Monday, April 22, 2013

Thirty-Four--Arvin at the Bar

After disastrous results in his first five World Series of Poker events, busting out within 15 minutes in all of them, usually with holdings like 7 4 offsuit or pocket deuces, Quincy finally got off to a good start in his sixth event, $3,000 Limit Holdem.  He was still dressed as a sixty-year-old farmhand, and he played the limit format as if he hated it, raising most hands preflop, most flops, most turns, and most rivers, because he did hate it.  His only problem was that he kept catching cards and was beginning to amass a gigantic stack.

Arvin, Quincy's toady, having little to do and never having learned poker, hung out at the nearest Rio bar, where his immense size had convinced Rio staff that he wasn't a minor.  A woman wearing a rhinestone-studded miniskirt, and who resembled a backup singer for a band that makes music for gay cowboy porn movies, asked Arvin if he'd like to buy a cowgirl a drink.

"No thanks," Arvin replied.  "I already have one."  He was, in fact, ingesting Jack and Coke at ten-minute intervals and feeling no pain.

Holding out a hand and leaning over so far that a nipple made itself visible at the top of her dress, she said, "Oh my," then pretended to blush and slowly, methodically pushed her nipple back into the confines of her dress.

"Nice tit," observed Arvin.

"Thanks.  I've got another one just like it over here."

"Me too," Arvin responded.

"So, cowboy, what's your story?"

Arvin dropped into a lengthy silence, staring vacantly at nothing, and then he said, "I was born with a big head, and I grew into it.  I went to school.  My brother drowned in a speedboat accident.  The cage with the screaming girl inside made it top heavy.  So when he died, I got his job.  I'm a sidekick.  I've always wanted to be a sidekick.  Some people call me muscle.  You can call me either.  I was in a facepunching contest, and I put myself in the hospital.  That's how I got the job.  My name is Arvin."

Undeterred by anything he had said, Rhinestone whispered, "I heard there's a party in your room."

Arvin nodded.  "Better than that.  There's a cage."

She rubbed her hand up and down his arm.  "Do you wanna put me in your cage?"

Arvin looked at her in all seriousness.  "With one hand, I want to lift you up in the air and twirl you like a pinwheel while I bounce you off my penis, spinning round and round, while I drink these"--he held up his Jack and Coke--"with the other hand."

"You get to the point."

"But you'd probably vomit all over the place."

"I bet I would, pardner."

"And I wanna put you in the cage too, but I can't."

"Why not?"

"Not my cage."

"Whose is it?"

"Natalia Pertman's."

"You've got Natalia Pertman in a cage in your room."

"Not yet."

Rhinestone's curiosity was engaged.  She took the seat next to Arvin and waved off the approaching bartender.  "So you're gonna kidnap Pertman?"

"It's not kidnapping if you do it for love."

She laughed.  "So it's love, huh?"

"Not me.  Boss."

"Boss loves her."


"So you're going to put her in a cage for Boss, because he loves her, and because he loves her, it isn't kidnapping."

"Yeah."  He turned to her with a perplexed look on his face.  "And the tough part is, I can't bop her on the head.  It would be so much easier if I could just bop her on the head.  But I can't.  Those are the rules."

"Sounds tough."

"Yeah.  Step one, bop her on the head.  Step two, carry her to the cage.  Step three, drink these."  He held up the drink.

"You've got it all figured out."

"Yeah, but Boss says we have to use stealth.  I'm not good at stealth."

"I see that."

"My only instruction now is to be secretive.  'Do not tell a soul.'  Those are my instructions."

"I'm sure you can do that."

"So far, so good."

Meanwhile, Quincy had quadrupled his buyin.  He raised from early position, two players in middle position called, and an Internet kid on the button threebet.  Quincy fourbet, and everyone called.  The flop came

Qd 7c 3s

Quincy bet, and everyone called.  The turn came


Quincy bet, and everyone called.  The river came


Quincy bet, and everyone called.

Quincy turned over 4s 3c.  Everyone else mucked.  The button stood and marched away from the table without a word.  Piotr had told him never to speak, because he would give himself away as a kid if he did.  So he just shrugged and started stacking the chips.  Stacking chips resembled manual labor and made him wish that all of these events could happen online.  That way he could watch South Park or something, because one-tabling was pure hell.

Still, he was the chipleader, and that counted for something.

His pocket buzzed.  He pulled out his cell phone.  Tonight, Piotr had texted him.

Quincy imagined Natalia Pertman, surrounded by iron bars, eating some yogurt and a few cashews.  The most beautiful and exotic pet in the world.  Should he install a perch for her?  Would that be thoughtful or inhumane?  They would watch cartoons together.  And when Beavis spoke, they would laugh simultaneously, no matter what Beavis said.

Yes, his luck was changing, on every front.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thirty-Three--Piotr Invents a New Term

As Quincy was playing in Event #3--$1,500 PLO--of the 2006 WSOP at the Rio, and as Alex Trebek, disguised as a washed-out Hells Angel, raced south towards Las Vegas with a car trunk full of shotguns, Natalia Pertman, a fictional character bearing no resemblance to any living movie starlet, approached the director of "Hit Me," the indie flick owned by Gleeman Productions Unlimited.

Pertman had a copy of the script in her hands.  She slapped it down in front of the director, Harvey Wills, who had previously directed only dog food commercials.  "I have problems with your edits," she said.

"They aren't my edits.  I'm just the director," Harvey said.

"You're the director.  That's important," she said.

"You can talk it over with the producer."

"Where's he?"

"Right there," Harvey said, pointing at Piotr, who was texting with one phone while talking into another phone.

"That kid is the producer?"

"That kid hired me."

"So one kid is bankrolling the movie, and another kid is exec producing it?"

The director shrugged.  "Money is money."

As Natalia stalked over to Piotr, he quickly finished with both phones.  "Ms. Pertman, a pleasure," he said.

"Your edits are shit," she said, tossing the script onto the felt.

Piotr smiled, unruffled.  "Which edits in particular bother you?"

"Look at them," she said.  "The original reads, 'Fiona: Hit me.'  Now it reads, 'Fiona [seductively]: Hit me.'"

"What's wrong with you being seductive?"

"It's blackjack.  I'm losing.  I'm asking for a hit from a 70-year-old female blackjack dealer.  What's seductive about any of that?  Are you going to have me asking for her number next?"

"Would you do that?"

"Are you kidding?"

"Okay.  It's out.  Good eye.  Anything else?"

"Lots.  When I order a bloody mary, the script now says I'm topless."

"Yep.  That part requires toplessness."

"I'm standing in the middle of a casino, ordering a bloody mary, and I'm topless?"


"How did I suddenly get topless?"

"You took your top off."


Piotr shrugged.  "The a/c is broken."

"Bullshit.  Nothing in my contract states anything about being topless."

Piotr drummed his fingers on the felt.  "What will it take?"


"To get you topless."

"I've never been topless on film before."

He met her angry stare with one of his own.  "This is a business.  How much per boob-second?"

She blinked.  "What?"

"Let's break it down to boob-second.  How much per boob-second?"


"If you showed one boob for five seconds, that would be five boob-seconds.  If you showed two boobs for ten seconds, that would be twenty boob-seconds.  Two questions.  One, how much do you need per boob-second?  Two, how many boob-seconds will you agree to?"

She stared at him with her mouth open.

"For example," he continued, "let's say we agree to--oh, I don't know--fifty thousand bucks per boob-second.  You go topless ten seconds.  That's a quick million right there.  Half a mill per boob."

"You've got to be kidding me."

"So what's your max?"

She took a breath and said, "My max is zero."

"Zero what?"

"Zero boob-seconds."

"How about 100k per boob-second."

"My max is zero boob-seconds."


"Zero boob-seconds."

"Okay.  This is going to be experimental, and I don't think it will work, but we'll try the scene with you clothed.  It won't be realistic, but let's see how it plays.  Anything else?"

"Yeah, asshole, this part.  The original says, '[Fiona steps onto elevator after losing all of her money.]'  The edited version reads, '[Fiona steps onto elevator buck naked after losing all of her money.]'"


"What am I doing buck naked?"

"It's a metaphorical thing about you losing your shirt at the blackjack table.  It's all very philosophical.  Because your max offer is zero boob-seconds, we'll have to shoot you from behind.  Have we negotiated an ass-second rate yet?"

"My max is zero ass-seconds."

Piotr opened his hands.  "How are we supposed to shoot you buck naked if we aren't allowed any ass-seconds or boob-seconds?"

"You aren't going to shoot me buck naked!"

"Okay, okay.  No nudity.  It won't be realistic, but let's see how it plays.  Anything else?"

She grabbed the script and flipped through the pages.  "I won't kiss my tits for luck."  She turned a page.  "I won't massage my ass to relieve stress."  Another page.  "And I won't dry hump the wall in my sleep while having hot sex dreams."

"What if your tits are clothed?  Will you kiss them then?"


"Same thing for your ass?"


"About the sex dream, everything in the movie leads up to that moment.  We had a really good song chosen, Milli from Milli Vanilli would've licensed it to us for pennies, Vanilli committed suicide, of course, but this new song by Milli would've started his comeback, it would've been just perfect--"

"No sex dreams!"

Piotr nodded slowly.  "Anything else?"

"I'm going to ignore all of the edits."


She stalked off.  Piotr texted Quincy, She hated your edits.  No to all of them.

After receiving the text, Quincy reraised with 6 3 offsuit, then busted out after five-betting all-in preflop against pocket aces.  He hurried back to his hotel room, excited by a new idea for a fresh batch of edits.  Time for Plan B.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thirty-Two--Travels with Trebek

After the massacre at the Sisters of the Silent Hug, Alex Trebek had fled in the school bus with Pluto, Far Flung, Inkblot, and Creeper--four doofuses that he only knew by code name.  At the on-ramp to I-80 West, Trebek told Creeper to pull over.  When he did, Trebek stepped off the bus, a vehicle which he figured--correctly--was headed for immediate capture.  Unfortunately, Far Flung, an acne-scarred moon-faced waddler, had stepped off the bus with him.  Hearing sirens in the distance, they rushed down the embankment and up the other side, until they found themselves in a Walmart parking lot.

"Can you jump start a car?" Trebek asked.  Far Flung nodded.  "Well then, do it."

Within 60 seconds, Trebek's last sidekick had found a Camry, opened the door, and started it up.  Leaving the car, he waddled over to the bush where Trebek was waiting, at which point the host of Jeopardy! used a silenced pistol to pump two slugs into Far Flung's heart.

Master planner! thought Trebek.

He drove down I-80 85 miles till he hit Sacramento, where he pulled into a gas station.  Stepping into the Exxon, the man behind the counter managed to say, "Hey, aren't you--?" before Trebek shot him in the neck.  He substituted the dead cashier's blue pickup truck for the Camry and headed south on I-5.  Cop cars passed twice, coming from the other direction, sirens flashing.

After midnight, he pulled into a small motel across the street from an abandoned gas station and rang the bell.  A gray-haired woman answered the manager's door in a green robe.

"Any rooms open?" Trebek asked.

"Hell, they're all open," she answered, and Trebek put two bullets into her, grabbed a key, and slept in Room 101.

In the morning, he saw two people he guessed to be the janitor and the dead woman's replacement.  He shot them both in the parking lot, drank a couple of coffees, and headed off down I-5 in the woman's yellow Subaru hatchback.

Driving carefully at 65 miles per hour in the slow lane, he saw a car pulled over on the side of the road and a man waving his arms.  He rolled down his window and shot him as he drove past.

Naked freckled boy scout, Quincy had said at the child prodigy edition that never aired.

And what had Trebek said?  Had he sensed a trick?  Yes, he had.  The boy was trying to explain Jeopardy! to Trebek.  He was trying to teach Trebek the rules!  Hell, Trebek knew that contestants were given the answer and had to supply the question.  But what had he said?


To which the boy had replied with a smirk: "Who is handcuffed to Trebek's bed?"

Then the audience had gasped and started giggling.  All of those taunting faces.

At that point, Trebek knew he had to kill the boy.

But no, not in front of a studio audience.  Later.  When the boy was least suspecting a terror attack.

Trebek winced.  So okay, he got the wrong address and ended up blasting a house full of nuns.  His mistake.  No excuses.  Not exactly the sign of a master planner.  But now he would be in control.  He would manage his impulses.  He would be at the height of his powers.

He pulled into a 76 station, filled up with gas, shot the cashier and two truckers, grabbed a couple of hot dogs and a Coke, and hit the road.

He would not make any more mistakes.  No more random shows of violence.  Control.

The road to Las Vegas was a long one.  At a gas station, where he shot the cashier, two mechanics, and a school bus full of teenaged girls, he entered the bathroom with a razor, scissors, and a makeup kit looking like this:

and came out of the bathroom looking like this:

but when he ordered a baked potato and chili at the first Wendy's he saw down the road, everyone said, "Tom Selleck!" so he tossed a grenade into the kitchen area and shot the senior citizens eating their doublestacks on the patio, then hurried into the bathroom and came out looking like this:

and zoomed off down the road on a stolen motorcycle.

He spent three months living in a foreclosed, abandoned house in North Las Vegas.  It had no electricity, and he made sure not to leave a candle burning during the evenings.  Cold water ran in the faucets, but Trebek didn't need hot water.  Cold water kept him sharp.  No one ever stopped by.

He knew the boy--knew that eventually he would be pulled to Vegas.

During the World Series of Poker, Trebek had begun to feel his hope slipping away.  No sign of the kid anywhere.  Sure, he knew, the kid was underage, but his private investigators had given him so much information!

They said, The kid's playing in disguise!  The kid's winning millions!  Nobody can stop the kid!

Well, he, Alex Trebek, would stop the kid.  With a bullet in the forehead.  And then he would go down in a hail of bullets, a hero of the people.

The first few events had given him no hint, no clue whatsoever.  But then he had noticed that late at night, a movie was filming.

Starring Natalia Pertman.

Hot teenage Russian chick, Trebek thought.  Yes.  He sat at video poker ten nights straight and lost three thousand dollars.  All the while, he watched.

And then it happened.  He saw him.  No costume.  Just a shithead kid with his shithead friend.  Trebek saw Quincy give Pertman a brick of cash, saw the shithead run off to the elevator, saw a blush creeping onto Pertman's face.

She likes him? he wondered, aghast.  Then he smiled, understanding that this could work in his favor.

A waitress appeared at his side.  "Would you like a drink?" she asked, interrupting his thoughts.  He reached for his pistol, then remembered that he had to play it cool, real cool.

Just say what a normal person would say, he advised himself.

"I'll have an Aqua Velva," he said.

"Ooookay.  Is the bartender gonna know how to make that?"

"One ounce vodka, one ounce gin, one ounce blue curacao," he instructed.  "Mix together and serve with a little umbrella."

"What color umbrella?" she asked, laughing, and it took every ounce of his self-control not to strangle her against a slot machine covered with mermaids.