It was a silent night. We were in our favorite bar, poker was the game, and the hand was down to we three. Kings was peering over his cards, contemplating the deck. The Halls, both of them, had folded from the first. Noel tried to keep his poker face, but he eyed the pot like one who hadn't eaten in twelve days. Of Christmas, everyone in the room thought, since it was no more than a week away. In a Maine jury room I had met most of the players, and we had remained friends. With some people, I could be cold, but frosty these? No, man! I looked at my cards again, lacking one card for an unbeatable hand. I thought of how my fortunes could change just this once. In David's, royal city would win the day. "Ah, good king, when she's lost, look out!" I thought to myself.Read the rest, and keep the groaning to a minimum, please.
I asked, "was the last time we played in the day or evening?" Kings responded, "oh, wholly night." The big Hawaiian rolled his eyes. "The masters in this hall were the houli, and the I.V was necessary to get the rest of the sleepers awake."
I recalled the brawl which had followed the card game. "I heard the bells!" On Christmas day I was allowed to leave the hospital. The girl I was dating at the time, brought me home. I commanded, "Pronto, little town of Bethly!
"Hehm!" she pretended to clear her throat in disgust. Turning to her girlfriend, she said " I should smack the boor's head, Carol!"
Fortnightly Book, December 4
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