Larry Plays Another Hand

Okay, three kings. Larry lost with three kings, no less. Damn his luck. Two hundred and fifty thousand bucks on the table, and he lost. He lost the car. He lost the house. He lost his retirement. On a sure thing too. Who would have guessed the guy across from him had a full house?

Some guys have a smoking problem. Some have a drinking problem. Some have a sex problem. Larry had a losing problem. He could not not lose. Beth kept telling him so, and rubbing it in too.

It wasn’t as if she hadn’t warned him. She had. She was going to leave him if he didn’t stop being a loser. Here he was the biggest, and I mean the biggest, loser of all time. Maybe not the biggest but he sure felt that way.

He tossed the keys to his car over to the winner. “I’ll get you the title to the house and the car.”

“And the cash as well.” The guy looked like he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Larry went to get up. The guy stopped him. He looked over and said, “Look. I’ll give you one more chance. We draw cards. Highest card wins.”

“But I don’t have anything to bet with.”

“Oh yes, you do. Your wife. One night with your wife.” The guy was serious. There wasn’t a smile on his face or any other kind of thing that made Larry think he was kidding.

Larry thought about it. Beth would kill him either way when she found out.

The guy sweetened the pot. “If you win, your wife will never know. It will never leave this room. So what have you got to lose?”

Larry choked, then agreed.

The guy called for a new deck. He passed it over to Larry. “You shuffle.”

Larry unwrapped the pack of cards, pulled the cards out of the box and shuffled. He cut the cards and shuffled again and again. For what seemed like an hour, he shuffled. It was only ninety seconds. He passed the cards over. The guy cut the cards, then passed them back to Larry. Larry spread the cards in a fan out on the table. “You first,” he said to the guy.

The guy drew and turned over his card. It was a king of hearts. A king of hearts, of all things. He was about to lose his wife to a king of hearts. It was just evil.

Larry’s hand trembled. He reached over and pulled the last card. He hesitated, said a prayer, then turned it over. Before him lay an ace of spades.

It had been a long night. He might not leave with anything but he had gotten his wife, his house, his retirement and his car back.

He looked over at the guy on the other side of the table. The guy was pushing his chair away from the table.

Then Larry said, “One more hand?”

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