Blackjack

An octagon of faded green
'Neath light bulbs sheathed in dust;
The air was cloaked with torrid smoke
Yet frozen, strained, and hushed.

The chips were ranged in colored stacks,
The cards were neatly laid:
Five hands dealt out upon the felt
Just waiting to be played.

The five of us sat down to play,
We played the moonless night away.
The pot was big, the stakes were high,
And fear was written in our eyes.
It wasn't gold or cash we bet;
We'd all incurred a greater debt:
We'd staked our very souls as well,
And should we lose, we'd go to Hell.
Blackjack was the evil game
And Satan was the dealer's name.

Well, Nervous Ned was first to go;
He lost his head and cracked,
He bet it all, then took the fall
'Cause Satan's jack was black.

And after him went Shady Pete.
He wagered all he'd earned.
He did just fine till three-king-nine
Made twenty-two: He burned.

The three of us went on to play,
We played the moonless night away.
The pot was big, the stakes were high,
And fear was written in our eyes.
It wasn't gold or cash we bet;
We'd all incurred a greater debt:
We'd staked our very souls as well,
And should we lose, we'd go to Hell.
Blackjack was the evil game
And Satan was the dealer's name.

'Twas only Jim and me were left,
With Satan still to beat.
But Jim was sly, and so he tried
To palm some cards and cheat.

At twenty-one, he stood and grinned:
The ace was in the hole.
But Satan knew; he'd cheated too,
And so he claimed Jim's soul.

The two of us returned to play,
We played the moonless night away.
The pot was big, the stakes were high,
And fear was written in my eyes.
It wasn't gold or cash I bet;
I'd incurred a greater debt:
I'd staked my very soul as well,
And should I lose, I'd go to Hell.
Blackjack was the evil game
And Satan was the dealer's name.

The devil dealt the final hand.
I peeked, then took a hit.
It looked quite good, so I just stood,
And hoped he'd lose to it.

"Six, six, six," the devil smirked,
"Well, that's a fat eighteen.
And what's that there? A four-four pair
Set atop a queen?

"I'm sorry, kid, but by the rules,
The dealer wins a tie.
It looks to me, regretfully,
You've kissed your soul goodbye."

The five of us sat down to play,
We played the moonless night away.
The pot was big, the stakes were high,
And fear was written in our eyes.
It wasn't gold or cash we bet;
We'd all incurred a greater debt:
We'd staked our very souls as well,
And all were lost, sent on to Hell.
Blackjack was the evil game,
And Satan was the dealer's name.

The End

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