He looked around the street then got out of his car pretty certain we were alone.
“Silverback shows you his cards doesn’t he?” He smiled the smile most men give to their mother-in-laws when the meal they’ve just eaten was barely edible. I remember thinking how does this guy keep getting elected? To me he was as transparent as they come. He was the type of guy if he saw your hole cards he wouldn't say and thing and just rob you blind. The type that would be a super-user on those online poker
“Not really, so he doesn’t show them… but you see them?” The smile some how got bigger, “Huh, kid?”
“Sometimes… look, I’m not…”
“Don’t worry kid, I’m your councilman after all, you can trust me.” He reached out what he meant to be a comforting hand on my shoulder. I had to stop myself from stepping back from it in revulsion. He whispered, “You know what he’s got on me?”
“Got on you…”
“How he always seems to win a hand off me. I can never beat the guy. Never! What’s he got on me kid.”
“I don’t know,” I lied. “ I just read the cards on the table to him, I don’t follow what he’s doing.”
“Don’t lie to me kid, I see you watching his hands! How much does Silverback pay you? Whatever it is quadruple it, and that’s what I’ll pay you. All you have to do is scratch your nose when he’s got a big hand and touch anywhere else on your face when he doesn’t.”
“I’m sorry sir, but I can’t.” I started to turn and the comforting hand on my shoulder turned into a death grip.
“I’m sorry but you can son.” As he said that two large men got out the backseat of his car, “This is officer Mallory and officer Simpson. They are my private security. They make sure that certain things go my way. Do I need them to make sure you scratch your nose when you are supposed to?”
When I went in for my next shift, the bartender asked me what was eating me. I shrugged and got prepped for the evening session in a daze. The bartender saw me dragging my shoulders and said “Something’s bothering you kid, you don’t have to talk about it… but remember you’ll make that right decision, trust yourself you are a smart kid."
He continued, "If it’s some girl don’t worry she won’t be the only one to make you feel that way you’ll get over her and the 100 that come after her, believe me, if it’s your parents better to listen to them now then wake up one day and wish they could talk to you when they are gone, and if it’s something about the game, don’t forget that last boy that worked it ended up on a… milk carton.”
How could I forget, I thought to myself.
That night Two Times showed up with a pep in his step. He smiled a little too broadly at Silverback and even acknowledged me with a nod and a lingering eye lock. Tracking behind him was his friend officer Mallory who was sitting in the game too.
Him introduced himself as though we hadn't met and said "I normally like to play a good Sit and go but I'll try your game tonight." Silverback patted the man on the back in his welcoming way and then Mallory stuck out his huge paw toward me.
He shook my hand more than sternly and I tried not to wince as it felt like every little bone was about to break.
The night started out strange, on some nights I could see most of Silverback’s hands and on other nights he’d guard them even from me, but on that evening I saw every single hand. Two Times was all smiles despite losing some hands to the other players at the table.
To be continued...