So the collection is available, and actually selling pretty well, to my surprise, but that doesn't mean I'm done with Roy. Here's the direction in which I'm going with the next one ...
Chain of Command
Roy was parked on a straight flush–an inside straight flush, king high–and he was pretty sure that Solly had collected the fourth king with the river card, and no way in, well, here, was Solly going to step away from that.
The pot was big and about to get huge, and Roy was already imagining how sweet it was going to be having all that time off and not have to do jack shit.
“I think you’re bluffing, Saul,” Roy said. “I don’t think your three kings beat my flush.”
Solly would buy that, Roy was pretty sure.
He could almost read Solly’s mind–No, they wouldn’t, but my four kings are gonna make you throw down your flush and piss and moan, Roy ...
“Yeah, well, I don’t think you have a flush, Roy, I think you are trying to steal the pot. He shoved all his chips forward. “Put up or shut up.”
Mtumbo was still in, but he’d fold, and so would Sweet Melissa, and then it would be Roy’s turn to bet, and oh, baby, was he going to enjoy this! He couldn’t stop the grin–and he didn’t have to–gotcha! So it was a tell, so what? It didn’t matter, because Solly was fucking doomed–
“EMERGENCY CALL FOR ROY,” came the voice over the casino’s PA system.
Roy blinked. Say what?
Mtumbo grinned. “Oh, what to do, what to do? Should I fold or should I stay?” Mtumbo tapped theatrically at his lips with one finger. He started humming The Clash’s “Should I stay or should I go.”
Roy glared at him. “In or out, Mtumbo!”
Mtumbo’s grin was absolutely wicked. “Give me a moment here, Roy, there’s a lot riding on this. You leave the magma running in the tub or something?”
The son-of-a-bitch was stalling–
“EMERGENCY CALL FOR ROY,” came the mechanical voice. He couldn’t take it on his cell phone, because that was at the front desk, because cell phones weren’t allowed in the casino. Too easy to cheat using them.
Motherfucker! He had to go and take that call, and the other demons at the table all knew he had to go take it! They each had two minutes in which to make a decision, and if they used it–and the fucking turd-eaters would because Roy had grinned when Solly went all in–then whoever was on the line would have to wait four minutes.
Not a lot of time, but–
“EMERGENCY CALL FOR ROY.”
He had to go. And if he did, he wouldn’t be there when the bet got around to him, and so he’d forfeit the hand. It had been what? fifty years since he’d had a straight flush and a chance to clean the table. This was so unfair!
Roy stood. “I’m gonna remember this, you miserable bastards!”
All of them grinned at that.
Roy mucked his hand. At least they wouldn’t know what he’d had.
Sweet Melissa said, “I bet Saul has four kings, from the way he was twitching, and if I guessed that, you probably did too, and you knew he wouldn’t lay that down, so you got to have a straight flush, right?”
“Why, Roy, what a sweet offer. And given the playmates you have been rolling around with, I’m honored to be asked into such company. Call me later?”
Roy was sure they could see the steam coming out of his ears. He stomped away.
When he answered the phone, Roy’s mood was not happy.
“This had better be fucking good,” he said.
“Roy, it’s Lilith. Larry’s been hurt. My place, right now.”
Roy cradled the phone and headed for the casino’s exit.