The question is pushed aside by the urgent need to dispel a few things. I forget everything in my rush to the bathroom. Caesar took a little long to return, didn’t he. I flush it away and remember the cart that’s still in the room.
I return to my little corner of insanity and grab a random platter and the note, curling up in the blanket. As I eat slowly from the platter while staring at the note, my mind pulls the whole “Daisy game,” zooming back and forth between the good and the bad. He means it, he lied. He’ll find me, he’ll forget me. He’s worth knowing, he’s worth forgetting.
My fork scrapes the now empty plate. I throw it back on the cart and grab my pants. My hand clasps around my lighter in my pocket. I make my way to one of the candles left from some other guests; I choose the tallest one and move it out of the draft so I can light it with security.
I throw my later on the bed and walk into he bathroom, another shower is in order. As the water cleanses me, one question resurfaces with every drop.
What kind of life do I live?
An odd one. A truly prime and odd life.
Maybe, for once, “odd” isn’t so bad.
Feeling refreshed, I go to the van outside. It’s the only thing that’s the same from last night, but that’s okay. I turn on the engine and pick a road. My window down, my hair flying in the wind, a smile on my face, I realize how different one little thing can make you. It doesn’t matter, in under twenty-four hours I went from the pregnant plaything of an idiot to the pregnant woman with a car and cash, and security-Never forget security. Question is, where do I go from here?
A shopping center looms a mile or more away, that’s a start. I pull in and immediately hit the kiddie stores; my mother taught me one good thing: buy in surplus when ever you can. As I chow down at the food court, my mind flows back to him, and I feel the guilty sensation of not having thanked him for what he did.
Guilt, go ahead and live on, I doubt I’ll see him again. But wishful thinking never hurt anybody.
Although I have no clue about the size of this town, I have a distinct feeling that I somehow made my way across it. An hour or so ago, I found a side road and decided to take it.
I think it’s just an old trail to the water because that’s all I see ahead, hills and water. Okay, I take that back. Something peeks over the hill I’m cresting. I think it’s a gondola. It would be fun to take a rest by the water.
I park the van in the parking lot of what I now realize is not a gondola but something else. I walk in and see just what it is. A casino. I try not to call attention to myself, but that’s kind of hard when you look like somebody’s angst ridden, pregnant teen. A man walks up to me, smiling quite devilishly, and I mean that in a bad way. “May I have some identification please?”
I look at him, trying my best to return his smarmy attitude, “No, you may not.” With just a hint of malice, that statement should have told him just how I feel.
I think I hit the nail on the head, he stops smiling and points at a table far off to the other side of the casino, “That’s the kiddie cuawnah, go theah and see if you can beat the pups.” His saccharine smile returns, providing me with a not so wonderful discovery: asses can smile!
I stifle the urge to not only flip him the bird, but drop kick him and brand him with a brassie. I give him a curt nod and walk towards the puppy-pen.
Should I growl to assert my leadership? No, that wouldn’t be nice; I did just take their money after all. I shuffle the cards as the three men I just played sit and stare at me in confusion and anger. What? Was I supposed to be bad at this?
I look past them at the table where I heard at least ten bets of a thousand dollars apiece, that could be fun. “Sorry fellas, but I think it’s time to broaden my horizons.” Placing the cards down on the table, I stand up and walk cautiously over to my new playing field. Here’s hoping the big boys still have their toys.
I gently tap one of the player’s shoulder, leaning in really close to his ear, “Hey mistah, can ai play a game with you?”
This guy must be some kind of good, he doesn’t even stir at my arrival, simply folds his hand to his chest and looks me right in the eyes- I know what he’s not trying to look at. “Whay hey, purty laday, what’d ye have in mind?” He winks at me and raises an eyebrow.
Guess he can’t tell a business deal from a flirt. Anway….
I need him to stand up and move so I can sit and play. Standing up a bit straighter, I place a hand over his cards and bat my eyelashes as I murmur, “Why, I just wanted to now if I could try this heah game yerall playin’?” I want his cards, badly.
He looks at me; I think he realizes that he prejudged the wrong book. “Hun, can you play?”
Can I play? Leaning into his ear again, I whisper, “I bet you half the winnings that I can turn this crappy hand of yours into a winning one.” The guy across the table catches my eye. He’s cold and calculating, his eyes are the only thing that betrays him. His body says that this is nothing but a delay in his win, but his eyes are screaming “I quit if she sits! I swear I will!”
The guy I’ve been talking to removes his ten-gallon hat and fans himself with it, winking on the sly at me, “Boys, I’m gon get me some fresh air, let the purty lady play my hand while I’m gone.” Like a paranoid idiot, he passes me his cards under the cover of his hat. Nobody wants his stupid hand! Nobody!
I accept the hand with a big grin on my face and take my place at the table. Before I’m even comfortable in the seat, Wary Eyes slaps his hand down and growls, “I fold! I ain’t about to be hoodwinked by sum buxom idiot!”
Okay, one down, three to confuse. I give him a quaint smile, “one out of two ain’t bad mistah, but your butt whooped.” I shift around, staring at the cards as if they’re depicted with hieroglyphics, my eyes squinted in confusion. The remaining players seem to relax a bit having pegged me as an air-head. I look at them each in turn, giving them all my mega-watt smile. I look back at my cards, losing my smile. I do a bit of counting on my fingers and, look up at the ceiling like I’m working on calculus in my head. “Oh mai, I thank I got something?”
The guys exchange looks with one another before all looking at me like a specimen on a wet slide, “We fold.” Woo, add a beat, a little bit more harmony, and they would have had a something melodic there. I smile at my own little joke and rip the dippy look right off my face.
“Lookie here boys, I came to play with the big dogs in a real game. Can ya’ll play a real game, or should ya’ll just give me your money now?”
One guy scoffs, glaring hard at me, “Well, shuffle then Pup.” He slides his cards across the table and leans back against his chair as if waiting for a movie to start. The guy to his left sits up straighter in his chair, stretching his handful of cards towards me, “Let’s play.” The third guy simply flings his hand of cards at me one at a time, “I’ll bite, but you better be good.” He sneers with his last card.
I collect up their cards, making sure not to put my own hand back in the deck. “Alright, guess I’m dealing this hand, let’s go. But, I just thought you’d like fair warning.” I raise my cards and face them towards the others, “Not a one of these cards is any good, so, yeah, don’t underestimate the pup.” I shrug and shuffle the cards into the deck before dealing the game. This should be fun.
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