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Treasure Island

William Reed, Malin Westin, Gunner Dongieux, Chloé Wilcox
Dec 22 - Jan 7, 2023
New York

Another cold drink landed in my palm, landing me into an ice bath of condensation and increased acuity. I nodded up to clock three cherries: two on the slots, and one in my old fashioned. Tonight, Lady Luck had left me wasting away on the casino floor. My playing hand rustled for another credit card while my betting hand stirred an S.O.S in my cocktail. Whiskey soothes many sounds, but this drink, like the last, seems to have sweetened the siren’s song.


John C. Lilly once attempted to talk to dolphins. While his research partner Margaret Howe Lovatt lived in isolation with Peter the bottlenose dolphin, on the first floor of a semi-submerged aquarium abode, Lilly sank himself into a sensory deprivation chamber above, aiding Lovatt’s attempts at communication via LSD induced telepathy. Of course, aside from the psychedelics, it was the interspecies love affair between Margaret and Peter that sunk the science into discreditation… and with that I seem to have lost my table partner. 


Luckily lost company, like an empty glass next to a full wallet, is replenished swiftly on the casino floor. I make my own telepathic calls to strange sciences, to the fates of good fortune. In a lustful affair with the rolling dice, I make my own designs, place my own bets, call my own shots, but I’d be a fool to believe my own card-tricks. The John C. Lilly that floats Stranger-Things-style in the dark of my mind tells me to bet black or red, to hit or to stay; I play the hand in hopes of deciphering the game, learning to count cards and compute probabilities, but just like John, I’m floating in the dark–  Just the way my client likes it. 


On the other end of this Siemens M50 my handler holds the names of people who don’t know me and don’t know what’s coming for them. I need a vacation, a change of luck, a seven of clubs; What I have is a contract, a debt, a loaded gun and the gumption to use it, on any scoundrel who stands between me and a paycheck. 


On this Treasure Island every X marks a hit; a tic, tac or toe-tag. I’ll drunkenly eye the dealer’s deck, then sober myself up looking at my lost chips. The house always wins. Play long enough, you never change the stakes, the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big, and then you take the house.


– Joe Wash (to be read by George Clooney)

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