Darkness filled the room, even in the daytime. Cal liked it that way. There was one window, but even that was covered with a blind. Today, however, a single ray of sunlight escaped its prison and penetrated the glass. The sunlight mixing itself with the smoke filled room. Dottie hated the smoke; and the cheap perfume that Kathy always wore. It gave her migraines. The whole thing made her sick. Why did she keep coming back?
“Are you in?” Cal barked.
“I guess.” Dottie tossed the last of her money into the pot “But that’s it boys…”
“Boys?” Kathy snapped! She hated the way Dottie included her in with the guys. She was all girl; and she made sure she dressed and smelt the part. Always. Just cause Dottie couldn’t keep her man, was no reason Kathie couldn’t have him.
Cal gave a slight smirk. He almost enjoyed this banter. Even more, he enjoyed the look on Doug’s face. He was a lady’s man? Ha! So he thought. But put him in the middle of these two women; it was a riot! He did get himself into it though.
“Let’s get on with the game.” Cal insisted.
Doug silently threw in his chips. He kept his eyes intently on his card, avoiding contact with either of the girls.
“I fold.” Cal threw his cards in. “Shit.” Cal lit another cigarette and took a long drag.
“I’m out too.” Dottie threw in her cards and started to get up.
“Can’t take any more? I guess the best gal does wins …. again.”
Dottie stopped dead in her tracks. Her face became red and she held her breath, refusing to let the tears fall. Slowly Dottie turned and sat down.
“OK, one final game,” She hissed.
“Do you have anything left to play… this isn’t a charity game,” snapped Cal. He looked back and forth between Kathy and Dottie. He had liked watching their little game; but when it affected him, it got old.
“Is this good enough for you?” Dottie answered Cal, never taking her eyes off of Kathy. She slapped down an envelope. Kathy snatched it up before Cal had a chance. Doug’s mouth dropped open.
“Dottie,” Doug almost whispered. It was the first words he had spoken that day, other than to play the game. “The house?”
“Play,” Dottie’s voice cracked.
“No.” Kathy pushed the envelope back and for a split second Doug thought he saw in her what he had left Dottie for… but then…
“Sign it first!”
Dottie grabbed the envelope from her hands; scoured through her purse for a pen. Then quickly signed her name and threw the whole mess back in the middle of the table as if holding it any longer might burn her fingers.
Cal lit another cigarette. “Play, Doug, it’s your deal.”
The cards were dealt. The antes were in.
“Fold.” Doug tossed in his cards. Kathy looked up at him startled. She had expected more of him. He didn’t look back.
“Damn! I’m out too! I would have enjoyed that house!” Cal threw his cards to the center of the table. He then got up and “fixed” the blind. What light that was coming in before, was no more.
The game was down to the girls. Dottie wiggled in her seat. Kathy smirked.
“Well, well… unless you can show me a high card there, it looks to me as if you have lost your house. I don’t think you can beat this pair.
Dottie slowly lifted up the corner of her card and peeked. Her eyes blazed and then calmed. She stood.
Kathy gave a wicked laugh. “I knew it. The house is mine!”
“Ya… it’s yours.” Dottie pick up her purse, pulled on her sweater and started for the door once again. As she reached for the knob, she stopped and turned.
“Oh, Kathy … I forgot to mention. There’s a lean. Due tomorrow. Half a mill or they foreclose. Sure glad to get THAT off my back. Bye now.”