November 14, 2012
— Antonio Cassano, flash fiction, Football Satire, Funny Football, halloween story, Joey Barton, mario balotelli, poker, roy keane, Satirical, scary story, short story, Story About Poker
By Emelie Okeke
This is the fourth and final (and ever so slightly belated) piece in a series of Halloween specials here on strange bOUnce. The brief was simple: all stories must begin with the same opening line, and revolve around a poker game played by demons. Writers were encouraged to then let their imagination decide the rest, imprinting their own unique style on their version of this seasonal short story.
They sat around the poker table. These Demons. They break down the most resilient of souls, the battle-hardiest of bodies, and the cleverest of minds. These four men. Playing a card game, yes, but only the most important card game they were likely to play in their wretched excuses for lives. A winner-takes-all prize. A shot at redemption. A new start. Their demons slain. For the other three, the ceaseless agony would continue.
There was Joey, veins pumping and temples throbbing, but concealing a distinct fear of his own body and what it could do, hence the bloodshot eyes from a lack of sleep. He had to watch himself like a hawk. His rambling scouse drawl contained a roulette of French phrases and Shakespearean soliloquies. An enigma, wrapped in a puzzle, wrapped in a maniac.
Second, Roy. Once a promising champion in the controlled arts of combat violence (in the name of sport, he claimed), now an exhibitor of cruel sadistic acts on the innocent and lame, or those simply unfortunate enough to run across his path at the wrong time of day. He could influence men, but was his influence a desired one? Head freshly shaven by what one would suspect was a kitchen implement, his was a wide berth which was well warranted. He was big blind.
Then small blind, Antonio. His pock-marked face a picture of lunacy, wide-eyed nonsensical grin spontaneously bursting into inopportune fits of maniacal laughter at the drop of a madman’s hat. Gnawing at the table. Don’t ask why. He did not have the best poker face.
Completing the set, Mario. His muscular frame was capable of causing considerable bodily harm; his rubber face capable of considerable clowning around. Don’t call him a joker though — unless you want the see the ‘joker’ make a pencil disappear.
They were all playing away, each as desperate as their three counterparts to win back their soul and their freedom. The game dragged on, time seemingly frozen, but no one man managed to achieve a monopoly. Finally, a knock came. A shrill whistle followed. The cards were abandoned where they lay and the four men ordered to run out of the tunnel and play their hearts out at a game where they were better versed — all without so much as a warm-up. The cards had failed to divide and decide their fates, for now; perhaps the adulation of those on the terraces would instead engineer an exorcism, ridding the tormented souls of the demons that afflicted these undoubtedly gifted yet highly dangerous men.
Or, like usual, perhaps not. God help the other eighteen players. Fright night indeed.
Inner Demons by Emelie Okeke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.