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Day 9 writing prompt:  The perfect game:  You’re set to play poker (or Scrabble or something else…) with a group of four.  Write a story set during the game.  Or, describe the ideal match:  the players, the relationships and the hidden rivalries.

It was a dark and stormy night…I always wanted to start a story that way!

But it was a dark and storm night.  The heavy striped fabric curtains were drawn and the 4 beaten-down players were sitting around the green velvet card table.  Smoke was swirling in cloud-like formations around the open bulb lantern hanging from the ceiling as the sound of ice cubes crackling on glass goblets echoed in the background. Marvin took another long swig of his cheap scotch as he eyed Mabel.  A bead of sweat ran down his pounding temples as he quickly looked away once she caught his  eye.  She looked down with a slight feeling of embarrassment;  her jingle bell earrings jingled as she lowered her gaze.

Across the table, Harvey glanced at his wristwatch, still ticking after all of these years. Every Thursday night for 25 years, he sat at in this same torn pleather chair, held together with silver duct tape.  Foam peeking out in areas where the tape had started to loose its stick.  Time was ticking away, but it still wasn’t his turn, and he was quickly loosing his patience.  One more round was all he could take…after 25 years he could take no more.

Agnes sat staring.  Her bifocals sliding slowly down her nose.  With a gentle nudge, she could see Harvey clearly again.  She looked down and took a long breath, the inhale of smoke piercing her lungs, the exhale bringing a quiet relief.  She would have to pass. She was the new one, the rookie, finding this group as a way to remember what it felt like to be around friends.  Friends who have a quiet bond but rarely mutter a word.  But friends who kept her company.

And then it was his turn.  Years of waiting had brought him to this exact moment.  Mabel, Marvin and Agnes all drew their breath.  They could see Harvey’s fingers tremble, slowly reaching for the letter “W”.  “W” for wavering,  as in moving hesitatingly, as if about to give way.  His loyalty to the group had been unwavering for 25 years. His belief of winning once in his life at this infuriating game was unwavering.  And as he reached for the letters, and placed the wooden blocks on the Scrabble board, he knew that his unwavering patience had just paid off.  His first win.

And in a moment of spontaneity, he hesitatingly leaned towards Agnes and said…”This one’s for you kid.”  And she smiled….