The end is in sight. Not that I'm excited, or anything.
Nicky and Mike over at We Work For Cheese are running a writing challenge throughout February. And Nicky knows how much fun this has been. You all do.
I say we all get together to go and thank them personally.
Bring torches and pitchforks.
The dealer sits comfortably, tho he does his best to look otherwise.
The cards are not running the punters’ way, and as they gather around the blackjack table, they regard Zero Roth with suspicion. The tall, immaculately-dressed man with swift, sure hands has four perfect blackjacks in front of him.
Oh my, I never did see... breathes one, incredulous.
The house wins again.
This is Las Vegas, 1963. Zero is the best dealer in the small, off-strip casino, and while most folk are passing through and accept a bad evening as bad luck, he is slowly gathering a reputation with the regulars.
Damn! barks another, cursing the loss of his final stake for the evening.
And the truth is, Zero is doing his best to make sure the cards don’t run their way. It’s why the more-than-usually-crooked casino employed him; his card-handling skills. Profits from his tables are a full 20% higher than the next-best dealer.
The odds of that outcome are slim at best, less than one in a thousand, I'd guess. This knowledgeable player, an arctic blonde fella from Alaska, then mutters something about dealing from the bottom of the deck. And the mechanic’s grip. And dealing seconds. And card counting. And belly strippers. And other things that Zero is capable of using.
This is crazy, but there are no other dealers on shift right now, he lies easily. Tell you what, how about I deal with one hand?
Seeing that the dealer is right-handed, the Alaskan deadpans, How about you use your left hand, fella? Can you deal with it? And that said, the matter decided, the guy cuts the cards and hands them to Zero.
Zero smiles, and placing his right hand behind him, he seems to fumble the deck slightly, while perfectly executing a one-handed annulment on the cut. His carefully-gathered key cards are still on the bottom of the deck.
Of course, Sir. I’d be happy to.
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