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March 22, 1941 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1941-03-22

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PERSPECTIVES

_ jge Nine

THE GAME OF SOLITAIRE
.Continued from Page 5

listening intently, to the music, already
begun, crashing upon the evening still-
ness, to the sound of voices as cus-
tomers neared the merry-go-round.
"I found a million dollar baaabeeeee,
in a five an' ten cent stooore .. .
The customers came, young people
like himself. He watched them enter
the barn,, laughing, talking. Fellows in
(lean white sport shirts and well-pressed
slacks. Girls with full-skirted sport
dresses, with saddle shoes and brightly
colored kerchiefs over their heads. He
wondered what fun they found in this.
He wondered how they could spend
nickel after nickel on this cheap ride.
He watched them from his uncomfort-
able perch, watched them as they en-
tered and as they bought their tickets
and as they stepped on the merry-go-
round when it had stopped. He saw how
the girls sat sideways on the horses and
how some of the fellows did not bother
to mount hut stood waiting for the rings.
Couples clasped hands. Bernie thought,
looking at a"l of them, what a good time
they seemen so he having, what a won-
derful. carefee time. Seeing them like
that, looking on as an outsider, he felt
the lonelin- grow. It grew as the ca-
ress of the sater had grown, until he
thought he could not stand it.
Bernie! Bernie! Start the rings.
Can t you hear me?" He suddenly
aroused himseif to Ed Hutt's shouting.
The man's t--ee wavered in its ascent
from its uwial mumble. Bernie sup-
posed tie a I been ordering him for
several minute,. Obediently he pushed
tse ring-de. e within reach of the
rides. Solnly he watched them
snatch the rngs, examine each and
throw it dis:s'edly into the bin for that
purpose. Tleit laughter somersaulted
from the me -v-go-round and romped
tauntingly paw him at his post. Finally
one of the gils caught the silver ring.
She held it aloft proudly.
"Ive a fr tide," he heard her shout
to the others as she rode past.
Bernie leaped upon the merry-go-
round and firs took all the tickets and
then hers. Se tossed him the ring as
he stood by ler horse, smiling so spirit-
edly that fur mount seemed to him to
have gaincd the capricious twinkle in its
eye. He grabbed at the ring, but it went
off onto the hard earth. She frowned
as she saw him miss.
"I really am sorry," she said, and
smiled all at once.
He had to return that smile, slowly,
shyly. When he was again at his post,
after having collected the rusty rings
from the bin. he felt much more cheer-
ful. He felt as if he wanted to see her
smile again and again. It lifted his
spirits as the deep waters had lifted
his body. The girl had smiled at him
and she had talked to him. He did not
feel lonely at all.
He waited for each time she rode by
him. He waited and dared not really

look at her. Instead, he looked beyond
her and tried to catch in that way a
little of her smile, a little of the glint
her hair made beneath her kerchief.
The idea of figuring out how she could
have the silver ring a second time came
to him suddenly, and he began ,count-
ing the number of the riders and the
number of the rings. Patiently he filled
the shoot and placed the gleaming ring
in the order he thought she would try
for it.
The first time he did not succeed.
She failed to reach the ring, and the
boy behind her snatched it. The second
time he was again disappointed, for
she changed her mind about riding at
the last minute and stood near the
ticket-booth, talking wtih her compan-
ion. The third time he did succeed.
"Look" she cried to him when he ap-
proached her to take the ring. "Twice
tonight so far." She carefully held the
ring out to him. Their hands were so
close that they touched when the merry-
go-round jerked suddenly. He felt her.
stiffen slightly against the jolt, and he
felt the warmth of her. She smiled and
laughed again, and he leaped off quick-
ly.
The fourth time that he figured out
the order of the rings his plan worked.
And the fifth time. And each time she
smiled and laughed even more. He com-
pletely forgot his loneliness.
The sixth time most of the riders had
gone. when tie approached her, she held
out both the ticket and the ring to him.
He looked at her with confused sur-
prise. He began to speak, but the music
blared. They waited for the merry-go-
round to cease, she upon the horse and
lie by its bobbing head. He fingered the
leather bit tensely as it rose and fell
and rose again.
"I've got to go now, so you might as
well take them both," she explained as
she stepped to the ground. "You can
only have a free ride the night you get
the ring anyway, can't you?"
He nodded. Wednesday night trade
was always bad, he remembered. With
her and her companion gone, there was
no one left. Mr. Hutt would close for
the night.
"All right," he said, taking the ring
and the ticket. He looked at her once
more, actually at her and not beyond.
Tightly he clutched the ring.
"Well, then we'll be going. Come on,
Ray." She turned to her companion,
putting her arm in his, but then she
turned again to silent Bernie. "But
don't you want to go too? We're going
to that lunch-place for some cokes and
stuff with a coupla others. You might
as well, hadn't he, Ray?" -
Ray agreed. "Come on, Bernie," he
urged. "Your name is Bernie, isn't it?"
Bernie nodded once more. Only he
had to put the ring-box away. Could
they wait a minute?
"O.K. We'll be outside."
He watched them go and then ran

to slide the ring-shoot into its original
position. Its rusty hinges yawned grate-
fully. Bernie dashed to the ticket-booth
and handed the cigar box to his uncle.
He started off to where the others wait-
ed.
"Bernie," Ed Hutt said.
He about-faced. "It's all right if I
leave now, isn't it?"
"Yes. I guess," Hutt answered, a stout,
bent-over shadow in the ticket-booth.
"But it's your money you spend, re-
member."
Bernie unconsciously jingled the nick-
els in the pocket of his brown-bag
slacks. "I know," he said.
UtuSIDE the summer night had
again come into its own. The deep,
full silence filled the lakeshore-world
again, except for the warning chirp of
the crickets and the occasional distant
blubbering of a bull frog. The stars
shone in a widespread array in the dark
globe of the sky. From the shore the
lights of the cottages shone back at
them. Bernie breathed the fresh air
deeply.
The girl and Ray stood near the
road. Her name was Nancy, he learned,
and the others waiting at a table in
the lunchroon were Ellen and Jim. The
four greeted one another gaily. Bernie
stood diffidently by and said nothing
when their curious glances fell upon
him. Ray introduced him.
"Bernie Hutt everybody." Bernie
smiled awkwardly, and Ray drew out a
chair for him with his foot. Jim ordered
cokes. Mrs. Hutt did not look at Bernie
as she took the order, but she still
wore her solemn, aggressive expression.
Bernie did not look at her either, but sat
listening attentively. Ever so often he
would catch Nancy's smile and he would
almost blink with a strange, simple de-
light.
The girl Ellen discovered his deck of
cards and exclaimed, "Look, everybody.
Let's have some sort of a game, can't
we?"
The others agreed, but Ray wondered,
"How can we play with one deck? Games
with a deck or two or three are more
fun. Like a big game of solitaire with
everybody trying to get the most cards
on the aces in the middle of the table."
"Yes. Let's do that. It may end in a
brawl," Jim offered, "but it's fun. Any-
body got any money? Surely we can get
more cards in this place. More like this
deck, I hope-cheap ones."
Mrs. Hutt kept everything and pro-
duced the four decks he ordered, each
with some simple design like the sail
and the water. Bernie had a hard time
believing that he actually saw the num-
ber of bills Jim had in his billfold. He
stared unashamed at the money.
He forgot the money, however, as they
played. He forgot all the differences be-
tween them and him. He forgot little
things and big things, and he did not
even mind when he did not hear quite

all they said. They were talking about
so much that the little of their gaiety
which did not reach his ears was no-loss,
He only remembered that the five of
them, Ellen and Jim and Nancy and
Ray and he, Bernie, were having a won-
derful time. He never wanted it to end.
Of course it did. After a while they
decided it was time for them to re-
turn to their cottages, and they gath-
ered their cards and stood up from the
table. At the screendoor they said good-
night to him with a cheerful sleepiness.
He answered each of them and when he
answered Nancy, his glance lingered so
long that she said quietly,"We'll see
you again, Bernie. Soon."
"Of course," someone said.
Of course he would see them again
soon, he knew, and he watched them
go down the road and past the row of
poplars leading to the cottages. This was
just the beginning of their good times.
But that their good times together would
be short, just as tonight, he also knew,
for most of the days and nights he
would have to work around the lunch-
room and the merry-go-round for the
Hutts. Most of the days and nights
they would be going about their own
duties and pastimes. Knowing this, he
felt the loneliness creep about him and
through him once more.
HE WANDERED slowly from the
lunchroom to where the gas-pumps
stood sentinel, musing as he went. He
tried to figure out just why he could-
n't always share the good times, his
and theirs. Why couldn't he go through
life sharing everything with others?
Why wasn't life made so that he and
they and everyone could always share
every moment of it ~together?
It just wasn't, he supposed, retracing
his steps. He opened the screendoor, and
it creaked very audibly. Life was not a
game of sharing everything. It was more
the game of solitaire they had played,
many people playing at the same time,
but each playing his own separate
game. There just wasn't any way you
could share everything. You could work
and play and eat and laugh and do ever
so many things with others, but when
these things were done, you still had
your own separate life into which you
could not take them. In it. as in soli-
taire, you planned your next move and
wondered what it might bring to you.
The separate life could be a lonely one,
but it was the one which counted the
most for you.
Everybody playing solitaire at the
same time in one big game, he told him-
self as he sat down at the table. He
picked up his worn deck of cards.
"Better get to bed soon, Bernie," Mr.
Hutt called from the darkened room
adjoining the kitchen. "Lock up and
turn off the lights."
"Soon," he answered and began to
shuffle and re-shuffle the cards.

EPISODES IN THE PERPETRATION OF A DASTARDLY CRIME

... Continued from Page 8
standing at the side of the dance floor
talking with Tom Heller and two of his
friends, her chefks flushed and her
laugh a little too gay, and finally the
group disappeared from the dance en-
tirely.
George noticed immediately that she
was gone, but sat quietly at the side of
the floor. In a few minutes the drunken
Stan Dyer caine into the dance hall and
said to George loudly, "I just saw your
girl out there with three guys, George,"
he laughed foolishly, "and you weren't
one of them. There's still some room
out there." George did not even look at

Stan. "Well, sorehead, if that's the way
you feel about it. I was just telling you,
t that's all." He walked off truculently.
In approximately an hour Catherine
came back to the dance, alone, and
somewhat dishevelled. As she entered,
George rose and began to walk toward
her, but she had already turned her back
toward him and begun to walk toward
the ladies' room. "Catherine," George
said.
She stopped in front of the door.
Without turning she said, "I'll be right
out, George."
"I think we'd better go home, Cath-
erine," he said.
She turned angrily. "What do you

mean? What's the matter now?" George
was silent. With exaggerated weariness
she said, "Suppose you tell me what
you're mad about now."
"I suppose you had a pretty good
time out there," he said. (In thinking
about this subsequently, Jack charac-
terized this as "the first definite de-
parture from George-ness").
Catherine approached George with
her eyes narrowed, "What's wrong with
my going out for a while? Do you think
I have to be with you every minute of
the time we're here?" George looked
away unhappily. "I didn't do anything
I wouldn't tell you, or anybody else,
for that matter . . . Why don't \you

speak your piece, George, if you think
you know so much."
"Please let's go home, Catherine," he
said.
"You know what's the trouble with
you,' she said. "You've got too much
imagination for your own good. If you
feel that way about it I won't go home
with you, not now or anytime. I'll stay
here and enjoy myself."
George seized her by the wrist. "Cath-
erine," he said. She struck him in the
face with her open hand, swinging her
whole body. George still held her wrist,
helplessly, as she slapped him again.
The blows were not feminine, but short
(Continued on Page 10)

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