Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Streak - 82

With each hand lost Kyle convulses with agony and self-reproach.

"Goddammit!" Slapping the table's padded edge. Gulping down his Maker's and Coke.

"You played it right," I say softly.

"He busted. I should have stayed!"

"You should've nothing. You played it right."

"The only right way to play is to win," he says tersely, signaling for another card.

"Then you're playing the wrong game."

The dealer's nametag says Ken from Provo and he sure looks like a Mormon. Seems to me he peers down at us from behind his unfashionable teardrop glasses with a lofty air and a hearty dose of scorn. But is he judging us or am I just eager to be judged? Probably he's bored, more than anything.

Ken checks his ace-showing hand for blackjack and sure enough the red light flashes. He scoops the other card with the edge of the ace and flips it over in a practiced, fluid motion. Ace-king. He pauses long enough to make sure we see it then mechanically gathers our chips, our cards, his cards.

"I can't believe this is happening!" Kyle wails.

"You're made of money for chrissakes. Relax."

He turns to me and gives me a dark look. "Don't you know that's not the point?"

Before Ken deals again he shifts his weight and pushes the glasses up the bridge of his nose. He stares at something far away before he looks back at the table.

There's no greater humiliation than losing to someone who doesn't care to win.

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