“You sure have some shit luck, don’t you, lady?” said the cheating prick sitting at the gambling table.
Bonnie wasn’t having a great time. Her guns were still broken, which was only part of why she was annoyed. A larger part came from how she had been dragged along on another job.
With the local gun store out of commission, she had gone to the union branch to see where the nearest available shop would be, only to run into Goldie Leraje. The Goldcoat took one look at Bonnie’s ruined revolver and declared she would help her coworker with whatever issues she was having with arming herself properly.
She just had to help Goldie out with a little job…
Which brought Bonnie to her current position, aboard a steamboat called the River Dolphin. Its rotating paddles chopped the water in a steady rhythm, pushing the ship steadily along. Along its sides, bells jingled and tolled to ward off any river beasts that might think the boat was a meal.
Sometimes that wasn’t enough though, which was why the sailor carried shotguns.
“No need to be so harsh with the young lady,” said the doctor at the table.
“If she can’t handle harshness, she shouldn’t be playing,” argued the banker, earning a laugh from the cheater.
The doctor wore a green suit, had a mustache, and wore glasses. The banker wore blue pants and a white shirt, had a beard, and wore a monocle. The cheater wore red suspenders over a white shirt and had a smirk that said he knew far too much.
The doctor with his receding brown hair shuffled the cards once again, and dealt them out.
The banker grumbled, smoking from a cigar, and shifted in his seat, his black combover lying limp on his head.
The cheater smirked. Messy blond hair gave him a roguish look that could be considered handsome, were he not immensely aggravating.
There was a fifth man at the table now. Bonnie hadn’t seen him join them. His round glasses reflected the candle light as he smiled.
“Have you heard of the Lucky Devil?”
“That old story?” The banker scoffed while the cheater smirked.
“A stranger suits at a poker table and demands a game. Whoever plays him and loses, dies. Anyone who gets up dies too. Is that the story you mean, old timer?”
The suggestion was obvious. The old man with thick, white sideburns kept the smirk on his face as the cards were dealt to him.
The doctor dealt first. The banker had the lowest hand. He scowled, then scoffed again.
“A ridiculous tale. I have better things to do than listen to this nonsense.”
He stood from the table and walked three steps before he started to choke. He clutched at his throat, his face turned purple, and he vomited out a torrent of leeches. Wet, slimy, black-bodied leeches that flowed across the floor as the banker landed in his own living sick, still clutching his throat in some vain attempt to keep them from choking the life out of him. They started pouring from his nose instead and pushing out his ears. By the time they pushed out from under his eyes, he was motionless, his face a rictus of gruesome pain.
The doctor and the cheater stared at the newly made corpse, before the cheater laughed.
“It seems I’ve found a legend! How lucky for me!”
The doctor dealt again and gave Bonnie an apologetic look. She wasn’t sure why, because her cards turned out just fine.
He looked stunned when he realized. He looked toward the cheater, who shrugged in reply, and let out a small laugh.
“It seems I’ve been outplayed. Good game.”
He stood from the table there and walked away. He made it four steps before his head began to melt. To be specific, his skin and eyes ran like liquid as his flesh sloughed off his skull. Despite his attempt at composure, he couldn’t help a gargling scream before he dropped and his remains spilled across the floor. The leeches appeared quite happy with the added meal.
The cheater chuckled, and took the cards to deal.
The old man stood, his hands pressing to the table as he stared. Not at the cheater’s flush, but at Bonnie’s three of a kind, which beat out his two pair.
“…That’s not possible. How did you–You cheated, didn’t you!? You had to have–”
His accusing finger caught fire. He stumbled, then started to scream as the fire spread. He went up like a scarecrow that had a match thrown on it. Burning and blackened, he screamed all the way out of the room, desperation carrying him from the gambling parlor and to the edge of the boat, where he fell off the side and landed with a splash that didn’t put the fire out.
“It seems I was wrong. You’ve got some damn good luck,” the cheater noted with a playful smirk, “Or maybe you don’t. You sat at my table, after all.”
Bonnie took the deck of cards and started to deal, prompting a laugh from the cheater.
“You can’t be serious. Do you know who you’re playing against? You’re looking at a man who danced with the devil, lady, and took her daughter’s maidenhead. You can’t win against me. Not in a gamble.”
She wasn’t interested in gambling with him and told him as such.
“Oh? And what are you interested in, o’ lucky lady?”
Not him. She was here on behalf of a friend, looking for someone called The Hound.
The mirth had left his eyes.
“…You ain’t getting a name like that from me.”
Not even if they gambled for it?
“No, not then, not never. There’s daring and there’s stupid, and you’re damn stupid if you think I’d risk catching his attention. The game’s over. Get lost.”
She didn’t. Standing from the table meant death. So the game wasn’t over.
He smirked. “I’ve gotten people with that one a few times. Shame you ain’t leaving then. You stand, you die. You lose, you die. And if I don’t feel like playing…well you gotta offer me something new to let you go. Name a contest, and if you win, you live.”
She asked if she would get anything else.
“No. We’re playing for your life. Nothing else.”
Bonnie sighed, annoyed that this was a bust. She agreed to his terms though, and named the contest. All he had to do was survive getting shot in the head.
Goldie’s sawn-off shotgun, gilded along its barrel like everything else the hunter in the gold coat liked to own, blew the entire top half of the cheater’s head clean off. One of his eyes landed in the deceased banker’s drink. His tongue flapped, his last words a gurgle, before he slid out of his seat and flopped on the floor.
“Hmm…that should count as standing up, but just in case.”
Goldie pulled the cheater up by his shirt, so the corpse was standing, before letting him fall. His corpse hit the table and brought it down with a crash.
Only then did Bonnie stand and walk out of the room with Goldie in tow, leaving only the unlucky dead behind.