Posts Tagged ‘poker’

As most of you know, I have my own consulting agency, but I get most of my income by working for a mob boss. Uncle Joey and I have recently become more than employer/employee since he told the whole Manetto family that I was his niece. I’ve been calling him “Uncle” from the beginning, so it only made sense to continue the charade.

Now when he introduces me to his business associates, he always tells them I’m his niece, and they always look at me differently. I used to think it was bad to be his niece, given the mob boss aspect. But there are times when it’s pretty awesome. In fact, I probably enjoy it way too much – but I try not to think about that part.

We recently met with a used car dealer who runs a gambling business on the side that he didn’t want Uncle Joey to know about. The main reason for that was because he used Uncle Joey’s name, claiming Uncle Joey ran the business. Saying that gave him an edge, and made it lots easier for him to collect the gambling debts his customers accumulated. Of course, Kurt couldn’t keep that secret from me and my mind reading ability.

So yesterday, Uncle Joey asked me to pay a visit to his gambling establishment.

I usually don’t jump at the chance to work for Uncle Joey, but playing poker is fun for me because I always win. Being a mind reader has some really great benefits, and that’s just one I can’t resist.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that I was going with Ramos. He’s Uncle Joey’s hitman and let’s just say… he’s every woman’s dream; tall, dark and handsome with a little sexy danger thrown in for good measure – only he’s real. And he rides a Harley… what more can I say?

I met him in the parking garage at Thrasher Development. Since we were going on his motorcycle, I wore my black jeans, boots, and black motorcycle jacket. He waited by his bike, and my temperature rose just to see him standing there, decked out in black, and his lips tilted into a lopsided, sexy grin.

“You ready?” he asked, admiring my outfit.

“You know it.” I slipped on the helmet he handed me, and got on the bike behind him. The thrill of motoring up the drive out of the parking garage sent butterflies through my stomach, and I clutched him tightly around his waist. Yup. No matter what else happened tonight, this more than made up for it.

We arrived at the bar. After paying the requisite fee, we were allowed into the basement where the gambling took place. That’s when I got a little nervous, since I’d basically forgotten how to play Texas Hold’em. I didn’t play much on account that nobody liked playing with me since I always won.

Ramos picked up on my nervousness, but I just shrugged and told him that I’d forgotten how to play, but I’d pick it up pretty quick. By then we were sitting at one of the five poker tables and, hearing that, the other four players glanced at me with happy smiles on their faces.

After a few rounds, those smiles were long gone. I won’t bore you with the details, but I cleaned them out. By then, a crowd had gathered to watch me play, and a few brave souls had taken the loser’s places, eager to prove their worth.

The tension in the place rose with each game I won, and one of the players, who’d lost ten grand, began to get angry. After I cleaned him out, he jumped to his feet, shoving his chair back in his rush. “You’re cheating,” he said, pulling a knife from his pocket. The blade flicked open and he held it toward me, his hand shaking with menace.

Before he had a chance to follow up on his threat, Ramos stepped beside me. “What did you say?” His voice was low and held a challenge that wasn’t lost on my accuser, who took a step back and lowered his weapon.

“I’m just… there’s no way she can be that good,” he said, trying to explain. “Something’s going on, and I want my money back. This place is rigged.”

The manager in charge came to our table, and told my accuser to calm down. After glancing at Ramos, he decided the accuser was the least dangerous of the two, and gave him the line that the business was run by the Manetto Organization. “Dude, do you want to piss off a mob boss? Maybe you’d better think about that before you make accusations you’ll regret.”

I’d heard enough and stood, sending them both a disgusted frown. “Stop lying. I know for a fact that my Uncle… Joey Manetto… has nothing to do with this place. In fact, he sent me here to find out what’s going on.”

At their shocked expressions, I continued. “So I think it’s time we cleared this matter up.” I pointed at the manager. “You. Call your boss and tell him he needs to get down here right away to straighten out a disagreement.”

I glanced around the room at all the patrons, who had frozen at the mention of Uncle Joey. “If the rest of you want to get out of here alive, I suggest you leave now.”

Most everyone grabbed their chips and scrambled up the stairs, dropping a few in their haste to leave. The guy who’d accused me of cheating stood his ground. He didn’t want to leave without the money he’d lost.

“I don’t cheat,” I said, glaring at him. “So either scram, or answer to my uncle. He’ll be here soon to deal with Kurt Johnson and these bozos.” I gestured at the rest of the workers.

The guy let out a disgruntled breath, then hurried up the stairs. Under Ramos’s prodding stare, the manager made the call to Kurt who replied that he would be there in half an hour. The manager then left, taking the rest of the dealers with him and leaving us there alone.

“Do you think he’ll come?” I asked Ramos.

“I have no idea,” he answered. “But if he doesn’t, I know where he lives.”

“Okay… good.”

A few minutes later, footsteps came down the the stairs and Kurt appeared, his face a mask of confusion. Not one soul was left in the bar upstairs or in the gambling room down here, and he could hardly believe his eyes.

“Hello Kurt,” I said. “Looks like you have a problem.”

As the truth dawned on him, he turned white as a sheet and swore under his breath. Panic set in and he turned to run. Of course, he didn’t get far before Ramos intercepted him. Ramos grabbed his shirt and jerked him around before shoving him against the wall. “You’ve made a grave mistake,” he said. “And now you’re going to pay the consequences.”

I picked up Ramos’s desire to kill the guy, and alarm shot through me. “Uh… Ramos… don’t kill him… uh… yet.” Ramos worked hard not to smile, but he glanced my way, thinking I was doing exactly what he’d wanted. He turned back to Kurt. “It looks like you get to live a little longer.”

“I’m… I’m… I didn’t think… I’m sorry… I’ll do whatever you want. Whatever you want… it’s yours… just don’t kill me. Please.”

Ramos let him go, but locked gazes with him. “Shelby?” He didn’t look at me, but wanted Kurt to think I was in charge. Since I had no idea what to say, I listened to his thoughts and basically repeated everything he was thinking.

“Fine. As much as you don’t deserve it, I’ll talk to my Uncle and see if he’ll spare you life. Maybe you can make a deal with him?”

“Of course, anything. Whatever you want.”

“Okay. We’ll expect to see you at Thrasher Development at nine tomorrow morning. As of right now, this bar and your little… enterprise is done.”

“Sure, whatever you say.”

“Oh… and I need these cashed out.” I picked up all my chips and followed him to the till. Kurt practically threw money at me without counting it up, hoping that would make his life a little easier.

After tucking the bills into my purse, I smiled. “See you tomorrow… right?”

“Yes, yes. I’ll be there.”

Ramos followed me out, and we climbed on the bike and drove out of the now-empty parking lot. He was thinking that I’d taken to bossing Kurt around like a pro. Who would have thought? He could just see me taking over Uncle Joey’s organization someday, with him as my right hand man. It would be fun.

I entertained that thought for a few minutes, just for the pure indulgence of it. As soon as we pulled into the parking garage and I took off my helmet, I handed it to him with a smile. “That’s not going to happen.”

He grinned. “Yeah… maybe not now, but you never know.”

I punched his arm. There was no way that would ever happen. I was feeling way too guilty as it was for scaring Kurt so bad. On the other hand, it had felt pretty good to catch a liar, and I could do that any day.

So tomorrow… I think I’ll see if Dimples needs help… just to balance it out a bit, and keep me on the right side of things… just in case.

 

 

 

 

 

Dirty Deals

Posted: October 4, 2019 in Advice, Experiences, Thoughts
Tags: , , ,

As most of you know, I work for a mob boss. As a mind reader, Uncle Joey finds my services invaluable, and he’s more than willing to pay me the big bucks to keep me around. I used to help him so he wouldn’t kill me. I’m not sure he’d do that anymore, but I don’t want to find out, so I accept the money, and try not to feel too guilty.

Recently, he asked me to meet him for lunch with one of his friends. Usually, I help him in the privacy of his office, so meeting him in a public place didn’t seem like a good idea. I mean, what if I saw someone I knew? How would I explain that?

He didn’t seem too concerned, so I agreed and he filled me in. His friend, Kurt Johnson, owned several used car dealerships, and was starting to make a name for himself. Uncle Joey had heard rumors that Kurt had a side business going on that involved some of Uncle Joey’s contacts. Naturally, Uncle Joey didn’t like that, but since no one would give him a straight answer, it was time to bring in the big guns – me.

I met them at a fancy restaurant under the pretext that Uncle Joey wanted to reach out to Kurt because of his recent success and perhaps offer him a business deal.

Uncle Joey introduced me to Kurt as his niece, and explained that I was an invaluable part of his team, and I would be involved if an arrangement was made between them.

Kurt glanced at me, surprised that I had so much power in making the decision. Did that mean he needed to impress me, offer me a discount for a car, or pay for my lunch? It put him on edge.

But, after a moment, he brushed away his concern. He relished the idea of being in the same league as a mob boss, and he was happy to listen to an offer, thinking he could use the mob boss’s money and influence – as long as it was a partnership.

I picked up some nervousness about the side business Kurt had going. If the mob boss made him a really good offer, he could always shut down his side business. That way Uncle Joey would never know what he’d been up to, and it would all work out.

“So,” I said. “I understand you have a side business as well. What’s that all about?”

Kurt’s eyes widened and his face paled. He swore in his mind and couldn’t seem to form a coherent sentence.

“Yes,” Uncle Joey said, following my lead. “Mind explaining?”

Kurt’s heart raced, but he reasoned that, if we were both asking what it was, then he still had the upper hand. “Oh, that… it’s nothing much. I just have a side business offering warranties on all the cars I sell. It brings in some income, but not nearly as much as I’d like, so it was hardly worth mentioning.”

Kurt was lying. The warranty thing was standard procedure and not a side business. No, it was something else entirely. I listened real close and began to piece it together. Kurt was thinking about poker chips and face cards, along with black jack and Texas hold’em. It all fit together as a gambling club he operated in the basement of the new bar he owned.

He’d started the enterprise about three months ago, and it was a real money-maker. Not only that, but he rarely lost out on collecting the debts the gamblers owed due to the fact that he claimed the business was run by Uncle Joey. His two enforcers didn’t have a problem collecting after they mentioned that detail.

Holy cow! It reminded me of the two men who had accosted me at the antique dealer’s place a few weeks ago. They’d said Gino owed them money from a gambling debt, and he’d better pay up because they worked for Uncle Joey. It couldn’t be a coincidence could it? This had to be Kurt’s business, and he was using Uncle Joey’s name to run it.

I came back to the conversation, grateful Uncle Joey had filled up the silence with questions about Kurt’s dealership and the warranties while I’d been busy gathering information.

As we finished up our lunch, Uncle Joey asked, “Do you have any other questions for Kurt?”

“Nope,” I said. “I think I got it all.”

“Good,” Uncle Joey said, sending me a pleased smile. He turned to Kurt. “I’ll get back to you with a proposal, and we’ll go from there.”

“Okay,” Kurt replied. He mentally wiped his brow, relieved that he’d deceived us, and thinking that he’d only accept the offer unless it was too good to refuse. If that was the case, he’d shut down his gambling operation, and Uncle Joey would never know. He could still come out on top.

I hated to burst his bubble, so I just sent him a smile.

“I’m sure you have to get back,” Uncle Joey said, dismissing him. “So I’ll pick up the tab. I’ll be in touch.”

“Okay, thanks.” Kurt stood, thinking he may have missed something, but since he was eager to leave, he just smiled instead.

Once he’d left, Uncle Joey turned his attention my way. “So what’s going on?”

I explained it all, even telling him about the two thugs at the antique shop. He seemed more upset about that than the rest. “You should have told me about that.”

I shrugged. “I know, but I thought they were just making that up, you know?”

He nodded absently, his mind already racing ahead to how he was going to deal with Kurt. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know that part, so I asked him if he needed me for anything else.

“Not right now. Thanks for your help though.”

“Sure,” I said. “It’s hard to believe he’d use your name like that. Has that ever happened to you before?”

He shook his head. “No. Or at least, not that I know of.” He caught my gaze and we shared a smile. “Thanks again. I might want you and Ramos to visit his gambling establishment, but I’ll let you know.” He needed names, and, with my help, he wouldn’t have to torture anyone to get them.

“Okay, sure.”

We said our goodbyes and I drove home, knowing I had one more crazy thing to look forward to.

Who knows when it will happen, but once it does, I’ll be sure and tell you all about it.

Until next time…. Shelby

Recently, Chris and I were invited to a game night at a neighbors’ house. There were eight people who came and we all brought treats. My best friend Holly and her husband were there, along with several others from the neighborhood.

We had a great time socializing and catching up with each other’s lives. Most of them had seen my photo in the paper recently about an incident at the newspaper, and I got lots of questions about my premonitions.

Since I didn’t want my friends to think differently about me, I explained it as intuition, or a hunch, and that I’ve learned to listen to that part of my brain. No way did I want any of them to know my real secret that I can read minds. They accepted my explanation pretty well, and it was a relief to be off the hot-seat.

Soon, it was time to start the games, and someone bought out an interactive game they were really excited to play called The Resistance. They explained it as a social deductive game where you’re either Imperial Spies or Resistance Operatives.

At the beginning the moderator tells everyone to close their eyes. Then he tells the spies to open them and see who the other spies are. They then close them, and then the leader tells everyone to open their eyes and the game begins. With eight people there are three spies and five resistance, so it seems a little stacked against the spies, but since they know who everyone is, it evens out.

If you are with the resistance, you don’t know who is on your team, or who to trust, and the spies are always lying and saying they are part of the resistance. The leader picks people to take on missions which everyone votes on. This is part of the strategy and discussion to figure out who is who. If it passes they run the mission and this goes on for five rounds.

When the mission is run, the spy can sabotage it. If that happens, you know that someone on that mission is a spy. So you try different combinations of people to go on the missions so you can figure out who are resistance and who are spies. When one of the teams wins three missions they win the game, and you start over with new roles.

This game is great fun unless you’re a mind reader, and you know who everyone is. It wasn’t so bad being a spy, because we always knew everyone’s roles anyway, but my competitive nature always over-ruled the fairness of knowing who was who, so I knew the spies right off the bat, and, unless I was on the team, they always lost.

Then, as a spy, I always knew what the other team was thinking about who might be who, so I could play to their strategies and deceive them with lies. It bothered me just a little that I was so good at lying, but not enough to stop. Needless to say, I was always on the winning team.

A couple of the guys weren’t happy with that, so we played some other games. One was called Code Names. I tried really hard not to cheat, but when someone thinks about a  word you’re supposed to guess, and gives the clues for that, I can’t help but pick it up and shout it out.

Once again, my team always won.

Chris kept telling me in his mind to stop listening and play fair. I really tried to do that, but it’s a lot harder than you’d think.

Later, after one of the couples left, someone suggested playing a few rounds of Texas Hold’em. It had been a while since I’d last played poker, and I couldn’t hold back my enthusiasm for the game.

Chris shot me a warning glance, but I ignored him. We weren’t playing for money, so what was the harm? It ended up being a lot more fun than the other games for me, mostly because it wasn’t so cut and dry. I did end up winning all the chips pretty fast, and I was declared the king of poker.

I didn’t mind too much, but the hosting couple was thinking that they weren’t going to invite me and Chris to game night… EVER again. That kind of hurt my feelings. But, on the bright side, at least no one accused me of cheating.

As we left, one of the women suggested that Chris and I try to get on one of those game shows. With me in the mix, we’d probably win everything.

We all laughed, but her husband was already planning a trip to Las Vegas. He was thinking about paying my way, and ready to put down his life’s savings so I could win him a few million dollars playing poker.

He never said it out loud, but once he got the logistics figured out, he’d come up with a plan. He thought he’d have to split the winnings with me so I’d go along with it, say…80/20, but he could do that.

Before he got too carried away, I spoke up. “I could probably make quite a haul in Vegas, right?” They mostly nodded. “Maybe someday I’ll enter a poker tournament, but for now, that’s the last thing I want to do. Too much pressure… you know?”

He mostly got the message, but he wasn’t about to give up the idea.

In the end, I don’t think we’ll get invited back to game night.

I know there has to be a solution to that. There are lots of games out there where reading minds wouldn’t matter so much in the outcome. If I can find some of those games and offer to bring them next time… it could work.

If there is a next time.

 

 

 

 

I usually like sleeping. After a hard day it’s nice to go to bed and let it all go, especially after a relaxing bubble bath. But I’ve found that when I’m stressed, I can’t even get away from it in my sleep. We’ve all had those dreams where we fall off a cliff, or someone’s chasing us and we can’t run…at all, or we go to school or work, and realize we forgot to get dressed and we’re standing there in our undies, or worse, naked!

So, after Uncle Joey told me we were taking a little trip to Las Vegas for a couple of nights, you can imagine the stress levels going through me. It was supposed to be for fun, and he was hoping I could win some money playing poker. Reading minds comes in handy for that, and I’d already proven I knew how to play the game…as long as I had my cheat sheet handy. There is also someone there he has dealings with. What kind, I don’t know for sure…but I have a pretty good guess. He needs to meet with them and that means I need to be there for that too.

We’re leaving this morning. As you can imagine, I’m a little nervous, and I was plagued by all sorts of dreams last night, but the weirdest came just before my alarm went off. I dreamed I was going on a cruise. It was to the Caribbean, and was supposed to be really fun with sandy beaches and blue, pristine waters. I was looking forward to it…a lot. Then came the day to leave, and I was at the dock ready to board. The excitement rushing through me turned to shock as I discovered that my cruise ship was actually a submarine!

As they forced me toward the plank, I told them I didn’t want to go on a cruise in a submarine. There must be some mistake and I wanted my money back…and they couldn’t make me go. But did anyone listen to me? Nope. They told me I’d get to do all sorts of fun things. Like put on one of those suits and walk along the top of the submarine. Seriously? That was supposed to be fun? I woke up right after they pushed me inside and closed the lid.

I think my subconscious is trying to tell me something, don’t you? Maybe going to Las Vegas sounds like fun, but with my luck, who knows what could happen? Still, dreams are always the worst case scenario, right? And whoever heard of a cruise on a submarine, that’s just nuts!

Uh oh, the limo just pulled up. I suddenly feel exactly how I did in my dream when they closed the lid to the submarine. Maybe I really do get premonitions. Here comes Ramos, I guess I can’t get out of it now, so wish me luck… and I really hope I get to talk to you again soon.