A Friendly Game

“Read ‘em and weep, Pilgrim.” Sunny winked, fanned her cards across the swing arm hospital tray. “Three little boys and their two baby daddies.”

“Ain’t no kinda right…” the orderly in blue scrubs shook his head.

“It’s not right,” the shift nurse slid her ample hip from the edge of Sunny’s bed. “I get to Vegas practically every weekend I’m off and I’ve never seen anything like our Ms. Sutton.” She dropped her head, inspected her name tag, inventoried her top and side pockets, lifted her head to set the stethoscope and wrapped a cool, plump hand around Sunny’s wrist. She checked her watch in silence before shaking her head like the orderly. “Honey, I’d love to call you a cheat or worse, but I bought the frickin cards in the gift shop.” She scribbled Sunny’s vitals on a clipboard. “Judging by these, if you were a no good lying cheat it wouldn’t pose any health hazard.” She eyed the orderly cleaning up Sunny’s lunch and the card game clutter of vending machine junk food wrappers, energy drink and soda cans. “Woman’s got ice in her veins, D’Montay. You ever need to take a lie detector test, get her to sub for you.”

“You may be right, ‘bout her health an all, but poker her way’s why the old men where I come up keep their money in their pockets, play dominoes, drink Cutty or Colt and talk shit.” He spun the loaded white plastic waste basket liner.

“What’s wrong with a friendly game of poker?” Sunny took the bag from the orderly, handed it across to the nurse.

“Somebody’d get to winnin’, an then showin’ off cause with cards there’s always money. An there’s liquor a course. An where there’s liquor an money an cards there’s guns. An you know somebody gonna end up dead outta that situation.”

Pudgy nurse knotted the bag saying, “I know tequila and handguns lead to a lot of bad decisions.”

“Tequila and anything,” Sunny snort laughed. “I’d drink tequila and try to argue a wall down.”

“Tequila an a wall?” Sunny’s room door slammed shut. “Muhfucker, argue with da wall you want but bitch don’t never try talkin’ a bitch down she has a gun, tequila or no. Less you dumber’n fuck.” Five feet tall, three wide, crew cut. A tattoo of two large, intermeshed gears covered her forehead, FUCK under one eye, YOU under the other, 5 BCH 5 in Old English letters from lower cheek, under her chin to lower cheek. A dozen other tats illegible or ornamental. Her hand engulfed a nickel plated 22 automatic. “This down to Blondie, bitches,” the ham-handed pistol directed at Sunny. “Bitch slippin ‘bout money da bitch owes an we done playin’. Bitches shut da fuck up, stay alive. Nigga,” pointing the gun at D’Montay, “on da floor. You,” gun going to nurse, “fat white bitch ass down’tha nigga.”

“I thought they had some cops up here to protect me,” Sunny said, as the door thumped open for a taller version of the gang banger dragging two wide-eyed nurses into the room, their wrists and mouths taped.

“Bitch?” Short banger looked to the new arrival.

“Bitches’re no pro-tection. They more’n lab coat bitches I’m the muhfuckin’ bitch ass Easter Bunny.” She offered two single-use scalpels. “Bitches were in a drawer. Carve the bitch.”

“What I see happnin’ here,” D’Montay, chilled, “be Hefe sent out a pair a dis-posable beluga biscuit eatin’ bitches on a man’s job, holdin’ nothin’ but a piss ant twenny-two. Double deuce in a room full a full growns makes you hoes ones be dumber’n fuck.”

The short banger, her voice rising through “NiggaaAAHH BITCH!” popped one in D’Montay’s direction, missed, shattered a sconce light fixture. The tall one pulled a 45, exploded the patient monitor system off its stand showering the room with glass and plastic. The door flew open, filled with two men in scrubs, one high, one low, both in double grip firing mode. The 45 boomed, knocked the top man out the door. The 22 popped twice, one of the taped nurses spun down squirting blood, two more pops, more sheetrock, taped nurse number two ducking, following her partner down. Squatting door scrubs put five quick rounds, bam bam bam… bam bam in a short arc dusting Sunny with sheetrock, blasting the oxygen outlet, nailing the short banger in the upper left arm, spinning her to take a 45 round in the chest that was meant for Sunny. Short banger’s 22 hit the floor, went off into pudgy nurse’s left butt cheek, bounced under the bed where D’Montay had been since the wheezing short banger now looking at him fired the first shot. She clawed for the gun, he grabbed it, stuck it in her right eye, pulled the trigger. Door scrubs, down on his side, fired twice. One through the sink faucet sending up a geyser, one into tall banger’s thigh. She dropped to one knee, head level with Sunny’s bed, thundered two shots at scrubs, sending him against the wall.

Hey you,” Sunny barked. “Bitch Ass Easter Bunny!” The tall banger raised her head past Sunny’s mattress, turned Sunny’s way, gun coming up. Sunny pushed up from the bed swinging her full-leg cast, slammed it into the side of tall banger’s head. The collision thunked like a dropped cantaloupe.

“Dayyy-um.” D’Montay rose in the eerie relative quiet of cordite, low moans and spouting water feature like a conjured spirit, the first banger’s blood-and-brains splattered 22 auto in his hand. “This kinda shit here? You see it now?” He used the gun as a pointer. “Every time you set down to a ‘friendly’ game a poker, don’t care who you are, this the kinda shit’s gonna happen.”

Published by

Phil Huston


11 thoughts on “A Friendly Game”

  1. I’m starting to worry where you hang out, and who with. I know charles bukowski would never get published in today’s environment, and I think this tops him. Anyway, great description of gunshots goin’ off and creating hell…and those tat’ descriptions…straight outta the State Penitentiary. Visceral my man, visceral.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. People wonder where the racial and other crazed language comes from. YouTube and the evening news. The body count will be going up, from the ghetto to the palaces before this is over.

      Liked by 2 people

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