In the HOWse
I’m no gambler.
I like money too much. I also understand the odds well enough to know better.
Sure, you have more “control” playing cards, but you’re still paying rake.
No matter what game you choose, The HOWse ensures they get theirs.
And face it, between Mike Best’s stuffed sleeves and Andy Murray’s other-worldly gene pool, the odds of winning at that table drop to slot machine levels.
“Fack slots, eat steks” – Drunken Dan Ryan, probably. No typos. The free cocktails add up, even for the larger of us.
So where would you find The Dooze in the Land of Ill-Found Hope?
Can’t see me?
I’m over here.
Is that bulked up Bobby Dean with a buzz cut, you ask?
No. He’s still shedding. But ya wanna know a positive externality of that? He has to buy a new suit every other week. And it just so happens, when he had to buy his last suit, he was the perfect stage of fat for it to fit my frame.
So yeah, that’s me in the baby blue tux and white trim.
Looking dapper as fuck, one might say.
That one isn’t me, though.
I feel like a fucking asshole. So I kinda do feel like that one.
For the first time in years, how I look and feel align. So at least I got that going for me, right?
My boots, though. I like my boots. Leather, as tough as nails, curated from the pound of flesh Dan Ryan traded for an eternity of wins and riches.
Dude got boned, huh?
That’s gambling for ya. That’s why I don’t do it.
But I won’t complain. I got boots out of it. Spoiler alert, they’re Jiles’. When he realizes they’re missing, you’ll know.
Doesn’t matter how big it is, by the way, if you’re always coming too early.
No wonder you were so nostalgic about Prom Night.
I guess Ron Jeremy Jiles has been too busy with his usual, pre-match shenanigans to notice.
Say “Hi” to Hollywood for me.
Oh, right, Stevens too…
Some real fine company you’ve decided to keep. I didn’t know you could manage to go down a notch from The Bandits, but you figured it out. Cheers.
Anywho, the handsome gent by my side, whose dashing good looks have appropriately caught your attention? You got it this time; that’s a pretty damn slender Bobby Dean.
The infighting has really killed his appetite as of late. Plus, he feels exceptionally guilty about the whole BBQ loss suffered at the last Refueled. I tried telling the poor sap that Jiles would’ve figured out a way to lose that match regardless, but he didn’t wanna talk about it. And I wasn’t about to ruin our precious time shitting on the Ex.
Let that be a lesson for Team Dadbeer. Eventually, when your baby mommas see you’ve lost the kiddos’ college funds feeding the HOG, you’ll be in this situation. When it’s your day of custody, don’t trash the kids’ moms.
Even if she claims to have a Big Dick now.
So, all this to say, I’m not joining the kids at the card table.
Because I’m no gambler.
Like I’ve said before, I’m more a business man in this game.
An investor, if you will.
That’s why Bobby Dean and I are at the Roulette table.
Roulette, while still a game of chance, is one of few with a near 50% chance of winning.
And unlike its closest competitor, the Craps table, Roulette can be gamed.
And now The Chameleon shows his true color.
An interdisciplinary theory stating that, within the apparent randomness of chaotic complex systems, there are underlying patterns, interconnectedness, constant feedback loops, self-similarity, and self-organization.
I’ve spent enough time in this HOWse. And while I’ve blended into the background, a task made easier when you’re standing next to a one-man circus act, I’ve observed… the chaos of this HOWse.
I’ve learned the patterns.
I’ve connected the dots.
I’ve studied the feedback.
I’ve rediscovered myself.
And the organization occurring within is as clear as day.
The inevitability. When a bunch of pussy-footed, blowhards realize they are their only real competition.. so they team up, instead of fighting it out.
I’m not trashing the logic of it. Most of us would do the same, if given the chance. The only fault to the whole scheme is you stop getting stronger. This holds true in any competitive setting. If you aren’t constantly punching up, you’re slipping down. Remember when the 16-0 Patriots lost that Super Bowl to the 9-7 Giants? I sure do. I broke every TV in my house. But now, when I look back… it makes sense. One played its season in a division full of Bandits, Hollywoods, and Stevenses. The other spent its season getting beat up by Palmers, Murrays, and JFKs.
Maybe there was some luck involved, but to discount those facts entirely would be ignorant.
Speaking of ignorance, Team Dadbeer thinking they can compete as a 2 man stable and tear the HOWse down.
You guys took down a Joker who just got pinned by his own Liver, and a reformed food addict. And you act like you won a trip to Disney Land.
Plus, Bergman just had a kid for fuck’s sake. Well, his wife did. He might be a bitch, but not that kind. You mean to tell me he’s gonna have the focus he needs to be ready for the Lethal fucking Lottery? You could say he already lost that, if ya catch my drift.
Sorry, Solex, but when his baby grows that thick, black ‘satche… we’ll all know.
So that leaves 24K.
Tough to find a pock mark on these pricks.
You can’t deny their drive. You can’t trivialize their talent. And you sure as hell cant fuck with their focus.
But the targets of that focus? They set their targets on damn near everyone who entered the lottery.
Guess who they missed?
Maybe they just couldn’t see me.
Personally, I don’t even think they were looking.
And that’s the biggest mistake these dumb fucks could’ve made.
Because since March 2 Glory, their four ugly mugs are all I’ve seen.
I know how 24K moves. I know how they react. I know how they interact.
I’ve solved their seemingly chaotic ways.
Now it’s just time to play the-
Anyone else feel like they’re listening to Motorhead on loop lately?
Oh, before we get to that.
Lucian. It’s cute how you think you’re the only one around here with nothing to lose. I know you’re new and all, but I had nothing to lose three losses ago. If you’re unlucky enough to draw me, you’ll see how much left you DO have to lose.
Roulette with Bobby
“You know,” Bobby starts, sounding as coy as ever. “He’s already changed quite a bit. We might’ve even won that last match if the Dad’s didn’t bring out that…” His eyes grow all starry. A quick shake of the head brings him back. “Anyway, I think you-”
“Not now, Bob.” I mutter. My mind’s busy keeping track of the results and figuring out the best spots to place my chips. Still, I could see his head drop in my peripheral vision. “Okay…”
His not-so-chubby face lifts up with a smile.
“Okay you’ll talk to him?!” He looks like a younger version of himself in a candy shop.
I shake my head.
“No. But you need to know one thing, man.” I twist away from the table and put a hand on my buddy’s shoulder. “None of this, absolutely ZERO percent, was your fault, Bobby.”
He half smiles, half pouts. It’s that kind of expression where you’re a little reassured, but you know you still aren’t going to get what you want.
“I miss the good, old times.” The words out of Dean’s mouth pierce my blackened heart.
But I didn’t wince.
I just replied, as deadpan as ever, “Me too.”
At this point, Bob and I had been playing the game for quite some time. And just like the Bandits of old, the ones your parents would tell you stories about before bedtime, we were raking.
Now, this is where I stem a little from my strategy. A curveball can always be advantageous, when delivered under the right circumstance.
Remember, I’m an investor.
And like any investor, sometimes it pays to take risks.
The key to this is not just timing.
Not many here will understand, except probably Lindsay, but going all in and blowing your load the first shot you get… well, that’s how you end up like HATE.
A fate most recently shared with the Bandits.
Me? Now? Well, I’ve learned.
It’s all about the slow build. And all that excess you’ve accumulated over that time? That’s what you push in.
That way, if you lose, you don’t go broke. You’re just back to square one. And if you win…
The sensation of my phone buzzing inside my jacket startles me. The guy dropping the ball must’ve had his fair share of Flairs turned Troys lately. Dude’s fidgety as fuck.
I hold up an open palm to reassure the Casino hand that he’s not in any danger. With the other, I pull out my cell.
Missed Call and Voicemail from Jiles.
From earlier today.
Huh. Could’ve sworn I didn’t feel a vibration until just now. Maybe my service in this place is a little fucky? Either way, he probably thinks I ignored it, which I probably would’ve anyway.
I go to put my cell back in the inside jacket pocket, but Bobby’s plea stops me.
“Least you could do is listen to the voicemail, Dooze. I was with him when he left it. It’s sincere. And I’ve got the hang of this game, anyway. I’ll keep building us up. Just listen to that message… please?”
Who could say no to those doe eyes?
I step away from the table to hear the Ex’s voice for the first time in days. It’s short, and to the point. Holy shit, though, that ass thunder at the end could turn Thor Murray another shade of white.
I return to my flatulent friend with trepidation in each step.
His eyes meet mine with wonder. I could see him trying to read me. And it almost hurts. Good thing he’s not at the table with the “big” boys.
“Where’s Jiles? With the dick measuring club?” I ask bluntly.
Bobby’s face lights up like a Christmas tree. He shakes his head, wearing a shit eating grin that stretches a mile wide.
“Nope! He’s in the back! With the high rollers. He said they measure dicks before they even let you in back there! That’s why he thought it’d be nice for me to keep you company out he-” My hand appearing dangerously close to Bobby’s nose cuts him off right then and there.
“Stop.” I warn the quiver-lipped lump that is Bobby Dean. “Right there. Just remember our strategy.”
I begin to make my way to the back.
“Oh, and Bob.” I say, stopping and turning for one last message. “Real nice duck call at the end there. Think you got GoD’s attention, even. Seriously, though, it’s a good thing I didn’t order that ribeye. I’d have to throw it out now. Think of how much Dan Ryan would’ve hated me then. He’d no sell my shit even harder going forward, and I don’t even know how that’s possible. He might have to ask the Tennis star for tips.”
With Bobby’s face an adequate shade of lobster red, I make my final turn toward the back.
With each step I take, that feeling grows stronger. It’s a tough feeling to describe.
Almost like deja-vu, but for something you know you haven’t experienced before.
The feeling you get when you know you’re on the right path…
The Dooze is on it, heading into the Games.
And starting with the Lethal Lottery…
He’s taking no prisoners.
I’ve been sized up.
I’ve been allowed entry.
I place an open hand on the door in front of me.
Just before I put force into it, I look over my shoulder.
“Double down on zero, please.” Bobby’s sweet voice is faint over the distance, but I can still hear him place the bet. “I’m sure.” He replies, after his sanity gets questioned.
He looks up and sees me watching.
He throws a fist in the air toward me, then points up his thumb.
The seconds slow to a stand-still.
The ball drops, in super slow motion, like Lee Best’s when he turned thirteen.