A Game of Skill

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A very short story about a quick "Game of Skill" as it is sometimes called.

Submitted: February 25, 2015

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 25, 2015




A Game of Skill

I walked into The Den as it was called in this town. The building was nothing more than a ramshackle barn teetering on the edge of collapse. Yet it didn't seem to bother the locals who wormed their way in at every table. Clogging the place with their foul smelling pipes and perfuming the air with a mixture of sweat and nauseating smoke. Yet even through all this unpleasantness I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist. How long had it been since I fell so low that I couldn't even pass by a parlor of such ill repute. Regardless one look at that cards and I was entranced. I found a seat at the nearest table pushing aside two mean looking farmers to get a place. As I sat the chair let out a murderous groan cursing my very presence. Making me wonder what kind of torments the dealers chair must have gone through for he was no small man. His poultry figure cast a shadow across the whole table where me and five other sat. And even in the dim light I could see the sweat glistening off his hands covering the cards as he shuffled them in the most haphazard of ways. What a striking difference from the military like precision of dealers from the City. Even as I watched he dropped a card onto the filth encrusted floor, only to pick it up and wipe it off as if nothing had happened. Yet finally he finished and he dealt out the cards. Looking at each player with his beady black eyes. Showing off more perception than his figure should warrant. Finally he turned to me. I could see some surprise linger in his eyes as he inspected me. Then after a long pause he spoke with an almost impenetrable drawl.

“So a city folk has come to visit our fine establishment”

I did not even acknowledge the statement. We both knew the outlandishness of calling anything about this establishment, if you could even call it that, fine. I waited for the inevitable question all dealers must ask.

“So whats your bet?”

I smiled then for a knew it would gall them. And threw out a gold coin. It clanked loud as a gunshot onto the table. The other players, all farmers or the like gasped in shock, most of them probably never having seen such a large amount of money. Having had my fun, I reached out to retract it and replace it with a more reasonable sum. Yet before my hand could even lift off of the scarred wood, the dealers hand shot fast as a snake and deposited the coin in his pouch with the other bets. A little taken aback for I would be surprised if this rotting facsimile of an establishment could even afford to pay me they amount they would owe if I won. I stared then at the dealer, his eyes glinting with malicious delight. He could see I was visibly in shock. Then a smile slashed across his beast like guise.

“I’m glad you could join our little game today, here’s hoping you having luck”

He raised the deck almost in a salute and passed me my cards. I was starting to despair, I dared not look at my cards for fear of what I might see. I peered through the smoky haze that permeated the air and reflecting back at me were two kings. I contained my savage delight then, for it would not do to look unrestrained until the dealer sealed his fate. After what seemed like an agonizing eternity the dealer pounded down his two cards onto the table with such force I feared the rotting wood would splinters beneath our hands. But alas the table held and I stared through the murky flickering light at the cards, practically sunk into the table. The first was a Jack the cards black face smiling at me with contempt that only I should be able to hold in this room. With this discovery my heart sped up beating in my chest as if trying to escape. This pounding filling my ears and blocked all of the other raucous noise in the dingy barn. I revolved my eyes towards his second card. Slowly the rectangle filled my vision its menacing presence overpowering my thoughts as I slowly assembled its shape in my head. The accursed A. I began to tremble then, my muscles resisting my control as I moved to stand. I got up intending to walk away from the table and that accursed letter. Yet even as I moved towards the door whose frame looked as stable as my composure. I glanced back at the dealer, his black pupils searing into me. He once again flailed  around shuffling the deck his face impassive hardly registering the fortune he just gained. I was entranced and I sat back down pulling out a silver this time and violently throwing it at the table. Scaring the already decrepit wood. Again the smile the seemed to deform his already ugly face as he said.

“Im glad you could join our little game today, heres hoping you have luck.”

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