Solitary

Solitary

“I don’t belong in here,” he said.

I looked at the deck of cards on his desk.

“I see all those people in the rec room playing cards. You ought to join in with them,” I said.

“It’s too hot in that room. You know how old people like it hot.”

“If it wasn’t too hot, then it would be too cold,” I said. “Or too bright or too loud.”

“And the only game I know is solitaire,” he said. “It’s the only game of cards I’m good at.”

“I’m sure they’d teach you another game. I’m sure they’d be patient.”

“Solitaire’s my game,” he said.

“You can learn something new.”

“I’m old. That’s why you stuck me in here. I’m too old for learning new games.”

“Even when you were young, you were still too old,” I said.

“Besides, I don’t like those people,” he said. “They’re not very nice.”

“How’s that?” I asked.

“I told a few of them they could come by my room to play solitaire, and none of them came. I don’t know why since they all like playing cards.”

“That’s not really the way it works,” I said. “You play solitaire alone.”

“I thought they might like watching me play.”

“I don’t think so. Playing is usually more fun than watching someone else play,” I said.

“Really?” he asked.

“Don’t be coy,” I said. “When was the last time you wanted to watch anybody play solitaire?”

“Never,” he admitted.

“Then why would anybody want to watch you?”

“Cause I’m a nice guy.”

“Nice, how?” I asked.

“Nice and gracious enough to invite them into my room. I’d even offer them a banana,” he said.

“The banana you didn’t want from breakfast?”

“It shouldn’t go to waste,” he said. “And other people like bananas.”

“Other people like cookies,” I said. “You could offer them your cookie.”

“The cookie’s for me,” he said. “I got to get something out of living in this place.”

“Very gracious,” I said. “Very generous.”

He reached for his deck.

“Nobody’s ever told you that’s solitaire’s a game you play alone?”

“No,” he said. “Nobody’s said it’s got to be played that way.”

“All the more reason to find something else to play,” I said.

“So what about you? How long you going to stick around and watch me play?”

“Not very long,” I told him. “I got other things to take care of.”

“Yes,” he bemoaned. “You always seem to have better things to do.”

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