The Game #2

Edward swung his legs off the cot and sat up.  As he surveyed the room he realized that everyone here was a top ranked pro.  As a matter of fact, they were the very best in the game.  That recognition gave him some small comfort; these were his peers and some were even his friends.  It also raised a very large question mark in Edward’s mind.  What the hell were they all doing here?  For that matter, where exactly was here?

Edward stood up and steadied himself against the wall.  His headache subsided a bit but it was still there, pounding in sync with his heartbeat.  After getting his legs, Edward walked over to Craig and Angela.

“Craig, Angela.  You guys have any idea what the hell is going on here?” Edward asked the couple.

“Nope, we were hoping you had some idea”, Craig answered.  “This party looks like something you’d cook up.”

Angela’s nearly black eyes bored into Edward’s forehead.  “You look like hell, Teraneau.  Rough night?”

“I have no idea”, Edward said.  “Last thing I remember was getting off the elevator at the Bellagio.  What about you two?  Any idea how you got here?”

“Not a one”, Craig said.  “Same as you, last thing I remember is getting into a taxi and telling the driver to take me to the MGM.  Woke up on the couch about fifteen minutes ago.”

“Me too”, Angela said.  “I can remember heading into the ladies room outside the card room at the Bellagio.  Woke up on the couch next to Craig.  Thought I’d finally slipped into the gutter and slept with him.”  Angela shot her trademark smile at the man they called “The Rock Hound” to show she was teasing.

“Well, I’m ready to get out of here”, Edward said.  “My head is killing me, I’m thirsty and I need to sleep in a bed.”

“Good luck with that”, Craig shot back.  “This place doesn’t have any doors or windows.  It’s not like we’ve all been sitting around while you were taking your little nap.  There is a fridge over there with water and juice, though.”

Edward walked in the direction Craig had indicated.  Until now, he hadn’t paid much attention to the table in the center of the room.  As he walked past, it was obviously set up for poker.  That made a little sense, but also raised a bunch of questions.  Edward opened the fridge and pulled out a bottle of water.  He twisted off the cap and drained it in a few gulps.  His headache dropped another notch or two, but was still annoying him.  He pulled out another bottle and took a few sips.  Looking around the room, Edward took a mental roll call of the players present.  In addition to Craig and Angela, Tim Feldman and George Varney occupied the two over stuffed chairs at the end of the room.  Tommy Chen, Bill Weldon, Ginger Halstead and Nelly Overton stood together talking behind the table and rounded out the group.  Edward walked around the table and joined the conversation.

“…… some kine of sick joke if you ask me”, Tommy said.  “Man oh man, I got a bad feeling about dis for sure.”

Bill Weldon, aka “the Poker Punk”, looked like he was ready to blow a gasket.  “All I know is I’m going to kick someone’s ass up between their shoulders.  This is imprisonment and I’ve had enough!”  He walked over to the panel covered wall and slammed his fist against it.  The blow made a resounding boom but the panel held fast.

“Ouch, that’s gonna leave a mark”, Ginger said.  “Bill, come on back and give it a rest.  No sense in breaking bones over this.”

“Yeah, man, Barcelona all over again”, Tommy chimed in.  “You play dat final table wit a cast.  I don tink it help you game any.”

As the occupants of the room watched Bill rub his fist, the panel across from the table slid open and a man in a gray Armani suit entered the room.


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