Edward Owen – Author

Monthly Archives: June 2010

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The Game #47

Edward debated just mucking his cards right off the bat, but he was already in for the small blind.  Darius limped in with six hundred dollars and Edward put in the extra three.  Kenny laid the flop out onto the table.  Four of clubs, ten of hearts, six of diamonds.  Edward had flopped an up and down straight draw.  He tried to catch George’s eye, but he was looking at the table, zoning out.  Edward played it safe and checked.  George bet six hundred, telling Edward that he had caught at least part of the flop.  Darius called without commenting and the action came back around to Edward.  He called the bet as well and waited for the turn card.  The nine of diamonds, no help to Edward, hopefully not to Darius either.  Edward checked again, as did George.  Either he missed something on the turn, or he was slow playing a winner.  If he had a seven-eight, then the nine made his straight.  No way to tell, George would not look at Edward.  He was really trying to beat Darius and did not want to give away any kind of tell.  Darius checked the hand and Kenny prepared to deal the river. 

Edward went over everything in his mind, this hand, the previous hands, every bet Darius had made.  He seemed to copy what the other players did much of the time.  Bet when they bet, check when they check.  It was a good strategy, it made it hard to decide if he had the hand or he was bluffing.  Edward was doing his best to read Darius this time, but sitting next to him was making it difficult.  Edward did not believe that their seating arrangement was an accident, either.  Darius had been able to see most of the other players throughout the game, but Edward had not been able to see him very well.   Well played, Darius, well-played, Edward thought to himself.

Kenny flipped over the final card; two of hearts.  That gave Edward a six high straight.  Now was the time, it had to be.

“All in”, Edward said, his voice catching just a bit as he did so.  All George had to do now was fold and Edward would either make Darius back down or end this once and for all.

“I’m all in”, George said.  Edward racked his brain, what the hell did George have that he was so willing to bet Martinique’s life?  Maybe the seven-eight?  Then why the check on the turn if he had made his hand?  The just left the door open for a better hand to suck him out on the river.  Edward’s mind was going full tilt, but he just wasn’t coming up with any answers.

The players flipped their cards and Edward saw the seven-eight; ten high straight.

The Game #46

New hand, cards on the felt.  Edward checked; pocket pair of eights, hearts and clubs.  Good starters for a short-handed game.  George was on the button and first up.  He tossed his cards into the muck.  Edward felt a sense of relief wash over him.  Just Darius and him, perfect.  Odds were very much against Darius having a pocket pair also, so there was a good chance that Edward already had him beat.  The flop would tell.  Darius was next to act.

“One thousand”, he said, sliding a sizable chip stack into the center of the table.  Including his big blind, that would cost Edward another seven hundred.  Darius obviously had something strong, but Edward doubted it was a pair.  More likely it was an ace with some paint behind it, maybe suited.  Edward would still have the edge, but not by much.

“Call”, said Edward.  Seven hundred chips into the pot.

Kenny turned the flop cards onto the table.  Three hearts, nine, five and seven.  One card away from a straight flush.  Edward checked and waited to see what Darius was going to do.  Darius limped in for six hundred.  Edward called after a moment and watched Darius out of the corner of his eye.  He seemed steady enough and there was no tell-tale twitch, but that didn’t guarantee anything.  Turn card was the ten of clubs.  Edward now had an open straight with the straight flush draw.  The odds were stacking up in his favor. 

“All in”.  Edward had Darius more than covered and certainly had more than enough outs to put him in the lead.  George was not at risk and even if Edward lost, Darius would not gain much.

“Mr. Teraneau, I was curious whether or not you were serious about this game.” Darius said.  “I seem to have my answer.  I call.”

Darius flipped over his cards; the king of spades and the ace of hearts.  Damn!  Darius would win on any flush but the straight flush.  A king or an ace would also give him the win.  Edward had not seen that coming.  Edward had eight outs, Darius had thirteen.  The odds were in Darius’ favor and it was too late to do anything about it.  Edward was just thankful that Darius’ chip stack was as small as it was.

Next card was burned and Kenny flipped over the river.  Edward’s heart sank as his mind registered the jack of hearts.  The hand belonged to Darius.

“Ace high flush”, said Kenny as he scooped the chips toward Darius.

The water rumbled for a few seconds, but only rose an inch or two in both cells.  The gamble had been worth it.  Darius could have lost and his win had done relatively little harm to either of the two captives.  The only downside was that Darius was now ahead of George in chips and that put a great deal of pressure on George.  Edward hoped that George could hold tight to the chips he had and allow Edward to take on Darius.

Kenny finished shuffling the cards and dealt the hand.  Edward looked and saw the five of diamonds and the three of clubs.  Rags, and being on the small blind, he would be under the gun after the flop.  Bad cards in a bad position; Darius’ takedown would have to wait until the next hand.

The Game #45

The ten of spades and the jack of hearts; Edward’s hole cards for this hand.  He truly hoped that George had a pocket pair of some kind.  It should be easy enough to lay down this hand. He looked at George; two fingers on the table.  Good, a pair.  Darius was the only other problem, but Edward could only concentrate on one variable at a time.   Darius was first and called the big blind.  Edward did the same.

“Raise to one thousand”, said George, dropping his chips on the table.  At least a pair of queens, he would never risk Martinique’s life on less.

Darius called the bet without comment and that bothered Edward.  He was not getting any kind of tell from the man.  Nothing about his actions indicated a strong hand, and Darius had a very different game plan than did Edward and George. 

The flop was dealt; ten of clubs, four of spades and the six of hearts.  Junk.  Edward had hit a pair of tens, but that didn’t matter.  He could fold to George regardless.  He was first up and tapped the table, checking his hand.  Action to George.

“All in”. 

The words, which had been disastrous for every player who had uttered them so far sent a chill through Edward.  He waited to see what Darius would do.  Edward had to remind himself to breathe.

“I feel you have me at a disadvantage,” said Darius as he tossed his cards to Kenny.  “Well played, Mr. Varney.”

Edward looked at George, trying to get a signal.  If George had him beat, they could play out the hand, make it look good and Edward could get George some more chips.  If Edward hit the third ten, well, he preferred not to think of the consequences.  He was trying not to look at Martinique.  Her state of undress and struggle to survive did not help his concentration.

Better safe than sorry.  “I agree with Darius, George.  Well played.”  Edward tossed his cards into the muck as well and watched as Kenny pushed the small pot of forty-five hundred chips to George.  He stacked the chips on his pile quickly and the water in Martinique’s cell began to drop.  It got down to about waist level before it stopped.  Edward breathed a sigh of relief.  That would buy them some time.  As if reading his thoughts, the timer on the wall buzzed, announcing that the blinds had gone to three hundred-six hundred.  Darius was now on the big blind and Edward on the button.  Edward hoped that would give him the edge he needed to beat Darius, or at least keep George and Martinique safe.

The Game #44

The rhythm was the same one Edward had seen a million times.  The players sat in anticipation of the final card, the river.  For some, it made no difference.  They either had the nuts or they were drawing dead and one more card would not change their hand.  But for many, the final card was everything.  The last card in the straight, make the flush, hit the boat or quads.  The river took away as much as it gave.  It could be uplifting or devastating, a winner or a loser.  The card was random, of course.  Depending on the number of players, it was one of thirty-eight to forty-four cards left in the deck.  From two point six percent to two point three percent.  Those were the odds of hitting any one particular card.  Of course, if a player had more than one out, the odds got better.  But somehow, it didn’t feel like that.  The river had a personality; it was the evil dream crusher to the player losing his all-in bet in the tournament.  It was salvation to the player on his last small stack when it handed his opponent a bad beat against all odds.  Yes, the river was a harsh mistress, and she was not to be courted by the faint of heart.  The minute you thought  that she was yours forever, she would turn on you and give her affections to another.

The card was turned; the five of clubs.  The board was a rainbow, so the flush draw was out.  It was possible that Darius had made  a straight, but Edward didn’t think so.  Edward had George beat, so he needed to him to fold. 

Darius said, “One thousand” and pushed his chips into the pot.

Edward looked at George and gently raised three fingers off the table.  He hoped George had seen the signal.  “Call”.  Edward pushed his chips across the table.  He didn’t want to try to break Darius on this hand as he wasn’t sure what he had, but even if George lost, Martinique would still be alive.  He hoped so.

“Call”.  Edward watched in astonishment as George pushed another thousand dollars worth of chips into the center of the table.  What the hell was he doing?  Hadn’t he gotten the sign?  It was too late for Edward to fold now and he had George beat for sure.

Darius flipped over his cards; a pair of eights.  He was playing us, thought Edward.  Keeping us in the game and trying to get George to go all in.  Thank God he didn’t.  George turned over the jack of spades and the king of hearts.  Damn, he had Darius beat.  Edward turned over his fives and George looked like someone had kicked him in the stomach.  Someone like Edward.  Edward was starting to wonder if Darius had somehow drugged them.  Things weren’t making any sense.  I’ve been playing with most of these people for five years or more and they are the best there is.  So why were things going so terribly wrong?

“Mr. Teraneau, your luck seems endless.” Darius commented as Kenny pushed the chips to Edward.  He reluctantly added them to his chip stack.  The water level in Martinique’s cell began to rise again.  George stared at her, then at Edward.  There was no mistaking the intent of that look.  No matter what happened to Martinique from here on out, George would be holding Edward responsible.

The water had only come up to Martinique’s knees, but it was at her chest and still rising.  She began to tread water, but her flowing gown with its beadwork and her jewelry were making it difficult.  Edward watched as she ducked under the water and began to shed bracelets, rings, her necklace and at last her dress and shoes.  She was now dressed only in a black lace bra and panties.  Her ebony skin was smooth and firm and Edward became embarrassed at how much he enjoyed looking at her.  She pushed off the bottom of the cell and inhaled deeply as her face broke the surface of the water.  The level had stopped rising, but there was less than a foot of air space left in the cell.  George had to win the next hand, no matter what.

The shuffle and the deal; the next hand was under way.

The Game #43

Darius and Edward were the small and big blinds, respectively.  Edward checked his hole cards.  A pair of fives, both red.  In a three-handed game, any pair was a good start.  The flop would be the deciding factor, but if George stayed in, Edward would go along for the ride just to give them better odds of busting Darius.  Plus, George did not have enough chips to force Darius all in.

George went first and limped in with the minimum of five hundred.  Darius called and Edward checked his option.  If George was setting a trap for Darius, Edward would do anything he could to help.

Kenny dealt the flop; jack of diamonds, king of hearts, eight of clubs.  Three over cards and no set for Edward.  He looked at the other two men at the table.  Had George straightened up in his chair just a little?  There was no sign from Darius that Edward could see, so he waited on the action.

Darius was first to act.  “One thousand.”

A moderate bet.  Edward put him on a small to medium pair or maybe a straight draw.  Darius had not shown himself to be the level of player that would slow play a strong hand, but Edward supposed anything was possible.  Edward called the bet.  He wished George had been following him this hand, it would have made it easier to help him.  Edward would not raise and would call whatever George bet.  He wanted to keep Darius in the hand as long as possible.

With all of the bets in, Kenny dealt the turn card.  The ten of spades.  If George or Darius were on a straight draw, that card had to help.  Edward kept his eye on George.  The communication had fallen apart, maybe Edward could get George ‘talking’ again.  Edward rubbed his left temple, away from Darius view.  He used two fingers and turned his hand sideways so George could see.  They made eye contact and Edward splayed all five fingers for just a second.  George blinked and gave an almost imperceptible nod, but Edward caught it.  It would be harder for George to signal back as he was in Darius’ full view.  Edward watched him intently.  George had his hands crossed on the table in his usual pose, but he was tapping his left hand with his right.  First his index and middle finger, then the ring finger and pinkie together.  Edward thought for a minute…. two pair, George has two pair!  The thought came to him with such force that Edward did not doubt it even for a second.  The board had not paired, so George had one of each in his hand.  But which two?  Edward supposed it did not matter much; George most likely had the best hand.  Edward just hoped it stayed that way.

Darius began the betting again, “Twenty-five hundred.”  Had he hit the straight?  Edward hoped he had not.  Their only chance if he had would be for George to hit a boat.  Six cards out of forty-six possible, not great odds.  Darius was in a great position to bluff since George was short stacked.  Edward thought that was probably more likely, but so far he hand not been able to get a read on Darius at all.  Edward simply called the bet and let the action move to George.

“Raise to five thousand”.  Good.  George was putting pressure on Darius now.  He might get him to fold, but Edward doubted it.

“Mr. Varney, it’s good to see you involved.  I was afraid we were boring you.” Darius commented in a steady voice that was neither sarcastic nor condescending.  It was almost as if Darius wanted to make sure a friend was having a good time.  “I will call.”

The action was back on Edward.  There was almost no chance he could win this hand, but the extra chips would help George.  Assuming he won.  Edward called the bet and waited for the river card.

The Game #42

Nelly and Darius were all in.  Robert Overton, Nelly’s father, was seriously at risk.  If the board had paired, Nelly would have gotten a full house.  The king of diamonds would have given her quads.  Edward looked down at the river card, not wanting to believe that it was actually what it said it was.  It did not change.  The eight of hearts.  Edward heard Nelly catch her breath and a little sob escaped her.

“Ace high flush is the winner”, Kenny announced as if he was unaware of the implications of that statement.  He pushed the chips to Darius who calmly added them to his stack.  The vibration began and the water level in the three remaining cells began to rise.  The water in Mary’s and Martinique’s cells only went up a few inches, but Robert’s cell began to fill to the top.  Nelly had busted and there was no reason to expect that the outcome would be any different this time.

“Daddy!”  Nelly screamed and ran to the window of the cell.  She pounded on the glass with her hands, her sobs wracking her body.  The water continued its unceasing rise.  Robert managed to tread water and just before it reached the top of the cell, he said, “I love you Nelly, and I’m proud of you.”  The water reached the ceiling.  Robert held his breath for nearly two minutes before his life, like those of the other victims, ended in a stream of bubbles.  Nelly fell to the floor crying uncontrollably.  Her body was wound tight in a fetal ball.  Darius signaled and the door opened to admit two men with a stretcher.  They placed Nelly on it and carried her out of the room.  The panel to Robert’s cell finally closed and the game had been whittled down to just three players.

Edward knew that as the group got smaller there was less of a chance that one of them could beat Darius.  It also made each hand more powerful.  Edward sincerely hoped that George’s head was still in this game.  One of the two of them had to find a way to bust Darius if there was any hope of saving the two women still in their cells.

Edward watched Mary.  He guessed that there was a little less than two feet of water in her cell.  She was actually sitting down as if she were in a bath and racing her hand through the water like a toy motor boat.  He could hear her making ‘vroom vroom’ noises as she played. 

Martinique stood with her hand against the glass, her dress swirling around her legs in the water.  Even though the water had risen to nearly four feet at one time, her composure had remained the same.  She would never allow Darius the satisfaction of seeing her beg or cry, regardless of the outcome.  Martinique Solomon was indeed a beautiful woman, but her beauty was well surpassed by her grace and strength of character.  Edward hoped that she and Mary would be spared the fate of the other seven victims.

“It would seem that other than our spectators, it has become a gentleman’s game”, Darius said.

“I doubt there are many who would consider you a gentleman,” said Edward.  “You are responsible for the deaths of eight innocent people.”

“Their fates were decided by their loved ones.  I have merely facilitated the circumstances.” Darius replied.

“We’ll see what a jury thinks about that”, said Edward.

“You are a monster.”  George’s statement took Edward by surprise.  The man had hardly said a word in the last hour.  “You have no conscience and no morals.  You have convinced yourself that all of the victims have died because of circumstances beyond your control, but none of us would be here if it wasn’t for you.”

Edward could hear the tension in George’s voice and realized that he might not get a chance to kill Darius.  George might beat him to it.

The cards were shuffled and dealt.

The Game #41

The eye twitch.  Edward had seen it before.  Darius had missed the flop.  He had strong cards, but not a pair and the board had not paired him either.  Nelly was sure to have kings or aces, unless she was playing the bluff of the century.  Edward knew her tells could be dangerous, as she had studied acting and was quite good at misleading her opponents.  The point was moot anyway, she either had the cards or she did not.

“Fifteen hundred” Edward bet.  Nelly’s fate was a done deal.  Edward wanted to get more chips away from Darius.  If Nelly didn’t have the best hand, well, that would be tragic but there were two more victims at risk.

The bet came back to Darius.  He called the bet calmly.  Edward had to give him credit, he was a smooth one.  Not risking as much as we are, he can afford to be calm.  Edward never believed for a minute that Darius would have submitted to the authorities.  The opportunity would present itself and Edward would make sure that Darius paid dearly for his crimes.

Kenny burned the next card and flipped over the turn card.  King of hearts.  Edward now had a king high straight.  He looked at Nelly.  Her mouth was holding still, but there was something in her eyes….. she had hit a set of kings, no doubt about that.  She probably had Darius beat, too.  If Edward folded now, Nelly would probably win the main pot and Darius would walk away with the side pot of three thousand dollars.  But if she did not beat him and Darius got all of it, he would have over twelve thousand dollars in his stack.  Edward tried to think of all the possible hands Darius could have.  He could be tied with Edward if he was holding queen-jack, but he would have reacted better to the flop if that was the case.  Two hearts on the board; he could have a four-flush.  If he hit it, he would beat Edward and Nelly.  Edward decided to go to the river before making his decision.

“All in.”  Darius’ words startled Edward.  He had not been expecting that.  That meant that either Darius had hit the straight or was going for the flush.  That changed everything.  Edward simply could not let Darius walk away with this pot.  If he had hit the straight, Nelly had lost anyway.  Edward could do only one thing.

“I call.”  He pushed his chips to the center of the table and waited for Kenny to deal the river.

“Show down”, said Kenny and  the players each flipped over their cards.  Nelly had the black kings, exactly what Edward had predicted.  He looked at Darius’ cards; ace-queen of hearts, the nut flush draw.  At this point Edward’s straight had both of them beat.  He was actually hoping for the king of diamonds or something pairing the board on the river.  That would give Nelly quads or a full house, they would both beat Darius and this nightmare would come to an end.

Kenny burned the next card, then slipped the top card off the deck and laid the river down on the felt.

The Game #40

Edward’s blood went cold at Darius’ comment.  Just where were they?  How far had Darius taken eighteen people to pull this off?  Without a watch, cell phone or clock in the room, Edward had no idea what time it was.  He honestly wasn’t sure what day it was.  The last day of which he had a clear recollection was Wednesday after the tournament.  Was this Thursday, or later than that?  It felt like he had been here for a week.

Edward took his seat and waited for Nelly.  The timer on the wall had changed from counting down to the next blinds increase to counting down the time left on the break.  It currently read 1:24.  Edward kept looking at the door, waiting to see Nelly walk through it.  The timer continued its march towards zero.  Come on, Nelly.  What the hell are you doing? Edward thought.  The timer reached zero and the vibration began.  It only lasted a few seconds before Nelly came flying through the door and jumped on her seat.  Edward breathed a sigh of relief to himself and turned his attention back to the table. 

Only three of them left.  Darius had managed to eliminate six of the best poker players in the world in a little over an hour, if the timer on the wall was accurate.  It also indicated that this would be the last hand before the blinds went up again.  Nelly was on the short stack and that was going to put her at a grave disadvantage.  She was also on the small blind this hand, so she was out of position.  Her only saving grace was finding herself in a four handed game.  The fewer players in the game, the more dangerous she could be.

Darius posted the big blind and Nelly the small.  Kenny shuffled the cards and they were dealt.  Edward did not wait to look at his hand, but checked his hole cards right away.  Queen and jack of clubs.  It could be worse.  Edward acted first.

“One thousand”, he said, coming in way over the top of Darius’ blind.  He was hoping that Nelly would get the message and drop out.  Her small bet of one fifty was not worth fighting for.  George was next and quietly folded his cards.  Nelly’s turn.  Edward fully expected her to fold.

“All in”.

Edward was stunned.  Another all in?  With so much at stake, how could she do something that risky?  With her bet the turn came to Darius.

“I call”, he said.

Edward’s turn; he had to either call or fold.  If he had the better hand and beat Nelly, her father would die.  If he called but lost to her, he could add to her chips and deal Darius a serious blow as well.  He was not responsible for her betting and if she lost, it would the consequence of her own actions.  His only goal, at least his first goal, was to get all of Darius’ chips and end this travesty.  And then he would choke the life out of the pompous little prick.

“Call”, said Edward setting his bet alongside the first two.

The flop; nine of hearts, ten of diamonds and the four of clubs.  It left Edward an up and down straight draw, but he doubted that it had helped Nelly or Darius.  Nelly was all in and the turn moved to Darius who simply tapped the table to check.  Had he missed the flop or was he setting a trap.  Edward now had to base a potentially life or death decision on having played a dozen or so hands with the man.  He studied Darius, looking for something, anything that would give him a clue.  Edward was just about to check when he saw it.

The Game #39

It was his room at the Bellagio, or at least it looked like his room.  He started to walk into the bedroom and stopped.  That would be just like Darius, get him distracted so that he was late getting to the table.  If Edward was not in his seat on time, he had no doubt that  the water in Mary’s cell would start rising.  No, a quick trip to the john and back to the table.  The no-neck that had accompanied him stayed outside the door to give Edward his privacy.  He finished and washed his hands.  Every detail was exactly the same, down to the style of handles on the faucets.  Edward wondered if the other two were in mock-ups of the places from where they had been  abducted.  How in the hell could Darius have gotten all this ready?  How could he have known where Edward would be on that particular day?  Edward did allow himself a minute to look around the room for any clues about where they actually were.  He opened the drapes, but the glass in the windows was painted black and revealed nothing.  Every window was exactly the same.  Edward make a quick trip into the kitchen, but there was neither food nor beverage available.  He was both hungry and thirsty, so he headed out of the room and picked up some juice on his way back to the table.

When he arrived, George was already seated but Nelly had yet to arrive.  Darius was waiting patiently in his seat, hands clasped together in his lap.

“All the comforts of home”, Edward said, looking at Darius but watching for George’s reaction out of the corner of his eye.  “Must have set you back a small fortune to build all of this.  I hope we have provided you with entertainment worthy of the expense.”

“Mr. Teraneau, I must say, you have exceeded my expectations”, replied Darius.

“I’m glad you’ve enjoyed yourself, because Nevada still has the death penalty.” said Edward.  “I hope you aren’t afraid of needles, because that’s exactly what’s waiting for you.”

“Mr. Teraneau, you have made several assumptions.  One, that you or one of your friends will be able to beat me.”

“And the other would be?” asked Edward.

“That we are in the state of Nevada.”

The Game #38

Burn and turn.  Kenny flipped the turn card onto the felt.  King of diamonds.  Three high cards out of four.  At the very least, George or Nelly was sitting on a pair, hopefully one of them had the top pair.

Nelly’s turn; “five hundred”, she said.

George simply called the bet without saying a word.  Didn’t they understand that they were just playing into Darius’ game?  Damn, Edward wished he could say something, but he feared what the consequences of those actions would be.  All he could do was watch the hand play out.

River card: Ace of clubs.  Aces paired on the board.  Edward was almost positive that George had an ace.  Those trips were probably good enough to win the hand.  Nelly checked.  Must have missed her straight, thought Edward.  George came back with a bet of one thousand chips.  Nelly looked at him, at the board and then at her dad before she folded.  George raked the side pot into his stack.  That left the main pot.  George showed three aces with jack.  Nelly nodded as if she had figured that out already and showed a queen-jack off suit.  Yep, missed for sure.  Neither of them had been paying attention to Darius who patiently waited for all eyes to land on him.   As they did so, he revealed a pair of nines, giving him nines full of aces.  The main pot of almost fifty-five hundred dollars went into his chip stack, giving him a new lease on life in the game.  Edward swore under his breath.  Not only was he angry that Darius won, he was angry that he hadn’t seen it coming.  He was rarely that far off about his opponents.  At least everyone still had chips in front of them.

The rumbling of the water entering the cells began.  This time, only Robert Overton’s cell continued to fill.  It reached about five feet and stopped, hitting Robert in the center of the chest.  Edward breathed a sigh of relief.  Good, no one dead this hand, that was certainly a relief.  Kenny collected the cards and began to shuffle.

“Other than appeasing your sick, twisted mind, what is your payoff in all of this? ” Edward asked Darius.

“That, Mr. Teraneau, is a fact you will only learn by besting me.” Darius replied.  Most of the other players remained silent, looking at their loved ones across the table.

“We’ve been playing for an hour and I have to pee”, said Nelly.  “Can you please turn this, whatever you call it, off, and direct me to the ladies room?”

Edward watched Darius.  If there was any chance of getting out of here, it would involve getting out of Darius direct line of sight.  Yes, there were likely cameras everywhere, but the people monitoring them were prone to tuning out what they saw.

“Ms. Overton brings up a valid point” said Darius.  “Five minute break beginning now.  Please follow my staff members to the facilities, and don’t be late at the expense of someone else.”  and with that, the door opened and three large, muscular no-neck  types walked into the room.  Each of the players got up gingerly from their seats, intently watching the water level in the cells.  When they saw that it was no longer rising, they followed the men into the doorway and down the hall.  Edward opened the door to which he was shown and walked in.  The lights came on automatically as he entered the foyer, his steps clicking on the imported marble floor.  He hadn’t gotten inside more than five feet when he stopped cold, amazed by what he saw.