May 3, 2014

8 of diamonds

“I’ve decided to leave the deck,” announced the 8 of diamonds one evening in 1872. She slammed her fist on the diamond dinner table. Everybody looked at her.
“I want to become a bookmark,” she continued, spilling words quickly so as not to be interrupted. “The people leave their books lying around open on their faces all the time. It’s criminal! Poor books. Their spines will be ruined.”
Everybody looked at her.
“A very noble thought, my dear,” said the Q calmly, adjusting her glittering diamond bracelets, “but surely, they’ll return you to the deck when they discover you in one of their books.”
“Oh, not here!” said the 8, enthused. “Somewhere … else.”
“Oh, that narrows it down,” smirked the J.
“Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” reasoned the 8.
The K sighed and said, “Now, now, let’s have no fuss. 8 wants to be a bookmark. Nothing wrong with that. JOKER can fill in for her. I say go, my dear, if you must.”
Everybody fluttered in amazement. 8 jumped up and hugged the K. The J twisted jealously in his seat. All the little numbers, 5 and under, squealed with excitement. 6 and 7 leaned together, wide-eyed, whispering. The A was sent to summon the JOKER. 9 and 10 embraced 8 and wished her luck.

“Be off, then,” said the Q in a strangled voice. Diamond tears ran down her face.
“It’s for the best,” said the K, patting the Q’s hand.
“She was always your favorite,” sobbed the Q without adding, “Mine, too.”
The 8 fairly flew down the street after slipping out under the door. She peered in window after window until she saw a book lying opened and face down on the marble mantel of a fireplace. In a flash she was under the door, onto the mantel and slipping beneath, up and into the book, slamming it closed.
“Oh, thank you ever so much, miss,” said the book, which happened to be Oliver Twist.
“My pleasure,” said the 8, supremely pleased.
And she was the finest bookmark ever from that day forward.

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