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?”

A Couple of Characters in on a Bet

“I’m here to tell you this is the horse you want to bet on.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.”

“He’s not like the others. This one is special. He’s going to be in the Derby. Wouldn’t you like to be the first to find a horse that’s going to be in the Derby?”

“I won’t be the first.”

“Sure, you will.”

“No, you’re the first.”

“Well, you know what I mean.”

“All I know is you want me to lose my money. I’m already under three grand.”

“You gotta take risks. Else life ain’t worth living.”

“What kind of odds you give me?”

“Odds? On a winner like this?”

“Yeah, odds.”

“Alright. I will give you two to one. Only cause I like you. How’s that?”

“I’d hate to see somebody you didn’t like.”

“C’mon. You want in or what?”

“Yeah, I’m in.”

Politics in America 28: A Change is Gonna Come

The lawyers lawyered. The jurists juristed. The SCOTUS scotused. The legal scholars legalized. Darn, if there wasn’t a fortune to be made off this Presdential Election. The legal community had not been this happy since Bush bushwhacked Gore. There was a recount to be done. And the recount would need a recount. When all the recounting was done, the Supreme Court would step in and give the Sneaze from Weasel Sneeze the thumbs down.

The President of the United States, The Big Guy, looked out from the Oval Office and at the White House lawn. It was such a nice lawn, he thought. The snow was whiter here than anywhere else in the world. The National Park Service made sure of that. They brought in the best snow. It was shipped special delivery from a snow factory up close to the North Pole.

A tear filled his eye. It ran down his cheek and lit on his dark blue President of the United States suit. At first, it was only a smidgen small but soon it had grown to be as big as the State of Texas. The Big Guy was sad.

After all his Administration had done for the American people for the past eight years, they had rejected his hand-chosen successor. Sure, Little Twerp wasn’t all he should have been cracked up to be. He had way too much Dan Quayle in him. And that part about shooting his dawg hadn’t helped either. Who shoots their dawg by accident? he wondered. It just wasn’t done.

When you’re President of the United States, you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders like Atlas did in Greek mythology. It was now the responsibility of this Titan to pass on the Office to a demi-god. And the way The Big Guy was thinking that November afternoon, there was more demi to P F Sneaze than there was god.

It just broke The Big Guy’s pea picking heart that his guy had lost. On top of that, there was all those things he was going to miss. The song. Everybody standing up in the room when he entered. Folks waiting upon his next word with baited breath. The free room and board. The airplane nobody could use but him.

He returned to his desk and looked down at the Big Oval in the middle of the floor. Most of all he was going to miss it. When he had tough decisions to make, like whether the White House should serve chocolate mousse or cheesecake at a State Dinner, he was comforted by the Big Oval. It said that his every word was from high. It said he could not make a mistake. He was Mr. President.

Now he had to come down from the mountain. He understood how Moses must have felt when he brought those stone tablets down from the mountain. One day he had been communicating with the Divine; the next the folks downstairs were partying like it was 1999 and he wasn’t invited. No wonder he crashed their party. It just wasn’t right to forget about Old Mo’. Where was their appreciation? He had done a lot for them. It was like they were taking his greatness for granted, the ingrates.

The Big Guy reached for the Red Phone. Now just which Red Phone was it he needed to use? There were a dozen or more Red Phones on his desk. Just getting it straight which Red Phone did what had taken him months to figure out. He kept picking up a Red Phone to order pizza and getting the Russian President. After a while, they just laughed over it. The Russian President’s phones were all blue and he had the same problem. Which Blue Phone to use?

He reached for the Crimson Red Phone, then decided against it. It was the Maroon Red Phone he needed to use. He hesitantly dialed the number of the Do Evie Party Chairman.
“Charlie,” he said. “We have fought the good fight. It’s a sure bet that the Titanic is sinking. The box office receipts have come in and we lost.”

He listened as Charlie tried to dissuade the Head of the Party of the mistake he was about to make. He had all the fine print on his side, he said. “And the wherefores and hereafters too.”

“Charlie,” the President said. “We’ve had a great sixteen years of the party running the show. We’ve accomplished a lot. More than we ever thought we would. Let’s let sleeping dawgs lie and dead ones too. It’s time to move on and let somebody screw up for a while. At least, till we have somebody more deserving than that Little Twerp. You know, I never liked him. He had way too much Dick Nixon in him.”

“Yes, Mr. President.”

The Big Guy hung up the phone. He could hear that soft sad music playing in the background that plays in every movie with a sad part.

He picked up the Auburn Red Phone. Its color always reminded him of his wife’s beautiful auburn hair. Why did it have to be this Red Phone he had to use. But it was. He dialed the number.

P F Sneeze picked up the phone in his bedroom suite. The other end said, “This is the Big Guy. You have seen the whites of our eyes and waterlooed us. We surrender. You are the new Mr. President, Mr. President.”

P F wasn’t sure whether to whoopee or cry. He had never wanted the job and now he had it.

“Mr. President,” the Big Guy said. “I would like to invite you for lunch Monday afternoon at 1 pm if that will suit your schedule. We can discuss the transition at that time and I can give you a tour of the Residence. And Mrs. Big Guy would love it if the new First Lady came along. It’s time we put on the feedbag and got to know one another.”

Next Week Transition-itis