Flushed

Flushed

By Maz McCoy

From beneath the brim of the silver-trimmed, black hat, dark eyes rested on the $25,000 pot. The player’s shrewd gaze moved to his cards. A royal flush. And, yup, flushes were being played; he’d checked. With a rueful, dimpled smile, he took the only choice he had.
“I fold.”

“WHAT?” a man exclaimed. “I fold? Are you crazy? With a hand like that! Why that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever read.”

“It’s only a story,” the author said, trying to placate the dark-haired ex-outlaw.

“Well, not a very realistic one!” He sat down heavily in a chair, clearly unimpressed.

“It’s just this month’s challenge. Max has given us a starter sentence and…”

“Max?” He shot back to his feet.

“Yes.”

“But she likes me, more than that other fella.”

“Hey!” came a cry from the bed, where a blond ex-outlaw sat, legs stretched out in front of him, back propped against scatter cushions, reading.

“You know what I mean,” Heyes placated, turning his attention back to the screen. “So what are you going to write?”

“I don’t know,” Maz told him. “I just can’t get any ideas this month.”

“I’m not surprised with a sentence like that. I mean my girls know, and I mean KNOW, that I would never fold with a hand like that.”

“Depends on what’s at stake,” commented Kid.

“What do you mean?”

“Max must have felt there was a good reason for you to lose deliberately.”

“Hmm.” He turned to Maz. “What’s the good reason?”

“If I knew that I could write the story.”

“Well, think of something!”

She turned to glare at him.

“If you’re so darn smart, dimples, you think of something!”

Kid laughed and dimples…I mean Heyes…shot a glare at his partner.

“All right, I will.” Heyes stood next to Maz. “I’ll dictate and you type.”

“Okay. Ready when you are, Mr. Heyes.”

“I fold, he said and then he woke up.”

Maz looked at him.

“That’s it?”

“Yeah.”

“It was a dream?”

“With that much at stake, it was a nightmare.”

“All right but I have to write more than and then he woke up.”

“Why? It’s succinct, pithy, to the point.”

“You’re repeating yourself.”

“You’re not typing.”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“The readers will expect more.”

“Hmmm.” Heyes paced back and forth. “Tell them to come back next month and maybe you’ll shoot the blond one again.”

“Hey!”

“I like your thinking, Mr Heyes,” Maz said.

“Hey!”

Maz began to type.

From beneath the brim of the silver-trimmed, black hat, dark eyes rested on the $25,000 pot. The player’s shrewd gaze moved to his cards. A royal flush. And, yup, flushes were being played; he’d checked. With a rueful, dimpled smile, he took the only choice he had.
“I fold.”

….and then he woke up.

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