I have another story for you. It may not seem as if it's related to writing, but hang in there, I’ll make the connection at the end.
My husband and I like to play poker. We also like helping our community. So, five or six years ago, when a friend asked if we wanted to play in a charity poker tournament, we said “Sure!” Actually, we probably said, “Do you want to go?” and then, “I dunno. Do you?”
One of my vintage purses.
IMPORTANT: While I have been to poker tourneys in my city of residence, this tournament was a fundraiser for a high school girls’ basketball team in a neighboring city. The tourney took place at a restaurant (now defunct) in a city in my county that is not the city in which I live. Now put away the pitchforks and lanterns.
We paid our hundred bucks or whatever it was, went to the restaurant and were directed to the banquet room. I’m pretty good at socializing in situations where I don’t know anyone, but most of the other attendees were not what you’d call chummy. You know the type. Upscale housewives who don’t make friends outside their clique unless they think it will get them a free spa day, and husbands who are deciding whether to buy a new BMW or boobs for their girlfriend.
Oh shut up. I am not bitter. If I had money I’d still shop at thrift stores.
Almost immediately, we were regretting our decision to do something on a Saturday night. When you’re at a fundraiser and the kids who are benefitting from your donation have parents that are standoffish jerks, then you probably should’ve stayed at home, watching TV and eating pizza in bed.
We started playing poker. My husband was in for a while, but got knocked out. I was in and stayed in. I couldn’t help it. I just kept getting great cards. You might think that, because I like playing poker, there was skill involved, but anyone who’s ever played in a small-town tournament knows that the participants who don’t know anything about poker are generally the ones that end up winning. I believe it’s a corollary of Murphy’s Law.
I made it to the final table. And this is where the story gets worse. A guy started heckling me. Yes, heckling. At a fundraiser. For children. He was drunk. He was angry that “Wendy sucks out on the river,” which, in poker language, meant I kept getting a good card at the end of each play. Which was not entirely accurate, but I assume that’s how I beat him. I don't know. I wasn't keeping track. At that point, I just wanted to win a prize to make up for the crappy evening.
At first I thought the heckler was kidding. He wasn’t. So my six-foot-four-inch husband stood up and politely told him to knock it off. The heckler was suddenly quiet.
Worse yet, the guy sitting next to me at the final table kept taking chips off my stack in a “joking” fashion, but was actually keeping some. He also kept looking at my hole cards. He was cheating while pretending to be cute.
I think I came in seventh place, which made me seventh in line to pick from a pool of donated prizes. I chose a flowerpot in which there were some of those plastic pick thingies that go into bouquets to hold the little gift tags. I believe there were five picks, each with a gift card to a restaurant.
During the game, someone had stolen one of the gift cards.
And this is why I kill people in my books.