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 Beating Oddly

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CD Roberts
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Join date : 2013-09-23

20131003
PostBeating Oddly

Beating Oddly

Goober Lewis elbowed his neighbor roughly, spilling beer over the side of his glass. “Looky that, Elmer, that Smith fella, he’s upped his bet. Cain’t wait t’ see how Dwight handles that.”

“Yep,” answered Elmer, “this sure is one excitin’ game. I cain’t remember that we’ve had such knowin’ poker players in town as that there Smith and his friend Jones. It’s a real pleasure t’ watch ‘em.”

The man Goober pointed to as Dwight, rubbed one hand across a grizzly chin, and then tentatively touched the edges of the cards he held. He pulled back his hand in indecision. Sweat dripped down from his balding pate, and his broad flat face showed little emotion. He scratched the side of his head, clearly puzzled.

Next to him, his brother Deke, belched in boredom. Dwayne, another brother, (the family resemblance was too strong to permit an observer to think of them mistakenly as other than brothers), snickered.

Kid Curry breathed deeply. He was a patient man and could wait. He had already folded, as had the other players, and was simply waiting for the round to end, and for Heyes to win the hand. He drank some beer, and then gazed around the room with satisfaction. It was a quiet room, the men at his table intent on their game. The men who watched the game whispered their comments in hushed tones of admiration.

“He’s gonna,” began Goober, “oh wait, no he ain’t.”

Dwight had not yet come to a decision.

Curry’s gaze lingered on the broken player piano, which leaned at an ungainly tilt, the result of a leg broken in half, as Deke began another belching session. Drew, yet another brother, wriggled in his chair. “C’mon Dwight,” he muttered impatiently.

Dwight again touched the edges of his cards, and his mouth curved slightly downward into what was meant to be a frown.

The group of men watching leaned forward in anticipation. Drew, Deke and Dwayne leaned forward as well. Drew’s broken suspender, his pants were held up by one suspender, hit the table.

Dwight pulled his hand back, and the watchers straightened themselves. Drew threw his broken suspender over his shoulder.

Heyes moved to pick up his glass of beer, which caused his chair to rock. It also had a broken leg. He sat back to balance his chair.

Dwayne turned to spit, and missed the cuspidor. Heyes placed his right hand on his cheek with four fingers barely spread apart, indicating the number of times Dwayne had spit, and the number of times he had missed the cuspidor.

Curry smiled inwardly. He looked around the room again. His chair wobbled. It was broken too. In fact, he observed, a lot of the furniture was broken. Funny that, considering this was a boom town, that hadn’t even made it to a map yet. The building they were in was only about a month old; it even smelled fresh, but the wooden walls were severely scratched in several places.

The chairs were new, and newly beat up. Curry made a mental note to himself to make certain he and Heyes were absent from the saloon on Saturday night. He sized up the men in the room. Goober, Elmer, the bartender, Weasel McSnade, Acorn, Dripping Dan, Dwight and his brothers, and all the others, didn’t look so tough, but looks weren’t everything.

The wait continued. Dwight simply couldn’t make up his mind. Heyes wasn’t all that certain Dwight had that much of a mind to make up. His face was still expressionless, but after five hands, Heyes decided that was more from lack of thought then it was a poker face.

Drew yawned and scratched one underarm, displaying two large damp spots. Dwayne yawned in turn, and scratched his belly beneath a large stain on his Henley. Deke yawned, and scratched the bald spot on the top of his head. Dwight fixed his small beady eyes on his brothers. He might have been glaring at them in anger, but you couldn’t bet on that, Heyes thought.

The men in the room became fidgety, but not from the amount of time Dwight was taking to meet Heyes’ bet or fold. They were enjoying the game. The Kid knew that. Heck, it was probably the only entertainment in town. No, it was something else. The Kid could sense it. An undercurrent of anticipation spread.

“Ah,” finally Dwight spoke. Everyone in the room leaned forward. He stopped. His mouth was dry. He drank some beer, and as he spoke some dribbled down his face.

“I’ll see you.” Dwight pushed his chips into the pot.

“Aces over jacks,” Heyes said, smiling.

Without warning, Dwight burst up, and tipped the table over.

“Hey,” protested Heyes, “what’s your problem?”

“I lost five times. I’m tired of losing,” Dwight yelled lifting his chair and bringing it down in the general direction of Heyes. Heyes sidestepped it easily.

“Look, Dwight, I don’t want to fight.”

Dwight responded by aiming a gangly blow at Heyes. Heyes ducked it. He looked at the Kid, who looked back, and they raised their eyebrows at each other. Before either man said a word, Drew threw himself towards the Kid, missed him and slid across the player piano.

Something of a general melee broke out as Drew hit the floor. All four brothers were attempting to attack Heyes and the Kid. They picked up chairs and threw them randomly. They broke glasses, some of them on each other. They used their fists, but so ineptly, they didn’t manage to hit their targets. The brothers were slow and cumbersome, and fought like grizzlies wading in molasses.

The other men in the room backed away leaving the brothers to Heyes and the Kid. They weren’t afraid of the brothers, not directly at any rate; they apparently were simply sort of worried that one of the brothers might hit one of them by accident. After all, they were just bystanders enjoying a good fight.

They whistled, yelped, and otherwise encouraged the action while it lasted, which wasn’t for too long. Heyes, and the Kid handled the hulky brothers easily, and in no time at all, Dwight, Dwayne, Deke, and Drew were flat out cold.

The Kid had his hands on his knees and was panting slightly. “Well, I guess that explains why all the furniture in here is broken.”

Heyes nodded.

“Thanks, boys,” said Goober, “that sure was some fun.”

Heyes glanced at his partner, and shrugged. “You’re welcome.”

“Whelp, looks like you two has beat the odds.”

“The odds?” asked the Kid. He and Heyes exchanged puzzled glances. Heyes smiled wryly. The Kid continued, “I mean, I know it was four to two but those boys don’t seem so hard to beat to me.”

“What my partner is saying is that they don’t exactly seem to have much upstairs. Brawn isn’t everything in a fight.”

There was general laughter at this.

“Oh lordy,” said Elmo. “We know that. These boys play poker, fight and lose, about twice a week. It would have been beating the odds iffn’ they had won fer a change, if you mean it that way. ‘Cept, Goober don’t mean it that way. He means you’ve beat the odds. Dwight, Dwayne, Deke and Drew Odds. The Odds Brothers.

“Ah,” replied Heyes. He bent down to pick up his winnings.
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