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Unpublished Work By Steve Hofstetter

Hit
By Steve Hofstetter
Friday, 3/22/02

Joe packed his trunk, began the return trip
The desert air, the haunting sounds of night
The rear view mirror fades away the strip
A turn and then the hills obscure the light
He’d set a limit, set a time to stop
But once you win, you can’t forget the taste
Dropped grands at Luxor, Mandalay and Trop
And all his best laid plans went well past waste
Had twenty left, enough for gas and tolls
But swore he’d win it back with one more play
Some winning hands, a few real lucky rolls
A U-turn later he was on his way
He drifted towards a city built on stink
With two-months rent, and mounting bills all due
He dreamed of changing red to blackened ink
Just once, he’d make his dreaminess come true

Joe looked for games for which he had a feel
And found the poker tables in the back
Put twenty ante down to start the deal
A ten, a king, a queen, a nine, a jack
With only credit down he had a straight
And fifty bucks kept everybody in
Most raised, some saw, and others folded late
And Joe knew that he had a chance to win.
Four guys sat tight on ten grand with a call.
Joe watched the cards that people tossed away
Two players traded one, one held them all
And then came Joseph’s turn for what to play
The men who kept four cards both had two pair
Or maybe three of one, and something high
But one man held five hard to match his stare
He either had a hand or played a lie.
A straight will win it all nine times of ten
A flush, full house, or four, all rarely played
About to hold, Joe stopped because just then
His ten, jack, queen, and king were showing spade.
To keep the straight would be the safer thing
To draw a flush is tough, it may not fall.
How can you trash a hand that’s nine through king?
How can you know when you should risk it all?
And as Joe contemplated what to do
If he should keep or he should trade his cards
The other player bent to tie his shoe
And Joe could see the man was holding hearts
Fate took a turn by helping Joe to choose
With forty grand for grabs before the draw
It smiled on Joe and showed him he would lose
If he had held against what he just saw
Joe eyed the room with fear in case he lost
Imagining his staring down a gun
Because he hadn’t cash to back the cost
With prayer and faith behind him, Joe said one.
The dealer slowly slid a card toward Joe
Who wiped his brow and kept a poker face
The silence hung in wait for him to know
That he had drawn the spade, he’d drawn the ace
Six-hundred-fifty-thousand to just one
The odds against the hand that Joe had drawn
And now he knew the other guys were done
The high hand in the game to bet upon
It helped that those around him bet the farm
The pot grew fast, two-hundred eighty-grand
Though earlier he’d lost his leg and arm
Joe’d won it all right back with just one hand.
Joe smiled outside, and thought of bills he’d pay
His wife could get her water, gas, and heat
He’d take the rest and put it all away
And finally get something nice to eat
He thought of how he’d never felt that good
How close he came to broke - a hair, a touch
And wished to god that everybody could
Just win once when they needed it that much.
And that’s when Joe decided what to do
His losing streak just recently at end
He pinched himself to make sure it was true
And swore he’d never bet a thing again
Joe’d fought and won, destroying every odd
And while he walked out toward the hills and brush
He suddenly began to think of god
For who else could produce a royal flush

Now almost back, his second Vegas trip
The desert air, the haunting sounds of night
A turn and then again he’d see the strip
A turn, a swerve, a screech, a flood of light
His dreams of maybe hands had grown too great
The inside of his car completely lit
Joe didn’t see the truck until too late
The first time in his life, Joe finally hit

More Unpublished Work:
*Souvenir (2006)
*How to Stop Being a Clod (2005)
*Long Live the Little Guy (2005)
*I am a Standup Comedian (2004)
*Red Eyes on the Red Eye (2004)
*Twas The Night Before Inauguration (2004)
*Jeez (2004)
*Confusion of State (2002)
*Relapse (2002)
*Cross (2002)
*Global Village (2002)
*Jerry Seinfeld Interviews John Rocker (2002)
*Girlfriend (2002)
*Right of Way (2002)
*Review of My Own Novel (2002)
*Olympic Interlude (2002)
*Botanical Gardens (2002)
*Daddy’s Little Girl (2002)
*Hit (2002)
*Tuning In (2002)
*Be-holding Dad (2002)
*So Long (2002)
*Just a Game? The tragic story of Donnie Moore (2002)
*Tricked Magic (2001)
*Farce and Losing in Atlantic City (2001)
*Keep Our City Clean: Leave Sheffield in LA (2001)
*Saving Silverman: Brain Not Necessary (2001)
*Shadow and Acting (2001)
*II (2001)
*AOHell (2001)
*Primary Day (2001)
*72nd Street (2001)
*Papa Needs a New Pair of Shoes (2001)
*A Brief History of the Jew in the American College Fraternity (2001)
*Just Another Brick in the Wall: The Amsterdam News & Jackie Robinson (2001)
*Steps (2000)
*She is Somewhere (2000)
*Word Play (2000)
*100 Things You Need To Know For College (2000)
*Bad Day (1999)
*Don’t Make Your Title Too Long, and Other Common Mistakes (1997)
*Can’t Beat the Real Thing (1997)
*Baseball Fans of the 80s (1997)
*My High School Graduation Speech (1997)
*Sarah Lawrence College Essay - Accepted (1996)
*Aoo (1996)
*Haze (1996)
*The Cave-in (1996)
*The Lost Epsisode of Seinfeld (1996)
*Seinfeld: The Poison Pickle (1996)
*My House is a Very Very Very Fine House (1995)
*1973 (1995)
*Humor Runs in the Family (1995)
*Don't Quit (1995)
*Be Careful What You Wish For, It May Never Happen (1995)
*Ode to Seinfeld (1995)
*Memoir (1994)
*Jefferies at the Bat (1994)
*Ode to a Void (1994)
*Balls (1994)
*Balls II (1994)