Every Friday night we play cards. It’s better reality than TV, sliding into a couch potato couple, waking up a decade later to expanding waists and tunnel vision. Up to me, I’d toss our TV out with the recyclables.
Tonight we’re drinking beer out of shot glasses on our living room rug. I only need a queen. Peggy looks hot in her blue tube top, shuffling her cards around, as if that’s going to help. Her latest habit, yoga, seems to really be helping her esteem. She stares, narrowing her eyes.
“Any time now.” I drum my fingers, feign like I’ve been waiting all day. She discards exactly what I need: queen of hearts. I snatch it, display my cards in front of me: a royal flush. I can’t recall ever holding that. “Rummy!” I shout, lifting my other fist in the air.
“You’re a cheater,” Peggy blurts. She tosses her cards onto mine, scoots further away on the carpet.
I stare at the rummy flush, the red hearts pulse like those cinnamon candies that crack your teeth. “Am not.” I chug the shot of Dos Equis, refill it. Our usual rule: winner drinks both. Shots. Instead, I say, “Drink up,” trying to make her feel better.
But Peggy isn’t playing, her lips tremble, looks near tears.
“What?” I ask. I wonder if it is her usual stuff, but sense it might not be.
“I didn’t…” she starts. Her neck becomes patchy, a tear slips down. “I never meant to–”
“Just drink your shot.” I shuffle the cards, won’t look at her.
Slowly, I deal the five cards for the next hand.