A Charles Splints Case: All In

By Dan Leicht

“All in,” he said, pushing his chips to the center of the table.

“You sure you want to do that, Splints?” said the dealer.

“Don’t try and talk him out of it now,” said the man across the table from the detective. “I’ll call him. No way he’s got that fourth ace up his sleeve.” The man’s eyes darted down at his cards. Did he have the fourth ace? Splints didn’t know.

“All right, boys. Flip ‘em,” said the dealer.

Splints flipped over his two cards, queen of hearts and queen of clubs, combined with the three aces he had a full house. The man across the table flipped his cards. A jack of diamonds and a king of hearts. His full house played with the jack on the table.

“Hoping for a king?” asked Splints.

“He’ll come,” replied the man, “he knows I’m knocking.”

The dealer set down the last card to reveal a three of spades. Before Splints could retrieve his chips he had a gun in his face.

“Touch those chips and you’re as good as dead,” said the sore loser.

“I could use the rest,” replied Splints. He cupped his hands around the chips and pulled them in. “Well boys, looks like my time here is up. Pleasure doing business.”

“Not so fast, hot shot. You can’t just take my money and walk out of here. One more hand. All or nothing. I’ll put another thousand on the table.”

“Tempting offer,” said Splints, “but my glass is empty.”

The man with the gun signaled a waiter over.

“Get this man a scotch,” he said.

Splints laughed and took his seat.

“You really want to do this?” asked Splints. He nodded to the waiter and raised his glass to the gun wielding weekend warrior.

“Everyone else get away from the table,” demanded the man. The three other participants from their game took their chips and left to cash out, each of them having lost most of their money to Splints. “I’ve never seen you around here before. What makes you think you can just walk in and take everything I have without consequence?”

“To be honest I was just hoping to scrounge up some rent money,” replied Splints. “Not much of a gambler, but something about the air tonight brought me in here. Now I see why.”

“Oh yeah?” said the man, taking his seat as the waiter brought over his chips. “How’d you find out about our little back alley game?”

“I’m just lucky I guess. Saw some neon lights, walked towards the light,” he took a sip of his drink, “saw a man get tossed out. I asked him what the deal was and he told me the password to get in. Seems like a nice place. After I take the rest of your money I think I’ll get a steak from the bar down the street.”

“You’re funny you know that?” said the man, placing his gun on the table beside him.

Everyone had left the back alley game aside from the three men at the table. Their cards were dealt.

Splints lifted his up. Queen of spades, three of clubs.

“All in,” said the man. He pushed his thousand dollars worth of chips into the middle of the table.

“Well this just isn’t fair. I’ve got more chips than you.”

“Doesn’t matter,” said the man, poking his pistol. “I want my money back.”

“Okay, okay,” replied Splints. “I could use the extra money anyway.”

The dealer burned and flopped. Queen of diamonds, jack of diamonds, six of diamonds.

“Well shit,” said the man. “You wouldn’t happen to have two perfectly cut diamonds in your hand now would you? That’d be some mighty bad luck.”

“No point in waiting to find out.” Splints flipped his cards. The warrior did the same to reveal two jacks.

“Looks like this one isn’t going your way,” said the man.

“You can’t win them all.”

The dealer put down the fourth card. Three of hearts.

“Still not looking good for you, Pal,” said the man.

“We’re not finished here just yet,” said Splints.

The dealer revealed the last card. Queen of hearts.

The man picked his pistol up and Splints ducked under the table. Three shots went off as the sleuth crawled to the other side and grabbed the man’s leg. He yanked as hard as he could and took the man off balance. The gun going off into the ceiling as the man fell. Splints crawled forward and delivered a punch into the man’s face, but received a knock to the side of the head with the pistol in return. The two rolled over and the man aimed the pistol up the nose of the detective.

“Any last words?” asked the man.

“I didn’t finish my drink.”

The man scoffed and before he could pull the trigger Splints grabbed the pistol and pulled it aside, the bullet hitting the floor beside him.

While the attacker was surprised Splints was able to roll over and kick him off. With the pistol empty the odds were even.

“You’re one lucky son of a — ”

Before the man could finish he fell to the floor. Behind him was the dealer holding the legs of the broken wooden chair.

“Take your winnings, Sir, please,” said the dealer. “Go down, down,” his arms were shaking, “to the Lucky Lass Saloon and they’ll cash them for you there.”

“How’s the steak over there?”

“W — what?”

“Never mind. Thanks for the assist.” He gathered his chips and left four hundred dollars worth on the table. “I’d shove that into your pockets and get out of here before he wakes up.”

The dealer nodded and stuffed his pockets.

“Do you think he’ll be okay?” asked the dealer.

“Hard to say,” replied Splints, “he doesn’t seem all that lucky.”