Moe is a card shark with a good mind for numbers and a cutting edged tongue. I always looked forward to a good game of cards with him – that is, until last week.
I was contacted by a new acquaintance who extended an invitation to her home insisting that Moe accompany me. I accepted her call to join her soiree which included the games Bridge and Whist. She told me there would be no money involved as her guests play “only for fun”.
Nobody stirs a more rousing game of cards better than Moe. And Moe loves to play for cash. I have been Moe’s card partner since we met at the neighborhood’s first block party. And we have never lost a game of ‘Rise and Fly’ in which the losing team must leave the table and is replaced by ‘fresh meat’. Moe talks a lot of trash at the table – partly in jest but mostly to jar his opponents. In the end, no one leaves with hurt feelings and a good time is had by all. But that is when he plays at home amongst people who know him.
I was concerned that a new and unsuspecting crowd would not accept Moe’s candor as readily as his family and friends. So while we drove toward the party, I repeatedly told Moe there will be no gambling and no ‘trash talking’. I told him to treat these new people as he would like them to treat him. Moe mumbled something in agreement. But I had a feeling he wasn’t taking in all I was saying.
We arrived at the house and the hostess greeted us as we entered. From an adjoining room, several card games had already begun and the gamers were so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Moe and I realized immediately this was unlike any ‘Rise and Fly’ we’d ever attended.
We sat down to play with a young and handsome couple. Moe introduced us and asked the female opponent her name. “My name is Tova.” She said. Moe said to her as the cards were being dealt, “You don’t look like a Tova to me. You look more like a Sue.” Our opponents laughed. And I kicked Moe beneath the table. Moe shouted – not to anyone in particular, “Are ya ready to get your feelin’s hurt?!”
Throughout the game, Moe spat his usual prattle. At one point, he shouted to me, “Follow my lead! You know better! If I lead with a diamond, you play a diamond!” Tova’s partner scolded Moe for “talking across the table”. Moe said to him, “She has a hand full of diamonds and she didn’t follow my lead!” Tova explained to Moe the rules of the game include silence between partners. Moe said, “Suzie Q! Don’t get too comfortable in your chair ’cause you’ll be leaving soon.” And I kicked him. We won that round. And soon there were onlookers watching us play. Moe continued to talk trash and occasionally he’d yell, “Hey Suzie Q! Come on back just one more ‘gain!” And I’d kick him.
After 9 rounds of non-stop play, Moe and I took a break. Our table was empty but there were other games still ongoing. I decided to go to the ladies room and I left Moe in the dining room where food was served buffet style.
While I was roaming to and fro and mingling here and there, Tova stopped me and said, “Diahhn, your father is calling me Sue but my name is Tova.” I said to her, “I’m sorry Tova. He means no harm. I’ll remind him not to do so.” I added, “He is not my father.” Tova said to me in a snippy tone, “He is your boyfriend?” I said, “Listen Suzie” But before I could finish that thought by giving her a ‘what for’, I heard Moe’s voice echoing from the game room. “Put your money where your mouth is!” He was shouting. “Put it up! Or shut it up!” I pressed through throngs of party people to get into that room. I saw him. After repeatedly stating to Moe, in the car, over and again “Do not gamble.” there he was – gambling.
I shouted to him, “Moe what are you doing?” He replied, “With all of these grown-ups in this house, I knew there must be somebody who could count to twenty one.”
Blackjack?! He was playing Blackjack with Suzie’s Tova’s date. (Or maybe the guy was her father – I’m not sure.)
I was hovering over Moe and telling him it was time to leave when Suzie’s Tova’s boyfriend said in the thickest of accents, “Meester Moe, I yahm not plahying for keeps.” Moe said to him, “Aw, don’t start cryin’ ’cause you’ve just lost your lunch money.”
I snapped at Moe, “Get up right now and let’s go!” And Suzie’s dad/man kept repeating, “Meester Moe!”
The car didn’t seem to move fast enough on the way home. I was fuming – mostly at myself for having lost my temper with Suzie. I wasn’t really mad at Moe who was busy counting his money. He turned to me whilst I was driving and said, “Well, if mister man didn’t wanna play, he shouldn’t have accepted my challenge.” (Moe was right.) He continued, “I don’t know why you’re so mad. You don’t know those folks anyway.” (Right again.)
It seemed to take us forever to get home. My husband was in the driveway when we arrived. “Did you two have a good time?” He asked. Moe got out of the car and shouted, “I had a ball! I’ll tell ya all about it in the morning.” Moe went home. My husband looked at me and said, “I think I’m gonna hear about it tonight.”
(He was right.)
Copyright © (2010 – 2013) Diane