The room she entered was almost pitch dark. There was a single
bright light, hanging low over a card table, in the center
of the room. Cigarette and cigar smoke slowly swirled around
the light. Voices could be softly heard but Tina couldn’t
make out the words. It was a large room, she could tell, but
from where she stood she could not even see the wall directly
Shrugging her shoulders slightly, Tina walked towards
the light over the card table. As she got closer, she began
to hear, and understand, the words. There appeared to be
at least five other people around the table, though she
couldn’t make out faces. It was to dark, the chandelier
only cast it’s light as far as the edge of the table.
All of the players were in shadow. Except her husband. She
saw him clearly as he leaned across a portion of the green
felt covered poker table. He had just finished throwing
his cards into the center of the table, and he watched dejectedly
as another man raked in the pile of chips from the center.
The winner was a jowly older guy with a graying mustache.
He grinned as he pulled the money in.
Tina was seething. Jim had promised to stop gambling and
here he was, just as her brother had said, in the middle of
an all night back room poker game. And he was losing. Again.
She moved to the table, stopping just behind her unsuspecting
husband and started to say something to him. Before she
could, Jim said…”Micky, let me have another grand”.
The older man looked up from the table and slowly shook his
head. “No can do, Jimbo. You already owe ten grand
here tonight. Yeah gotta pay some of that off first.”
Jim answered, in a pleading tone, “Aw come on, Micky.
I’m good for it. You know that.”
Again, with a slow shake of his head, the older man refused
Jim’s request. “No way Jimbo. Ain’t gonna
happen. Unless you have some collateral?”
Tina’s temper ran over. Dropping one hand on her husbands
shoulder she said, “Not only is this son of a bitch
not going to take any more markers, but he is leaving. Right
She felt her husband shake when he heard her voice. Several
of the people sitting in the game laughed at her words. It
was the first time Tina realized that at least one of the
players was female.
Micky laughed too. “So, Jimbo, wifey has come to save
your ass? A bit late I’m afraid. You’re into me
for 10G’s pally. I expect to be paid before you go.”
Jim spoke so softly even Tina, standing next to him, had
a hard time hearing. “I already lost my bankroll Micky.
That was 5000. It’s all I had. I can pay the rest, but
I’ll need some time.”
Tina felt her self start to shake with anger. 5000 Jim had
blown at this table? Plus 10000 more he ‘borrowed’?
Her anger let her mouth run away with her. “My ass he’ll
pay you. You’ve gotten all your going to get out of my
husband. There is no more and won’t be.”
Micky leaned forward, his face florid and angry. “He’ll
pay me alright lady. Whether it’s your ass or cash,
you can bet your life that I’ll get mine.”
“Tina, stay out of this honey. Please.” Jim
said. Almost begging her.
“Shut up, Jim. It’s my damn money you lost. And
you know it. And there is no way in hell this old fat bastard
is going to get another dime out of me…or you for that matter.”
Micky, surprising Tina, laughed out loud. “A tough
bitch, isn’t she?” He asked the table at large.
More laughter. “Listen honey, I don’t give a
good God damn whose money, or whose ass, it is, but I will
be paid and tonight before you two leave. One way or another.”
Micky leaned back, out of the circle of light. He voice had
changed from humorous, to almost deadly as he spoke.
Tina missed the significance of Mickey’s words and tone of
voice. She moved closer to the table, actually leaning
on the edge. She stared at the darkness hiding Micky and
said..”Let’s go Jim. Now.” Tina reached
down and took her husbands hand and turned to walk away.
“Stop bitch. Maybe you didn’t hear me…I will
be paid. Now.”
“We are leaving. There is not a damn thing you can do
to stop us.”
She heard Micky say…”Donnie, the lights”.
Instantly, the entire room was bathed in a bright light
from hidden, recessed panels in the ceiling. It was so bright
and had come so quickly, that Tina was momentarily blinded.
Not so Micky. He had expected it and had closed his eyes.
“Damn. What have we here? Jimbo, you didn’t tell
us you were married to a model? What’s the matter Jimbo,
ashamed of your old lady?”
Micky was telling the right of it. Tina was attractive.
Very much so. Tall at about 5’10″, thin but not
skinny. Long legs, light ash brown hair, full if not buxom
breasts and an ass to die for. All in all a great package.
Tina wasn’t exactly dressed to kill, jeans, western
style shirt, leather jacket and sandal high heels. Still,
she looked damn good. There were affirmative comments
from the other players around the table, confirming Micky’s
Tina turned on back towards the table with a snarl. She was
squinting but was beginning to lose the spots before her
She started to say something, but before she could she saw
Mickey’s eyes for the first time. They were the eyes of a dead
man. No life in them whatsoever.
Micky smiled at her. then said in a voice from hell…”lady,
you can’t leave. Not until I decide you can go. Won’t
do you any good to scream, rooms sound proof. The door is
locked from the outside, and I have the only means of opening
it from in here.” With that, he brandished a small
device similar to a garage door opener. “You will
stay..until we settle your husbands debt. One way or another.”
Tina started to become afraid at this point. Not for herself,
yet, but for Jim. “what do you mean, one way or another?”
“Simple, lady. Jimbo owes me a lot of money. I want
it…or something of equal value in return.”
“Like what, of ‘equal value’?”
“ummm, jewelry perhaps? A fancy car maybe?”
Tina thought quickly. “I have a trust fund. It brings
in about 3000 a month. I could pay you off with that.”
“3 grand a month, plus interest? It would take a year
to pay my 10G’s back.”
“A year? More like a little over 3 months.” After
a few seconds, “What interest?”
“Like the 25% I would have to get.”
“My ass, that’s usury. It’s illegal. No
way would I pay that kind of interest for any reason.”
“Your ass? You keep bringing that up. Well…later
maybe. So, OK, no interest. Pay me now. Here, before you
Tina was very thoughtful for a few heartbeats…then “I
can’t. I don’t have it.”
“Too bad. Guess we have to figure something else out.”
Micky looked around the table at the others seated there.
It was the first time Tina had had the chance to look at the
other players. What she saw surprised her. A lot. First
was a very distinguished black gentleman that Tina recognized.
She had seen his face countless times. He was the mayor of
their city. Next to the Mayor was a younger man, late 20′s
maybe. An attorney, Tina was sure. Next to him was a stunning
redheaded woman. Tina recognized her as well. She was the
anchor person for the nightly news on a local TV station.<
br />The last man at the table was even older, fatter and uglier
than Micky. Tina had no idea who he was, and didn’t want
“You said something like that before. What exactly
do you mean?”
“Well, babe, you keep talking about ‘your ass’.
That sounds good to me.”
“My ass? Do you mean…?”
“Damn right, babe. Here’s my deal. You and Jimbo
get to leave. Later.
And with no debt. All you have to do is…put
out a bit for me. Us.” With that, Micky waved his arms
towards the other seated people at the table.
“You have to be out of your ever loving mind if you think
I would go for something like that. What are you…some
kind of moronic pervert?”
Micky rose from the table, jaws working in anger. “Listen
bitch, I tried to be nice about this. Now here is the deal.
Take it or leave it. You become our play toy for the next…ohhhh
say 24 hours or so. The debt gets cancelled, and you get to
Tina looked at Micky in shock with a bit of anger. (And in
her heart of hearts, a small bit of…excitement?) “I
don’t think so. Not in my life time.”
“Lady, as of this moment, your lifetime can be measured
in minutes. And not to damn many of them either.”
Tina blinked. Then blinked again as Mickey’s words struck
home. “You’re joking. Right?”
“No, I’m not.” With those words, Micky
reached under the edge of the table and came up with a very
large heavy looking pistol. “I assure you, lady,
you won’t get to the door before I blow Jimbo’s head off
his shoulders.” Putting words to action, Micky cocked
the pistol and aimed it.
The other people at the table just watched in…amused???
silence. It was as if they had seen all of this by-play before.
Or as if they didn’t really care what was going on.
Tina looked to the mayor as if for support of some kind. She
was quickly disappointed, as she saw the man grinning at
Looking back at Micky, then at her husband, then back at
Micky, Tina said…”I should let you shoot this son
of a bitch. It would serve him right.”
Shaking her head…then dropping her eyes, she said…”what
do you want me to do?”
Micky said only two words…”Strip. Slowly.”