[This is the first story I’d written about the Devil. It isn’t the last, and eventually, it might get redesigned and sold just like the others. But for now, it is free to read.]
Sin City’s Social Reject
Mickey Boushan smiled, speculating there must be a full moon tonight. Las Vegas on a good night was strange, but the gamblers frequenting his table had all been freaks, and his night was only beginning.
A grim looking Goth girl was the first gambler to sit at his table. With nearly cute little piggy snorts of laughter, every time the King of Hearts showed, she would gleefully giggle “Suicide!” Pasty white with black lipstick and nail-polish, Mickey secretly nicknamed her ‘Dead Girl.’
The next guest Mickey nicknamed ‘Tex.’ Similar to Chuck Norris, this was what a Texas Ranger should look like. Wearing a long-sleeved white shirt, accessorized with a wide brimmed hat, the man refused to remove his aviator glasses. Tex must have sat a little too close to Dead Girl since she gathered her small stack of chips and left with a sneer.
Mickey found humor in someone as obsessed with death having problems with a man who lit one cigar off the butt of his last. It seemed to Mickey here was a man actively seeking his death rather than just wearing black and pretending.
Tex never spoke. A cloud of obnoxiously dense smoke perpetually shrouded Tex’s head as he played Blackjack with only hand gestures. He’d scratch for a card, wave to stop, and if he won, he’d occasionally toss a chip in Mickey’s direction, but never a word. Not even so much as a ‘thank you, what’s up, howdy, g’day,” no words – no nothing.
Mickey was just getting used to the silence and the stink of cheap cigars when Mr. Bigteeth rolled up and took a seat. Not only did he wear a cape with his 1920’s era tuxedo, but his mustache and beard had been waxed to sharp points, curling almost comically. The pins in the lapel of his tuxedo were little golden dice with two single dots facing – snake eyes. Offering a wide smile, his mustache and beard parted to shine a flawless grill.
Mr. Bigteeth had the best tan in Vegas. With black hair slicked back with styling grease, the cunning twinkle in his dark eyes had been enhanced. His view darted from Mickey’s name tag to Tex’s hand, which was holding a Jack of Diamonds paired with a Seven of Clubs. He coached against the rules, “You should hit.”
Tex blew out a choking amount of smoke, polluting the airspace even further. Tex waved his hand over his cards and Mickey revealed a Nine of Clubs tucked underneath the Seven of Spades. House rules required him to hit on sixteen. Mickey pulled a Four of Hearts from out of the card-shoe before collecting Tex’s chips, pulling them towards him.
Mr. Bigteeth spoke, barely moving his lips, “So Mickey, how about a little wager?” He whipped his cape, creating a rippling sound before extending his hand, “Please, allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of great wealth and taste. I’m known to many as Mr. Mephistopheles, but you can just call me Uncle Lou.” He kept grinning.
Mickey matched the grin, only his looked forced and chiseled on, “This is Las Vegas, we do wager here.” Quickly deciding he didn’t like this guy, Mickey’s instincts nagged there was something very wrong with Mr. Smiles. Mickey set both his thumbs on the table with all his fingers underneath. The cameras above him showed this signal to the security room, readying them for trouble.
A noticeable new smell penetrated through the initial cloak of cigar stench, something stinking like sulfur or gunpowder. Mickey nodded, “Okay, well… Mr. Lou, the game is Blackjack. Ten dollars is the minimum bet.”
Mister Bigteeth shook his head but kept right on grinning, “How does this sound? We play one hand of cards and if you win, I’ll give you one million dollars, but if I win, you will deed your soul to me.” Lou winked.
Speechless Tex rolled his head to get a good long look at the new gambler. Mickey never wavered in his professional courtesy, and asked, “Have you tried across the street at The Wynn for such wagers? They are a bit more daring than us at Treasure Island.” Inconspicuously, he pressed a hidden button under the outer rim of the table.
Twisting the left point of his mustache, Lou commented, “Steve didn’t want to play, and he just traded straight across.” Pointing at Mickey, like his finger was a gun, he repeated his offer, “Wha’da’ya say? One round of cards? Be it one soul or one million smack-a-roos?”
Mickey shook his head just as the first of two large goons materialized out of seemingly nowhere, the second man appearing within a second after the first. Both men wore expensive gray suits which barely concealed bulging muscles beneath. With hands big enough to curl a basketball, each man held one of Lou’s shoulders. Lou looked up at one of the Cro-Magnon giants, “Hey, hey, we were just about to wager!”
Goon Number Two stated, “Not here you’re not.” His voice sounded like skin across asphalt. Neither man waited for ‘Uncle Lou’s’ reply. They lifted Mr. Mephistopheles about a foot off the ground and rushed him quickly towards the door. Being dragged through the casino, Mickey heard Lou protesting, “You can’t do this… I built this city…”
A small bead of sweat dripped from Mickey’s scalp behind his ear, tickling his neck as it rolled down to his collar. He exhaled sharply and pulled the next card for Tex, face up, Ace of Spades. Tex pulled his third cigar out of his pocket and clipped the end as Mickey dealt. Just before lighting his cigar, Tex broke his vow of silence, “Must be a full moon, the freaks are out tonight.”
(I wrote this one as an assignment in a flash-fiction class. I enjoyed this one more than anyone else in the class, so I never sought publication with it. I still like this one a lot, and hopefully some of you will find it worthy of at least a genuine grin. This is free to be enjoyed, but I’d suggest against stealing this one; the $50 you’ll make will not be worth the thousands you’ll get sued for. Also on the topic of suing, please Mr. Wynn, have a sense of humor, we both know you have a lot more influence in this city that the devil ever could– and that is why the joke is funny.)