A Raw Deal

I had a pretty crazy dream the other night. How crazy is “crazy” you wonder? Well, why don’t you decide for yourself?

I dreamt I was back in the Old West, and staying in a hotel room situated above a saloon (apparently, even in my dreams I still get thirsty) and while heading upstairs to retire for the evening, I noticed a card game taking place in the room across from mine.

There sat four pretty serious gentlemen playing poker. Strangely, all were familiar to me, and although we’d never met, I somehow already knew their names (a huge time-saving feature of my dreams in general).

Sitting directly across from where I stood sat a grey-haired man, nattily-attired and with a Southern accent. He answered to the name of Jimmy and acted is if he was the one in charge, although you got the distinct impression that could change at any moment.

To my right sat another well-dressed gent who went by the name of Dan. He, too, was quite dapper; seemed to be smirking all the time. At one point Jimmy accused Dan of dealing the cards too quickly, but Dan simply smiled and corrected Jimmy, saying, “Not quick-ly, Jimmy, it’s ‘quick-en.’” As goofy as it was to hear, it somehow made sense to me.

On my left, there was an older man who wasn’t dressed quite as lavishly as the first two, and while they had stacks of tens and twenties at their disposal, this man – who others addressed as Larry – had but a small change purse in front of him. Regardless, you still had the impression this guy was doing better than he let on. Larry treated each coin is if it was his last, yet the others in the room weren’t buying his act.

Finally, the fellow I was standing behind had a familiar face – even though I couldn’t see it – and was known around town as one Joseph Fanatic, or as more commonly hailed, Joe Fan. He was rather drawn and beaten down; I had an overwhelming sense that Joe had been playing with these guys – and those who preceded them – for many years, but didn’t have much to show for all his suffering.

The bet had come to Joe, and he had to either match the bets of Jimmy and Dan, or fold. “You know, Jimmy,” Joe commented while counting his meager stack of loot, “if you hadn’t charged me for that PSL, I’d be able to play longer.”

Larry appeared perplexed, before taking the bait. “What’s a PSL?”

Jimmy snickered while answering, “Poker Seat License.”

Joe was shocked at Larry’s ignorance. “You mean to tell me that only certain people have to buy a PSL?”

Dan nodded. “I’m just sorry I didn’t think of it first – back when I had a product which was in demand.”

Larry nodded wistfully. “Yeah … a product in demand ... those were the days…”

I leaned down to whisper into Joe’s ear that he should fold his hand, get out of Dodge, and retain the shred of dignity which still remained. I was jolted awake when (cue the dramatic music) I realized Joe Fan’s face was … was … wait for it … MY OWN!

Still in a cold sweat, the message to me was obvious: Joe Fan was about to be taken for a ride – yet again - by the same band of con men. So obvious, in fact, that any idiot could tell you that.

I figured you might as well hear it from me.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 10:11 AM, 04.30.2013