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Easter Sunday

I'm Googling North Dakota casinos. Dakota Magic has a poker tournament at 3pm today. If I leave right now I can maybe make it. Harrington, North Dakota, here I come.

I'm in a meeting with my project manager talking about a contractor coworker of mine. For as much time as I spend explaining code to him and fixing his mistakes I think we'd get more done without him. And he's driving me crazy. And his wife just had a baby.

I'm walking in the door of Dakota Magic with three minutes to spare. "Attention tournament players, report to the Poker Room." I have received a couple texts - one from Nick telling me to keep him updated on the poker and one from Jeff asking me what the hell I'm doing in North Dakota. My phone's on roaming out here anyway. I have arrived at the asshole of the world.

"Don't forget about this guy," the dealer says. We're down to two tables. He doesn't say anything. He's hiding behind all those chips. Did you win those through luck or good play? "Little of column A, little of column B," I say. Really I think I'm the best poker player in the room right now.

It's Friday night and I'm driving a cab for the first time in a year. I'm not sure what I expected. Excitement I guess. As if driving a cab is all about having meaningful conversations with amazing strangers. Mostly it's just long hours of driving from point A to point B. Duh. What I didn't expect was that it would remind me of my ex-girlfriend. I guess my taxi driving career perfectly overlapped with my only long-term relationship. Woops.

I have won the tournament. We were down to 4 players and I was the big stack. The short stack needed a win to score casino points to gain entry to another tournament for a seat at the $10,000 World Series of Poker main event. I was not willing to split the pot and let him get the points. I told him he could win if he paid me $300. We settled on he paid me $200 and the second higest stack $100. So I made $100 less than if I had finished in 1st, but I got the biggest piece of the pot without having to risk anything. I won $1,000. How about that. The rest of the tournament players are all playing cash game now. I have more reckless abandon to explore elsewhere.

My contractor coworker is approaching me at my desk. His contracting company just called him and told him that his contract has been terminated. He has two days left. He enjoyed working with me and is wondering if I would give him a recommendation. He's a terrible developer but a nice guy with a newborn baby. I'd be happy to give you a recommendation.

I'm at a bar called "Vinyl Taco" in Fargo eating the best goddamn shrimp taco I've ever had. The Wild are losing a playoff game on TV and I'm writing in my journal. The bartender's cute and tells me a bunch of bars I might find appealing. I figure I'll bike to the one at the top of her list.

I'm at a bar in Northeast Minneapolis doing my best "it's not you it's me." I've been all over the place lately. I just went to North Dakota for no goddamn good reason. I've been having emotional problems. "I'm going to leave now," she says. And to think I thought I could be nice about it. After she leaves I drink both of our beers and destroy at Ms. Pacman.

I'm at a bar called "The Empire" pouring money into the jukebox. I've made friends with a middle-aged homeless woman who spent time on Minneapolis's West Bank two decades ago. She requests "Only the Good Die Young" on the jukebox and that's no problem. At the jukebox I make friends with an Amanda whose given name is "Rocket Ship." We debate Rush, Black Flag, Neil Young, Tom Petty, and Minor Threat. I think we find some common ground on Minor Threat. Mostly we don't agree on anything though. So we trade numbers and decide to be penpals.

I'm cuddling with an old flame. I have no idea what she wants. Mostly I only know what she doesn't want. Namely sex and/or a relationship with me. I decided long ago to stop doing this but who am I kidding. Really I don't think there's much harm in it. I may as well enjoy the time I get to spend with her. I'm a big boy.

It's 1:59am and some other cute girl just talked another cute bartender into getting me one last double of rail whiskey. On the night that makes a whiskey, a gin and tonic, a manhatton, a greyhound, a cider, two beers, and a vodka cranberry. I'm rip-roaring drunk. I'm starting to sway towards the exit and I run into a guy who says he's a fan of an old band of mine. And apparently we worked together briefly. You're not what's-his-name's brother are you? Josh Hartnett? "No I'm not Josh Hartnett's brother." I worked with him once too. The brother that is. Hiccup.

It's the next day and I'm getting breakfast pizza at Pizza Patrol. It's delivery or takeout only so I walk down to a park a couple blocks away where there are a bunch of nerds practicing frisbee golf. It's a beautiful day and I find a beautiful tree to lean up against. Pizza's pretty good.

For such a terrible plan it couldn't have gone any better. I am the Michael Jordan of being a son of a bitch.

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