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"Thereís No Magic in Cards"

Tom Hauck


 

 

Jack looked like he had been to hell and back in one night, his hair matted to his head like he had been asleep for days, his eyes bloodshot from the alcohol and from the smoke rising from his cigarette. His five oíclock shadow looked like it arrived 36 hours ago. Jack was usually a pretty put together guy, but lately he has let himself go. His clothes were old and stained his tall frame was hunched at the table, and his chiseled face greasy from not showering. Jack was sitting at a 500 dollar minimum blackjack table staring at another empty glass of what used to be Makerís Mark, and two cards in front of him that read eight of spades and seven of hearts. Jack was already down more than 25,000 dollars and the problem was that it wasnít his money. The lights and the sounds of the casino were pain to Jackís pounding headache, the jackpots hitting hoping his luck could just change.

"Damnit, you havenít dealt me a god damn hand all night, Iíd have better luck going back home and playing with myself!"

"Sir, if you donít settle down Iím going to have to escort you off the casino floor," whispered the pit boss into Jackís ear.

"Do you like your job?" Jack stated

"What kind of question is that?"

"Well if you do I suggest you step off and go bother someone else in this casino because my wife Victoria is the magician here and the ticket sales probably pay for your salary, so I ask you once again, do you like your job here at the Three Sands Casino?"

"Does she pay for your betting habits too?"

"Dealer has 18," yells the dealer. Those words sound like nails on a chalkboard to Jack at this point in the night. He has lost it all again, he knew it was now time to take the walk of shame, or more like stumble of shame in his condition back to the room of his wife, but what he had no idea what was in store for him back in the room.

Victoria was not just any Las Vegas magician, she actually had the power to make things happen that are out of the ordinary. That was not all she was good at either, she had power over male tourists. She could get them to come back to her room and she would promise them a private show, but only she would not have sex with them but just put a spell on them that gave them the illusion of sex, and then these tourists would hand over fistfuls of money. She hadnít had to do this since she met Jack because with Jackís card abilities she promised him that she wouldnít do this anymore. The only problem was that it seemed Jack was now costing her more money than she was bringing in so she had to perform this sexual illusion pay for her expensive habits somehow.

Victoria was one of those natural girl next door beauties, her eyes sparkled in the Vegas lights, and her bright blonde hair was magnified by the sparkles that were coming off her short cocktail dress. She was one of the most beautiful women you have ever seen, a person would wonder what she would see in Jack, but everyone knows she is a money chaser and Jack used to be one of the best card players in the country. However, since Jack has been married to Victoria his cards have turned cold and he has lost everything.

Their relationship had been going south ever since the one day that Victoria finally realized that Jack just might love cards more than he loves her, if he loves her at all. It was their first wedding anniversary when she decided she was going to surprise her husband with a great dinner and maybe if he is lucky a little dessert, but he never showed. She stormed to the only place she figured he would be, and he was there sitting at the casino bar with a female dealer sitting on the stool next to him.

"What are you doing here; do you know what today is?"

"Um, Tuesday"

"What happened to you, I thought you loved me more than this, it is our anniversary, but it seems you are having your fun here with some other bimbo."

"Yeah well this bimbo just won me 25,000 dollars, so here, I now this is what you came for anyway," Jack then threw the money at her and she realized that she could now do almost anything she wants. It wasnít until that day that their whole relationship started to totally fall apart.

Jack had just gotten off the elevator and was now pinballing off the brightly painted walls wondering where those noises of pleasure are coming from, and once he got closer he thought to himself, "That money hungry bitch!"

Jack then pounded his fist on the door screaming, "I can hear you in there, donít make me open the door and ruin everything!"

The tourist at this time wakes up from his trance and was wondering who was pounding on the door like that, and Victoria says, "Donít worry honey Iíll handle this one."

Jack cried out, "How could you do this to me, again?!"

"No, its not what it seems here, I am just tricking him into giving me money, and what do you care it smells like you have enough whiskey in you to kill a horse, so the real question is how much money do I need to get off this tourist to pay for what your drunk ass lost tonight?"

"Does it really matter, all you have to do is find some other tourist that you can go and do."

"Like you should be talking, how many of those slutty dealers have you been with just so you can get an edge in you card games, you are a damn wizard use magic!"

"I told you I canít use magic when I play cards!"

"You mean you are just too drunk, no maybe that isn't it maybe you are just scarred! Iíll show you how to use magic!"

At that moment there was a flash of bright light and Jack collapsed to the ground. When he got up he felt like something had changed. The fluorescent light from the hallway hit his eyes and he went to go run the sleep out of his eyes but he could not move his arms up to his face, his shirt felt like a straight jacket. He then felt an incredible pressure on his legs, like he was wearing his wifeís tight jeans, something just wasnít right and it was then that Jack looked down and saw his hands had become black and hairy, he looked around to the rest of his body and he had been turned into a gorilla by that woman he used to call a wife. Not knowing what to do with his life, he left the hotel as inconspicuously as a gorilla could and went to the strip. He sat on a bench that was advertising a Prime Rib dinner for $3.99 on Tuesdays only. As people walked by no one said a word, as if it was common for a gorilla to be sitting alone on a bench, I guess it is Las Vegas. So he thought to himself, "What is the only job I could do without anyone even thinking twice about why a gorilla would be able to do this job, " and it came to him, like in the cartoons when the light bulb would go off over the head of someone. That was a bouncer at a local Vegas nightclub named Coyote Corner. Jack just hung around until finally the manager offered him a job. He got all excited and pounded on his hairy chest just like a real gorilla.

The managers were so happy that they would go everywhere and brag. They would talk about how this gorilla was the best thing to happen to their club and how they could leave him there all alone and not have to worry about if everything was going to be okay. The club was making more money than ever because of this attraction, no guest knew as if this bouncer was an actual gorilla or just someone in a suit. Jack was so good at his job the police would no longer have to come to this club because they always knew that this place would always be under control. Fights used to break out in this club at least once a night, but the first time that happened Jack took one of his huge hands, if you could even call them that and hit the man on top of the head. It looked like when the cartoons would get pounded into the ground, and the man collapsed to the ground like a sack of potatoes. The other good thing was no one would say much to him because they knew if they disagreed they would get the boot literally and figuratively.

One day the managers of the club were having a few cocktails with, Max, the owner of the Three Sands Casino. he was boasting about this new girl he had, but since he had met this new girl that every time he would go to sleep next to her he would wake up and anything that was of value would be gone. The managers said, "I bet you wish you had someone like our bouncer the great gorilla to protect your riches."

"I got a bet for you, if I beat you in a game of paper, rock, scissors I get your gorilla"

Knowing that owner of the Three Sands had been drinking since 3 pm and it was now close to midnight the manager reluctantly agreed.

So the first two games both went to the owner and the gorilla was forced to leave his post at the club to guard Maxís riches. Jack had no idea the kind of surprise that was in store for him once he got back to the last place he recalls being a human.

When the gorilla was guarding his treasures a woman came out into the living room of the penthouse of the hotel tiptoeing around trying to find where Max had hid his many riches tonight, until she turned the corner and saw Jack standing there, well not actually Jack, but the gorilla version. Jack had been longing to see his wife just one more time to see if he could rekindle some old sparks, but Victoria just turned so white she could be used for a nightlight and turned around and went to bed without saying a word.

During the day Max now was forcing Jack to be somewhat of a sideshow to his casino and put a toga and holding a bucket of fake gold coins in the entrance to the slot room.

The next morning Victoria went looking for Jack and she found him sitting at his post of the entrance to the slot room wearing that ridiculous costume and said, "Iím sorry, I never thought that something like this would happen."

Without missing a beat Jack said, "Why donít you ask your new boyfriend what I am doing here he owns me now, but this isn't my only job, I protect his assets too."

"That was you, I thought I was dreaming!"

"So he didnít give you enough money for having sex with him you had to steal from him too?"

All she could say was, "Iím sorry"

Yet, Jack was so lonely from not having a relationship with a human since he had been changed into a gorilla that he was longing for something. He said, " I think you owe me something," With a snap of her fingers the costume became huge and darkness fell upon Jack because the toga was so big it covered everything. He struggled to get free and finally he found the end of a sleeve and poked his head through. He slowly got up and covered himself up and then turned to Victoria.

"Oh Jack, I have missed you so!" Said Victoria

But Jack didnít say anything he just turned and started to walk away.

"Jack you bastard, I said Iím sorry and all you can do is walk away from me, you should be on your hands and knees thanking your lucky stars that I was even nice enough to turn you back to the dirty card shark you once were.

He turned to her and said, "Since you like money so much I got something for you!" She began to cry out, "Nooooo, donít do this to me!" as she began to melt like a candle down to the carpet floor the light started to glisten off the melting lady as if she were turning into some kind of metal and then it happened it sounded as if someone had dropped some change from the ceiling and Jack looked down and saw what seemed to be a dollar gold coin that was used in the slot machines.

"I always knew that was really all she was worth." He sat there for a while with the shiny chip in his hand wondering if he would really ever miss his wife, but then he thought, "Who could really miss that bitch?" So he did what any respectable ex-husband would do and put that coin into the first dollar slot that he could find and he hit the jackpot.


Acknowledgments:

I would like to thank my parents for sending me to Coe and spending all of their money for my 4 years here.  I would also like to thank my creative writing class and Terry Heller because without their help I would have never thought to write a story like this.

 


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