Thursday, April 26, 2007

Chapter Fifteen: Alaska John Plays Poker


It was surprisingly warm that Tuesday - or was it a Monday? Looking back, I can't really be sure. You know, the longer you're by yourself, the quicker the days - and the idea of 'days' - just vanish. But I'm pretty sure it was a Tuesday. I mean, it had that 'thank God it's not Monday anymore' feeling to it.

Anyhow, here I was, sitting outside of my cabin on a stump that I had recently turned into a lawn chair. I mean, it's no Lazy-Boy, but it was pretty damn comfortable once I got my ass-groove imprinted in the wood. So I'm sitting there, my makeshift log table in front of me, waiting for Rufus.

Now, now, don't get excited, when I said that I lived alone, I meant it. Don't worry, Rufus isn't a human. He's a large-tailed beaver that lived down the path from me. I had been to his dam a couple of times, but it's a little moist for my taste. So I had told Rufus to come over to my place from now on for our weekly poker game. God, I love poker, and so of course I brought my favorite deck of Bicycle cards with me on my trip. But let me get back to Rufus. He finally shows up - an hour late, mind you - wanders over to the log across from me, slumps down, and lets out a sigh.

"Goddamn it's hot today, John," he says. I nod in agreement, my look emphasizing my impatience at his tardiness. He grunts at me and shrugs it off. Rufus is always late. It's like his thing. Like how some people's thing is eating chocolate, or sleeping around - well, for Rufus, it was being late. I guess he just lived by his own pace. And suddenly, he just wanted to get started.

"Well, you going to deal, or am I just going to rot out here?" he asks with a bit of a temper.

"Listen, cut that shit out if you want to play. It's not my fault that it's so damn hot out. Let's just have some fun in the sun, OK?" he nods, trying his best to get in the mood.

I deal out - Hold'Em of course - and I've got 2/7 off-suit. Now, I'm not a frickin' moron. You fold with 2/7 off-suit. But Rufus and I don't fold - there's only two of us, after all, and we've got to do some betting. I throw in a few pine-combs. He grunts and calls. I throw down the flop - we've got 2 / J / 5. Things are a little better, I suppose. His bet - he raises. I call. Fourth street is a seven. Now we're talking, I'm thinking. More bets, then fifth street comes down a Jack. I think I've got him - come on, now I'm showing two pair of J's and 7's. That's not too bad, is it?

Let me tell you: they should have named that beaver Ruthless. He raises and calls, then shows two more J's. Damn - he wins again!

I slide my pine-combs across the log table, and his laughs his shitty little beaver laugh.

"Well, I'll be damned," I sigh with exasperation. Rufus stares at me with a smile on his face - his two huge teeth gleaming in the sun.

"Hey, I thought you said that it was too moist in there for you!" I look over at him and shake my head, cursing his whole damn beaver family.

Then we both share a shitty little beaver laugh together. And we're still friends.


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