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©Robert M. (Bob) Leahy Approximate Word Count: 1,260

2110 E. Crosby Road

Carrollton, TX 75006

(972) 416 - 6098





Out for Blood

My little sister, Marcia, calls almost every week. What are you doing with your time? she wonders. She worries about her newly retired big brother, living way off in far away Arizona. She never called that often all those years I was in Minnesota. Maybe she thinks Joanie, our older sister, will somehow corrupt me down here in Eden Springs. Why didnít I go to Atlanta to live with her?

Well, I explain to her, I moved south because I was tired of winter, and I moved to Arizona because I was tired of humidity. That second one rules out Atlanta. The last time I visited her in May a few years ago, I was sweating so much I nearly slipped off the pot and split my head open. Wouldnít that have made a pretty picture for the coronerís collection?

Besides, Joanie and Marcia donít get along. But theyíre sisters, and theyíre not really supposed to. I just wish they wouldnít fight over me.

And itís not like I see Joanie all the time. In fact, I havenít seen her for over a week. She has this club and that one to go to. She volunteers here and there. And sheís dating some sober, little gent by the name of David. Sheís too busy to stop in and see me every day. And I like it that way.

Both Joanie and Marcia tell me I need to get out more and meet someone. I just say okay. But Iím not on the prowl for a wife or a lover. I have plenty of memories of Mary to last me until the day I die. Not that I would say no if someone just right came along. But they would have to be willing to accept me the way I am. Iím sixty-eight, and if I am still doing something that annoys anybody, thatís just the way it is.

Speaking of annoying people, have I told you about Beatrice?

Before you get the wrong idea, Beatrice will never be my wife nor my lover. Thereís nothing wrong with her, per se. Itís just that I play cribbage with her, and we both approach the game the same way: We both expect to win. We hate to lose. And weíre kind of smug about it in our own ways. ĖOf course, Beatrice is worse than I am.

Take the first game we played the other day. I dealt, after cutting the higher card, which meant I got the first crib. After she discarded, I turned over a jack for two points, and she starts in about how she never has that kind of luck. The hand played pretty normally. We each got a go, and I got a last card. It was four to one before we counted our hands. Beatrice counted out her double run and pegged her ninth point. Then she accused me of dealing off the bottom of the deck when I counted my double run with the two fifteens.

Things didnít look too bad when I picked up the crib, since I was leading by seven. But then there was only a fifteen for two in the crib, and I could see the momentum had already turned.

"Thatís too bad," Beatrice said in that condescending way she does.

As usual, Beatrice as dealer did the majority of the pegging as we played out our cards on the next hand, but I still had a six-point lead. Surprisingly, I had two more points than she did when we finished adding the points in our hands. But then she picked up her crib. And she made a real show of it, arranging them first this way then that. "Oh my," she said. "Oh my, oh my, oh my." Then she counted out each point. "Fifteen two, fifteen four, fifteen six, a pair for eight, a run for three, making eleven, and another run for three. A total of fourteen."

And there I was, down six. Oh my, indeed.

All the while, sheís laughing her little laugh. "I just hope I can keep my lead, what with you having the crib."

The best that can be said about the next hand was that she didnít peg anything, and I pulled within three before we counted points. The net of having the crib was that I didnít lose any ground, and still only trailed by six. So much for the extra hand.

I started hoping I had some sort of comeback in me when I was able to out-peg her on her next deal. I got a run of three and a go as we played our cards. She only got one for last card. I had a twelve-point hand to her eleven, and was within two going into her crib. Her crib was worth only two, so even though I was still down, it looked like I might pull the lead with a crib coming my way.

Then she did the pegging on my deal. Fifteen for two and thirty-one for two. All I got was a last card. I was down by seven. We started counting up the points in our hands: she had twelve, and I had but two. My crib added five more points, but when all was said and done, I trailed by a dozen, and she had a crib coming.

"Oh my, look how Iíve squirted out ahead of you. But I donít think I can skunk you," she said, knowing if she got the right cards, she might very well beat me by more than thirty-one points.

"Just deal," I told her.

We each got a thirty-one, but she also paired me for an extra two points while we played the hands. Oh, the way she says, "Pair," when she slaps those cards down. "I just want to choke her sometimes."

Between her hand and the crib, she ended up with ten points. I had ten in my hand, so she had me by fourteen and she was heading down the home stretch a half-street ahead of me.

I pegged two, had fourteen points between my hand and the crib, while she had only nine points in her hand. So, going into the final deal, she was only ahead by seven. I needed a spectacular hand to make the twenty-six points between the victory hole and me on the board. Or, I had to hope she didnít go out, and I was close enough to peg the win while we played another hand.

But such was not to be. She had a great hand pegging six points to my none. We each had twelve points in our hands, and she still had a crib to count sitting in the stink hole.

I prayed to every saint I could think of, asking that there be no points in her crib. I hope the fact that there were six is no indication of where I am going at the end of my days.

So I lost. Again. Although I doubt I could have pegged the fourteen points I needed before she pegged a point or got to count her hand.

But it doesnít seem fair. She always has the card to give her a fifteen, or a thirty-one or a pair. And she throws the card down and calls out the points in that "I knew you would play that" voice.

And then she has the nerve to ask, "You want to play again?"

Do you know what I say? "Yes. And this time Iím going to win."

"Penny a point?"

the end

Revised text placed on
The Leprechaun News WebPages
4 March 1999

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