Wednesday, August 28, 2013

STUD: Part Two

This short story has been read and approved for posting by SR. Any resemblance to actual living persons is purely coincidental. No one was harmed in the making of this little story, although the dignity of a few surely did suffer.

The game: Poker
The stakes: Fashion humiliation
The players:

 The Author: Sylvain Reynard

The Snarky Narrator: Robin Goodfellow

 The Handsome Neighbor: Sir

 The Professor: Gabriel O. Emerson

            Professor Emerson quickly shuffled the deck three times and passed it to the man on his left to cut the cards.

"Thin to win," The Professor’s neighbor mumbled, mostly to himself.

The cards were dealt and the men were silent as Frank Sinatra’s Luck Be A Lady Tonight provided the soundtrack to the first hand of the evening.

The Professor dealt himself a pair of tens.  Sylvain had a steaming pile of nothing, not even a face card. 

Robin Goodfellow held a flush of clubs, extremely rare for a stud game and a certain winner as long as the French Canadian guy with the rimless spectacles didn't have a full house or something.

He didn't. Sir was dealt a pair of eights.

"The deal will move to the left, but betting begins on the right," Gabriel announced, hinting to Sylvain that he should start the round.

            Sylvain's strategy was simple. He was just going to play the cards and not spend the whole night trying to bluff the three most bluff-proof characters one could spend an evening with.  He slid his cards over to the dealer without a word.

"SR folds," The Professor commented. "What about you, Snarky?"

Robin smiled.  "Fold," he replied, and slid his cards face down over to SR, who ferried them the rest of the way to the dealer.

"I guess it's just you and me," Gabriel said to his neighbor.

"I bet fifty," Sir declared as he tossed three chips into the pot.

"Call," answered The Professor. 

Both men turned over their cards and Gabriel scooped up the pile of chips.  He’d confidently put in nearly half of the money himself, and winning the first pot of the night was precisely what he’d expected from this game.

            All the cards were now delivered to Sir. He proceeded to shuffle, cut, and deal with quiet efficiency.  He dealt himself two queens. 

            Gabriel tried not to frown at his measly pair of threes while Sylvain stared appreciatively at three aces.  Robin Goodfellow had a hand filled with so many low numbers that he thought he might as well be playing dominos.

            The Professor boldly bet two hundred which almost scared away SR. In the end, the author felt it was worth the gamble and called the bet.  His stomach was already doing calisthenics.

            Robin called as well, gleefully throwing twenty percent of his chips into the pot with no chance of winning.  Sir really wanted to bet, but knowing that two people were already in diminished his chances of having the winning hand.  He laid down his cards and shook his head.

            Sylvain turned his cards over immediately and the tirade of obscenities from his left and the soft chuckle from his right told him that the pot was his to take.  He scooped the chips away and began stacking them neatly while Robin shuffled and dealt the next hand. 

            SR cautiously twisted in his chair to regard the wretchedly regaled mannequins. "I don't know about the rest of you," he murmured, "but I like that calculator watch."  He then turned back around and studied his new hand, which was garbage.

            The Professor was dealt another low pair but decided not to bluff.  Sir almost got a straight (which was exactly nothing), and Robin landed himself triple sixes.

"The pot's light," The Professor observed. Sir quickly tossed in the ante he’d forgotten along with a hefty stack of chips.  He immediately regretted his bluff, but more than that he regretted showing that he immediately regretted it.

"I call," Gabriel crooned, pouncing like a cat on a canary.

"Fold," SR stated wisely, knowing that just because you think someone is bluffing, it doesn't suddenly make your crap hand any better than theirs.

"Me too," Robin chirped, cheerfully dropping his cards to the dark wood of the table.

The Professor gathered up a second pot before his neighbor even turned over his cards.  The game was becoming tense as everyone noticed Gabriel's growing pile of chips.
In the background, Ray Charles began singing Blackjack. Everyone raised their eyebrows at the obviously wrong card game named in the song, but the author in the group recognized the significance thanks to his Radio SR experience. Charles wrote the tune after winning all of T-Bone Walker’s money in a blackjack game.

            Sylvain threw in his ante before he began shuffling the cards, and offered the deck to The Professor to cut.  Gabriel simply tapped the cards with two fingers, a sign of trust and respect.

            When SR peered down at the cards he dealt himself, he kept from smiling but looked away too fast.  A guilty glance later and The Professor knew that his old friend had something special.  Gabriel himself had a pair of jacks but realized it wouldn't be enough to beat whatever had SR clamping down on his excitement.

"Your bet," SR indicated to Robin, who had nothing.

"Four hundred," Robin responded, and tossed half of his pile into the middle of the table.

The Professor studied Goodfellow closely.  He knew Sylvain had the goods but hadn’t anticipated such a large bet from across the table.

"I'm out," Sir proclaimed.  He had two pair, but his last loss combined with the large bet chased him out of the round.

"Fold." The Professor hated leaving the chance to win an eight hundred dollar pot, but knew that it would cost him the game if he made foolish decisions. And that was just not going to happen.

"Take it," Robin laughed.  "I was bluffing. I don't even think I have anything higher than a ten."  He turned his cards over to reveal that he was correct.

"That would make a great low-ball hand," SR offered as he gathered up his winnings.

By the time Gabriel dealt for the second time, almost half the chips on the table belonged to Mr. Reynard.  It was a startling turn of events so early in the game and everyone anxiously downed the rest of their drinks, including SR.

A fresh round of cocktails and cards came next and so did another loss for Robin.  This time, The Professor was the beneficiary of a sizable bet on a pair of nines.

            Sir's deal made him the winner of a small pot, which was a boost for his morale. Robin dealt himself four of a kind, which he promptly folded.  He watched contentedly as Gabriel won eighty bucks with nothing more than a high king.

            Sylvain's deal was a disaster. His three sevens fooled him into betting almost three hundred dollars against The Professor, who had three eights.  Robin also lost quite a bit of money in that hand, as did Sir.

            By the time Gabriel acquired the cards for his third deal, he was roughly even with SR. Robin was down to his last short stack.

"Round three," Gabriel stated. "Ante goes up to ten dollars."

Everyone made the adjustment while he dealt the cards.  He caught a miserable hand. Sir received a pair of aces, Robin held a pair of twos, and Sylvain secured a full house, queens over jacks.  The cards resembled a mini English cotillion in his hands.

            Sylvain bet conservatively, hoping not to scare Robin away, but the Snarky Narrator surprised everyone and pushed all of his remaining chips into the center of the table. He stood up, imitating the professional poker players he’d watched on television.

            Sir matched Robin’s bet of one hundred and forty dollars. Gabriel folded with a sigh. Sylvain called.

            When the men turned over their hands, everyone simultaneously looked from their cards over to Robin, the newly condemned.

"Don't mourn my loss," he implored as he strode over to the pedestal with the polyester powerhouse. "Because I plan to sit at the bar in this My Cousin Vinnie getup and make fun of you bastards all night."

"So you choose the suit?"  Gabriel probed to make it official.

"I do," Robin answered.  He’d known from the beginning he was never going to win. Therefore, being the first one knocked out of the game gave him the greatest advantage.  Now he could spend the night staying warm and looking like he was going to a fancy costume party while two of the others would be stranded in dreadful and revealing outfits that could have come out of a long-forgotten Second City prop box.

"You passed the washroom at the bottom of the stairs. Unless you want to change in here with us," Gabriel suggested.

"You'd like that, wouldn't you?"  Robin provoked.

"I simply meant that it would be more comfortable to use a bar stool as opposed to a toilet," The Professor fumed.

"Don't you mean, more entertaining?"  Robin bragged.

"That too," Sylvain supplied, glancing from his drink over to the remaining two travesties.  He almost wished he’d thought of doing what Robin had done, taking advantage of the loophole in the game. Alas, it was too late and besides, he could no more throw a game than he could cheat at one.  However, with the only marginally acceptable ensemble taken, he would either have to win or face abject humiliation.

            Mr. Goodfellow changed in front of them, chatting cheerily the whole time and finding that the suit fit him quite well.  He strolled around and his right white shoe squeaked delightfully. With perfect timing, Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas blared from the speakers.

"You look like you're having too much fun," The Professor complained while also eyeing the other two fashion fiascos patiently awaiting their new owners.

"Oh no," Robin corrected. "The fun part has yet to come, and now I get to do what I do best: sit back, drink booze and offer commentary."



Elizabeth said...

PERFECT musical choices!!!!!!! Cannot wait for the next installment. As I stated in my post on Chapter 1, your choice of "SR" is interesting. The more I read SR's Twitter posts, I am more inclined to envision SR as your picture of the Snarky Narrator. Sorry SR, but it must be the whole sock thing and Snarky here with his self-professed style would absolutely wear argyle. :)

Unknown said...

I agree with Elizabeth as far as the music is concerned. However,don't be fooled by SR's love of argyle. It could be a deceptive ruse to throw us, his adoring fans,off. Since he refers to himself as being 'old', I visualize the very handsome Christopher Plummer. He has the air of being an intellectual, which, of course, SR is in spades. I can't wait for the next installment.

Elizabeth said...

I would live to see SR in all of his sartorial splendor!!! Argyle (still don't understand why of all things argyle????) and all. I don't believe Michael Redhill and SR are one in the same.

Unknown said...

Redhill was born in Baltimore not Toronto. I rather love the mystery behind this fascinating and brilliant author. I've always loved mysteries.

Elizabeth said...

Elle, I think I read that. I am in a fan fiction group and more than a few of us are quite taken with this series. The identity of SR has dominated many many discussions and causing us to become detectives of sorts about him. Yes, the mystery surrounding his true identity is quite intriguing. But it doesn't make it any less than interesting to try and figure it out, wanting to put a face with a name. No doubt, he has to be used of this sort of thing and pays it no mind or even gives a hoot about these silly things thought up by silly readers such as myself. I imagine he laughs at us.

Elizabeth said...

But back to this little story....very creative and well written. Looking forward to the next installment. Hoping for some more awesome musical choices.

Blogmaitresse said...

This is cracking! I love it. I know less than nothing about card games. I'm being educated :) Thanks a lot guys (and please let the Professor end up in the glittery whatsit. What a mental image ;)

Sheila xx

big city prims said...

Surprise. SR is Clive Owen. This is my fantasy and I'm stickin to it. :)

(Parenthetically speaking, Monsieur Reynard probably thinks we're all nuts.)

Terry :)

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