- The scene: A small, grimy, bare bones bar. There are a few dark-skinned Locals of one sort or another sitting here and there, but no one speaks. An ancient ceiling fan rotates at snail’s speed, just to give the dust motes something to do.
At the bar hunches a scruffy, long-haired beach bum – linen shirt rumpled and partially unbuttoned, sandals, shorts. The bum is not a Local. The bum does not look inviting. The bum nurses a glass of warm scotch, or probably rum, in these parts, and flick, flick, flicks away at a deck of cards.
A silhouette fills the doorway. The newcomer stands there, features hidden by the glare of the outside sun, taking in the scene. His eyes come to rest on the bum, and he squares his shoulders somewhat.
“How the hell did you find me here?” flick flick “I specifically told Gloria I’d be in Vienna.”
The newcomer approaches the bar, gestures to the barkeep, makes a grimace of distaste at the close-up effect of the bum’s appearance.
“How’s the card game going? You win that damn thing yet?”
flick flick “Damn!” The bum throws the cards down in disgust. “I tell you the game is unwinnable. I’ve been holed up here on this island for… how long? with one game, and I can’t win the damn thing. The Nightmares always pile up too much to balance them out. Bloody nuisance.”
“Yeah, that’s great. Look, you’ve got to come back. The tourna–”
“I told you I’m not doing any more of those damned tournaments of yours. You parade my freakish cleverness around like I’m a trained seal, and I’m tired of doing tricks.”
“Fine, you want me to tell you? I’ll tell you. He’s going to enter.”
“What the hell are you talking about, he? Who—no. I thought I shut him down in Minsk.”
“He’s back, Suzanna. The Cheaty Italian is back.”
The bum drains her drink and dumps the cards into a sack.
“Well, I guess we’d better get going, then.”
Once More to the Table will be on hiatus for the coming week, as its writing staff, which is to say, I, will be in the West Indies struggling through a week in the jungle, with a side of beach.
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Who is this Suzanna person, anyway?
Suzanna's passions are gaming, dogs, and writing. She also loves reading, travel, and cranberry juice. Above all else, she would have it be said that she is compassionate, funny, and too clever by half.
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