The Card Game
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
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.
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.”
Higgins has published
stories, essays, poems, and three books.