Monday, September 2, 2013

STUD: Part Four

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 Professor: Gabriel O. Emerson

            "Okay amigos," Robin Goodfellow snickered as he took the seat SR had just vacated.  His back was to the last awful outfit and he was able to play to Antonio and Sir as well as the competitors.  "You each have two thousand dollars in chips.  You'll first be dealt two cards face down..."

            "We know how to play the game," Gabriel informed him somewhat impatiently.

            "Then you will each bet," Robin continued as if The Professor hadn’t interrupted.  "After that, I'll discard three cards, then deal three cards face up which you will both share.  This is called the flop."

            "We know how to play the game," The Professor repeated slowly.

            "Then you bet again," Robin announced undaunted. "I'll discard, then deal a fourth card, called the turn, followed by one more round of betting. And then finally the last discard and community card, the river.  The winner is the person with the best five card hand."

            "Thank you," Gabriel spoke sardonically.

            "Thank you," Sir said sincerely from his perch.  “And if I may, what is the purpose of the discards?"

            Robin shrugged. "I dunno.  Probably to make it harder to cheat and to use more of the deck.  You have to burn a card for each card you flop, turn, and river."

            Sir opened his mouth.

            "And I don't know why they call it that."

            Sir closed his mouth and nodded.

            SR hadn't said a word until now. He’d been listening closely to Robin, making sure he was correct in his recollection of the game's series of bets.  "Actually, the flop is just the natural name for a throw down like three community cards.  The turn is generally considered to mean the final turn before the home stretch, like in a horse race.  And the river is just that last act of God that can either wash away your sins or sweep you over the falls."

            Robin nodded approvingly. "Spoken like a bard!"  He snuck a peek at The Professor who looked unnerved by Sylvain's knowledge.

            Giving Gabriel an advantage by allowing a change of game and a redistribution of the chips didn't bother SR.  In fact, it felt like the right thing to do, although when he looked over at the leopard print man panties, he shivered.

            "Let's make the big blind a hundred dollars," Robin proposed. "The little blind and first to act will be fifty."  It was a big ante but The Professor liked to play aggressively.  He tossed a hundred-dollar chip into the center of the table, volunteering himself as the first big blind.  Sylvain rolled in a fifty dollar chip.

            "What's a big blind and a little blind?" Sir asked Antonio.

            "Forced bets, to keep the stakes high," the maître d’ responded.

            "Hmm," Sir considered this as he adjusted his glasses. "They used to call me Big Blind, but not because of my poker playing."

            "Just your poker?"  Antonio quipped.

            Sir didn't get it.

            Robin dealt Gabriel a six and a nine of diamonds.  Sylvain held a pair of queens, and in another bit of poker serendipity, Queen’s We Are The Champions blared from the speakers.  He put in another fifty to match the big blind and Gabriel checked, feeling that a hundred dollars was plenty for the flop.

            Robin spread three cards face up in front of him: the king of diamonds, a five of spades and a jack of diamonds.

            SR wasn't encouraged and bet only another fifty.  The Professor had a decent shot at a flush with two cards left to go and threw in another hundred-dollar chip.

            "The bet is fifty dollars to you sir," Robin commented to Sylvain, who thought briefly before acquiescing.  The dealer then burned and flipped a fourth card face up.  It was a queen of clubs, Sylvain's third queen.  He bet two hundred dollars, which was not what Gabriel was expecting.

            "MOTHER...FUCKER!"  The Professor pushed his two cards towards Robin but regarded SR.  He willed the man to expose his hand as a courtesy, but Sylvain was slightly insulted by the bully tactics. He handed the cards directly to Robin, who had gathered the community cards already and was soft shuffling them, producing a sound like whipping eggs.

            Gabriel was certain that being aggressive was the key to unbalancing his creator.  It was his undoing.  Where Sylvain might have been susceptible to alternative tactics, ungentlemanly language and staring contests were only going to refine his focus.  He was going to trust in the good cards, toss the bad ones quickly, and try to send as many mixed signals as he could to his observant rival.

            "The first hand goes to Mr. Reynard," the dealer informed the duo of spectators. "Sylvain to his friends and Silly Bill to no one.  If you will supply the big blind, we will commence with the next deal."  Both men threw in their antes and Robin flicked them each two cards. Sylvain received an ace, which wasn't bad but far from a guarantee.  The Professor matched the big blind.

            Robin laid out two sixes and an ace of hearts.  It helped SR, who had an ace in the hole already. But it helped The Professor, who had a six, even more.

            "The bet is yours," Robin looked to Gabriel, who squinted back at him.

            "I'll do a hundred," The Professor stated, not wanting to over play his advantage yet.  Sylvain called and Robin flipped over a ten.

            "Two hundred," Gabriel said as he almost doubled the pot.

            SR paused.  He had a good hand but The Professor looked genuinely confident.  Two hundred was an acceptable gamble to see the river card, so he matched Gabriel's bet.

            Robin silently turned over the river card, an ace.  Sylvain turned over his cards immediately and The Professor cursed in at least three different languages.  (Although even vulgarity sounded like music in French.)

            In two hands SR was up by over five hundred dollars, a quarter of The Professor's chips.  The air in the room thickened, and right on cue, I’m Still Standing by Elton John began to play.

            Both men anted up and Robin dealt a weak hand to each of them.  The Professor bet a hundred dollars after the flop, but SR couldn't see his way out of the losing cards so he folded.

            Gabriel's next action was a big raise before the flop on the fourth hand.  He had two face cards and pushed in three hundred dollars’ worth of chips in a bid for momentum.  Unfortunately for him, SR had pocket eights and happily pushed in his three hundred along with two hundred more.

            The Professor's jaw dropped.  He had to either lose his huge bet or put in even more.  Sylvain's eyes were up and waiting when Gabriel scanned his face.

            "You think you have me?" Gabriel asked playfully.

            "All I have is two cards," SR observed.  It was very Spock-like, and The Professor hated Spock-like.

            Gabriel growled and looked at his pile of chips.  If he bet the extra two hundred, he would be down by half and they had only started the hand.  If he let Sylvain take his three hundred now he would be hard pressed to regain the chip lead.  It was maddening that it was happening so fast.

            Neither Robin nor SR pressed for a response from The Professor. They let him take his time.  Every time Gabriel looked at Sylvain, the author’s piercing gaze looked back with a dare. He refrained from goading his advisor into following him down the rabbit hole, but one little smirk escaped and Gabriel pushed just over twelve hundred chips into the center of the table.

            "All in." The Professor stood as somewhere behind him, Sir whistled lowly.

            Sylvain nodded his head as if he had considered this possibility and slowly rose to his feet as he acknowledged Robin and turned over his pair.

            Gabriel turned over his own cards with a wince. A queen and a king were great hole cards but next to those eights, they appeared weak.

            Robin burned three cards and spread out the flop.  Two jacks and a three of clubs.  Now SR had two pair, but there were still plenty of ways Gabriel could win.

            With no further bets necessary, Robin quickly burned and turned.  Another jack.  Now SR had a full house, but any queen or king on the river would give The Professor the winning hand.

            Robin burned the last card and let out a breath.  He looked over at the mannequin wearing nard wranglers and knee highs and shook his head before flipping the river card.

            It was a ten of hearts.

            "The hand and the game goes to Mr. Reynard," Robin said  breathlessly, almost in shock.

            SR wanted to feel bad for Gabriel, but he was too busy experiencing blissful and exquisite relief.

            Wordlessly, Gabriel approached the audaciously dressed mannequin and began removing his clothes.  Unabashedly, The Professor stripped down to his aftershave and donned first the Speedo, then the mismatched knee socks.  He slipped the hot pink fish-net tank top over his muscular chest and the tight fit pushed against his skin like a kid's face pressed into a screen door.  He stepped into the lime green Crocs and walked over to the bar where Antonio was in the midst of pouring him a double. When the maître d’ looked up and took in the full effect of The Professor’s outfit, he added another shot.

            "To Sylvain Reynard," The Professor offered with an honest smile.  "The man holding all the cards."

            The men all raised their glasses and drank to the toast.  Shortly after that, The Professor opened a closed door and produced three Burberry overcoats.

            "Gentlemen," Gabriel addressed the other fashionably unfortunates. "We may have obligations to fulfill, but this establishment has a reputation to uphold, so please wear these on your way out."

            "Nice," Robin grinned as he admired the coat. "Do we get to keep these too?"

            "A consolation," The Professor offered.

            The men all left together, reminiscent of a spy convention, and when it was just SR and The Professor waiting for their valets, Sylvain asked the question burning on his mind.

            "If you hadn't lost, would you have offered the rest of us overcoats?"

            "There were three of them, weren't there?" The Professor retorted.  The night was still quite young and the passing lights illuminated Gabriel’s Crocs like a couple of Kermit the Frog puppets.

            "Yes, but I could tell that even Antonio didn't know they were there.  Would you have offered?"

            Gabriel studied Sylvain's face then nodded his head. "I think so."

            The men shook hands.

            "Until next time?" Gabriel asked.

            "I look forward to it," Sylvain responded.

            Gabriel's car arrived first and SR was left standing with his hands in his pockets and a smile on his face.  It had been a revealing night in more ways than one.  He wasn't sure if he wanted to do anything quite like that again, but he was glad for the experience, and thrilled that he was the only person who didn't receive a consolation prize.



big city prims said...

Mango, MOG -- Your little story had my imagination doing cartwheels, and some good chuckles to go with it. I know how much time it takes to write these posts, so thank you for keeping us entertained and laughing. :) It was great.



Unknown said...

Loved it! Great job and thank you for making us smile :)

nana7 said...

Ya'll are awesome

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