Pig Boy

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Elvis could’ve been a dealer.

He had the look.

He had the lip.

He had the leer.

As far as I know, Elvis never wore polyester in Pepto-Bismol pink. Not with puffy sleeves and wide collars. Not like the dealers of Circus Circus.

Not like me.

Arms crossed, hip cocked against the blackjack table, I stare into space and will the players to keep on walking. They never do.

Squeezed into a tiny tube top and teetering on stilettos, a woman peers at me. “How are the cards tonight?”

“Can’t seem to lose.” I shrug as she thanks me and moves on.

Poker Pete slides onto the stool at first base and blows smoke in my face. “Don’t worry,” he says, voice thick with gravel, “I’ll teach you a lesson.”

I deal a hand. He blows another plume of smoke. I hold my breath and smirk. I know this type of player. He thinks if he can make me angry, I’ll lose.

There’s just one problem. I like to win. Winning makes me happy and I like to be happy.

I sweep his last chip into the tray.

“You’re a bitch.” He hands over another hundred-dollar bill.

“The way you’re playing,” I say, “you’d better make that two.”

He snorts and peels a second note from his money clip. I toss him a handful of red chips, then one by one, take them back. When the relief dealer pushes in, I clap my hands and expose empty palms to the security cameras.

“You always like this?” asks Pete, as I step down from the box.

“Pretty much,” I tell him, “I’ll be back in twenty minutes and you can teach me a lesson then.”

He chokes down a laugh and I grin.

Back from break, I push in on another game. The table is packed. The drinks are flowing and the players are playing the big bucks. Not sure I’m in the mood for a rowdy crowd, I sweep a fresh deck across the felt and smile.

“Kelly” they shout in unison when they see my name tag. I heave a sigh. Thank you Cheers. Thank you, Woody. Before I can deal the first hand the players drum their fingers on the edge of the table and sing in monotonous C. “Kelly, Kelly, Kelly . . .”

Oh Lord, my head pounds, my luck holds and within minutes the rowdies have stopped chanting my name and are packing in their chips. The casino floor is quiet. Maybe I’ll get to go home early.

I cross my arms against my chest and cock my hip against the table. Before I can fantasize about what I’d do with a million dollars, if I ever played Mega Bucks, a snot-nosed college kid heads my way.

Well crap.

I narrow my eyes and curl my lip. Though Elvis would have been proud, Mr. Twenty-One-Years-And-Two-Days-Old doesn’t notice. He places one red chip on the table. I’ll bet it’s his last chip. All need to do is win one last bet and I can get rid of him.

I can go home.

I can have a glass of Merlot.

“No more bets.” I sweep my hand over the table and deal the cards.

He has sixteen. I’m showing a ten. Okay Pig Boy you’re going down.

He motions for a card. I deal a two.

Without looking at me he crooks his finger.

“Did you want another card?” I ask. “You have eighteen.”

He doesn’t answer, When he signals for another card, I smirk. I should’ve known better. Murphy is in the house and I’ve waved the red flag. I lay down a three and grit my teeth.

“Blackjack.” He leaps to his feet.

Oh, for the love of . . . “No Sweetie.” I shake my head. “You have twenty-one, not blackjack.”

“That’s a winning hand”” says Poker Pete, sliding back onto first and launching a smoke ring. “I’m ready to teach you a lesson.”

Well crap. I need an aspirin.

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