Carlita’s rigged the deck, but nobody notices.  Least of all Ricky, who she’s making sure is having a good night at the table.  She doesn’t want him to get suspicious, given that she’s trying to kill him.  She doesn’t know how or when, but it’s as certain as sunrise.

She takes a sip of rum and shuffles her cards, pretending to study them while watching the other players out of the corners of her eyes.

“So what’s your story sweetness?” asks Ricky, eyes down on his cards and Carlita loses any lingering guilt she may have been feeling.  She shrugs, still looking at her cards.

“Nada.  Just passing through.  A girl can’t spend the entire night in her hotel room.  You know.”  Carlita looks over to the player to her left, a man with a large salt and pepper moustache.  “You opening?”

The man nods his moustache and pushes a red $5 chip out in front of himself.

Ricky obviously likes the ace of spades and the ace of clubs Carlita dealt him.  “For you, I’ll raise,” he announces with a wink towards Carlita.  Inwardly, she rolls her eyes.  Ricky takes a trio of red chips and casually drops them in front of his pile.  The other player at the table, a tired salesman in a rumpled suit folds up his hand and drops it on the table.

“Fold.”  He wasn’t so lucky, winding up with a pair of fours and not much else.

Carlita’s hand isn’t strong, but she needs the deal to go ahead.  She doesn’t know why someone wants Ricky dead and to be honest, she doesn’t particularly care.  The money’s good and after her short exposure to him she doesn’t think anyone’s going to miss Ricky too much.

“Call,” she says, pushing a few chips out on the table.  The man with the moustache follows suit.  He chooses the six and the five out of his hand and mucks them back to her.  She skims a queen and nine to him in exchange.

Ricky throws out three pieces of filler she gave him, trusting on the aces to see him through.  As he mucks the cards back across the table, he smiles like a rat.

“Make me a lucky man sweetness.”

Carlita just smiles around her Padilla Habano and deals him the final cards.  She knows the power in rum, a cigar and the aces and eights of a dead man’s hand.


~ by Electro-mechanical Man on September 17, 2010.

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