Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Forty--Room Service

[To start from the beginning, click on Chapter One in the archives to the right.]

There came a knock at the hotel door, just as Pertman and Quincy came to realize, by listening to Piotr's horribad rap album on his iphone, that the Quincy's young Russian agent, manager, and accountant was in the midst of an evil plot to steal Quincy's money, to re-kidnap his kidnapped girlfriend, and to leave Quincy brokenhearted and busto.

In a daze, Pertman walked to the door and asked, "Who is it?"

"Room service."

She gave Quincy a glance.  He shrugged, shook his head.

"We didn't order anything," she replied.

"Room service!" the voice responded, louder than before.

"No thanks."

"Free food.  Yum yum."  A whisper now.

The persistence of the voice was beginning to tilt the shit out of Quincy.  He got up from the bed and started moving toward the door.

Pertman was also aggravated.  She ordered, "Leave it by the door!"

She tried to peek through the peephole but saw only darkness.  Were the lights off in the hallway?  Or was someone's thumb blocking her view?

After a long moment of silence from the other side of the door, the voice queried softly, "Leave it by the door?  No yum yums?  No tip?"

Pertman and Quincy exchanged a quizzical look.  What kind of delivery man had ever requested a gratuity before?  Was this guy new?  A new hire from a country where tip-demanding was a cultural norm?  And which country would that be?

Matching the stranger's voice, Pertman whispered, "No tip."

The voice whispered slightly louder, "No tip?"

"No tip."


She frowned.  "What's baksheesh?"


"No baksheesh."

"No tip?"




"Room service.  Yum yums."

"Back to square one," Natalia muttered.  "Fuck."

Quincy gave it a try.  "Do you speak English?" he asked the door.

"Mocha soy caramel no whip with fries," the voice answered.


"Whopper cheese no onion no mustard no mayo no lettuce no tomato.  No bun."

"Dude, just leave the food by the door."

"No tip, no food, no bun."

Pertman put a finger over her lips, and Quincy obliged by falling silent.  They put their ears to the door.  After another silence, they heard footsteps approaching.  The footsteps stopped, and an urgent whispered conversation ensued.  It appeared to be in a foreign language.  

Then there was a firm, professional tap on the door.  Pertman glance at Quincy; he nodded.

"Yes?" Pertman asked.

"Pardon the intrusion," a polished voice with a British accent responded, "but the Rio management wanted to offer a complimentary meal  for Mr. Capers and his guests.  We shall be content to leave the trays at the door, but a bottle of wine is included with the meal, and we take great pride in ensuring that our spirits meet the approval of our guests before departing.  If you would be so kind as to open the door, I can prepare a glass for Mr. Capers to taste."

Nothing spells authority and sophistication to an American teenager like a British accent.  Quincy turned the knob and opened the door . . . and immediately felt the cool metal of a gun barrel against his forehead, pushing him backward into his room.

"Yum," said a familiar voice.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thirty-Nine--Piotr's Album

While Piotr and Arvin made themselves scarce, and while Natalia Pertman and Quincy Capers played Grand Theft Auto 3 until the early morning hours, Quincy's forgotten monster stack from the $3,000 limit holdem tournament was slowly but surely sucked away by the other players at the table, especially Bill Chen, the player sitting to the immediate right of Quincy's chip mountain.  Every time another player tried to raise Capers' big blind, Bill Chen protectively reraised, and he continued to win despite playing a majority of his hands out of position from the small blind.  In an Asian v. Asian final battle, Chen would go on to take first in the event and collect a cash prize of $343,618 after grappling briefly with Yueqi "Rich" Zhu, who in turn would take $184,409 in runner-up cash and spend a significant chunk of it trying unsuccessfully to bang every Asian non-prostitute in sight who resembled the Taiwanese librarian from Albany, New York, who broke his heart in a Toyota Corolla in 1994 while the radio played "Whatta Man" by Salt-N-Pepa, thereby recreating his original failure like a real-life horror movie being replayed endlessly before his eyes.

Zhu wrote a short story about his original rejection, his 2nd place tournament finish, and his subsequent 32 additional rejections--noting with elegant prose how each additional rejection was a pale shadow of the original--and mailed it to the New Yorker, which turned him down four months later, thus giving his failure three dimensions: sexual, poker, and literary.

Quincy's forgotten stack placed 86th, out of the money.

Because Capers had been dressed as a sixty-year-old farmhand, his makeup expert even going so far as to freckle the back his neck with precancerous lesions, Chen had begun his post-victory interview with Tiffany Michelle by saying, "I couldn't have won without the hillbilly who hit every draw and crushed the table and then got bored and left me all of his chips."  Then, nonsensically, he added,  "Shout out to the heartland!  Grapes of Wrath is my favorite movie!"

Quincy didn't remember any of it.  He was too busy trying to conquer the "Espresso 2 Go" mission for the 25th time in Grand Theft Auto III.  Pertman kept dying at the first shop, so Quincy grabbed the controller from her and told her to get back in her cage.  Ignoring him, she headed toward the bathroom, but grabbed an iphone on the way, figuring the hotel's room service menu might be online.

The reader might be surprised that Ms. Pertman didn't bother to pick up the room service menu that had been sitting next to the iphone or to think about calling the police to save her.  In response, the narrator offers three significant pieces of evidence to support her failure to attempt escape.  Natalia Pertman is a

(1) young

(2) Russian

(3) girl.

When she returned a couple minutes later, she held the iphone in front of Quincy's face and said, "Check this out."

Quincy tried to look around the phone, but soon his GTA character was mowed down by police.  He took the iphone.  "What?"

"Just click on the file that reads 'The Russian Jew of Hip Hop.'"

He did.

What he heard next was unmistakably the voice of Piotr, rapping over a drumbeat.

Papa grabbed by Mama by the pigtails, said, "I'ma
Take you outta here, don't you never fear,
Just ride with the Balla in the rusty Impala."

She said, "Where'd you get your soul?"
And he said, "I don't know!"
And she said, "Where'd you get your soul?"
And he said, "I don't know!"
And she said, "Where'd you get your soul?"

And he said, "I don't know!"
And she said, "Who the fuck are you?"
And he said, "The Russian with soul!"

Took her to America, which made her all hysterical
No more Moscow, no frozen cows, no lines for toilet paper,
No waiting for warm water, no--

But she said, "Frozen cows?"
"It's just a song!"
And she said, "Frozen cows?"
"Just a song!"
And she said, "Frozen cows?"
"Just a song!"
And she said, "Who the fuck are you?"
"The Russian with soul!"

So then he laid her down, played some Marvin Gaye
Told her to never fear, then pumped her till I appeared.

Yeah, I just pop pop popped out, right?
Just like a gymnast, did a backflip from the womb,
Landed like doom and then I grabbed the mic.

Then they named me Pio, they should've gone with Neo,
At birth they called me Gleeman, but you know, trust me, man,

I stuff it like Buffett.
Who the fuck are you?
I stuff it like Buffett.
Who the fuck are you?
I stuff it like Buffett.
Who the fuck are you?
I stuff it like Buffett.

Quincy clicked pause.  For a long moment, they just stared at each other.

"He repeats himself a lot," Quincy observed.

"The song is forty seconds long so far and it already has three choruses," Pertman noted.

"It's like an alien landed on the planet and asked an old lady what a rap song sounds like--"

"--And she explained it to the alien," Pertman continued.

"--And then the alien made a rap song--"

"--Without ever hearing one," Pertman finished.

After a moment of silent reflection, he said, "Is that the only song?"

"Well," she said slowly, "there's another one called 'My Asshole Manchild Boss.'"


"Then there's one called 'I Steal from My Boss.'  And--oh!--here's one: 'Russian Girls Are Only for Russian Guys.'"


"And after that one, there's a trio of songs in one file together: 'I'm Gonna Bankrupt my Boss,' 'I'm Gonna Kidnap my Boss's Girlfriend,' and 'Sweet, Tragic Russian Love.'"

"His boss sounds like a real asshole."

"Quincy, you're his boss."

"Right.  Forgot."  Quincy gave himself a second to catch up.  "Has that ever happened before?"


"A kidnapped girl gets kidnapped from her kidnapper."

In response, she pressed play.

I started out stealing like a Chechnyan or an Uzbek, figured what the heck,
Just saw the money on the table, unaccompanied,
And I figured I could snatch it never seen,
Then throw it online, make an account on ETrade, and for all my trouble,
I quickly grabbed some stock in Allegheny Technologies and watched my money double,
Then I flipped it all real quick in Terex, no doubts, no whining,
Because I know the P/Es in construction and mining,
Dumped it after six weeks with a profit, then as my best retort,
I jumped right into NeoPharm, selling that shit short,
So when it went down eighty-four percent,
I slipped out with my profit to count my money,
50 thou to 300k in six months, that's how you do it, honey.

I stuff it like Buffett.
(That's what I said)
I stuff it like Buffett.

What followed was silence.  They stared at one another, not knowing what to think of it all.

"It picks up steam when he starts talking about money," Pertman conceded.

Before Quincy could reply, there was a knock at the door.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Thirty-Eight--State of Confusion

Quincy reclining on the bed, Piotr sitting at the desk chair, and Arvin slumping on the recliner, they focused their attention on Natalia Pertman, trapped in a cage at the foot of the king-size bed.  They stared at her in complete confusion, and she returned their stares with amusement and anger, a mixture of emotions that only made the trio more bemused than they had been before.  Behind her, the TV, muted, was playing a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

"It's not eating," Arvin observed.

It took Quincy a second to realize that when Arvin said it, he meant Natalia Pertman.

The cage was equipped with three different perches, a water dish full to the brim with Evian, and a food dish stocked with baby carrots, celery sticks, Brazil nuts, and prunes.

"Plus I haven't seen it use any of the perches," Arvin continued, in a tone indicating that he found Natalia Pertman to be a boring pet that refused to play with her toys.

"Should I put a pizza in there?" Piotr wondered aloud.

Arvin struggled to sit up.  "You don't feed it pizza.  You buy it a wheel.  Maybe it likes to run in circles.  What pet doesn't enjoy exercise?  Or you get it a chew toy.  Chew toys are a lock."  Childlike, he plugged his pinkie into his nostril up to the second knuckle.  "Or how about a little bell?  Let it hang down in front of its face.  I bet it likes to ring bells.  Half a dozen little bells.  Ringing bells all day long.  Bells are fun."

Piotr eyed Arvin, realizing with dawning horror that the manchild in the recliner wasn't joking, that Arvin had not only forgotten that their captive was a Hollywood starlet, but he couldn't even remember what type of pet she was supposed to be--what kind of bird, after all, uses a hamster wheel?--while Quincy just stared at Pertman, mesmerized.

Finally, Natalia gave a slow nod, Quincy in her sights.  "You spent all of this time trying to catch me," she said.  "You built the cage, got the movie script, director, other actors . . . everything.  But you don't have a plan for me.  Now that you've got me, you don't know what to do with me.  You don't know how the movie ends."

"I know how the movie ends," Quincy replied.

Natalia laughed, sensing a bluff.  

Her speech must've triggered a realization in Arvin's brain, because suddenly he spouted, "Get her a companion.  Someone to play with."

When Natalia asked, "Like who?" Quincy began to blush.

"I was thinking of the hot chick from That '70s Show," Arvin said.

"The redhead?" asked Piotr.  "That's Laura Prepon.  Not that hot."

"I meant the hot chick."

"Alexis Dziena?"

"Who?  . . . You've never even seen That '70s Show," Arvin accused.

"Just a coupla times," Piotr admitted, but walking past the cage to where Arvin was lying, he showed Arvin his iphone screen.  "This is Alexis Dziena in Broken Flowers.  Her nude scene."

"She's naked," Arvin replied.

"That's what nude means."

"Cheese and crackers!  Let's get that chick for the pet.  Mila Kunis too.  We can put ecstasy in their Evian and then eat a tub of popcorn while they make out."

"Arvin," Piotr said, taking back his phone, "that's the most intelligent thing you've ever said."

Arvin shrugged.  "They've gotta drink water sometime.  Why not drug it?"

Piotr went to work on his iphone.  A minute later he said, "No good.  Dziena's in Morocco filming for Sofia Coppola, and Kunis is in New York City with McCauley Culkin."

Just as Arvin and Piotr seemed to be out of options, Quincy said, "Guys.  Could you go downstairs for a while?"

"Yeah, guys.  Could you go downstairs for a while?" Natalia repeated.  

Piotr glanced at Quincy, but Quincy wouldn't take his eyes off of Pertman.  Pertman wouldn't take her eyes off of Quincy.  "Arvin, let's go get you seven Whoppers," Gleeman said, opening the door.

"Okie dokie."

When they were gone, Quincy approached the cage, inserted the key in the lock, and opened the door.  Slowly, Natalia stepped out of the cage, crossed to the bed, and sat.  Quincy sat next to her.  She turned to him, tilted her head, and closed her eyes.

"It's called Grand Theft Auto," Quincy whispered.  She opened her eyes and saw the controller on the bed next to her hand.  "You can shoot anybody."

She raised an eyebrow.  "This is why you kidnapped me?  To play a video game?"

"It's a really good game."

"Is this the game that taught you how to kidnap movie stars?"

"You can't kidnap in this game.  You can do everything else though."

Her character hopped into a taxi and ran over a pedestrian.  Instantly, cops were in close pursuit.  "So . . . where'd you learn how to kidnap?"

"Past experience."

"How did that work out for you?"

"Not so good."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Director: Okay, Ms. Pertman.  In this scene, Bennie the Pimp is going to lose control of himself.  He's high on his own supply and hallucinating, you see, and he thinks that you're a knife-wielding monkey that wants to cut out his lungs.  So his state of mind is self-defense.  So as he's flailing around, he's gonna rip your blouse off, at which point the audience will be exposed to exactly four boob-seconds--

Natalia Pertman: Zero boob-seconds.

Director: Right.  That's what I meant to say.  I meant to say that this scene is not where he rips your blouse off while hallucinating that you're a knife-wielding monkey, such that viewers will not get to see your glorious ta tas bouncing around gloriously during the struggle.

Pertman: Right.

Director: So then, you won't be naked, so then I guess we'll just do away with this sex scene that never happened.

Pertman: Right.

Director: The sex scene where you don't do film's first upside-down lapdance from a handstand.  An Oscar-worthy scene, containing 25.4 ass-seconds.

Pertman: Right.

Director: A lapdance that, upon completion, leads you to give special guest star Snoop Doggy Dogg himself, rap star and reggae star, a blowjob.  In the flesh.  In a dream.

Pertman: Are you fucking kidding me?

Director [shouting over his shoulder toward his assistants]: Tell Snoop Doggy Dogg the blowjob is out!

Assistant [yelling from a distance]: No blowjob for Snoop!  [Pause.]  Snoop wants to know--what about tomorrow?

Director [looking at Pertman inquisitively]: Uh, Snoop Doggy Dogg--

Pertman: I heard.  Not available.  Ever.

Director: Of course . . .  Would  a handjob be met with the same answer?

Pertman: Same fucking answer.

Director [yelling over his shoulder again]: Tell Snoop that Plan B is out!

Assistant [yelling from a distance]: Got it!  No finger magic for Snoop!

Director [yelling]: Tell Snoop maybe tomorrow!

Pertman: I quit.

Director [yelling]: Tell Snoop it'll never happen!

Assistant [yelling from distance]: Check!  No blowjobs for Snoop!  No handjobs for Snoop! 

Director [yelling]: Oh yeah!  Tell the body oil crew that their services are no longer necessary!

Assistant: Got it!  No need to oil Ms. Pertman's glorious breasts today!

Director: Correct!  We don't need her tits to be supply and shiny!  Fire the body oil crew!

Assistant: They're fired!  They're unemployed!  They've been stripped of their badges and are being escorted out of the hotel as we speak!

Director: When Las Vegas wonders why its unemployment rate rose two percent, tell them to contact Ms. Pertman's reps!

Assistant [mournful]: The body oil crew had children.

Assistant #2 [approaching Director with first assistant]: Those children started starving five seconds ago.

Assistant #1: Dying boys and girls just because Natalia Perman refused to give Snoop Dogg a little blowie.

Assistant #2: Or a handie.

Assistant #1: Not to mention the upside-down lapdance.

Assistant #2: I can visualize it perfectly.

Assistant #1: Natalia won't do a handstand, kids.  Say hello to food stamps.

Assistant #2: Government cheese is tasty.

Assistant #1: Is Ms. Pertman aware that the blowjob would've happened as part of a dream sequence?

Assistant #2: It would have been a dream blowjob.  Not even a real blowjob.  In a sense.

Assistant #1: Dream cock.  Not a real cock.

Assistant #2: Not even her real mouth.

Assistant #1: Dream mouth.

Assistant #2: Nothing real about it.  

Assistant #1: Except the paycheck.

Assistant #2: Of course.  

Assistant #1: The paycheck is always real.

Pertman: I quit.

Assistant #1: Forget everything we said.

Assistant #2: Apologies.  We didn't know you were eavesdropping.

Assistant #1: We were joking.  Poorly.

Director [Suddenly]: Enough of the chatter.  We're ready . . .  Annnnnnd action!

Upon hearing that magical word, Natalia Pertman snapped into character, all annoyances forgotten.  Suddenly, she was that naive, blackjack-addicted, broke hooker, and she was running down the hotel hallway, trying to get as far as possible from her demented, monkey-envisioning pimp.  She was a consummate pro.  

The cameraman followed her with a handheld as she ran down the hallway of the thirty-second floor, glancing over her shoulder at her unseen pursuer.  Her eyes darted with growing desperation at each hotel room door that she passed.  She tried a knob, then another.  No luck.  Lurching across to another door, she tried a third.  To her amazement, it opened.  She slipped inside.

Into complete darkness.  Curtains drawn.  She urged herself to step forward.  Heard the door softly shut behind her.  She took another step.  Another.  A half-dozen steps later, she suddenly felt the cool of metal on her forehead.  

"Huh?" she said.  

She heard the clang of a metal door shutting behind her.

Seconds later, the lights came on, brightness stabbing her eyes.  When her vision adjusted, she saw that she was alone in the room, except for a teenage boy sitting on the bed across from her.  No cameraman, no director, no assistants.  She was staring at him through bars of a cage in which she was trapped. 

"I know you," she said.  

"I'm Quincy Capers," he responded.  

"What the fuck is going on here?" she demanded.

He shrugged.  "I kidnapped you."

She rattled the cage door.  "Let me out of here."

He looked confused.  "Do you know how hard it was for me to get you in there?"

She glowered.  "Wait a second.  You're bankrolling my movie.  You gave me a brick of cash for lunch the other day."

"Yeah.  The movie's over now."

Seeing a stool behind her, she sat.  "When I call the cops, you're going to jail for a long, long time."

"No phone," Quincy said.

"I'll scream," she countered.

"I rented every room on the floor.  I spent last night screaming my head off.  Nobody complained.  Nobody knocked on the door."

She sighed.

"We planned it pretty good," Quincy said.

She sat quietly, wondering.  Finally, she said, "You mean that you started a movie production company, bought a script, rented every room on the floor of this hotel, built a cage, and set up a scene where I would unwittingly walk into this cage--all because you wanted to kidnap me?"

Hesitantly, Quincy nodded.

Natalia unexpectedly beamed.  "That's so romantic!"

Smiling, Quincy approached the cage.  He had a plate in his hand.  On the plate was a single apple slice, a baby carrot, and two cashew nuts.

"Hungry?" he asked, offering it.  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Thirty-Six: Method Acting

Alex Trebek, who once upon a time had been America's favorite game show host but had since transformed into the country's newest serial killer, had been haunting the Rio casino during the late-night filming of "Hit Me," an indie movie about a blackjack addict (Russian-born movie star Natalia Pertman) who goes broke, starts turning tricks for cash, gets slapped around by her pimp, and goes batshit loony.  The director expected it to be the first film to be rated R for bitchslapping.

From what Trebek could tell, they were filming the part of the movie where she was losing all of her dough.  Again and again, they filmed Pertman tapping the table to indicate a hit and then slumping in defeat as her chips and then her cards were scooped away by an indifferent blackjack dealer.

Trebek hadn't been spotted by law enforcement yet because he was using all of his skills in disguise.  Today, he was dressed to look like this:

Trebek, gazing upon horizon

It was a look that he felt was a considerable upgrade on yesterday's, in which he had spent six hours at the Seinfeld progressive slots looking a bit more jolly.

Trebek, high on nitrous oxide, after trip to dentist.
Three days ago, when plainclothes police officers had appeared at the periphery of the filming, flashing their badges and asking questions, Trebek, taking no chances, had spun his wheelchair around and headed off toward the men's bathroom.  He entered the john disguised as a middle-aged man suffering from polio and seven minutes later had exited the bathroom as an aging Romanian bronze medalist in the pole vault.  He crossed the casino and stepped into another bathroom near the poker rooms, exiting four minutes later dressed as a fat bearded man in a little purple coat.  Crossing his fingers, he stepped directly into the ladies' bathroom across from the men's, sighed with relief at finding it empty, and reappeared 40 seconds later dressed as Courtney Love.  He signed two autographs before slipping behind some video poker machines and poking back out from behind them dressed in three shades of drab gray, looking like a government worker in a communist state.  From there, he pretended to slip and fall near an unoccupied customer service station.  When he stood, he was a statuesque redhead with a fantastic rack.  He was so impressed with his breasts that he couldn't resist feeling himself up.

When he finished his self-massage, he looked up to see that the cops were gone.

Tonight, there were no such worries.  He felt comfortable enough to wander around a bit.  Slowly wandering was better for his finances, after all, than playing the slots, which turned out to be eating his cash at a faster rate than his ex-wife who, before he had snapped and killed two dozen people, had been receiving  alimony to the tune of $25k per month.  If he couldn't find a good time and place to kill Quincy Capers--and soon--he risked going broke.

After all, his expenses for disguises alone was costing him more than $4,000 each day.
And the high heels were killing his feet.

And the panties, despite being the largest size he could find, didn't have enough space for his crotch.  His testicles were being slowly, yet inevitably, being pushed up toward his asshole.  In the future, he'd just slice a hole and let himself freeball.

And what was he doing wearing panties anyway?

And when had he changed out of his tophat and tailcoat and dressed himself as a statuesque redhead again?

I'm a method actor, he concluded with pride.  When he dressed as a woman, he became a woman . . . until he changed his costume to appear to be ex-WWF wrestler the Iron Sheik, at which point he became the Iron Sheik, inhabiting his character so completely that when a waitress rudely asked whether he had really meant to order a Shirley Temple, he had--without breaking character--knocked her off her feet and put her into the camel clutch until she had passed out.

That had been a foolish move, drawing security.  Luckily, when they arrived, they came upon Trebek as a little old lady with Coke bottle eyeglasses, pointing toward the east exit and speaking in subdued horror about an attack by the Yakuza.

At times like this, walking was good.  It allowed Trebek to practice walking in high heels.  As he passed the bar, he stopped suddenly in his tracks.  Jeopardy! was on TV.  Was it a repeat?  

"What's this?" he asked in a Southern lilt.

"You've never seen Jeopardy?" a fiftyish man scoffed, without looking at him.

Still dressed up as a voluptuous redhead, Trebek took the seat next to the man and practiced his feminine wiles.  "Well of course I have," he said, "but not since, you know, the Trebek incident."

The man barked rough laughter.  "Yeah, that guy really lost his shit.  Anyway, Dennis Leary is the host now."

"Dennis Leary?"

"Yeah, big improvement too," the guy continued.  "The ratings nearly doubled.  It was hard to watch that show in the past without wanting to punch that Trebek in the face."

"In the face?" Trebek lilted.  He felt dizzy.

"Yeah, what a fucking know it all.  The worst was when he pretended to know all of the answers.  Didn't he know that the whole world knew that he getting the answers from his computer screen?  . . . You okay, lady?" the man asked, reaching out to steady the redhead sitting next to him.  He gave a healthy glance to Trebek's tremendous rack, then added, "You a hooker?"

Am I a hooker? Trebek wondered.  Despite being thrown off balance, he was still trying to maintain his method acting.  Would a tall redhead with large breasts talking to a fiftyish man at 3 a.m. at a bar in the Rio be a hooker?  

The inevitable answer: Yes.

Trebek gave a nod.

"Come with me," the man said.  Trebek was still lightheaded from watching that failed comedian helming his show.  He stepped into the elevator in a daze.  Before he knew what was happening, he was exiting onto the sixth floor, and entering room 604.  Once the door was closed, the fiftyish man put his hands on Trebek's shoulders and pushed him to his knees.

"Fifty bucks," Trebek lilted, reaching for the man's fly.  Method acting! Trebek thought triumphantly.  If only he were in the movies, he'd be receiving Oscar consideration.

"Great," the man replied.  "You're cheaper than I thought."

Friday, May 3, 2013

Thirty-Five: Jack-Deuce of Diamonds--The New Ten-Seven of Clubs

Quincy was the chip leader in a WSOP holdem tournament, holding a stack that surpassed the next nine highest stacks combined.  It was an academy of blind aggression and pure luck.  Quincy, listening to Cypress Hill on his ipod, was hardly paying attention.  He kept checking his cell phone for updates from Piotr on the Natalia Pertman Situation, but he wasn't getting any.  To pass the time, he kept maxing out the betting preflop.  Then he would bet on every flop.  When faced with any resistance, he elected to raise.  On his last hand, he had bet a flop of 

A♠ Q♣ 7♥ 

and gotten called by two villains.

He had bet on a 2♠ turn and been called twice.

And he had bet on a J♥ river.  One player folded in disgust.  The second villain, a middle-aged man with a face that oddly reminded Quincy of a socket wrench, had called, watched Quincy expose two-pair--J♦ 2♦--and then looked at the board and, a circuit shorting out in his head, started blinking rapidly as the pot was pushed once again to Quincy.

"Runner runner," the player to his left said.  "That's your name from now on."

But this was bitterness speaking.  Quincy didn't always go runner-runner.  And he didn't always catch up on the river.  But the table was an abusive relationship, with Quincy as the sole, indifferent abuser . . . an abuser so used to abusing that he wasn't even aware that he was traumatizing the other nine players.

He just wanted the game to be over.  Limit was boring.

Sometimes he caught up on the turn, as when his pocket fours caught up to Q♥ J♥ and A♠ J♠ on a board that ran out 

J♦ J♣ T♠ 4♥ 2

and netted Quincy a monster pot in which both other players hung on till showdown.

Every once in a while, Quincy actually had a great hand and was called or raised every step of the way.  Quincy just kept pushing chips across the betting line.  In this way, his pocket kings got paid off far more than they should have.  He could do no wrong.  Even when he lost, he followed it up with an even bigger win.  He was playing 100 percent of his hands, always raising or reraising, and luck carried him again and again to the winner's circle.

But the players weren't busted out quickly enough.  Quincy just wished that it would end.

If things were going according to plan, Natalia Pertman had read and approved changes to the script.  None of the changes involved her getting naked.  Piotr promised that he would send Quincy a text if any hitch blocked the progress of Plan B.  

He wondered whether he should just leave the table and find out.

With a shrug, he stood, sighed, and wandered off towards the elevator.

Somehow, that simple act of complete indifference towards the game, its players, and the outcome of the tournament put half of the table on Capuchin monkey tilt.  Half of the players raced to imitate Quincy's winning ways.  On a flop of

Q Q♣ T

one player bet, another raised, a third reraised, and the original bettor capped.  

On a J♠ turn, a bet and a raise ended up being called.

On a 4♠ river, the action went exactly as it had on the turn.

The three players exposed

5♣ 4

K♥ 8


2 2

and the players laughed as a hill of chips was pushed towards the dotcom millionaire who had rivered his four.

After that hand, the betting continued to be maxed preflop, despite Quincy's absence, and large pots continued to be pushed towards players with shit hands.

"Where'd Runner Runner go?" someone wondered.

None of them would have been able to guess the truth: that he was headed upstairs to see whether Natalia Pertman was finally an occupant in a cage that would be her future home.

He was proud of his craftiness.  He had written the cage, and her imprisonment, into the script.