coming from the rain into the bingo hall, I appeared lost. I waded through smoking old ladies who choked the doors with their shrunkenness and told me, “You can’t be so polite if you want to get through.” I passed the stale orange glow of the reception area, to the arena that was absolutely silent. Brown rivers of smoke eeled their way above the tables, pressing the silence down against thousands of bodies who came in tour busses from Canada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York to play Bingo. They sat staring downward, transfixed by their multicolored dotters and bingo papers and cigarette packs and ashtrays and soda cans and hotdogs spread out before them. It was intermission and the arena was so quiet, it sounded empty. The tables were lit by colored bulbs overhead: pink, yellow, green. It all seemed like it was happening fifty years ago, and that I was looking at dead people who were in shock at finding themselves in a bingo hall with the chance to become big winners. I walked along the square pit clicking my tongue, looking straight ahead. I shifted my eyes now and then, searching for a friend who works the tables. Not seeing her, I backed up against the wall and inched my way out, as people turned their heads in slow motion trough the smoke gauze to stare at me. The smoke and silence and staring bodies were heavy as corpses and I plunged into the baffling contrast of wet spring grays and greens as if waking hung over.

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