Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Playing Cards With Squids

Maid - 442 words
Sarah Van Name

The last job I had was as a maid at the Shady Breeze Inn. So, you know, I vacuumed the floor, salted the waterbeds when necessary, refilled the shampoo, made the beds with new sheets. It was a shady place. People thought it was shadier than it actually was because we had such a big squid clientele. I mean, you might not want your family to stay there, but it wasn’t the kind of place a half-baked executive would bring his mistress, either.

It was right on the beach so when the squid were making trips inland, to the casinos or strip clubs or whatever, it was a pretty good lodging option for them. That was part of the reason it looked so run-down all the time. It’s a lot less trouble to keep an Oriental carpet looking nice when there aren’t tentacles walking across it all the time. I would never let Ricky hear me say that, though. Ricky was the manager. Big squid sympathizer. He insisted on the sign in the window, “All CreaTures Wellcome See And Land” (sic) and was thus the primary reason that my job blew so hard.

I guess you might think that I’m what the politically correct call cephalophobic. But I’m not. In fact, I’ll tell you a story. One day, when I got to room 305 late in the afternoon, these three squids hadn’t left. I was about to give them the what-for when one of them inked on a paper pad real casual, “We’re playing poker, wanna join?”

If you really look at squids they aren’t so intimidating. This one had particularly shiny tentacles. I guess if you were into that he was kinda cute. And he wasn’t lying. They were playing seven-card stud. I used to be something of a poker champ in college, and Ricky was dozing in his office, so I figured what the hell and sat down.

Playing poker with squids is weird shit until you get acclimated. But they’re not unreadable. Their tells are just different from humans’. Big Shiny’s chromatophores paled a little bit when he had a good hand, his friend’s left tentacles floated up infinitesimally at a bluff. You know.

I won eight hundred dollars and six premier giant conch shells from those squids. I have to say they were honorable, and their room was clean as can be when I came back to it after hitting the fourth floor. And eight hundred dollars in this economy isn’t much, but it was enough of a jump-start for me to quit my job and move here. So anyone who says I’m a cephalophobe, they’re dead wrong.

Poker Face - Lady Gaga

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