Dean had dealt, so he could sit and see what the rest did before making his move. Glen was in for twenty bucks. That caused the two on the couch, Chet and Bill to fold, followed by Shawn to his right. It was Dean’s turn to act.
“What are you doing, Dwayne?” asked Glen.
Dean hoped it was his imagination, but it sounded like Glen was calling him Dwayne sarcastically. Dean looked at his cards. Two kings.
“I’ll see your twenty,” Dean tossed in a white poker chip before picking up the deck of cards, burning and turning the top six cards revealing five of them: a four, a five, a six, a king and an ace.
“I’m in for fifty,” Glen threw in his blue chip.
“Me too,” Dean looked at the king swimming in the river and thought of the two more under his thumb. Dean once again took up the deck and cleanly and efficiently burned and turned two more cards. The card turned face up was a seven.
“100,” Glen tossed in his hundred dollars worth of poker chips.
Did Glen just make his straight? A straight takes three of a kind. I think he’s bluffing. I think he wants me to think he made his straight. “I’ll your see 100,” Dean chipped in a chip of his own to the pot.
“You’ll see me? Do you see me? I don’t think you see me. But, I see you, brother. I see you. Where’s the card show tonight, Dwayne? You seem off your game. First the darts, now-”
“Would you shut the fuck up and just play your game, and look who’s got more chips, asshole.”
The table, minus Glen liked that. They tasted blood in the water.
“You tell him, Dwayne!” and “Yeah, count the chips before getting all cocky, Glen!” trumpeted Chet and Bill. Dean got the sense that the two men on the couch shared the same brain and some times that brain was left unused as it was passed between them.
Glen was undeterred. “You’ll see I’m taking this pot. I know this bitch is lying.”
“Lying? What are you talking about, you son of a bitch?” Dean said and the room went silent.
“What did you say?” Glen was on his feet, his face was gnarled in rage.
Dean had no idea that in this clubhouse any reference to mothers was strictly off limits because mothers are sacred. But he knew immediately he had said the wrong thing. Because he knew his brother was never one to back down from a fight, he got to his feet, too. Dean would have stayed seated, tried to talk it out.
“You heard me, you son of a bitch, you’ve been-” Glen charged at Dean who stepped back, grabbed Glen by the wrists and tossed him face first into the table, breaking his nose.
The table moaned and jeered at the disruption of the game as Glen knocked over all the chips scattering them to the floor. People were too busy arguing over who had how many chips to notice Glen get up, face washed in blood, raise his fists only to get a quick boot to the head that sent him flying five feet back.
Glen was wise to stay down the third time, cause Dean had grown up fighting the best in his brother Dwayne. The twins had first taught themselves how to fight by fighting all the time, then their father enrolled them both in tae kwon do, which Dwayne took for a year before dropping it for judo. The twin’s father had put them in martial arts hoping their disciplines would discipline his boys and get them to stop fighting in the house. The boys would continue to fight, only now with better moves, kicks and punches.
Glen had never taken a single martial arts class, but knew when he was licked. He picked himself up and asked, “Who wants to drive me to the hospital?”
“I’ll drive you,” Dean surprised himself by volunteering. He supposed his instinct was telling him: keep your friends close and drive your enemies to the hospital.