A loan

The room was silent, save for the sound of delicate sips of sour mash whiskey and the occasional crinkle of fabric as she calmly waited.

He turned around in his chair - a loud creak of leather or wood, and looked up at the bar owner. 

"Henry..." he started.

The barman shook his head. An expression of stubborn defiance tinged with a little embarrassment - probably that he was caught so close to the player needing a loan and hadn't counted quickly enough to back out of range and not be asked first. Henry shouldered through the small group of onlookers, strode back to the counter, picked up a dirty cloth and started wiping down, refusing to look back at the table.

She took another sip, and said nothing.

He reached for his pile of bills and counted it again. It hadn't grown, it hadn't changed. There were no twenties masquerading as tens. He was 96 dollars short.

Looked at his cards again. Still hadn't changed. Turned around again and scanned the faces, nobody willing to make eye contact.

She took another sip, leaned back in her chair, and said nothing.

The crowd were getting restless. Whispers, a stifled giggle and floorboards creaking as people turned to look elsewhere in the bar.

"I'm ninety six dollars short," he stated. She said nothing, but looked at his chest, where the watch sat. His grandfathers watch. Hers too.  Hers by right, it was promised to her. But he ended up with it.

"That watch is worth $90," she said.

"Worth more than that to you," he replied.


Henry came back over. "I'll lend you the six," holding out the bills.

They went into the middle, followed by the stack in front, and then he dug around in his pocket and pulled out the watch. Carefully laying it down on the table.

"Flush," he announced. Didn't have to declare first, but he wanted to get out of there.

"Full house," she replied. 

The End

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