Last week I said I would post a story every weekend for the next three weeks, so here's number two. Please let me know what you think of the style, characters and story; I'm hoping to use this exercise to get audience feedback for book three. If you want to see a character expanded, see a plot idea within these shorts, or just like the style, please let me know.
This short was inspired by a single line in a 'hot club de paris'.
AT THE DEALER'S TABLE
She watches me with the same warm suspicion she has for the casino customers. Peering at me from over the breakfast bar with a judging smile; or is that a projected insecurity on my part? On the night we met she was wearing a shirt and red waistcoat. Bow ties don't exactly complement a woman, but she still caught my eye and I bee-lined for her table. Now she's wearing tight jeans and a flowing top and the combination do her a lot of favours. Still, I quite liked the bow tie.
‘So have you been at the casino long?’
‘About a year, but I’ve been at others before.’
She lays the cutlery down in front of me with the same nimble fingers that dealt me that winning hand. I’m no card expert, in fact that night was only my third time in a casino; the odd poker night with friends has taught me that I'm not at all bad though.
Looking at her again I weigh my odds and something tells me it doesn't look good. Not an outright, this is going badly, but more a complete failure in my foresight; like shaking a magic eight ball only to get ask again later.
She is beautiful and while I’m not bad looking, I’m a little overweight and I was never a popular kid. Add to this the 600 quid I won that night, the fact that she readily let me buy her a drink and I’m still wondering if she’s wrongly picked me as a card shark with a bag of cash.
Paul says that she’ll have seen a damn sight more won on a hand of poker than £600; that she’ll have had a lot of men come on to her, most wearing far nicer suits than mine and that he’s sure she'd know a real card shark from a mile off.
‘The real test,’ he says ‘is how long she’s worked in the casino. If it's a few days then you might be right. Anymore than six months and you're in, so work the question in early.’
I run the answer over in my mind; about a year, but I’ve been at others before and I remember those nimble hands and the effortless way she pushed the cards across the table. She brings the food over and we exchange all the pleasantries and it's not awkward because it really does smell great and I'm enjoying her company. Then she sits down, she pours me a drink and she looks straight into my soul and asks so what do you do?
It takes me a second to respond and as I do I remember more of Paul's advice from the night I met her.
'Go careful with poker, mate. When you're at the dealer's table going home gets harder.'
Ben Warden - Editor of the #SFFiction project and author of 'Life Without', which made the top ten literary fiction e-books on amazon.