Monday, October 31, 2011

Poker Face

Frank Jr. shuffled the cards. His monstrous hands made easy work of the task so no one ever argued. Who got to cut the deck, on the other hand, was another issue.

“Cut” he said, slamming the cards down in front of Drac who reached his spindly long fingers out to pick up the stack when a furry, clawed hand reached out and clamped down on the cards.

“No way, it’s my turn to cut,” Bob said, pulling the stack over to himself.

“Uh, excuse me- if it’s anyone’s turn it’s definitely mine,” Jack intervened, his long bony fingers reaching out towards the deck.

“Alright, that’s how you want to play it- no one cuts,” Frank said, slamming his giant green hands down on the table and pulling the deck back to himself. Everyone pulled back, less because Frank’s word was so definitive and more because when he got mad there tended to be a lot of property damage. This was their sixth poker table this month.

Frank flung out the cards like a well oiled machine, the small lacquered papers flying around the table and landing perfectly in front of each of the player. The overhead light swung slightly with the force of the air shifting.

“So, how go things over in whats-the-town?” Bob said, arraigning his cards ever-so carefully.

“Halloweentown,” Jack said, unable to keep voice from sounding irked.

“Yeah, there,” Bob said.

“Quite well. We’re going green, it’s really economical,” he said, smiling smugly.

“Green?” Drac asked, rolling his R the way only he could.

“Yeah- the green slime from the marsh? It glows so we don’t need the gas lamps anymore.”

“Hee, hee- green,” Frank said, lifting his hand to the group.

“Indeed,” Bob said, rolling his eyes which were barely visible underneath all the fur.

“Alright, here we go- 2 card stud, ante starts at ten,” Frank said, tossing a chip into the center of the table.

“You guys are in for trouble,” Drac said, tossing in his chip.

“Yeah, right,” Bob said, flipping his chip in so it spun briefly in the air before landing on the others with a clink.

“What?” Drac asked, sounding insulted.

“What do you mean ‘what’? You have the worst poker face,” Bob countered.

“I do not!” Drac argued, pulling his shoulders back to show the full force of his stoic disposition.

“Yeah, you do,” Bob said, gesturing to his right ear with a wave of his claw. “As soon as you even think about bluffing that ear of yours twitches."

“Excuse me, I am the undead master of darkness, thank you very much. My ears don’t twitch,” Drac said, chin up high.

“Uh, no offense, but you Dracula, lord of whatever, have twitchy ears,” Bob said. “Besides, everyone knows I have the best poker face.”

“Of course,” Drac countered, raising an eyebrow as he organized his cards.

“Look, I’m the wolfman, dude. I don’t do nervous,” Bob said gruffly.

“Your face may be covered in fur but your throat isn’t” Frank observed.

“What do you mean?” Bob asked.

“I meant you growl when you’re bluffing,” Frank said.

“I do not!” Bob argued, his claws digging into the table.

“Yes, you do,” Frank said, matter of fact-ly.

Bob hoisted his cards up in front of his face angrily. A low growl was audible under his breath.

“And I have the best poker face,” Frank added. “This is dead tissue, it doesn’t smirk,” he said, pointing a large, green finger at his face.

“Ok, Mr. Monster- that face may not smirk but those little electrode thingies on your neck move when you get excited,” Jack said with a grin.

“I’m going by Frank Jr, now,” Frank said without looking up from his cards.

“Really? Even after the whole ‘my dad tried to kill me’ thing?” Bob asked, looking over to his monstrous friend.

“Every family’s got issues,” Frank said, eyes focused on his cards which had been reordered several times over. “And my neck doesn’t move, nor does anything on it.”

“Uh-huh,” Jack said, smiling as he watched the small, round electrodes vibrate. “As amusing as all of this has been I think it’s time we give up the ghost. I am obviously the best poker player here.”

“You?” Drac said, spinning his head around to give Jack the best confused expression he could muster.

“Uh, hello- skull face? There’s nothing to move,” Jack said, referencing his face with his long, bony fingers.

“Look, Mr. Pumpkin king- that face of yours may be a skull, but it’s amazingly expressive,” Bob said, smiling a wide, toothy grin at him.

“Yeah, you light up like a Christmas tree when you get a good hand,” Frank agreed.

“I love Christmas,” Jack said wistfully.

A loud, crisp knock at the door interrupted the conversation and everyone looked to the sound. The door opened as if by itself and pair of sunglasses floated into the room.

“I was told you guys got a poker game going on. May I join you?” said a deep, raspy voice as the sunglasses were removed and came floating down.

“Hell yeah!” Frank Jr said, without looking to see if his companions agreed.

A low growling sound was heard coming from Bob’s direction.

“Stop your grumbling, we lost.” Drac said with a sigh.


  1. Love that I recognized all the players by the fourth paragraph. Nice work!

    Also: “I love Christmas,” Jack said wistfully.
    Laughed aloud! Thanks, hon, I needed that laugh just now.

  2. This was fantastic! I love the way the characters are slowly and subtly revealed for the reader - so much fun to read.

  3. Thanks to you both for reading and commenting! And I'm so glad to hear that the clue giving worked to identify the characters. Thanks!


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