Queens

In Queens, Alice, a girl of 16, sits at an old wooden table shuffling an old pack of cards.  She tells us that her father told her to watch out for the face cards but she studied them over and over until they started talking to her and she now knows all their secrets.  She tells us that the Queen of Hearts loves the Jack of Spades “hopelessly,” that the Queen of Diamonds is rich but unhappy and feels empty, that the Queen of Spades brings death to all who love her, and that the Queen of Clubs is melancholy.  She says that it feels as if they are being played by someone, shuffled again and again in different combinations where relationships are ripped apart and they find themselves pressed in back and front by strangers.  But the cards don’t know the rules and can be replaced at any time by newer versions of themselves.  The Kings, she says, are the fathers of the Queens and have sexual intercourse with them.  The Jacks are the Queens’ brothers and also have intercourse with them in a “really dirty soap opera” that changes every time you shuffle.  She says her father told her that little girls who talk too much get their throats cut with a playing card.  She says she wondered it that was true and found out it was.  She says her father had a lot of blood in him.  She says that’s why they put her in “this place,” but she doesn’t care because she lives inside the deck of cards in her head.  But you have to keep shuffling or you start thinking and lose the game.

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