It's been a full 14 months since I wrote the following:
I didn't peel my cards off the table again, preferring instead to eat her face with my eyes. Her cheeks pulled in as she drew in on the cigar. She pulled her cards off the felt one more time. I couldn't read her as well as I wanted. Remember, her beauty put me on tilt the moment she'd climbed out of the H2-Hummer. When she lit the cigar and bathed the table in a sexual wash of smoke and casual good humor, I decided there was no way I could play the game of poker ever again..
Since that time, the Cigar Girl has become a familar face and friend. We've played against each other several times, and her husband, now known as The Mark, has warned me more than once to not ever again consider eating his wife's face.
Tonight, the subject of that game long ago came up again during a $40 buy-in single table freeze-out. And wouldn't you know it, Cigar Girl went to the freezer and brought back a popsicle.
I don't think it was intentional, but I'm not sure. For some reason, I've become a bit of a target at The Mark. And for some reason, I think
Cigar Popsicle Girl knew she could put me on tilt.
When she hit the table with the striped, frozen phallic symbol, I couldn't help but comment on my inability to watch a girl eat a popsicle. I folded my big blind to a raise and tried to concentrate on how nice the new table The Mark was.
When my small blind came up, Popsicle Girl and a few others limped in. I looked down to find AK suited in clubs. I put out a bet that was around the size of the pot. Popsicle Girl was taking her own sweet time, her concentration focused on the frozen goodness in her hands.
I callled her by name and, in my best table captain voice, tried to sound commanding.
"If you keep focusing on the popsicle, I'm going to have to call the clock on you."
I sounded like the guy in the 80s movie who is trying to play the role of Patrick Dempsey and stand up to the jocks. That is, I sounded like a pussy. And Popsicle Girl knew it.
She grabbed her chips like they weighed less than 11.5 grams and threw them in the pot. Her eyes said, "Do. Not. Fuck. With. Me." Suddenly we were heads up and seeing the flop. Kxx rainbow.
I checked to her. Why? Because she'd been aggressive in recent hands and I knew she would bet. She joked, blowing her good humor in cold waves across the rapidly disappearinng popsicle's face. "I have a flush draw," she said.
I tried to joke back. "Remarkably," I said, "so do I." And I called.
The turn was the eight of clubs, the perfect card for me. Now the board had a king and three rags on it. What's more, I now had the nut flush draw.
"I check," I said, doing my best to sound as weak as I usually am.
She tilted the popsicle and threw out another bet. Her eyes glinted with some form of malevolence that only poker playing women can conjure. Her husband seemed in awe, somehow impressed.
With as much authority as I could muster, I raised, sure that my check-raise would send her to the fridge for a banana or plantain.
She thought for a moment, then called.
My read changed there. She had a king or a club draw, and if it was the king, it was almost certainly paired with a queen or jack.
I had decided, even before she called, that all of my chips would be in the middle on the river. But when then river came as the jack of spades, I hesitated for a half second. BadBlood was two seats away and, though he didn't say a word, I could almost hear his voice. "Trust your read," it said.
My read said I was 50/50 to be beat. Still, my hands moved to my chips and I put them all in the middle.
Popsicle Girl studied her popsicle again and paused. It was in that moment that I knew I had won. If she had made two pair, the call would've been immediate. The popsicle would've fallen to the floor and melted into the tile, just another failed tool in the mission to take down the man with serious visual stimulation issues.
"I guess I have to call," she said, covering my all-in by quite a bit. For one whole second, I felt like a man again. I felt like a man who could stand up to the girl who had put him on tilt fourteen months before. I wanted to say, "Show me king-queen."
But then, like a man who's been caught in a precarious and embarassing position, something clicked in my head. There was a glint in her eye. There was something there I hadn't seen through the frozen ice dancing in front of her face.
"I hope you don't have the jack" I said.
With the sneer of a true maneater, she glared at me and said, "Two pair."
And flipped over king-jack.
And again, there I sat, just off State Park Road, emasculated, eviscerated, and with no chips in front of me.
As I walked out, I made sure to invite everyone to Bradoween. I did not mention that all players who walk in will be searched for cigars, popsicles, and Chick-o-Sticks.
I need to win something soon and I may have just found the one shape that can put me on tilt.
So, in the past two weeks, The Mark and his wife have accounted for more than $200 in losses from my homegame bankroll. I swear, if they show up next weekend with $200 in Macanudos and Bomb Pops, I may just kick them out.