POKER WITH A BANG - DAVID BARBER
Originally published at Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers on October 9, 2009
The gun lay on the table between them, a menacing sight with its wooden handle and silver body. It was an old fashioned six shooter, the type used in the westerns they’d watched in earlier years.
“What do we do with it?” Tony asked.
“What do we do with it? What the fuck do you think we do with it?” Andrew sucked at the thick cigar between his lips and blew out a thick cloud of noxious smoke: a smile on his lips.
It was a Friday night and it was poker night. The four men had been meeting on a regular basis for the past two months. They had a limit of fifty quid per person and beer and spirits flowed freely. It was Andrew’s house where they played and the mood was set for each session. He’d had a pull-down light fitted above the round kitchen table and it hung low, barely illuminating the faces of the four players.
Roger lifted a glass of whisky to his lips and drank some of the fiery liquid, ice clinking in the glass as he placed it back on the table.
“What we do is pick up the gun, put it to our head and pull the fucking trigger,” Roger advised, filling his whisky glass back up with the Jameson’s he’d brought.
“Are you for real, you actually want to play ‘Russian roulette’ with that thing? You mean to tell me it’s fucking loaded?”
Laughter again. The fourth member of the quartet was Adam and he’d bought the gun, ‘to spice things up on a Friday night’, he’d said to Andrew.
“Oh, come on, Tony. Are you a fuckin’ chicken or what?” Adam asked, blowing cigarette smoke across the table at Tony.
“Or what? What do you mean by that, Adam? Am I supposed to just go with the flow ’cos I don’t want to be a chicken? Well, pal, I ain’t no chicken but I ain’t no fucking idiot, either. Count me out if you think I’m playing around with that.”
Tony drained the rest of his whisky, slammed his glass down on the table and walked out of the kitchen to the front door, slamming it shut.
“Aw, Tony. Come back, mate, we’re just fucking around. Tony......Tony?”
“Let the shit bag go, Andy. I didn’t like the twat anyhow,” Adam said, drunkenly.
Roger took another large slug of his whisky, coughing as it went down, “Yeah, let him go. We can always get another player for next week. Come on; let’s give this a trial run.”
“Yeah, ok. Right, we start with me, then clockwise and the ammo’s in the fourth chamber and it should have been Tony, right?”
Andrew looked at the other two men, their faces in half shadow.
“Ok, guys, come on, let’s do it. Right, I’ll go.” Andrew aimed the gun at his forehead and pulled the trigger. The hammer slammed against an empty chamber.
He handed the gun to Adam. Again, an empty chamber: the same for Roger.
Andrew took the gun from Roger. “Ok, this was Tony’s turn.” He pulled the trigger and there was a bang, a cloud of plaster fell from the ceiling.
Drunken laughter erupted in the kitchen, followed by three gunshots. In turn, Andrew, Tony and Roger fell forward onto the table, blood seeping from wounds in the foreheads of the three men. The pull-down light swung above the table from where Roger had knocked it when he’d slumped forward.
In the shadows beyond the table, Tony was illuminated each time the light swung.
In his right hand, smoke still swirled from the barrel of the gun he held. “I didn’t like poker anyway.”
BIO: Manchester born and bred, but now living in Crieff, Scotland with wife, Lisa, and our two daughters, Imogen & Melissa. Wrote some years ago but has recently been inspired to write again by an old and good friend (Col Bury) and the beauty that surrounds him up in Scotland. Always reading - when not entertaining his girls and working - crime and horror…and now writing. He has had a number of short and flash fiction published on Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers.
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