responded.

Adam sat poker-faced.

"You know what I mean?" the man said. The hairs on his chest were gray but his topmost hair was jet black.

Just then, a team of some sort came through the side door

The woman of the duo, of indeterminate age and dominating size, hurled herself into the seat next to the strange man. She reminded Adam of his former semi-wife Ganya on a tear. The man, bald and rangy, sat next to Adam, blocking his exit.

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http://stephencrosehome.blogspot.com

Born in NYC, attended Oberlin & Trinity Schools, then Exeter and Williams (Phi Beta Kappa 1958). Worked with the Reverend James Robinson, finished Union Theological Seminary in NYC (1961). Joined Student Interracial Ministry in Nashville. Founded (more...)
 

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