Mysterious Ways

By Mark Kern

I was sitting in the Dodge casino near Blackhawk way

nursing my Absolut vodka and losing my pay


The Blackjack table was not kind to me (go figure),

so I decided to mosey the Roulette wheel way.

There I sat with all of my thunder,

Hoping to steal the casino’s plunder


Biding my time with a look of sheer horror,

as my earnings quickly left for the ‘morrow.

Try as I may, try as I might, I couldn’t shake

the losing streak placed on me that night.


With each spin of the wheel, the dealer did laugh,

at what a fool I was at this craft.

And he looked at me as if to say: “Haven’t you had

Enough-or should I beat you another way?”


At this I gave him a look that could kill,

this heartless house shill.


Just as I was about to place my last bet,

divine guidance showed up as a silly get.

I saw the Lord Jesus on my cocktail napkin,

his hands were outstretched as if to say:

“Haven’t I taught you anything regarding my way?”


And then he spoke in a voice grave tenor

to give me advice like a great mentor.

He said: “Put all of your chips on the number seven,

that will surely get you into heaven.”


Even tho’ this was the first time I talked to the Almighty

I knew that to question him was not alrighty. 

I did as I was told with zeal and aplomb

knowing that God would not throw me a bomb


Tho’ I wondered why to find God took this long,

 and in all places, in this throng.

The Lord works in mysterious ways

they often say and

His church is not confined to a temple or mission,

nor even one single lesson.


Thus, I followed his advice with no trepidation,

and put all of my chips on that location

The wheel spun slowly, propelling the metal ball on track,

To that number seven, to which it would tack.


The whole table, including the dealer,

chanted seven times this refrain:

“Seven, seven, seven.”

Six being not quite full

And eight being one too late.

Yeah, seven is the number for which you should wait.


I was sure that the jackpot was mine,

forever leaving my troubles behind.

As the wheel slowed, the ball was ready to settle

Into that cozy seven spot to which I had nettled.


I readied to collect my treasure trove

but then I looked in terror as to where the ball dove.

It wasn’t on seven, but eleven instead,

the chamber next to it, was where it was led.


I looked at Jesus incredulous with anger,

at how I was met with this grave danger.

I said: “How could you do this? 

Give me the wrong number.

That is more like Satan,

to lead me asunder.” 


With that, he shrugged his great shoulders

and then declared:  “I can move mountains, toss boulders aside,

yet when it comes to humans and gambling,

this they cannot abide.”


He continued with his Sermon on the Mountain:

“This, they have no control over and that you doth prove,

For if I gave you the right number

you wouldn’t improve.

but sunken into an abyss, that I couldn’t remove.


Gambling is my worst invention and one I regret,

It takes away your humanity and never relents.”


I thought about this for a while, as they removed my chips

and was about to say: “You’re right, my Lord,

at what you have shown,”

but then a text message was left on my phone:

“Hope to see you at the ‘Addiction workshop-it starts at eleven”

my shrink did intone,

and then hung up the phone.