Friday, 25 February 2011

Friday Flash - Dead Man's Hand II

Parker sat at the computer, watching the cards flick up on the screen. A pair of nines, a pair of threes, and a seven. Not bad. Good job he ditched the five and the Jack. Still, RickyBoy364 had four eights and a two, so he won the hand.

"LOLZ P-Diddy47. Do u want me 2 take all yr $$?" The writing appeared in the chat box at the bottom of the game screen. Parker grimaced. RickyBoy364 always taunted him when Parker lost a hand.

Parker checked his account. He still had $80 left of his original stake. He pressed the button to chip in for the next hand. His cards flipped up. An ace, a four, an eight, a ten, and a Queen. Not brilliant. More writing appeared in the chat box. Jasmine277 asked if anyone had time to give her relationship advice between hands. Newbie23 complained about his bad luck with poker. Parker scowled at the poor bluff.

"Parker? Are you home?"

His mother's voice drifted through his open bedroom door.

"Yeah, Mom," called Parker.

He clicked on the ace, eight and Queen to hold them. Parker didn't really have much hope, and clicking at random seemed to work as well as having a clear strategy.

"Could you help me unload the car?" called Parker's mother.

Parker sighed. He typed 'afk' in the chat box and pressed 'deal' before getting up to leave his room. The new cards flicked into place as he headed down the stairs.

His mother stood outside on the front path. Bulging bags of groceries leaned against her legs. Parker hefted two of them onto his hips and headed inside.

"I didn't interrupt anything important, did I?" asked his mother as she followed him to the kitchen.

"No, Mom. Just chatting to some dudes online," replied Parker.

"You weren't playing that game again, were you?"

"No, Mom." Parker hoped his ears didn't colour and give him away.

"Good. You know those blasted cards were the death of your great-great uncle."

Parker made several return trips to clear the path of bags. He left his mother unpacking the goods in the kitchen. He dreaded to think what abuse RickyBoy364 might have left in his absence from the game.

Parker walked into his bedroom. He yelped when he saw the figure sitting in his chair. A Stetson sat on his head, and blond hair curled down his back. The figure swung the chair around to face Parker. The man's piercing blue eyes fixed on Parker, his lip twitching beneath a bushy blond moustache. The man pointed an antique Colt at Parker's gut.

"Who the hell are you?" shouted Parker.

"You got the Dead Man's Hand, son," replied the man. He faded and flickered as he spoke, as if Parker was watching him on an old TV set.

Parker looked over the man's shoulder. Two aces, two eights and a Queen flashed on the screen. A tirade of abuse from Rickyboy364 scrolled along the chat box beneath the cards. A dialog box asked Parker if he wanted to add the $70 to his account and leave the game, or play again.

"Oh hey, I won!" said Parker.

"You got the Dead Man's Hand, son," repeated the gun man.

"What does that even mean? And who are you? What are you doing in my room? I'm calling the police," said Parker.

"You got the Dead Man's Hand, son," said the man with the Colt.

Parker reached for the phone. The man fired, flickering out of existence as the bullet slammed in Parker's gut. Parker hit the floor with a thud.

The Dead Man's Hand was the last thing he saw as his room faded to black.

* * *

This is the second of a loose trilogy based around the Dead Man's Hand, the hand of cards allegedly held by infamous gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok when he was shot in the back while playing poker in a Deadwood saloon on August 2, 1876.

Part I appeared last week, here.

21 comments:

FARfetched said...

Oh my… looks like a really bad collection of cards to hold if you belong to a particular family, huh? Now I *have* to see how you wrap this all up in #3!

Sulci Collective said...

very nicely done Icy

marc x

Laurita said...

Nice follow up to the first. I like the flickering of the figure. Great detail.

Chuck Allen said...

I am really enjoying this Dead Man's Hand series you're doing. I love the flickering, digital assassin! Great imagery.

Eric J. Krause said...

Very cool story! Creepy how the cowboy ghost only repeated the same line. It might have been a win for him in the game, but he certainly didn't win overall.

John Wiswell said...

Talk about a loose trilogy! You went from asking me to do Colin Firth in a Western to LOLZ. Wonder what lies on the other side of that fade-to-black. I plan to return home on Sunday - please remind me to do the recordings.

Icy Sedgwick said...

FAR - Stay tuned!

Marc - Thank you!

Laurita - I think I might have been watching too much Japanese horror.

Chuck - Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it.

Eric - I get the impression Wild Bill Hickok was a dude of few words.

John - Teehee! Always keep 'em guessing..

Harry said...

Pretty tricky Icy! I don't know what I expected this week but it was nowhere near this. Digging the unexpected hand you dealt and staying in for tres!

mgideon said...

I like the premise of your trilogy a lot. Wicked read.

afullnessinbrevity said...

Such a cool trilogy, flicking between time periods, and the man with the gun. The modern tech-speak was a neat touch.
Adam B @revhappiness

Tony Noland said...

Love the online poker venue - a great juxtaposition to the Old West origins. -Tony Noland

Cathy Webster (Olliffe) said...

Awesome!!! That flickering assassin dude was SCARE-EEE. Sort of pictured Sam Elliott sitting in the chair, there.
See, I'm thinking that if Parker had of helped is mother put away the groceries like a good lad (my least favourite part of shopping) that he wouldn't be in that abdominal pickle.
Fun story, Icy.. looking forward to number 3!

ganymeder said...

Nice one. Chilling. *Brrrrrrr*

Icy Sedgwick said...

Harry - Glad you're enjoying it!

mgideon - I'm totally obsessed by the Old West at the moment.

Adam - It actually hurt me to write that "LOLZ" type of stuff.

Tony - I've never even played online poker!!

Cathy - In my head, he looks like the Wild West version of Strickland in Back to the Future 3!

Cathy - Thanks!

Ramsey Lyons said...

Nice weird take on the old classic western theme. I like ghost stories and this one is very intriguing. Will tune in for the next episode.

Mari said...

I thought he'd die on the street whithout seeing his cards. I like your ending better. :)

AidanF said...

I was intrigued when this moved to Internet poker. Hmm.. a one in 300 million chance... poor boy. I like how he thinks he's won and then the tables turn on him.

flyingscribbler said...

So now you have to write about his great-great uncle. I'm thinking a revenge grudge game of poker from beyond the grave with old blonde whiskers!Great fun Icy. You never fail.

Steve Green said...

And history repeats itself, maybe a ghostly Parker will be back to visit some future generation, and deliver the same message.

Ruchiraa said...

Now look, I am really glad I don't understand poker. Thank God.

Magaly Guerrero said...

I was ready to be disappointed because when I began reader I thought the only thing this story would have in common with the goodness of Part I was poker. Then you made me smile when Parker found the gunslinger in his room.

Great use of refrain that "You got the Dead Man's Hand, son," used over and over, really hit the spot.

Mm, mm, now I'm ready for the Part III treat ;-)

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