Sunday, February 10, 2013

Seventeen--Quincy Goes to Gamblers Anonymous

Even for a man as ready as Teddy Capers was to believe in his own genius, suspicion crept in.  Success of all kinds confused him, even though he felt that he deserved everything the world had to offer--and more.  Whenever he won at anything, he began to feel twitchy.  His twitchiness led him to search his PokerStars transactions, which led him to narc to Annie, Quincy's mother, which led them both to confront Quincy about two mysterious 40k transfers--one to Teddy's account from a player named Tipper Gore and another back to Tipper thirty-two minutes later--an interrogation that led to Quincy's speedy, indifferent confession.

"Yeah, that was me," Quincy said.  "Can we have hot dogs for dinner?"

They were dumbfounded.  Finally Annie said, "Who do you know that has forty thousand dollars on a poker site?"

"Phil Hellmuth, Patrik Antonius.  Me.  The other guys' names I don't know.  And can we have chili too?"

"How old are these other players?"

"I dunno.  Thirteen?"

Teddy said, "No.  Patrik Antonius is a man.  You're playing with full-grown men."

"Oh.  Cool."

"Are you telling your mother that money is yours?" Annie asked.


The questioning intensified, which led to the following answers: I won it; I don't know, I just go all in a lot, they call me a luckbox; No, that's not all of the money I have, do you want some?

Do you want some?  Teddy instantly began to picture a canary yellow speedboat scissoring through the water, his hair whipped by warm Caribbean winds, a bottle of SoCo--no, Patron--in his fist, women laughing, cheering him on, applauding him for crying out loud, a whole boatful of women, topless, but then he felt his intestines dissolve when Annie said firmly, "No, we don't want your money.  We want you to put that money into a savings account.  For college.  Don't you see that you need help?"

Quincy's mouth fell open.  "Help?"

After a quick search online and an equally brief phone call, Annie discovered not only that Truckee had a chapter of Gamblers Anonymous in town--Truckee was, after all, less than 40 minutes from Reno--but that the meeting was about to begin.  She sped him down there, unlocked his door, and said, "I'll wait out here till you're done."

"What do I do?"

"You go in there, young man."

Her gaze was steel.  "Do I have to?" he pleaded.

"Go.  Now.  Listen to the horror."

He went.  Pushing through the doors, he tried to find a corner seat, but an adult standing at a podium said, "Son, are you looking for someone?"

"Um, no.  I'm here for the gambling."

Laughter rang through the room.  Podium said, "Gambling?  You mean like flipping baseball cards?  You're eleven."

More laughter.  Quincy replied, "Thirteen.  Card flipping was kindergarten.  Now I do 5k NL mostly."

The grin on Podium's face wilted.  "5k NL."

"No limit.  Some PLO.  Badugi sometimes, although I really don't know how to play that one, but I give action in badugi to get action in other games.  Oh yeah--razz."

Podium frowned in a way that made Quincy uncomfortable.  "So, you love poker," Podium said.  A statement, not a question.

"I guess."

"It's like a whole bag full of Halloween candy."

Quincy gave it some thought.  "No, it's sort of like a drunk uncle who has money falling out of his pocket."

"And you can't live without it."

"Yeah.  I bet I can't."

The crowd gasped; Podium's eyes widened.  "Son, we never use that word here."

Quincy tried to recall if he had said a bad word.  He was pretty sure he hadn't.  He said, "Oh."

"It's okay, son.  Tell us your story."

He didn't know how to answer him.  He ventured, "Well, everyone is dealt two cards--"

"No no no no no no.  Tell us how you came to hit rock bottom.  Tell us about the descent.  Did you betray trust?"

"Rock bottom?"

"For example," Podium said, stepping from behind the podium and gesturing toward the crowd.  "There's Tom, who lost his house playing video blackjack.  Janice, who got fired playing scratch-offs at work.  And Ryan, who due to his addiction to craps came home to find that his wife and kids had vanished."

Quincy giggled.  He couldn't help it.

"Son, it's unwise to laugh at these meetings."  Quincy silently recalled how the whole lot of them had just been laughing at him.  "We're all in the same boat," Podium continued.

"We are?"

Podium's tilted his head to one side.  "We aren't?"

"I don't think so."

"Why not?"

"Because I win."

The room fell silent; fifty eyes turned ravenous.  Quincy interpreted the vacuum as an invitation to continue, so he said, "Mom knows about the 40k that I transferred, that's how I ended up here, I built it up from twenty bucks, but she'll be real mad if she finds out about the Full Tilt money and she'll explode if she sees my balance on Absolute or my savings account or the money I stuffed in my pillowcase to buy the Death Star because if 40k got me down here, the rest of it could make them put me on death row."

Podium just stared.  For once, he was speechless.  A female voice from the back of the room asked, "How do you do it?"



"Margot--" Podium tried to interrupt; but Quincy said, "Oh, that's easy."

"How?" several voices asked simultaneously.

Podium held out his hands.  "Chuck, Susan, don't forget how you--"

"Let the nice boy speak, godamnit!" shrilled and old man from his wheelchair.

Quincy began to back toward the door.  He said, "I should--"

"Block the door," someone shouted.  A half-dozen voices erupted at once.  The only words he heard: pillowcase, stop, grab, teach.

Quincy bolted, ducking under an old woman's claw as he pushed through the door.  She scraped his neck, but he broke free.

From the car, Annie caught movement from the corner of her eye.  She turned to see Quincy racing down the walkway toward the car, his arms flailing around his head.  Why does he always run so funny? she wondered.  Then she saw a throng of people, led by a surprisingly fast septuagenarian, in close pursuit.

She pushed open his door with her foot.  As Quincy dove across the passenger seat, she stepped on the gas.


  1. Reading this makes me want to write.
    Then I realize I can't churn this shit out half as good so I just wait for the next installment!

    Keep it up man

  2. You are a sick sick sick man... "...led by a surprisingly fast septuagenarian..." WTF?!?!?!?!? Literally LOL'ing. Keep up the EXCELLENT work. This is great stuff!

  3. This may have been the funniest episode yet. Quincy suborns an entire GA meeting. I wish I wrote half this well.

  4. Thanks again. I appreciate the positive comments. Actually, I appreciate comments of any kind whatsoever. The positive ones are especially good.