Gregson dried himself.
“Poker is a game best played at night,” he said. He toweled up and went to the locker room. “I’ve got to lose weight. I can’t even see my junk.” Gregson walked to the deck. A runner ran past. “Why do people obsess about health on vacation?” He smelled fresh onion rings and stopped.
Gregson was in communist waters, the house picked his pocket, money couldn’t buy happiness, but none of that mattered. The food was good and he longed for the roll of the dice. Risk. The battle of wits. Life can’t be won, but he could win before he lost. He walked to the casino. The game was just getting started. Gregson eyed the players. They looked like the typical sort, crabs without shells, wearing gold chains, with beady eyes, and cocaine courage. One man stood out. He had Caribbean skin, but his dark pallor had a pale quality. His eyes were red, not blood shot, but laser like; they could see past your face and into your hand. Uncommonly tall, he was like a skeleton wrapped in flesh.
“Does poker amuse you,” he asked in a baritone voice.
Gregson glanced at his top hat. “We’ll see,” he said. “Deal me in.”
The game went slow. Flop. Turn. River.
“Fold. Fold. Fold,” Gregson said.
“You are not a risk taker. You must take risks to win.”
“Poker is about players,” Gregson said. “I think you know that.”
The skeleton smirked and the game continued.
“Raise,” Gregson said. The skeleton’s laser eyes looked across the room.
“Re-raise,” it said, grinning. The skeleton puffed smoke like hell was letting off steam.
Tiffany walked by the table in a poisonous green dress. Her tanned skin popped. Most women can’t wear clothes like that, Gregson thought.
“Excuse me sir, the bet is 50,000; do you want to call?”
Gregson’s mind returned to the game.
“Call,” he said.
“Cards,” demanded the dealer.
“A full house from the man with the top hat. And you sir?”
“A strait flush, Jack high,” Gregson said.
“The pot goes to you.”
“Another game?” Asked the skeleton.
“The trick is to quit while you’re ahead,” Gregson said. He walked out of the room with a smile on his face.
He ventured under the Caribbean stars that had seen pirates and lonely PIs.
Gregson strolled to his room. There was Tiffany, half-dressed in black panties. But he wasn’t looking at her skin. It was her eyes. They were terrified.
CRACK. He got hit from behind. BLACK OUT.
When Gregson came to, a thick beast was preparing to push Tiffany out the window.
“What brought you here?” The skeleton demanded. It walked out of the closet.
“Booze, women, and dice; what else?” Gregson asked.
The skeleton nodded and the beast pushed Tiffany out the window.
Her screams pierced the night. SPLASH.
“Nice shot,” Gregson said.
“I wasn’t aiming for the swimming pool.”
“Now tell me what I want to hear,” the skeleton demanded.