Leaving was the easiest decision to make, and the hardest action to take. The thought kept running through Eddie's mind as he waited through another Dealer change. He removed his knock-off designer shades and attempted to rub away the hours of lost sleep. As the pair of pocket cards slid in his direction he affixed the shades back in place and took a deep breath. Contrary to popular belief perception is hardly ever brought on by a sweeping vignette of thoughts while staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night. Many times it arrives in moments of extreme concentration. Like when someone keeps pounding on the stall door as you attempt to urinate.
He was a regular and on a first name basis with most of the employees of the casino. While he bragged of pulling down huge pots at other establishments, he and everyone else there knew of his addiction and suffering family at home. Hell, Eddie wasn't even his real name! But how could a "Allen" be taken seriously at a $500-$1000 blind table?
Long ago he had learned the origin of the four suits in a deck of cards. This information like so many other things in Eddie's life had been discarded years before. But he liked to tell the dealers that the Hearts stood for his love for his little girl. The Spades were a symbol of his wealth. Clubs were a sign of his strength and ability. And finally the Diamonds were exclusive to his beauty of a wife Janet, who stood faithfully by her man no matter how poorly the cards treated him.
Just as Eddie was finishing the last of another complimentary gin and tonic. Raul, the Pit Boss approached and advised the dealer it was Eddie's final hand. His brief protest was quickly interrupted by Raul's firm grip on his shoulder. Eddie said his farewells and promised to return after a shower and change of clothes.
Outside while awaiting a cab Raul handed Eddie a smoke and pleaded with him to go home to Janet. Honest work wasn't so bad, and he'd have lots of time with little Julia. Eddie agreed and promised Raul that this was the last time he'd see him. Raul recited Eddie's address from memory and settled with the Cabbie ahead of time. After a heartfelt handshake and hug the dealer and addict parted ways.
A mile down the road the cab broke from its trajectory toward Eddie's home. The new address was the 24 hour pawn shop. Eddie meant what he told Raul, I mean how could he return after lifting his watch? As for Eddie's wife and daughter, they had left him years ago. He may be down right now, but damn it he could still bluff the house...