Friday, March 4, 2011

Ace's Triple - Part 3.

Dealing the cards was an older man, faint wrinkles and the toll of working long hours already  beginning to etch themselves upon his brow. His name tag read Enzo and with practiced ease he shuffled the cards. Enzo seemed to be the wizard behind the curtain, his face was an mask, unreadable. But as they got ready to play Ace noticed the a few traits about the man. He didn’t engage in idle chat much, instead focusing on his hands without drawing attention. His hands however were not nearly as expressionless; twice the deck slipped as he tried to riffle the cards. Definitely watch the hands, Ace noted.

To Enzo’s left sat a younger man, mid twenties at best. His name tag read Burell, and he was all show. Had to be the mouth, someone to keep attention off of Enzo. And Burell just screamed the part. His hair was some current fashion that looked as if he’d shaved random segments and let others grow in varying lengths. A somewhat fresh laser burned tattoo scrawled it’s way down Burell’s right side of his head and arm. All flash, Ace was sure Burell would be the one to keep an eye on his face, as clearly he was the one with little experience.

“Ahem” Enzo began by clearing his throat, his nervousness not registering save for a slight glance at Burell. “Simple five card draw, nothing fancy, any objections mister?”

“Nope,” Ace replied, all grin. “Mind if I get another drink?” Now the fun starts Ace thought to himself. Surely these two expected a traveler like him self to carry some money, and after seeing him order before they would probably assume his judgment to be very shaken. Another round would surely take away any edge off their minds and let him play into their own presumed strategy.

“Go right ahead friend, drink all you want.”  Burell was quick to chime in, eagerness a little to present in his tone. “Matter of fact, let me get this round, we’re all friends here.” Yep, Ace thought, clearly the flash. And by his estimation, it’d be about three hands in before these two would make their move. Enzo seemed to have some skill but his nervous hands betrayed him, and Enzo here was a little too inexperienced and excitable to try and wait out a bigger fish. No, he was sure they would try to move quick. “Same for you friend,” Burell asked with smirk. Ace nodded, taking care to check both players eyes for reaction. The look of a hungry scavenger staring at easy prey peered back. Just fine, he thought, just fine.

“Hey, Mel,” Burell bellowed at the pink-armed bartender. “Another double grease-stripper for our new friend here, and give me a digital delight.” That clenched it, Ace made a mental note; anyone who drank a fizzy lightweight drink aimed at glam-girls and tech-enthusiasts while trying to hustle people at cards in a bar deserved to be taught a lesson. The least he could of done was feigned to try and match his mark, if not ordering the same at least a respectable whiskey like a Quasar or some such. But instead he orders a drink so weak it barely even deserved to be served in bar much less one hard working men frequented.

With a flourish, Ace received his fresh round and pounded it down. This time he didn’t even bother to gauge reactions, now it was time for business. His face a blank grim visage of determination. He tossed in the customary starting bid of a blue credit, the light silicon disk making a quiet clink on the table. “Deal me in boys.” Both Enzo and Burell  glanced back and forth and then matched his bet, still all smiles. Yep, Ace was sure they’d go for about the third hand, but they were going to be in for a surprise. This time they reeled in a shark they didn’t see coming, and Ace was now set on teaching them a lesson they would not forget.

All memory of any former promises of forgoing any gambling this time were completely gone now. The cards had been dealt, and once dealt - demanded to be played.