Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Company You Keep

old money and cardsMy old acquaintance Kris Kringle was in town the other day to pick up supplies. He lives up north and only gets in every few months.

"I don't see how anybody could live alone year round," I told him.

"I keep busy," he replied.

"Yes, but don't you miss company?" I asked. "Don't you long for a good poker game among friends?"

He thought about that and allowed as how it might be nice. It so happened I knew of a game that very night. He joined me and two miners I'd recently met.

All went well until one of the fellows, "Arkansas" Jack, claimed a full house with five aces.

"How do you figure that?" asked Kringle.

"Well look at it," said Jack. "Three of a kind and two of a kind. That's a full house."

"I'm looking at it," said Kringle, "but I'm not sure you get what I'm saying."

"I'M SAYIN' that my full house beats your three of a kind," said Jack, raising his voice.

"I understand that," said Kringle, "But since when does one deck of cards hold five aces?"

"Well obviously this one does," said Jack. "That's what I was dealt, and I'm not arguin' with it. What's more, that one hand and this other hand holding my .45 say the pot is mine."

And so "Arkansas" slid the pile of coins, gentlemen's watches and one diamond stickpin into his hat, excused himself from the table, and left.

Kringle looked hard at me.

"You think I had something to do with that?" I exclaimed. "He made off with my wife's favorite hatpin."

"I think," said Kringle, "that you should not play with the same people twice."

"I generally don't," I replied. "but only because I like meeting new people."

"I was referring to myself," he said, glowering. "At least until you get a new pair of glasses."

And with that he left, too.

Guess I know what I'll find in my stocking later this month.

Copyright © 2011 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

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