Jason struggled to open his swollen eyes and fought desperately to ignore the blood running over his lips. “Look, mate, this is all a big misunderstanding.” He coughed, then spat a globule of blood onto the concrete floor. “I wasn’t cheati-”
“Shut it.” His tormentor, sweating profusely even in the cool air of the basement, had returned. “We know you started with the blackjack tables.”
“Hit me!” Jason yelled, brandishing a glass of lemonade. He wanted people to think he was getting drunk, that he was making mistakes. Thankfully, his brain was clear as a bell and his fellow gamblers were showing the signs of losing it.
The dealer straightened his tie, then passed him a card. The Queen of hearts looked up at Jason from the green felt, taking him to twenty-one. The dealer sneered, raised his hand to his earpiece, then dealt his own card. “Nineteen. Dealer pays twenty and above.”
Jason laughed as the pile of chips grew some more. “Thank you very much.” He tossed a hundred chip to the dealer and said, “Have a drink on me.” He picked up his chips and moved on.
The dealer stared at his retreating back before raising a hand to the earpiece, staring into one of the nearby cameras, then nodding slowly.
“Yeah, I had a lucky streak.” Jason moved his tongue around his mouth, checking all of his teeth. Some were definitely loose. He’d had a moment of panic when his tongue ran over a patch of gum, but remembered that he’d actually had that one removed a while back. “So what?”
“So you then moved onto the poker tables.” The overweight man, still drenched in sweat, had removed his jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his dark shirt.
“So, this the high stakes table?” A young girl, perhaps twenty with her blonde bob, nodded and smiled at him. He smiled right back, his perfect shit-eating grin. “Excellent. Let’s go, sweetheart.” He was hoping for a reaction and got it in the form of a deep red blush spreading across the girl’s cheeks. He loved messing with the dealers.
He took a seat and rocked back on his chair, acting in every instance the obnoxious fool. He figured this one would be easy. He was proved right as the chips kept piling up.
“Yeah, I get that,” Jason spat more blood, “but I was just lucky.”
“Nobody’s that lucky. Especially not at four casinos in three nights. So, what’s the game?” The tormentor was sat backwards on a chair in front of him, cracking his knuckles one by one.
“Magic?” Jason said, hopefully. He hadn’t thought he’d be caught out that quickly.
“No, really. It’s magic. Though card tricks aren’t really my specialty.” Jason grinned. He’d been waiting hours for this. “It’s escapology.”
The lights went out. When they came back on (and the sweating man had picked himself off the floor, nose streaming with blood) Jason Weiss had gone, leaving only a gently swinging set of manacles.
The Idiot in Tin Foil