An ocean of blue rinses dazzles;
outside it's grey, as grizzled anoraks
drift by, but in the hall it’s warm –
as, pen in hand, Flo spreads her cards
before her like a florid fortune-teller.
“Eyes down, and we’re ready to roll!”
stuns the serried ranks of tables –
troops set for battle as hush pervades;
the cacophonous crackle of an errant
pack of Wotsits warrants an avid,
“Shut the fuck up!”
“Let’s get this show on the road, ladies,
and gent! Sunset Strip – 77... and 2 little ducks,
22,” as daubers daub, 19 to the dozen,
while the odd black square springs up,
here and there, like missing teeth.
Flo fiddles with a row of ‘poppit’ beads
that fidget her neck, as familiar incantations
set off her palpitations. “Unlucky for some, 13...
two fat ladies, 88...sweet 16, and never
been kissed, if you believe...
That’s a 1 and a 6.”
Then someone hollers, “Line!” as a member
of the elite, pink rinse brigade checks their card,
and you could hear the proverbial pin drop
as she OKs it with the caller.
Flo goes home to her small bedsit – dreams
of winning, unrequited. A mug’s game,
and she knows it...poorer by half, she is,
but all the richer for the company she craves;
albeit for an hour – once a week.