Edward Owen – Author

Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Game #3

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen”, the man said.  “Welcome to my home”.  As the man stepped into the room, the panel slid closed behind him.

“You God damned son of a bitch!” Bill spewed as he rushed toward the man.  Instinctively, Edward and Tommy grabbed him and held him back. 

“Ah, yes, Bill Welton, the infamous Poker Punk.  I expected you might react rather strongly to this situation.”  The man emphasized his statement with a sweeping motion of his hand.  “I guess it will be helpful if I explain why you are all here and lay down the rules.  After all, life, as in poker, must be played by the rules.  If you will indulge me for a moment; each of you will notice that you are wearing a small bracelet.  Not as auspicious as the many you have won in your careers, but a marvel of technology.  Should one of you decide to behave in an unacceptable manner, you will find that those bracelets are capable of delivering a debilitating electrical shock.”

As the man finished speaking, Edward found himself doubled over in pain.  It felt as if a very large, angry man was reaching through his chest and squeezing his heart.  The sensation only lasted a few seconds.  Edward hauled himself upright using the back of a chair for support.  He looked around and found that everyone else was doing the same thing.  Edward pulled up his left sleeve and saw what looked to be a small digital watch.  The band was smooth and black but it was lacking any type of display.

“Now that you know that I am not bluffing, let’s discuss our game.” The man’s tone never varied and he might as well have been inviting them to dinner.  “First of all, my name is Darius Wellington.  This is my home, well, a part of it anyway.  We are currently standing nearly five hundred feet below the Nevada desert.  Between here and the surface is more than a mile of corridors, elevators and a hundred members of my personal security detail, in case you had any ideas about leaving unexpectedly.”

Edward studied the man as spoke.  Darius was confident, smooth and showed no signs of weakness.  His hands were folded comfortably in front of him unless he used them to make an occasional gesture.  The corners of his mouth would turn up ever so slightly as he spoke, flirting with a smile but not committing to it.  His eyes, though, were easily his most extrordinary feature.  The were a gray-blue color and when they focused on Edward, he felt as if Darius was reading his mind.  Edward was used to being stared at, it was a poker player’s greatest weapon.  Craig’s crazy cartoon eye glasses, George’s cold, penetrating look; Edward had endured them for years.  There was something about this man’s eyes that gave Edward a chill.

“First things first”, said Darius.  “As I’m sure you have deduced, you are here to play poker.”

“That ain’t gonna happen”, Bill said, “you can kiss my ass, bracelet or not.”

“Mr. Weldon, your resistance is understandable”, Darius said.  “But I’m quite sure you will change your mind after I have explained myself.”

“Doubt that, asshole”, Bill said.

Darius continued.  “Everyone has a different motivation for playing poker.  At this point, for most of you the money is secondary as you have all made your fortunes to one extent or another.  Money holds no interest for me either as I have considerably more than I will ever need.  All that remains, then, is prestige, to be recognized as the best in your field.  It is my desire to play against all of you when you are on your very best game.  The stakes, therefore, must be sufficient to inspire you.”

Darius’ expression remained unchanged, but his guests’ were beginning to exhibit looks of worry and agitation.

“Now, I could be dramatic and cliché and tell you that you are playing for your life.  I fear, however, that a few of you may be a bit too cavalier about your own well being, so I have come up with a stake that I have no doubt will be worthy of your best efforts.”

The Game #2

Edward swung his legs off the cot and sat up.  As he surveyed the room he realized that everyone here was a top ranked pro.  As a matter of fact, they were the very best in the game.  That recognition gave him some small comfort; these were his peers and some were even his friends.  It also raised a very large question mark in Edward’s mind.  What the hell were they all doing here?  For that matter, where exactly was here?

Edward stood up and steadied himself against the wall.  His headache subsided a bit but it was still there, pounding in sync with his heartbeat.  After getting his legs, Edward walked over to Craig and Angela.

“Craig, Angela.  You guys have any idea what the hell is going on here?” Edward asked the couple.

“Nope, we were hoping you had some idea”, Craig answered.  “This party looks like something you’d cook up.”

Angela’s nearly black eyes bored into Edward’s forehead.  “You look like hell, Teraneau.  Rough night?”

“I have no idea”, Edward said.  “Last thing I remember was getting off the elevator at the Bellagio.  What about you two?  Any idea how you got here?”

“Not a one”, Craig said.  “Same as you, last thing I remember is getting into a taxi and telling the driver to take me to the MGM.  Woke up on the couch about fifteen minutes ago.”

“Me too”, Angela said.  “I can remember heading into the ladies room outside the card room at the Bellagio.  Woke up on the couch next to Craig.  Thought I’d finally slipped into the gutter and slept with him.”  Angela shot her trademark smile at the man they called “The Rock Hound” to show she was teasing.

“Well, I’m ready to get out of here”, Edward said.  “My head is killing me, I’m thirsty and I need to sleep in a bed.”

“Good luck with that”, Craig shot back.  “This place doesn’t have any doors or windows.  It’s not like we’ve all been sitting around while you were taking your little nap.  There is a fridge over there with water and juice, though.”

Edward walked in the direction Craig had indicated.  Until now, he hadn’t paid much attention to the table in the center of the room.  As he walked past, it was obviously set up for poker.  That made a little sense, but also raised a bunch of questions.  Edward opened the fridge and pulled out a bottle of water.  He twisted off the cap and drained it in a few gulps.  His headache dropped another notch or two, but was still annoying him.  He pulled out another bottle and took a few sips.  Looking around the room, Edward took a mental roll call of the players present.  In addition to Craig and Angela, Tim Feldman and George Varney occupied the two over stuffed chairs at the end of the room.  Tommy Chen, Bill Weldon, Ginger Halstead and Nelly Overton stood together talking behind the table and rounded out the group.  Edward walked around the table and joined the conversation.

“…… some kine of sick joke if you ask me”, Tommy said.  “Man oh man, I got a bad feeling about dis for sure.”

Bill Weldon, aka “the Poker Punk”, looked like he was ready to blow a gasket.  “All I know is I’m going to kick someone’s ass up between their shoulders.  This is imprisonment and I’ve had enough!”  He walked over to the panel covered wall and slammed his fist against it.  The blow made a resounding boom but the panel held fast.

“Ouch, that’s gonna leave a mark”, Ginger said.  “Bill, come on back and give it a rest.  No sense in breaking bones over this.”

“Yeah, man, Barcelona all over again”, Tommy chimed in.  “You play dat final table wit a cast.  I don tink it help you game any.”

As the occupants of the room watched Bill rub his fist, the panel across from the table slid open and a man in a gray Armani suit entered the room.

The Game #1

The man across the table was drawing dead and Edward knew it.  Edward had the nuts, pocket kings to match the two on the table.  Quads.  It didn’t matter what the guy had, Edward was going to take his chips.  Jack of spades on the river, giving his opponent a full house.  Edward waited.  The man went all in, a hundred and forty seven thousand dollars, give or take.  Edward almost smiled as he turned over the kings and raked the man’s chips into his stack.  Just another day at the tables for Edward “Bad Boy” Teraneau.

The door of the elevator slid silently open into a plush hallway.  Edward turned right and headed for his room.  At the end of the hall was the door to the penthouse; well, one of them anyway.  Edward slid the card into the door and pushed it open.  The lights went on as he entered the room, his footsteps clicking on the imported tile in the entryway.  The Bellagio never failed deliver an impressive welcome.  He pushed the door shut behind him and walked into the living room.  A voice behind him said, “Good evening, Mr. Teraneau” and the room went black.

Someone was speaking and Edward wished to God they would shut the hell up.  His head was pounding and his shoulders were killing him.  Slowly, he opened his eyes and found the light was relatively low in the room.  He was laying on a small cot, a far cry from the king size bed in his hotel room.  As his eyes focused, his mind began to process his surroundings.  There was a man and a woman sitting on a couch on the other side of the room.  It was their voices that Edward had heard.  Two other men sat silently in a pair of overstuffed chairs to the left of the couple.  A large, oval table dominated the center of the room; two men and two women stood behind it.  Slowly, the faces of the people in the room began to register in Edward’s mind.  The man on the couch with the woman was Craig  Leeson and the woman was Angela  Wayne.  Edward was still trying to piece together just what in the bloody hell was going on.  Had he gotten into some late night game and passed out?  He didn’t drink or do drugs, so what had happened?

The Beginning

This blog will have my contributions to a Writers’ Group I am joining called The Undeniables.  Part of the condition for membership is that I write in whatever genre I choose EVERY DAY.  This promises to be quite a challenge, but certainly one that will benefit me in the discipline department.  Stay tuned for further developments and check here for my first contribution.