Lost Souls

The Card Game

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The Card Game

by Higgins

The dusty green showroom window shades were pulled down in the early evening. When the lights and the movements within had been concealed from prying eyes, many feet shuffled across the showroom’s oak planked floor or mingled around the mahogany bar. A man, bound and gagged, was lying in the corner furthest from the windows, next to the bar. He uttered muffled cries as the men again came toward him, soiling himself in terror.

They seized him with rough hands and stood him on a chair. They fitted the noose of thick, heavy hemp to his neck and then kicked the chair from beneath him. The rope went tight. But the job was not yet complete. White tablecloths were brought from the closet and chairs, the oval table, the bar, all the liquors and mixes, and the shuffleboard were covered. The men went into the next room and changed clothes.

They returned wearing wool shirts, work trousers and old canvas shoes, carrying knives and machetes. The men took turns, lining up according to some prearranged plan. Grisly slashing, cutting and hacking went on for some time. After they changed out of their blood-soaked clothes, they removed the spattered tablecloths. All evidence was taken out the back door and put into an idling pickup truck.

The men drove off, returning an hour later. The shades were rolled back up and the card game resumed. “Hell,” muttered one of the men as he lit a cigar. “Nothin’ I hate more than them city slicker cardsharps thinking they can cheat us locals.”

Copyright Higgins 2007

Higgins has published stories, essays, poems, and three books.

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