Debt of Honor: Part 2 of 4
A Charles Splints Case
The following night there was a game happening in the cellar of a new bar on East Ave. The bartender tipped me off to it the night before, told me they offer credit if you’re strapped. I’m not the kind of guy to partake in these games, usually, but the cases had dried up and things were looking dire. The code at the door to be let into the game, which had to be whispered to a burly man with his arms folded, was 4–22–14, probably some kid’s birthday.
The room was packed, and cleaner than I imagined. Men and women both young and old sat in a room full of cigar smoke and the pine smell of gin. There was a spot open for me at one of the tables next to a guy with a feather on his cap, I didn’t rule out the possibility that we was Robin Hood and planned to take us all for our cash.
“Haven’t seen you here before,” said Robin. “The name’s — ”
“Nice to meet you.” I cut him off on purpose, not like anyone would use their real names in a place like this anyway.
“Uh, yeah, nice to meet you. We’re playing Texas Hold’em tonight. You a fan of poker?”
“Depends if I win or not.”
The dealer tossed out the cards. I picked mine up, two of clubs and seven of hearts.
“I’m out.” I tossed the cards face down to the dealer. Robin Hood stuck out a grubby hand and took a look at them.
“A braver man would’ve bluffed that.”
“I’m not the hero type,” I replied. “I’ll take my chances when the time is right.”
The time was never right. The dealer had a vendetta against me, or my karma was off. Maybe I should’ve helped that elderly man with his groceries the other day, maybe I shouldn’t have slammed the door on my landlord at the beginning of the month. Maybe it’s just my turn to deal with tough times, it makes the rounds and found its way back to me.
“That’s it,” I said.
I sat there with a complimentary scotch as the game carried on without me. As I sat there I started wondering how I was going to make it out. Would they need collateral? I was doomed, unless, they could be bought off with cheap booze and decent coffee.
The coffee and booze offer didn’t fly. I told the man at the door I’d need some time, a week or so, and they’d have the cash in hand. The man at the door was just as big as the barkeep from the night before, but knew well enough to leave the sunglasses in his beach bag. It was Thursday and I was given until Friday to pay up. I’d doubled my debt and time was running out to pay it off. At least the guy at the door let me know what would happen if I didn’t pay up, which was nice of him, considering it offered a hefty incentive to take a crack at that bank.