FLASH FICTION FRIDAY – F3 – CYCLE 39 – YOU’VE GOT TO KNOW WHEN TO HOLD ‘EM: THE LEFT HAND

Prompt: Title Prompt – Write a story involving playing cards and using these words: Ante, Drag, Bluff, Busted, Blind
Genre: Open
Word Count: Up to 1300 words
Deadline: Thursday, July 14, 2011 4:30 pm EST

THE LEFT HAND

By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw

“I’ll meet you in the lounge, about 6:30?”  I say to my two new friends.  “You can tell me more about this game.  It is high-stakes, right?  I don’t do penny-ante.”

 “$100,000 buy-in… table stakes only.  That high enough for you, doll?”  Robert asks.

“Perfect!”  I stand and offer my hand.  “See you then.”  I walk away, across the lobby of the Benson Hotel, toward the elevators.  I don’t have to look back to know that their eyes are glued to my ass.  They better be… for what I paid for this dress!

~~**~~

“Are my seams straight?”  Stepping back from the mirror, I turn to my lover.

“I don’t know why you bother “tarting up” so much; no one is going to see your legs.”  Jenny motions me to turn around so she can see the back of my legs.

“Glass-top table.” I say, winking into the mirror.

“Well, I suppose it’s better than flashing your boobs like you did in Salt Lake City.”

Silence.

“Ronnie… Please!  Tell me you’re not…?”

“Hey!  Who knew Mormons were such a randy bunch?”

 “Uh-huh… who knew?  They were Mormons, hun… they weren’t blind!”

 “Just using what God gave me, sweetie!”

 “When do I get to be the “bad girl”?  I’m tired of always playing the prim little Sunday School teacher!”

 “But, Jenny… you do it so well!  Besides… I’m allergic to long skirts and high-collar blouses.”  I give my generous breasts a squeeze.  “My girls need breathing room!”

Jenny rolls her eyes and lets out a long sigh.  “Okay… this time.  But when we hit Seattle… I get to be “bad”…I just bought a red latex number that looks like wet paint on me.”

I walk over to Jenny and wrap myself around her slender body, pressing against her thigh.   Slipping my hand down to her bum, I whisper in Jenny’s ear…

“The game doesn’t start for a couple of hours; how about we…” 

~~**~~

When I walk in to the hotel lounge some time later, Jenny is already seated at the bar, nursing her drink.  We ignore each other and I take a seat a couple of barstools down from her.

“Stoli, rocks… with lime, please.”  The bartender nods, and moves off.

Promptly at 6:30, Robert and Harrison show up.  They order drinks, and then we talk about the game.  After awhile, Jenny speaks up.

“Excuse me.”  We look over at her.  “Yes?” I ask, with a touch of frost in my voice.  Even dressed very primly, Jenny exudes a sex appeal that men cannot resist… it never fails.

“I was wondering if your game was open to anyone… I’ve always wanted to learn how to play poker.”

Robert and Harrison exchange looks… Robert speaks.

“Well, little lady… this is a big game… lot of money involved… you probably want to start a little smaller.”    Ignoring the condescension in his voice, Jenny smiles back sweetly.

“My father is Charles Lambert… you may have heard of him?”   Charles Lambert is the third richest man in the Pacific Northwest… right behind Bill Gates and Paul Allen.  Ooh… nice touch, Jenny!

Harrison looks at Robert… Robert looks at me… I shrug my shoulders.

“Fine with me… her money will spend just as easily yours.”   I say with a little wink.  They both laugh.

~~**~~

We are seven… seated around a big glass-topped table in the Presidential Suite.  Introductions are made, and a white-jacketed bartender takes everyone’s order.  The banker/dealer, Tomas, counts in cash and hands out chips.  A casual look around the table and some quick mental math… there is close to a million dollars in this room!

Tomas passes the deck to me for the cut.

“Seven card stud… Aces high and low… three raise limit?”  Everyone nods agreement.

“Gentlemen… and ladies… ante is five.” 

I toss a purple chip in the center of the table; the others follow suit.  Tomas deals.  Jenny is directly across the table from me, next to Harrison.

My first up-card is the lowest on the table, a “6”.  I lift the corner of my two down-cards briefly… a “7” and an “8”.  I allow the tiniest twitch at the corner of my mouth.

I toss out a burgundy chip and turn to my left, giving the man a smile.

“That’s a nice tie, Howard.  Your wife has excellent taste.”

Howard tosses out a burgundy chip… and then, another.

“Raise.”  He winks at me.  “I’m not married.”  I wink back.  Then, you’re gay my friend.  I think to myself… straight guys don’t have that good of taste in clothing.

Robert wins the first hand.  I actually had the better hand, but I folded early.  I have a steadfast rule… never win the first hand… ever!

A minor victory for me in the third hand… nothing to write home about.

With a little coaching from Harrison… he explains “drag”, Jenny wins the fifth hand… not that the girl needs any help.  The pot in that hand was just over $28,000.

I made up for folding on a very good first hand, in the sixth… four jacks; two of them were up-cards… I didn’t raise until the last down-card was dealt, giving me my fourth jack.  Looking around the table, I gave Jenny a tell, and then tossed two brown chips in the pot.  Howard and Jenny both folded.  I won $69,500 in that hand.

After eight hands, we take a short break.  Jake, the bartender, has brought up some trays of appetizers from the Palm Court’s Tapas menu… the food is exquisite!

~~**~~

Under the pretense that the room is too warm, I shed my blouse in the tenth hand… I am sans brassiere.  Jenny was suitably “shocked”, mumbling something about “tarts”.  The “gentlemen” tried to let on that my firm and tanned 36D’s didn’t bother them at all…

I won the next four hands.

~~**~~

With the bartender now gone, Jenny fixes everyone drinks while the dealer exchanges some of the players’ chips.

In the sixteenth hand, I tried to bluff with three “3’s” showing.  Martin, the quiet one to the right of the dealer called my bluff… the little bastard won with three “4’s”!  I lost $81,000.

~~**~~

After the sixteenth hand, we take another break.  When Jenny comes out of the bathroom, she is holding a black Sig Sauer P226 DAK in each hand.

“Police!  Nobody move!”

Everyone freezes.

Except for me.

I take one of the Sigs from Jenny… we both pull out gold detective shields, holding them up for everyone to see.  I speak.

“That’s right, people… you’re all busted!  I want everyone to empty their pockets out on to the table.  Now!”

I then direct them over to the two large sofas.

Robert speaks up.

“I want my lawyer!”

“Sit down!”  I say.  I put my blouse back on and collect everyone’s belongings from the table, putting them into a black knapsack.

“Okay, Mr. Dealer… open the safe!  All that money is evidence.”  Jenny watches over the dealer as he takes the cash from the wall safe and puts it in another knapsack.

~~**~~

Ten minutes later, Jenny has everything we touched wiped down.  She sets the two knapsacks by the door.

I glance at the Corum chronograph on my wrist, and walk over to the men.

“How much of that sleeping powder did you put in their drinks?” I ask Jenny.

“Are they…?”

“Like babies!”

“Come on, lover… let’s split!”

~~**~~

Forty-five minutes later, we have checked our bags at the airport.  I am heading back to the orphanage in St. Louis; Jenny is headlining the new Folies Bergere Revue at Paris Las Vegas.

“Give the children at St Elizabeth’s my love, Sister Veronica.  $400,000 is going to buy a lot of new equipment.  What are you going to tell Mother Superior?”

I wink at Jenny.

“The left hand of God…?”

~~finis~~

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About VeronicaThePajamaThief

Bio: Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw Born in Lisboa, Portugal to parents of Portuguese/Russian descent, Veronica Marie and her wife, Christina Anne, call the Pacific Northwest home, where the couple are “still very much on honeymoon!” When not teaching and finishing her own studies for a Masters in Sociology, Veronica writes fiction, primarily noir - "I love dark!". Her long fascination with noir fiction prompted Veronica to try her own hand at writing fiction several years ago. She has been published in Pulp Metal Magazine, The Lost Children: A Charity Anthology, the horror anthology 100 Horrors, from Cruentus Libri Press, Nightfalls: an End of the World anthology, Drunk On The Moon 2: A Roman Dalton anthology and Gloves Off: Near To the Knuckle's debut anthology. Veronica has also appeared in the inaugural issue of Literary Orphans magazine and her horror/urban fantasy short story SOUL TAKER was recently chosen for inclusion in Lily Childs' february femmes fatales, an urban fantasy/horror anthology. Veronica counts among her mentors - Carole A Parker, Lily Childs, Paul D Brazill, Richard Godwin, Joyce Juzwik and Vicki Abelson. She is currently working on the third draft of her first novel – a memoir – as well the second draft of her first fiction novel, a fantasy novel and the publication of a collection of her flash fiction and short stories. Lily's The Feardom and Vicki Abelson's Women Who Write Facebook writing group have both been a tremendous source of support and inspiration for Veronica. Veronica’s writings can be found athttp://veronicathepajamathief.blogspot.com/ andhttp://veronicathepajamathiefwritespoetry.blogspot.com/, andhttps://veronicathepajamathief.wordpress.com/
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15 Responses to FLASH FICTION FRIDAY – F3 – CYCLE 39 – YOU’VE GOT TO KNOW WHEN TO HOLD ‘EM: THE LEFT HAND

  1. Hot hands, Hot women, Stoli with a twist. Great Job Veronica.

  2. Pingback: F3 – Cycle 39 – The Stories | Flash Fiction Friday

  3. Loved the flow, excellent narration!

  4. Glen says:

    That’s my kind of Nun. Nice work.

  5. tommysalami says:

    I went to the wrong Sunday school! What a blast.

  6. Flannery says:

    Well-told poker tale! I think you captured the mood of a high-stakes game very well. This reminded me a bit of your cat burglar story from a while back. I like the saucy ladies you write.

  7. Jenny says:

    I read in the comments on the prompt that you don’t know anything about poker aside from an hours worth of research on google. To me, though you sound like you know what you’re talking about, which just proves what a great writer you are (: I loved your story!

  8. Kevin says:

    Love how this story flows. Very fast-paced and exciting to read. Found it a bit confusing to determine who the characters were (lovers from two cities – one a nun(?) in St. Louis, the other a dancer in Vegas – conning money for the orphanage?), but this a) added to the interest in the story, as it kept me wondering and, therefore, reading, and b) may have been a limitation of the wordcount, as this is a lot of complicated backstory to try to incorporate in 1300 words. That minor issue notwithstanding, i enjoyed this piece. A great read!

    • Thank you, Kevin… thank you very much.

      Yes, long distance lovers. Sister Veronica is a “fallen angel” so to speak, but she has a great love for children, and because of her “fundraising” efforts, the Diocese is sort of “don’t ask… don’t tell…”

      I almost didn’t put that in, but then I remember… my readers are smarter than me… they can figure stuff. And, I thought it added a nice “interest”. Also, I can refer back to this episode when I write again about the two women.

      I agree… 1300 is a bit meager. I could have used another 200 for the backstory.

      A little side note… one of my best friends is named Jenny. She is not a lesbian, but she got a huge kick when I showed her the story. Oh, and she is not a showgirl in Vegas. ;=)

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