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Missing/Murdered/Disappeared: Vanished from East Texas, 2000-2020

Hello friends. Per a request, here is a running list of those who have gone missing in East Texas. As a journalist in this area, these are the individuals I have noticed as part of the missing groups I frequent. Please feel free to direct me to more. As it is my line of work, I care deeply. Some of these individuals I know about, some I do not know much about. There are many more, but this first post is just the time range of 2000-2020. I will do other time periods if there is interest, although older cases are harder to track.
They are organized alphabetically.
Albright, Alwin- last seen 7/6/19 walking away from his home on Scott Street in Gilmer in Upshur County. He is 74 years old with grey hair and blue eyes. He’s 5’10” and 250 pounds. He was last seen wearing a red shirt and blue jeans. Mr. Albright has medical issues and is without the medications he needs. There is a $1000 reward for information regarding his whereabouts. Anyone with information should contact the Upshur County Sheriff.
Alvarado, Eric “Slow”- Last seen 11/20/18. Disappeared from Atlanta, Texas, he is 6’5” and 180 pounds. He was 32 years old, and now would be 34. He was last seen wearing camouflage pajama pants, a white t-shirt, and a gray zip-up jacket. He also may have the glasses he was wearing. He has tattoos on his arms, chest and neck. There is a $10,000 reward for information on his whereabouts. Anyone with information should contact the Atlanta, TX police.
Birdwell, Jerrod- Last seen 1/6/14. Missing from Tyler, Jerrod was 17 at the time he disappeared. His height is listed as 5’5” and weight as 170 pounds, but he may have grown. He is white, with short black hair and brown eyes. There are no more details available about him. Anyone with information should contact the Smith County Sheriff.
Boehm, Frederick “Lil Joe” Joseph- Last seen 1/25/01. 6’0”, 130 pounds, white male with hazel eyes and brown hair missing from Marshall. He has a rebel flag tattoo on his upper arm. His sister Jolene is searching for answers and offering a $5000 reward. Anyone with information should contact the Harrison County Sheriff.
Cannon, Heather Danielle- Last seen 8/27/09. The 15-year-old disappeared from Athens, Texas. Authorities believe she left of her own accord, and she was last seen in the company of her biological father, Jerral Allen Whitley. Whitley refused to take a polygraph test after Heather's disappearance and was later incarcerated in Florida for drug offenses and grand theft. He was imprisoned for 18 months before being released in October 2014. Police have since completed excavations of a property on County Road 4837, near Larue. Anyone with information should contact the Henderson County Sheriff.
Childress, Antoinette Renee- Last seen 10/13/15. Missing from Henderson at her trailer home. About a month before Childress went missing, her sister, Patricia Nichols, began receiving strange Facebook messages from her. The first message said there was an emergency and Childress needed her phone number. Three weeks later Nichols got another message that just said "Sister where are I, what's going on." On October 6, Nichols got a voice message from Childress's Facebook account. The message said something about guardian angels, but the voice wasn't Childress's. Nichols left home after that and didn't return until November 6, by which time Childress was missing.
Two women contacted Nichols after Childress's disappearance and said they knew what had happened to her. The women stated Childress had been involved in using and selling drugs, and gotten some bad people angry, and was tortured and killed as a result. This information has not been verified.
Childress was seeing Felipe Villanueva at the time of his disappearance. He is considered a person of interest in her case and has multiple warrants for his arrest on drug-related charges and driving without a license. His current whereabouts are unknown and it's unclear whether he's still in the area.
A few days after Childress was reported missing, police found her car being driven by a man in Henderson. He was arrested on an unrelated charge, and stated Childress had sold him the vehicle, something her family finds difficult to believe.
Childress has a warrant out for her arrest, but she's considered a missing person rather than a fugitive. Childress had just gotten off probation at the time and was trying to clean up her life. Her case remains unsolved and foul play is suspected. Anyone with information should call the Henderson County Sheriff
Combs, Donnie “Bon Jovi” and Cynthia Arnold (went missing together)- The pair was last seen 9/26/18 in Linden, near Atlanta, Texas in Cass County. Combs called Arnold and asked her to come pick him up in Cass Countyand she left home to do so. A little while later she contacted her mother and said Combs hadn't arrived and she was still waiting at the meeting spot. Neither of them has ever been heard from again. A few days after they were last seen, Arnold's truck was found abandoned and burned in Marion County, Texas. While Kevin Dewayne Shepard Jr. and his uncle, Gary Edward Shepard were charged in Oct. 2020 with capital murder of the pair, their bodies have never been found. They face the death penalty if convicted. Anyone with information should contact the Cass County Sheriff.
Culberson, Larry- Last seen 9/4/13. Larry went missing from his home on County Road 4320 in Emory. Larry had been having some medical issues shortly before his disappearance. Larry was last known to be wearing camouflage-style gray pants, a white T-shirt and he might be wearing high-top tennis shoes. He was 56 at the time of his disappearance. An extensive search was conducted in the area without any result. His medical condition causes him to walk with a limp. Anyone with information should contact the Rains County Sheriff.
Dunn, Hartford Hunter- Last seen 8/5/04. Vanished from his home in the 200 block of Private Road 4002 in Marshall in the early morning hours, his daughter said she woke up at 7:30 a.m. and found the door open and her father gone. At 76 years old, he was in the beginning years of dementia. He has not been seen since. Anyone with information should contact the Marshall Police.
Flint, Kimberly Carter- Last seen 9/29/18. Kim’s car was found partially crashed and abandoned in the roadway of State Highway 154 near the rural community of Rekaw, in Rusk County. Her purse ID, as well as other possessions, were at her home, according to Kim’s son James. Picture evidence of the wreck shows damage to the front and side panel of the grey four-door sedan. "The vehicle it was found still in the roadway partially crashed," her son said. "She just wasn't there." Two searches, both immediately after the crash and 170 days later, turned up nothing. A witness believes he saw her speaking with someone in a white pickup truck, but as any local knows… there are a lot of white pickup trucks in East Texas. Kim was featured on “The Vanished Podcast.” Anyone with information should contact the Rusk County Sheriff.
Farrell, Justin Kyle- Last seen 05/11/04. Farrell disappeared from Nacogdoches, Texas. In March 2015, his skeletal remains were found near Cushing in Nacogdoches County, Texas. They were identified in April 2015. Farrell's death remains under investigation and has not yet been ruled a homicide. Anyone with information should contact the Nacogdoches County Sheriff.
Fleisher, Steven Miller- Last seen 9/14/16. Missing from Troup, he was last seen around 6:15 a.m. in the 1200 block of Noble Street. Police say Fleisher did not take any of his belongings with him and his family has been unable to contact him. He was 53 years old at the time of his disappearance. Anyone with information should contact the Smith County Sheriff.
Flores, Lydia- Last seen 10/11/20. Reported missing on Oct. 19 by her Shreveport, LA boyfriend, who said he had not heard from her since Oct. 11. She is a 40-year-old Hispanic female, and has two tattoos: a barbed wire on her bicep and a playboy bunny on her lower back. She is 5’1” and 115 pounds. She has brown eyes and auburn hair. She is from Longview, but anyone with information should contact the Shreveport Police Department.
Franklin, Johnny William- Last seen 10/21/08. The black male, 5'9" tall and 150 pounds was last seen in Tyler. His vehicle was located in a church parking lot at 3009 N. Grand Ave. on October 21, but police said they saw no signs of foul play. He was 53 at the time of his disappearance. Anyone with information should contact the Smith County Sheriff.
Gallegos, Veronica- Last seen 01/11/05. Missing from Gun Barrel City at the age of 19, Her live-in boyfriend said she packed a suitcase and left; he speculated she'd returned to her native Mexico. She has never been heard from again. Gallegos left behind her purse, her Mexican identification and her six-month-old child. Her boyfriend is considered a person of interest in her case and has stopped cooperating with investigators. Foul play is possible in her disappearance, but few details are available in her case. Anyone with information should contact the Henderson County Sheriff.
Gipson, Tyress- last seen 8/22/20. Missing from Jacksonville, Texas in Cherokee County, Tyress had just turned 18 and graduated. He is 6’0” and weighs 180 pounds. He has tattoos of the name “Lavance,” “BG$” and prayer hands. He is an African American man, wears his hair in dreads, and has braces. Anyone with information should contact the Jacksonville Police Department.
Gutierrez, Marquita Leanna- Last seen 11/11/19. Some report her as missing out of Canton, while others report her as missing out of Wood County. Marquita Gutierrez was reported missing after borrowing her mom's pickup that morning to go to a doctor's appointment, but the doctor's office said she never showed up. Her husband told police she was last seen in the Dallas area and was possibly heading toward Laredo. Her husband has been named a person of interest in her case. Anyone with information should contact the Wood County Sheriff
Hunt, Shirley Mae- last seen 6/17/07. Missing from Henderson, Shirley was last seen walking on County Road 454 near her home in rural Rusk County. She had alzheimers at the time of her disappearance. She is 5’4”, 140 pounds with hazel eyes, white hair and a partial denture plate. She wears eyeglasses with a gold wire frame, and was 72 at the time of her disappearance. Sheriff’s deputies believe she got in someone’s car, due to scent dog tracking. Anyone with information should contact the Rusk County Sheriff.
Jackson, Cole Duane- last seen 07/13/06. Missing from Timpson, Jackson was last seen near FM 1645 and CR 4230. The truck he was driving came out of a private pasture and rammed into a fence. He stopped and spoke to the elderly man who owned the land. Jackson apologized and said he would pay $120 for the damage, but said he had to run to get away from the "bad people" who were chasing him. He abandoned his Dodge half-ton pickup with minor damage and left his two inhalers, which he needed, in the vehicle. The driver’s side door was open and the truck was still in four-wheel drive. Jackson's wife was three months pregnant with their first child at the time he went missing. Anyone with information should contact the Shelby County Sheriff.
Lee, Anthony Tyrone- last seen 6/25/11. Anthony was planning to go to the rodeo with his mother on the evening of June 25. When his mother came to pick him up for the rodeo, she found his home deserted. The ironing board was set up with the clothes Lee had planned to wear to the rodeo. His pants were on the ironing board with one leg dangling, as if he'd been interrupted while ironing and left in a hurry. His mother said he would not leave the house in his “house shoes” (a very East Texas thing lol) and he had $600 untouched in his bank account. About three weeks after Lee was reported missing, his mother got strange phone calls. A "death song" played on the line, then someone said, "that's what he gets for snitching." His mother noted that he had been associated with a known drug dealer and this person had wrecked Lee's car about a week before Lee disappeared. Anyone with information should contact the Texas Department of Public Safety (State Troopers).
Marshall, Kimberly Ann- last seen 3/17/17 after she spent one night in the Salvation Army womens’ shelter in Tyler, Texas. She was never seen again. Thirty-one years old at the time, Kimberly had cuts and scars on her arms, wrists and back. She also has upper dentures. She is 5’5” and approximately 105 pounds, although she fluctuates in weight. She has brown hair and brown eyes. Few details are available about her. Anyone with information should contact the Tyler Police Department.
Martin, David Michael- last seen 1/14/10. He was a truck driver based in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, and came home to Louisiana most weekends to visit his family. On January 14, Martin called to say he wouldn't make it home that weekend because his truck had broken down. He never contacted his loved ones again. The last person known to have seen him was the mechanic in Longview, Texas whom Martin took his truck to for repairs. They had dinner together, then Martin said he was going to wait on a friend to get truck parts. The mechanic left to do more work on the truck. Martin has never been heard from again. Anyone with information should contact the Sand Springs Police.
Martinez, Gregoria Jacobo- last seen 8/13/09. Martinez was last seen in Nacogdoches. She was born in Mexico and was living in the United States without documents at the time of her disappearance. Her two young children, both of whom are U.S. citizens, and they were visiting their grandmother in Mexico when Martinez disappeared. She had asked the father of one of her children for money to help bring her children home from Mexico. He agreed to meet her and lend her money shortly before she disappeared.Martinez planned to go to the Nacogdoches County courthouse on July 13 to pick up copies of her children's birth certificates, but she never arrived there. She has never been heard from again. She was reported missing on July 16. That same day, her vehicle was found abandoned on the side of County Road 525, near the intersection of U. S. Highway 59 south. There were no obvious indications of a struggle at the scene. Martinez may have gotten a ride south with a truck driver in order to find her children; however, her family never saw her. Both the fathers of her children have been questioned and neither of them have been named as suspects. Authorities believe Martinez was taken against her will. Anyone with information should contact the Texas Department of Public Safety (State Troopers).
Marquez, Erin Raquel- last seen 8/30/14. The 17-year-old disappeared as she was leaving the Longview Baptist Church in Hallsville, near Longview. She has long dark hair that was dyed red, and 5’6”, 130 pounds, and has brown eyes. Anyone with information should contact the Harrison County Sheriff.
McKay, Melissa Darling- last seen 6/10/11. At 1:35 a.m., Melissa walked out of the Choctaw Casino in Grant, Oklahoma with a white male companion, Jeremy Upchurch, of Lamar TX and was never seen again. Upchurch continues to be a person of interest due to his criminal background. Properties in Oklahoma, Delta and Lamar counties were searched, but came up empty. I can’t find an independent source to corroborate, but a personal conversation I had with law enforcement indicates they have found her vehicle in Oklahoma and presume she is dead, possibly due to drug involvement. Anyone with information should contact the Hopkins County Sheriff or Sulphur Springs Police.
Meadows, Beverly Lofton- Last seen 12/26/08. Beverly walked away from the Community Cares Nursing Home in the 200 block of west Merritt Street in Marshall, Texas and has never been seen again. Meadows had lived in the nursing home for about six years prior to her disappearance. She was supposed to wear an identification bracelet that would have activated the nursing home's door alarms, but she took it off before she left. She left without taking any personal belongings. Her mother, who lives 15 miles from the nursing home, believes Meadows was trying to walk to her residence. She was 48 years old at the time of her disappearance, 5’3”, and 240 pounds with short brown hair. She requires daily medication, and she doesn't have her medicine with her. Anyone with information should contact the Marshall Police.
Morton, Sheila- last seen 6/2/14. Missing from Center, Texas, Sheila’s behavior and personality changed drastically in the weeks leading up to her disappearance, according to her mother Joan. She had recently quit a restaurant job she had for seven years, moved out of her residence, and began hanging out with an old group of friends. Additionally, the last purchase Sheila was known to make was for a 9mm handgun, which was left behind when she disappeared. She was last seen at her ex-boyfriend’s house. Her phone was turned off the same day she vanished, and she has never been seen or heard from again. Sheila’s family members do not believe she would voluntarily leave her son behind. Anyone with information should contact the Angelina County Sheriff.
Pierce, Ashley- last seen 3/10/20. Disappeared from the Longview area, she is 5’3” and has a Hello Kitty tattoo on her thigh and a scorpion on her shoulder. She has long brown hair. Anyone with information should contact the Gregg County Sheriff.
Salazar, Rosemary “Rose” Rodriguez- Last seen 10/6/19. Attended a family birthday party at the Golden Corral in Kilgore, and was supposed to report to work the next morning at the Kilgore Walmart, but no-show, no-called. She has several distinctive tattoos, including a heart with a fishing hook, a deathly hallow, and the inscription “my person” next to a rose. She is a 5’4”, 185 pound Hispanic woman with brown eyes and brown hair, and it is not known what she was wearing when she disappeared. Her lime green 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is also missing. Anyone with information should contact the Gregg County Sheriff.
Stewart, Harry Edward- Last seen 11/30/11. Harry was traveling from Springtown, Texas to Alabama and was last seen in Hallsville, Texas. His age was 65 and he is white, 5’10”, and weighs about 170 pounds. Sheriff’s deputies determined he was driving when he hit something and had to leave his vehicle after his radiator overheated. Harry told the responding officer he would wait at the Dairy Queen on Farm-to-Market Road 450 near mile marker 604 for a ride. He was never seen again.
Thompson, Lauren Colvin- Last seen 1/10/19. At 1:53 p.m., Lauren made a frantic but coherent call to her mother. At 2:01 p.m., Lauren called 911 and told Panola County dispatch she was being followed. The call lasted for 21 minutes before disconnecting. Lauren’s family says it “abruptly ended,” police say the “cell phone died.” Lauren’s phone and shoe were found in the Rock Hill community, a rural area with less than 200 residents and more than 2000 acres of woods. A search by multiple law enforcement agencies turned up nothing. A $10,000 reward is offered for information on Lauren’s whereabouts. Anyone with information should contact the Panola County Sheriff.
Tidwell, James “Jimmy” Lamar- Last seen 2/15/12. Family members found his rural cabin in Rusk County abandoned, and later found his vehicle abandoned on Farm Road 95, approximately five miles from his home, without a battery. "I do not believe for one minute that he left this property of his own free will," his sister Lynn Akin said. The road was a route he took frequently. He was 58 at the time of his disappearance. The truck showed no signs of foul play, according to Sheriff’s deputies. Anyone with information should contact the Rusk County Sheriff.
Valdovinos, Gustavo Baldovi- Last seen 7/11/12. Missing from his maternal aunt's home on Houston Street in Tyler. He told his family he was an alcoholic and had decided to go into treatment, and he left with a group of people who promised to get him some help. The group he left with is described as a Caucasian male and two Caucasian females driving a white Chevrolet Z71 or Silverado pickup truck. Anyone with information should contact the Smith County Sheriff.
Wells, Brandi- Last seen 8/3/06. Was leaving the Graham Central Station nightclub in Longview at around 12:30 a.m. Her damaged car was found on Interstate 20 near the Brownsboro exit with her personal belongings inside. She was wearing rust-colored gaucho pants and a floral tube top, and is 4’11, 130 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was 23 in 2006, she would be 36 now. She was featured on Investigation Discovery’s “Disappeared.” Anyone with information should contact the Henderson County Sheriff.
Witt, Jana Mann- last seen 8/17/05. Missing from Glen Rose in Somervell County, Ms. Witt displayed personality changes several weeks prior to her disappearance. She has also gone by the names Jana Holstin, Jana Howard and Jana Branch. She was 44 years of age at the time of her disappearance, and 5’3”, 160 pounds with blue eyes and dyed red hair. The missing persons database notes that foul play is possible. Anyone with information should contact the Somervell County Sheriff.
Sources: News reports, Charley Project, Missing Eight East Texas and more
https://www.news-journal.com/news/local/police-searching-for-husband-of-missing-wc-woman/article_7c5144ee-8434-5e12-9829-360d060c510a.html
https://www.ketk.com/news/vanished-hartford-hunter-dunn/
https://www.panolawatchman.com/news/still-no-answers-in-lauren-thompson-case-a-year-after-she-went-missing-from-panola/article_07d707bc-4d15-11ea-8c84-af4fb2d30b79.html
submitted by liberty285code6 to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]

Slumped Life

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submitted by enahsgg to GMServers [link] [comments]

Driving Ms. Doomsy

I don't particularly enjoy these "spotlight" posts, and they detract from the point that /coronavirus is filled with these people, not just a couple crazies.
But when I end up with a single user featured in every thread I make for an entire week, I can't really ignore it.
Meet Ms. Bell: she's a baby boomer, she has a housekeeper, she knows science is wrong, and she's currently averaging 10 /coronavirus posts a day.

I have noticed that science is frequently wrong, and the more "consensus" is involved, the wronger it is.

So the CDC has been fully compromised by politics and there isn't much point in listening to their guidance. Even though I happen to think they are right this week, I'm pretty sure they were wrong last week and ridiculous.

It feels like betrayal, like getting stabbed in the back by a family member. When a betrayal is this unimaginably evil, you don't see it coming and you are shocked when you realize what they did to you, not by accident, but by plot.

"Acceptable risk" is weasel words for "certain people are expendable if I can get more money".

Ms. Bell on empathy:

Superficial people hate masks because they think attractiveness is their only asset and facial expressions are an adequate substitute for intelligence.

I just don't think it is a big deal to wear a mask. It's a tiny, trivial little thing. Some people will gladly do it forever.
The downsides are assaults on vanity and egocentric definitions of "freedom".

The primary concern is "lack of empathy". People who display blatant lack of empathy are people I am no longer willing to tolerate. History has shown, that is how you identify the people who are evil and wrong.

You don't feel sorry for anybody but yourself.

People don't like to wear masks because it interferes with being a public asshole. Who are these people? Unclean.

Who is foolish and dangerous? Look in a mirror. This pandemic is real, it has killed 200,000 people, and winter is coming.

There is a cohort of tr0lls who are trying to convince people to give up and be reckless and put themselves in danger. What can we do? Out-troll them.

Ms. Bell on hospitals:

This is a very scary article! These children are very sick, weeks or months after being exposed to Covid and recovering. They were healthy before, some are now in intensive care. Seventy sick children is not "statistically insignificant".

The disaster is here, and they are going to get sick, and their guns aren't going to do them a bit of good.

It doesn't matter how many people agree with you, spreading disease is still wrong.

You need your helper bacteria in your gut, whether you have covid or not, but it sounds like things can get really hairy if you have covid. I might be inclined to skip the Rx. But keep an eye on the tooth socket and if it looks infected, then take it. Also, don't get medical advice from people on reddit.

If you go to the hospital with flu, you can catch covid in the hospital and get double sick.

You don't want to get the flu! You might have to go to the hospital and get exposed to covid and become a twindemic statistic.

Ms. Bell on civics:

Slap a $10,000 fine on anybody who interferes with a testing team. Being a obstinate disease-spreading louse should cost you.

For some people, their actual marriage is going to be shitty, because they are so selfish and clueless. The only good thing about their marriage is the wedding, where they cash in and get a bunch of expensive presents. After their bridezilla exhibition kills a bunch of people, they settle in to a life of low-level squabble punctuated by occasional drunken fights. They are broke, they cheat on each other, their kids hate them, and the whole family is miserable.
They would have been a miserable family regardless of the circumstances of the wedding, but at least by having a big wedding they managed to be the center of attention for a day and also score some presents. See how that works? Why should they give up their one chance for a great day knowing the rest of their lives is just going to suck because they are shitty people marrying other shitty people.

During the great depression, we put people to work in the Civilian Conversation Corps, and we built Hoover Dam. We didn't supplement people's jobs as cocktail servers and craps dealers.

Just shutter all the casinos and pay all the unemployed people for the duration of the pandemic.

So now our tax money is supposed to subsidize casinos? GTFO, we do NOT have to do that. Let them fail, let rich people lose money, let other rich people buy the properties at a discount. Who cares?

Don't kid yourself that drug use in college has any benefits to the user. It doesn't. Stay straight, put your nose to the grindstone, and learn something. Or else quit wasting everybody's time and money and go home.

College is a privilege. It is not an excuse for bad behavior. Those people who think otherwise can gtfo, and go home and flip burgers and reflect on the missed opportunities they squandered for substance abuse and sex.

I don't want to subsidize idiots who think school is about partying. You are so ignorant, and so stubborn about hoarding your lack of knowledge, you don't even seem like college material.

The day the danger passes is going to be a day of dancing in the streets. Those of us who strictly followed the recommendations are going to have the most fun celebrating of all.

Quarantine is as old as civilization. It is mentioned in the bible. Of course it works. It didn't work this time because half the nation didn't take it seriously, obviously because of lack of leadership.
It was not the policy that was the ineffective. It was the unpatriotic attitude of the people who refused to cooperate that destroyed the effectiveness of the quarantine.
Shame on those people. They brought our country low.

Ms. Bell on fearmongering:

You can't provide any evidence that there was widespread fear of bodies in the street, because it DIDN'T HAPPEN.

somebody is wrong, either me or the cadre of malcontents. So far, the evidence is on my side. Unless somebody supplies better proof, we can assume the people accusing this sub of unwarranted hysteria are just making it up, pulling nonsense out of thin air, spreading fake news, talking out of their hats, and are full of baloney.

There is a cadre of malcontents who accuse people of taking positions they never took, and exaggerating their reactions and calling it fear porn. But this narrative is simply made up. It's the precaution-deniers who are the ones actually saying ridiculous things

Why would anybody say the healthcare system would go into "complete collapse"? That doesn't sound realistic at all.

I have seen reports of a death rate of 1-2%. I have not seen any reports that "everyone will die" and I have not met anybody who believes that or said it.
Normally I'd post examples of each of the things Lady MacBell claims never happened, but...look at what subreddit you're in.

Ms. Bell on discourse:

don't worry about down votes. Karma is an illusion and the points don't matter.

I can't believe how the sensible people get down-voted around here and the reckless people get upvoted.

That is very rude of you and contributes nothing to the discussion. It's typical of a certain mindset, though. "If you don't agree with me it means there is something wrong with you". No, that is not the case. There is nothing in particular wrong with me. My opinion is justified based upon the facts present in this discussion.

You mad bro?

This meme was not created or spread by a grandmother. It was made by someone else and attributed to grandmothers. As a grandmother myself, I think the sentiment is idiotic. I also think it is shameful people are blaming this stuff on grandmothers, who neither created nor posted this stupid low-effort attempt to get a rise out of people.

Ms. Bell off her meds:

Have you noticed how all the clothes look the same these days? Everybody has to wear leggings and tee shirts and hoodies that all look the same. Fashion didn't used to be like that. You used to be able to find things that were fabulous.

YSK about a demonic eyelid parasite called "demodex". It burrows into your oil ducts during the day and comes out at night to frolic in your lash line. It will attack you mercilessly, causing blepheritis and leading to blindness. Virtually everybody will get this if they live long enough. If you google "tea tree oil for eye mites" you get a lot of support for this remedy.
ffs people don't put fucking tea tree oil on or near your eyes. can we please get this awful advice taken down? this is actually dangerous

Special shout-out to "real human being" Torrente (not his actual username, but close enough). His comments aren't especially egregious; he mainly uses giant paragraphs to imply knowledge. What's really absurd is the subreddits he chooses to participate in. Here's a partial list:
/Coronavirus
/COVID19
/CoronavirusWA
/CoronavirusCA
/CoronavirusMa
/FloridaCoronavirus
/CoronavirusUS
/CoronavirusFrance
/CoronavirusDACH
/coronabr
/coronanetherlands
/Coronavirusmexico
And, of course, the free karma subreddits. And his own personal subreddit that no one visits.
All within the last 30 days. Because it's a month old account.
Because that's totally something a regular, rational human being does.
submitted by Whizgigger to coronavirusvirus [link] [comments]

A thousand words wasn't enough? Here's five thousand.

List acquired here.
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PREMIERE: We're Having Issues On Table 8

2020 was already getting off to a bad start. Here it was New Year’s Day in Biloxi, Mississippi and I was already down four-hundred for the year. And it was only noon...
Of course, the black-eyed peas didn’t help. No good luck charm could cure my current drought at the Imperial Palace’s poker room.
This was the last day my buddies and I would be out here. Our final day touring Biloxi’s many casinos. Just like years past, The Vegas Of The South hadn’t been kind to me. But I still had fun. Your wacky horror author Rhonnie enjoyed poker after all. Even when I was constantly being battered by bad beats.
There were four of us out here. Me and my Stanwyck, Georgia poker pals. I was the youngest of the bunch. Scrawnier than ever, my combed-over brown hair was still a mess from this wild binge of booze and cards. My green eyes wild with drunken life. The gambling fix just what I needed after a hectic 2019.
Obviously, I missed Ashley… But I suspected she was doing just fine partying with Carty and Erika in Columbus, Georgia. The power trio indulging in their own New Year’s blitz of margaritas and dancing.
My friends J.T., David, and Trent were all with me. From playing nickel/dime house games to $1/3 at the IP, we brought the rowdiness of South Georgia with us to this fine establishment... much to the chagrin of all the dealers and poker players.
A few years older than me, David was a stocky, red-headed Southern boy. The combination of his loud voice and drunk shit talking ensured we’d never keep a low-profile. David always unrestrained unless he was behind bars or in a strait-jacket.
J.T. was similar but more stable. At forty, he’d skirted by authority and drama with the type of good luck he inexplicably had at the casinos. Tall and lanky, J.T. was Hispanic in ethnicity but a crazed country boy at heart. And with him and David together, their fighting and flirting hit a manic overdrive. Trent only dealt with them due to experience... J.T. was his ex-brother-in-law after all.
Trent was the most reserved out of us. Even drunk, he didn’t cut up much. His bushy beard and piercing eyes certainly gave him clout on the felt. Not to mention he was the only one with a real job. With real money to spare. When David, J.T., and I inevitably went broke, the three of us followed Trent around like roadies desperate for a rock star’s sloppy seconds.
New Year’s Day was just a chaotic continuation of our three-day bender. At noon, everyone but Trent was already hammered. The constant “free” beer and vodka our only way of staving off the New Year’s Eve hangovers hunting us down…
This early, the IP’s card room was empty save for one $1/3 table. The usual players probably still out recovering from the previous night’s festivities. Party favors and empty bottles littered the other tables. The room’s 60s soft rock soundtrack well overshadowed by the constant chimes of neighboring slots.
The four of us had table eight together. Under bright lighting, we enjoyed the game with four other Hold Em stragglers. I only recognized Lily a hot regular I’d seen over in Gretna, Florida’s poker room. Someone from our neck of the woods. Wearing Louis Vuitton sunglasses and flaunting her stylish short brown hair, she was the only female player here... And already, both David and J.T. had tried her. And already she’d insulted them right back. Not to mention took the last of David’s pathetic chip stack.
Table eight’s other players included the usual low stakes caricatures. The shitregs. A depressed dad with an equally depressing dad bod. The smartass college kid masquerading as a poker pro. And an older farmer still wearing overalls, the type of surreal sight you somehow take for granted in Biloxi. Our dealer was a bitchy man in his mid-40s. The type of rude personality reserved for the casino’s deader shifts.
None of the players were any good. Then again, I couldn’t talk much. My thirty-big-blind buy-in strategy had been continually getting crushed by suckouts. Usually by Trent. Needless to say, he and Lily were the big winners so far… Their colorful chip stacks even contained stray hundred dollar bills. But somehow, J.T.’s drunkass had even more. Obnoxious as ever, the son-of-a-bitch had been running off Fireball cinnamon whiskies since the ball dropped. And here he was with over three grand on the table. A stack of Benjamins clustered amongst his towers.
Now the farmer had just thrown in another hundred dollar bill. J.T. snap called. Farmer showed three of a kind. J.T. hesitated for a moment... either he was too drunk to read the board or slow-rolling his opponent. My guess was both.
Finally, J.T. slung down the winning hand: ten four of diamonds. A flush on the river.
I rolled my eyes in disbelief.
Laughing, J.T. collected his latest pot. Another two hundred for his growing stack. “Nice hand, sir!” he taunted the frowning farmer. “You see that shit, Trent! I played that shit like you!”
Broke and on his tenth Corona, David now sat behind me. A rail I never asked for… but an entertaining one at least.
He leaned in toward me. “Hey, here she comes!”
A red-headed waitress complete with an hourglass figure and flawless face walked toward us. Right into David’s carnal sights. Then again, I couldn’t blame him.
He waved his beer at her. “Hey, I need another one!”
Annoyed, she stopped and jotted down his order.
David grabbed my shoulder. “What are you having!”
“Miller Lite,” I said to her, my calm voice the opposite of David’s rowdy roar.
“Alright, I’ll be right back,” the waitress said.
With drunken confidence, David reached toward her. “Hey, sweetie, what’s your name?”
He just missed her… The waitress was in a hurry.
“None of your business!” she yelled back.
With that, she high-tailed it straight for the table games. Then again, neither of us were complaining to watch her leave… Only the beer was definitely gonna take awhile. Especially once she stopped to take an order from a young bodybuilder. A hunk by the slots. Excited, the redhead leaned in closer. A rare smile on her face. Her thirst obvious…
David turned to me. “Hey, why’s she talking to him like that!”
“Damn, boy, she got you good!” Trent teased.
David shrugged him off. “Man, fuck you, Trent!”
“Language!” our dealer warned us in a pissed-off growl.
Trent collected another pot. “I don’t think she like you anyhow,” he told David.
“She just playing hard to get!” David yelled. The alcohol hitting him hard, David leaned in toward the table. “I bet I can get her before the day’s over with! I’ll get her in my room-”
Like a brick wall, a fat arm blocked David. A pot-bellied security guard glared over him. “Move back, son!”
David threw up his hands. “Alright!”
J.T.’s crude laughter echoed through the room. The rest of the table cracked up in a sadistic chorus. Even the dealer.
Keeping my cool, I pointed David behind me. “Just sit here, man. Drink the beer.”
“Get your brokeass back, David!” J.T. jeered.
“Man, whatever.” David moved his chair behind me. Flashed a glare at the guard. “There? You happy?”
Behind a cold expression, the guard just stared at us. Completely unamused.
I looked over at a corner where the front desk was. Where all the chips and cash were. The clerk just watched us, her dark eyes like lasers. David again the center of attention.
A wave of cold air hit us. My FSU hoodie couldn’t keep me from shivering. And regardless of all the booze, I suspected David’s long-sleeved AC/DC shirt wasn’t helping him much either.
I looked down at my cards. Ten three offsuit. Yet another fold on my fucking big blind.
Then a rotten smell hit me. Well from beyond the grave. The scent more putrid than roadkill.
“Is this one three hold em?” I heard a guttural drawl say.
The entire table looked toward our latest player. Hopefully, our latest fish. The black man certainly looked the part. Dressed in rumpled jeans and a red jacket with rolled-up sleeves, he was in his fifties. His scruffy beard matched by greasy Jheri curls. Years of wildness captured in his arsenal of tattoos and odd jewelry. The skull-and-bones earrings and gold teeth certainly hinted at what was sure to be an eccentric gambler.
The man’s stern gaze locked in on the security guard. “Is it one-three?” he asked in that muddled Cajun accent. With a flourish, he pulled out a bundle of Benjamins. Well over five-hundred dollars.
Immediately, the guard went to work getting those chips. Him and the clerk eager to count the dough.
The Cajun took a seat right beside J.T. Seat number seven.
“Holy shit…” J.T. exclaimed. He flashed David and I a drunken smirk.
But soon, that smile was wiped clean. The wild man didn’t know what the fuck he was doing and he may have been stinking up the place with a corpse’s hygiene, but he was damn sure winning.
Even Trent and Lily’s stacks were going downhill. Left with only fifty bucks on the table, I just enjoyed the show as David kept the beer flowing. Him and I an audience for this black Cajun man’s rampage.
Ashley sent me an obvious drunk text: I love you :)
Grinning, I texted her back: The two of us drunk at noon on New Year’s Day. How cute.
J.T.’s triumphant yell then caught my attention. “Whoo!” He slid out a huge tower into the pot. The arrogance such an obvious tell… “Come get some!” he shouted at the Cajun.
The man deliberated on the river bet.
Like a young gunslinger, J.T. leaned toward him. Trying to get eye-to-eye. “Come on, call me!” he yelled, desperate to antagonize the man.
The dealer forced J.T. back. “Sir, please don’t lean over the table.”
Holding his latest mixed drink, J.T. waved toward his opponent. “I don’t care! I’ll call clock on his ass!”
“Aw-in!” the man stated. He pushed his huge stack out.
Everyone watched, dumbfounded... but fucking entertained. Even if we didn’t quite understand the man’s dialect...
The dealer leaned in toward him. “Uh, sir. Was that an all-in?”
“Aw-in!” the Cajun declared. “I said aw-in!”
Now put on the spot, J.T. trembled in the cold. His weakness well on display. “Goddammit!” he yelled. His good mood long gone, he threw the cards toward the dealer. The confident drunk now hurtling through depression.
“Language, sir,” the dealer reminded him.
“I don’t give a fuck!” J.T. replied.
Now David was the one laughing his ass off…
J.T. motioned toward the Cajun. “How the Hell you keep winning these hands!”
With a smile of gold rather than teeth, the man faced J.T. “Dat’s juss how I play, boy.”
I couldn’t help but crack up. Trent covered his own chuckle.
“Yeah, and you stink like Hell too,” J.T. said.
Cackling, the Cajun stacked up his winnings.
Lily looked over at J.T. “Maybe that’s part of his strategy.”
“Well, I’m about to bust that shit! Fuck his strategy!” J.T. shouted. “And you wanna know why!” He looked down at his latest cards. “Because I’m J.T. Torres! That’s why!” On the warpath, he took out his phone. “I’m about to get in my zone, Rhonnie!”
I cringed. Simultaneously amused and embarrassed.
Tom Petty’s “Last Dance With Mary Jane” blasted off J.T.’s phone. Over the IP’s soundtrack. Over Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising.” J.T. glared at the whole table. “I ain’t playing now! Who wants some of this!”
“It’s one three, boy,” Trent quipped.
Growing more and more aggravated, the dealer confronted J.T. “Sir, you can’t play music,” he said in an exasperated tone.
The security guard approached us. “No phones on the table!” he barked at J.T.
J.T. cut off the music. “Alright, that’s fine!” Without hesitation, he waved at his stack. “Fuck it, I’m all-in!”
“Sir-” the dealer began.
“I caw!” the Cajun cried. With everyone else out, he flipped over his cards. Pocket aces. The fucking bullets.
A dramatic intensity dominated the table. Only the ominous beat of “Bad Moon Rising” could be heard. The man’s rotten stench like cigarette smoke in the arena’s atmosphere. This heavyweight match we all anticipated now looking to be a quick knockout.
“Oh shit!” Trent joked to J.T. “You done fucked up!”
The twisting knife sent J.T. further into his downward spiral. Anger built inside him. He threw up his pocket kings. “Goddammit!” he said. “How much does he have?”
“He’s got you,” remarked the dealer in a not-so-subtle jab.
The Cajun chuckled. “I got you covered, boy!”
And he damn sure did. J.T.’s fifteen-hundred dollar stack was in a world of pain.
“Fuck!” J.T. yelled.
I then noticed the man jam both his hands inside those hoodie pockets. Burrowing them in deep.
“What the fuck!” I heard J.T. say to me. “What the fuck else could I do, Rhonnie! I had fucking kings!”
I watched the Cajun’s lips move... but his voice didn’t carry. He was mumbling… All while his eyes stayed glued to the center of the table. To where the cards would fall.
An unsettling realization hit me. The guy was praying… Mumbling some sort of chant.
“Luckyass bitch!” J.T. yelled.
With indifferent efficiency, the dealer laid the board out quick. The Cajun wound up with four aces. J.T. gone from a bad beat to outright slaughtered.
“Stick a fork in him!” Trent’s Southern accent joked.
“Oh shit…” David chimed in. He nudged me but I was too disturbed to respond. Too drawn into whatever was going on in seat seven’s world.
Full of rage, J.T. stood up, spilling some of his drink. “Man, fuck y’all!”
The guard took an annoyed step toward us. “Sir!” he yelled.
J.T. turned his irate eyes toward the Cajun. The man still had his hands in his pockets. His eyes still on the board. Still in prayer.
“He comes in here stinking up the place!” J.T. continued. He stumbled toward his nemesis. “And what the Hell’s he doing now!”
Trent glared at J.T. “Man, just leave him alone! Your ass can’t afford to play, you shouldn’t be here nohow!”
In his trance, the Cajun stayed in his seat. Still chanting. His hands still hidden deep in those pockets.
Moving quick, the guard took off for the slots. His walkie-talkie at the ready. Eager for back-up.
David faced J.T. “Goddamn, man, chill!”
“Fucking idiot,” I heard Lily grumble.
The alcohol giving him fake toughness, J.T. pushed the man back. “How in the Hell did you win that!”
Startled, the Cajun stumbled up. His eyes in a panic. A disturbing amulet stuck in his sweaty hand.
The table gasped and screamed. Us drunks louder and more terrified than the rest.
The horrifying smell somehow got more sickening.
I sifted in my seat. My ass still in pain from when Nicki Minaj fucked me.
“What the fuck!” J.T. yelled at his rival.
Trembling, the man looked at each of us. Too scared to talk. Still clinging to a baby wolf. A real, dead baby wolf.
Like a furry fetus, its decomposing corpse resembled a crude outline of life. A tiny, crumbling cadaver. The pup’s hollow skin in a post-mortem preservation. Its blue eyes forever open.
And the Cajun had been holding this wolf for a very long time. A good luck charm in which the superstition outweighed the pup’s gruesome touch and nauseating stench.
A necklace of a noose was wrapped around its small neck. Rather than a medallion, the wolf wore a shiny dime. One with a hole drilled in the middle of it...
“It’s my Gris-Gris!” the man yelled in a guttural growl. Possessive, he pulled the wolf in closer. A literal baby in his arms. “You ain’t taking my Gris-Gris!”
Through the tension, no one said a word. No one except J.T..
“Hey, gimme that shit!” J.T. yelled. Pissed, he snatched the corpse out of the Cajun’s desperate grip.
“No!” the man cried. Tears formed in his eyes. “Gimme my Gris-Gris! My Loup Garou!”
“So that’s how your ass has been winning!” J.T. continued. He held the baby wolf out toward the man. “That’s how you been getting all them Goddamn cards!” With savage glee, he flicked the dime. “This is your nastyass good luck charm!”
The Cajun held his pitiful hands out toward J.T. Literally begging him… much to J.T.’s twisted delight. “I need him back!” he cried. “Gimme my Gris-Gris!”
“Give him the damn thing!” Trent shouted at J.T.
“Naw, Hell no!” J.T. replied. He squeezed on to the pup, making the wolf’s eyes even bigger. Further taunting the Cajun. “I need me some luck after this bitch took my chips!”
Weeping, the man motioned toward the corpse. “It’s no good, boy! Dat wolf’s only good luck for me! He’s bad luck for you!”
J.T. cackled. “Bullshit, bitch!”
“Whoever touch it get bad luck!”
Dismissive, J.T. looked toward the clerk. “Hey, get me three-hundred in chips! I’m reloading!”
A flash of silver caught everyone’s eye.
The machete whirled right through J.T.’s neck. A red river spread across his slit throat. For once, J.T. went silent.
He dropped the wolf and grasped at the fatal wound. A fountain of blood poured out his mouth.
The dead pup hit the felt. Its soft thud caused chips to collapse. Bits of its old flesh fragmented upon impact. The decomposing smell somehow hit new highs...
“My Gris-Gris!” the Cajun screamed
J.T. landed in his chair. His body convulsing in a painful rhythm. His death slow and steady. Blood now spewed all across table eight.
David and I exchanged frightened looks.
Disgusted, Trent moved his seat further away. Trying to avoid J.T.’s gore.
“Seat open on eight!” the dealer hollered out of instinct.
“Give us the fucking money!” a Southern drawl demanded.
The dealer went quiet quick. So did the rest of us. The rush of fear spread throughout the game.
All of us stared at the three men standing over us. Each of them wore black suits. Their faces disguised by straw hats and green bandanas.
The leader waved a long machete around. J.T.’s blood adding decorative crimson to the sharp blade. The other two robbers carried pistols. Without hesitation, they scooped up all the hundred dollar bills. The literal blood money.
The Cajun man reached for the wolf. “Lemme get my Loup Garou!”
With a harsh shove, the leader pushed him back in his seat. “Sorry, buddy!”
In tears, the Cajun looked toward the floor. His voice got lower but his words remained constant. Back to chanting.
A hush lingered on table eight. All thanks to J.T. going completely still.
Using his machete, the leader motioned his partners toward the clerk. “Go get the fucking money!”
They did as they were told. In a panic, the clerk opened the registers. “Please! Don’t shoot me!” she cried
The leader snatched the baby wolf. I sensed a wicked smile behind that bandana. “This must be your good luck charm.” He faced the Cajun. Holding up the corpse as if it were a pathetic trophy. “Is this shit how you won all the time?”
“Drop your weapons!” we heard someone shout.
Footsteps stormed behind us.
We turned just in time to see the security guard leading several armed officers inside the poker room.
Without hesitation, a cop fired. And not a warning shot either.
The bullet blew the leader’s brains out. Blood and gray matter sprayed over us. Courtesy of The IP.
“Goddammit!” the dealer shouted.
Screams formed our soundtrack. Several players jumped up.
“Stay where you are!” the guard commanded.
The leader collapsed on to the table. More grue covered the felt. The leader’s dead hands dropped both the machete and amulet.
The cops came rushing forward.
“Don’t move!” an officer screamed. “Sit the fuck down!”
The other players got back in their seats. Together, we formed a gruesome congregation. Each of us covered in blood. J.T.’s corpse seated as if he were ready to play. Table eight a poker game from Hell.
Eager to keep up with the real cops, the security guard descended upon us. He cringed at the smell. “Jesus Christ!” Then the wolf caught his eye.
“I wouldn’t touch that if I were you!” Trent warned him.
“What the Hell’s this...” the guard said. He snatched the dead pup. Dusty flesh and dry blood stuck to his fingertips.
Instantly, several shots rang in the new year and the guard’s brutal death. Bullets obliterated his face into oblivion. In the chilly room, the gunfire left us all coated in another layer of crimson.
The security guard fell to the floor, motionless. Gaping holes leaked blood from his head. The baby wolf still clasped in his tight grip.
David downed his beer. The now-red Corona didn’t bother him at this point...
Behind us, I saw the cops apprehend the other two robbers.
The lingering fear made me shiver. The gang could’ve shot any one of us… but deep down, I knew why they only killed the guard. And why they immediately surrendered afterward.
I looked on at the dead wolf. Its baby blues remained fixated on me. Tempting me to touch. Its mummified body the prettiest corpse in this poker room’s collection.
“Shit, I ain’t touching it!” I heard David say.
Weary, Trent stood up and pushed his seat back. “Fuck it!” Blood dripping off his beard and jacket, he looked toward the nervous clerk. Pointed down at his ridiculous chip stack. Even at the pieces of flesh stuck to them. “I’m cashing out!”
14
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Trucker's Guide to When Every State is Reopening

Trucker's Guide to When Every State is Reopening
https://preview.redd.it/bdfdytwtwyv41.jpg?width=1024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=8bd4da828ddd26e984087b93e4f604d823d1d18f
We understand business owners and drivers don’t have time to sort through all the different news coming out about COVID-19, so TopMark has made a detailed truckers guide to when each state will reopen. Updated regularly, this article will include the newest information on when each and every state plans on lifting or extending their stay at home orders.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a massive impact on trucker’s daily routines so we are are here to help out. Check out our COVID-19 Updates section for the latest information as it relates to the trucking industry.

ALABAMA

The current stay-at-home order will remain in effect until April 30.
Alabama Governor Ivey said the state needs to expand its testing before resuming normal economic activity despite being eager to get the state’s economy moving.

ALASKA

On April 24th, Alaska allowed businesses and restaurants to open back up in most parts of the state. These personal services and companies must do so under strict health and safety restrictions.
Bigger cities like Anchorage delayed their partial opening until April 27th.
Additionally, Governor Dunleavy has said citizens may visit their doctors and schedule elective surgeries on/after May 4th.

ARIZONA

Governor Ducey has announced the stay at home order will continue only until April 30th. The state also will allow elective surgeries to continue starting on May 1st.
On the other hand, Navajo Nation’s government will remain closed until May 17th.

ARKANSAS

While there is no exact date, Governor Hutchinson has plans to loosen the restrictions on businesses over the next few weeks. This means certain non-essential businesses will be allowed to operate.
Elective surgeries were allowed to continue on April 27th.

CALIFORNIA

CA Governor Gavin Newsome has not announced any official end to the stay at home order. Despite that, the state has allowed the scheduling of important surgeries like heart surgery or cancerous tumor removal.
The state is limiting the issuing of permits for events and activities for the foreseeable future. On April 13th, the Governor announced the Western States Pact with Oregon and Washington. This pact articulates that these 3 states will operate together in their reopening on when it is safe to do so. Nevada and Colorado have also joined this pact.

COLORADO

Colorado’s stay at home order has been replaced with a “safer at home” strategy that started on April 27th. While not mandatory, residents are heavily urged to stay at home as much as possible. High-risk populations have been asked to stay home at all times possible.
Special businesses that offer curbside pick up are now open. Additionally, personal training and dog grooming have been allowed to resume (if they follow social distancing practices). Elective medical procedures have also been allowed to continue.
Governor Polis states that more businesses will be allowed to open in the following weeks. On May 4th, non-essential office work will be allowed to continue. Colorado has also coordinated its re-opening plans with Nevada, California, Oregan, and Washington.

CONNECTICUT

The mandatory state shutdown will continue until May 20th. Governor Lamont has recommended a higher amount of COVID-19 testing before the state can start is opening plans.
Connecticut has joined with New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Deleware, and Massachusettes to coordinate the reopening of the Northeast.

DELAWARE

Deleware Governor Carney has extended the statewide stay at home order until May 15th or when the “public health threat is eliminated.” The state has said that opening can start upon seeing a 28 days decline of new COVID-19 cases.
Additionally, the state has joined up with the other states in the Northeast to ensure a safe re-opening and start to their economy. The governor also stated that even if the state reopens, social distancing, hand washing, face covering, and a limit on large gatherings will stay in effect.

FLORIDA

The stay at home order for Florida will continue until April 30th. Beaches of Florida are able to reopen if the local leaders have decided it is safe to do so. On the other hand, the Keys will not reopen to visitors or tourism until June or later.

GEORGIA

State restrictions were eased starting on April 24th. Businesses like tattoo shops, gyms, bowling alleys, barbers and hair salons, nail salons, and others have been allowed to re-open if they follow safe distancing rules.
Nightclubs and bars are still closed with no clear word on when reopening can continue.

HAWAII

Governor Ige has stated that the stay at home order will last through April 30th and potentially later. Bigger cities like Honolulu have their own independent stay at home order which extends through all of May.

IDAHO

The state of Idaho is currently allowing businesses to operate under certain conditions like curbside pickup, drive-thru/drive-in, or delivery. The state doesn’t have an explicit stay at home order but rather an “Order to Self Isolate” that ends on April 30th. There is no official word on when the full state will open.

ILLINOIS

Illinois Governor Pritzker has stated the stay at home order will extend to May 30th based on data they have analyzed in the last two months. Some modifications may be made in that time and restrictions lifted depending on testing and tracing initiatives.

INDIANA

Indiana’s current stay at home order ends on May 1st. Governor Holcomb has said that he is going to work with the state hospital association to determine when elective surgeries may continue.

IOWA

So far, Iowa has not given an official stay at home order. Governor Reynolds did issue a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency in mid-March. This required all nonessential businesses to close until April 30.
On April 27th, the government stated the 77 of Iowa’s 99 counties can begin reopening on May 1st. This includes gyms, restaurants, enclosed malls, and retail stores if they stay at 50% capacity. The remaining 22 counties have higher rates of COVID-19 and will have their closures extend until at least May 15th.

KANSAS

Kansas’ stay at home order is expected to end on May 3rd.
Governor Kelly has said that the state “nowhere near where we need to be with testing supplies,” which could mean the stay at order will be extended. Either way, the state plans to loosen restrictions in a gradual rollout rather than an all at once reopening.

KENTUCKY

Kentucky Governor Beshear has begun to reopen the health sectors of the state. On April 27, in person, office and ambulance visits were allowed to continue. Additionally, diagnostic, radiology and non-urgent visits are allowed.
The state plans to reopen the state in phases, with restrictions easing each week for a four week period. This reopening plan will begin on May 11th but could be pushed back depending on COVID circumstances.
Additionally, customers and employees will be asked to wear a mask while visiting/working in essential businesses.

LOUISIANA

Louisiana Governor Edwards has extended the stay at home order until May 15. Despite that, some restrictions have been lifted for nonessential businesses.
On May 1st, retail stores can open under the condition of offering curbside delivery only. Restaurants will also be allowed to offer seats to customers, but there will be no wait staff or table service. Customers are allowed to sit outside and eat at restaurants as long as the mind social distancing rules. Gov. Edwards has also required all workers that are interacting with the public to wear masks.
Despite the easing of restrictions, Edwards says the state is not near where it should be in regards to new cases, hospitalizations, and testing.

MAINE

Maine issued a “Stay Healthy at Home” executive order that lasts through at least April 30. Additionally, Governor Mills extended the state’s civil state of emergency until May 15.
The state of Maine has joined its neighbors New Hampshire and Vermont on planning their state’s reopening measures

MARYLAND

Maryland Governor Hogan outlined a three-stage reopening plan on April 24th. This will allow a gradual reopening of non-essential businesses, gatherings, and public services. Not giving a clear date, the governor stated that the easing of restrictions may begin in early May if COVID-19 hospital cases decline.
The first phase includes allowing certain small businesses to reopen, outdoor gym glasses, recreational activities to continue, and allowing religious gatherings of limited attendance. Certain medical procedures will be allowed to continue as well.
The second phase allows raising the minimum number of people allowed in a gathering, childcare services reopening, indoor gyms, the return of transit schedules, and bars and restaurants reopening under certain conditions.
The last phase allows larger social gatherings in places like religions services, entertainment venues, and dining establishments along with fewer restrictions on nursing homes and hospital visits.

MASSACHUSETTS

Currently, the state’s emergency order that requires all nonessential business to be closed ends on May 4th. Governor Baker has informed citizens that he and state officials have begun discussing the reopening of the state but there isn’t a clear plan yet.
Before reopening, the state says they need to have more testing, tracing, and quarantine procedures in place.
Massachusetts is actively working with its neighboring Northeastern states to develop a plan to reopen the economy.

MICHIGAN

Michigan’s stay at home order extends til at least May 15th. Currently, Governor Whitmer has eased restrictions of their COVID-19 response, allowing some businesses to open and outdoor activities to continue.
Most recently, the governor has allowed landscapers, nurseries, lawn service companies, and bike shops to re-open as long as they follow social distancing rules. Additionally, citizens are allowed to travel between houses and visit family members even though it isn’t encouraged.

MINNESOTA

Minnesota has allowed some businesses to open starting on April 27th. This order allows 80,000 to 100,000 office, industrial, and manufacturing workers to return to their jobs.
Governor Walz has stated that businesses must create and implement a COVID-19 readiness plan that outlines what measures they are taking to protect their worker’s health and safety.

MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi “safe at home” executive order will remain for two weeks and expire on the upcoming Monday. Right now, Governor Reeves urgers all citizens to stay home whenever possible. Any at-risk citizens are required to shelter in place.
State officials have also begun relaxing some restrictions on non-essential businesses if they offer curbside delivery, drive-thru, or other delivery options. Other nonessential businesses remained closed for now.

MISSOURI

Missouri’s stay at home order lasts until May 3rd. Governor Parson has stated that he is working with hospitals, health officials, and business leaders to develop the state’s reopening plan.
Businesses will be able to open as long as they keep up the six-feet social distancing rules. Additionally, any indoor retail business will be forced to limit its capacity to 25%. The governor has allowed local leaders to determine if their cities and towns need stricter rules.

MONTANA

Montana began reopening on April 26th, allowing individuals and businesses to have fewer restrictions. Retail and street businesses were able to open on April 27th if they follow social distancing practices and limit store capacity. Restaurants and bars can start offering some services after May 4th while businesses like gyms, theaters, and places of large assembly must remain closed.
The state’s travel quarantine will still remain, requiring non-work related out of state travelers to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

NEBRASKA

Nebraska state officials plan to relax some of their COVID restrictions on May 4th. Nebraska is one of the few states that issued no stay at home order for its citizens.
On May 4th, restaurants will be allowed to let customers inside as long as they operate under 50% of normal capacity. Businesses like salons, barbers, tattoo parlors, and massage centers are limited to 10 people in a store at a time. They are also required to wear face coverings or masks. Churches will also be allowed to continue worship as long as those attending stay 6 feet apart.
All other businesses like bars and theaters are required to stay closed until May 31st.

NEVADA

The current stay at home order is set to expire on April 30th but Governor Sisolak says the state is currently not ready to reopen.
Despite that, Mayors in cities like Las Vegas have been urging for the reopening of Casinos. Currently, there is no set reopening time or plan for casinos or other similar businesses in the state.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Hampshire’s stay at home order will remain until May 4th but could be extended depending on the circumstances. The current State of Emergency was extended to May 15th by Governor Sununu.

NEW JERSEY

As of now, there is no expiration date to New Jersey’s stay at home order that began on March 21st. Like many other states in the area, New Jersey has teamed up with its Northeastern neighbors like New York and Delaware to develop a plan on when to reopen their economies.

NEW MEXICO

Governor Grishman has extended New Mexico’s stay at home order until May 15th. After that period, there will be a gradual reopening of some businesses if conditions are safe to do so. The governor states that there is “no magical date” for when the state will be safe to reopen all businesses.

NEW YORK

One of the hardest-hit states, New York has some of the most detailed plans for COVID 19. Governor Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” executive order was issued on March 22nd. There is no clear end date for New York’s restrictions, but as of now, nonessential businesses are required to stay closed until May 15th.
The state officials have stated the reopening is going to happen in phases once the state meets the federal guidelines that hospitalizations decline for 14 days. The first phase includes construction and manufacturing businesses to continue. The second phase would be implemented by a business-by-business analysis of risk. Governor Cuomo did state that each phase will have a 2 week period between to monitor the results.

NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina’s current stay at home order for North Carolina is extended through May 8th.
Governor Cooper has stated the state could open in three phases if COVID-19 cases continue to decrease. Phase one would be that stay at home orders would remain, but some non-essential businesses will be able to open. Phase two includes the lifting of stay at home orders for those not at risk and the reopening of bars, restaurants, and churches under reduced capacity. Phase three would ease the restrictions for at-risk populations and allowed increased attendance at businesses and social gatherings.

NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota has stated that many closed businesses may be allowed to open on May 1st. The state is another one of the few places with no explicit stay at home order and only shut down schools, gyms, restaurants, salons, and theaters.
Governor Burgum says that he is going to follow the federal guidelines in deciding to officially reopen the state.

OHIO

Governor Dewine’s stay at home order currently extends until May 1st. After that, the state will begin its first phases of reopening but do not have any specifics at this time. As of now, large events with big crowds are not expected to open anytime soon.

OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma began lifting restrictions on businesses as early as April 24th. The reopening plan is a three-phase operation that will progress when COVID-19 data tells state officials it is safe to do so.
Restaurants, theaters, gyms, and sporting events will be allowed to open after May 1st if they follow strict social distancing practices. On the other hand, bars will remain closed.

OREGON

Governor Brown issued an executive order requiring citizens to stay at home and will stay in effect until ended by her. There has been no official word on when the order will end but some restrictions on businesses will be lifted on May 1st.
This will allow hospitals, surgical centers, and medical and dental offices to resume nonemergency procedures as long as they follow safe COVID-19 distancing and sanitation practices.
State officials say more restrictions will not be eased until the state sees the following: a decrease in the growth of active COVID-19 cases, sufficient personal protective equipment available, large open capacity in hospitals, increased testing, tracing and isolating of new cases, and plans on how to protect at-risk communities.

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania is set to reopen the state in three phases that begin on May 8th.
The phases, broken down in red, yellow, and green, will be analyzed and remain in the interest of flattening the curve in the state. Recently, Governor Wolf announced that marinas, golf courses, guided fishing trips, and private campgrounds are allowed to reopen on May 1st under the condition that they follow social distancing protocols.
The state has joined with its northeastern neighbors to develop a plan on when it is safe to reopen their economies.

RHODE ISLAND

Rhode Island’s current stay at home order extends until May 8th and is actively working on new measures to open parks and beaches.
Governor Raimondo is actively working with neighboring states in the Northeast to develop a collective plan on how they should open their economies.

SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina allowed the reopening of some retail stores on April 20th. This included department stores, sporting goods stores, flea markets, businesses that sell books, furniture, music, flowers, clothing, and accessories. This was done under the condition that the businesses remained at 20% regular capacity or 5 people per 1000 square feet.
Governor McMaster’s State of Emergency has been extended until May 12th.

SOUTH DAKOTA

South Dakota never issued an official stay at home order. Governor Noem stated that despite that, the citizens of South Dakota were staying home at greater rates than states that had an active shelter in place order.

TENNESSEE

Governor Lee has allowed restaurants and retail outlets to open as long as they remain at 50% capacity. Additionally, some state parks have been allowed to return to business as usual. There is no official word on when other businesses will be able to reopen or have restrictions lifted.

TEXAS

Stay at Home orders for Texas currently extend till April 30th. Retail stores, restaurants, malls, theaters, museums, and libraries will be allowed to reopen on May 1st if they limit to 25% of their regular operating capacity.

UTAH

Utah’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive extends until May 1st. Despite that, all schools will remain closed for the remainder of the year.
The state has not issued an official stay at home mandate, but citizens have been urged to stay at home as much as possible and restaurants are not allowed to have dining rooms operating. Utah is currently developing a plan for how and when further restrictions will be lifted.

VERMONT

Vermont has a similar “Stay Safe, Stay Home” order that extends until May 15th. Governor Scott has also developed a 5 point plan on how to open the state while fighting the COVID-19 outbreak. Phase one of the plan included allowing construction businesses, home appraisers, municipal clerks, and property managers to continue work on April 20th if they followed social distancing measures. Starting on May 1st, farmers' markets will be allowed to open as long as the social distancing guidelines are followed.

VIRGINIA

The state of Virginia’s stay at home order is effective until June 10th. Reopening the state will be done in a way that focuses on public health, says Governor Northam.
Limiting state restrictions will be done in phases outlined in the “Forward Virginia” blueprint. Steps include continued social distancing, limited public gatherings, the use of masks in public, etc. The state will begin reopening when data and health experts suggest it is safe to do so.

WASHINGTON

Stay at Home orders in Washington state currently last until May 4th. Additionally, most parks and recreational areas will be allowed to open on May 5th.
Washington has joined California, Oregan, Nevada, and Colorado in the Western States Pact to determine when it is safe to reopen their economies.

WEST VIRGINIA

Governor Justice has introduced the “Comeback Roadmap” as an outline of how the state will reopen going forward. The plan contains three phases that are broken up into weeks. Week one allows hospitals to start elective medical procedures and also allows the reopening of outpatient healthcare including primary care, dental, mental health, and more. Daycare centers will also be allowed to reopen.
Week two would allow businesses with less than 10 workers to go back to work. Restaurants with outdoor seating could resume service and church and funerals services could start again.
In the third phase, which is a three-week process, includes retail stores, gyms, hotels, spas, casinos, and other businesses to reopen. Additionally, offices and government businesses could return. Each of these phases would include the required temperature checks and mask-wearing.

WISCONSIN

Governor Evers’ stay at home order extends until May 26th. Restrictions were lifted on certain businesses like libraries, arts and crafts stores, and other places that provided materials needed to make face masks as long as they could provide curbside pickup. Golf courses have also opened around the state.

WYOMING

Another state without an official stay at home order, Wyoming did request a federal disaster declaration on April 9th. Currently, all out of state travelers are required to quarantine themselves for 14 days until April 30th.

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We’re Having Problems On Table 8

2020 was already getting off to a bad start. Here it was New Year’s Day in Biloxi, Mississippi and I was already down four-hundred for the year. And it was only noon...
Of course, the black-eyed peas didn’t help. No good luck charm could cure my current drought at the Imperial Palace’s poker room.
This was the last day my buddies and I would be out here. Our final day touring Biloxi’s many casinos. Just like years past, The Vegas Of The South hadn’t been kind to me. But I still had fun. Your wacky horror author Rhonnie enjoyed poker after all. Even when I was constantly being battered by bad beats.
There were four of us out here. Me and my Stanwyck, Georgia poker pals. I was the youngest of the bunch. Scrawnier than ever, my combed-over brown hair was still a mess from this wild binge of booze and cards. My green eyes wild with drunken life. The gambling fix just what I needed after a hectic 2019.
Obviously, I missed Ashley… But I suspected she was doing just fine partying with Carty and Erika in Columbus, Georgia. The power trio indulging in their own New Year’s blitz of margaritas and dancing.
My friends J.T., David, and Trent were all with me. From playing nickel/dime house games to $1/3 at the IP, we brought the rowdiness of South Georgia with us to this fine establishment... much to the chagrin of all the dealers and poker players.
A few years older than me, David was a stocky, red-headed Southern boy. The combination of his loud voice and drunk shit talking ensured we’d never keep a low-profile. David always unrestrained unless he was behind bars or in a strait-jacket.
J.T. was similar but more stable. At forty, he’d skirted by authority and drama with the type of good luck he inexplicably had at the casinos. Tall and lanky, J.T. was Hispanic in ethnicity but a crazed country boy at heart. And with him and David together, their fighting and flirting hit a manic overdrive. Trent only dealt with them due to experience... J.T. was his ex-brother-in-law after all.
Trent was the most reserved out of us. Even drunk, he didn’t cut up much. His bushy beard and piercing eyes certainly gave him clout on the felt. Not to mention he was the only one with a real job. With real money to spare. When David, J.T., and I inevitably went broke, the three of us followed Trent around like roadies desperate for a rock star’s sloppy seconds.
New Year’s Day was just a chaotic continuation of our three-day bender. At noon, everyone but Trent was already hammered. The constant “free” beer and vodka our only way of staving off the New Year’s Eve hangovers hunting us down…
This early, the IP’s card room was empty save for one $1/3 table. The usual players probably still out recovering from the previous night’s festivities. Party favors and empty bottles littered the other tables. The room’s 60s soft rock soundtrack well overshadowed by the constant chimes of neighboring slots.
The four of us had table eight together. Under bright lighting, we enjoyed the game with four other Hold Em stragglers. I only recognized Lily a hot regular I’d seen over in Gretna, Florida’s poker room. Someone from our neck of the woods. Wearing Louis Vuitton sunglasses and flaunting her stylish short brown hair, she was the only female player here... And already, both David and J.T. had tried her. And already she’d insulted them right back. Not to mention took the last of David’s pathetic chip stack.
Table eight’s other players included the usual low stakes caricatures. The shitregs. A depressed dad with an equally depressing dad bod. The smartass college kid masquerading as a poker pro. And an older farmer still wearing overalls, the type of surreal sight you somehow take for granted in Biloxi. Our dealer was a bitchy man in his mid-40s. The type of rude personality reserved for the casino’s deader shifts.
None of the players were any good. Then again, I couldn’t talk much. My thirty-big-blind buy-in strategy had been continually getting crushed by suckouts. Usually by Trent. Needless to say, he and Lily were the big winners so far… Their colorful chip stacks even contained stray hundred dollar bills. But somehow, J.T.’s drunkass had even more. Obnoxious as ever, the son-of-a-bitch had been running off Fireball cinnamon whiskies since the ball dropped. And here he was with over three grand on the table. A stack of Benjamins clustered amongst his towers.
Now the farmer had just thrown in another hundred dollar bill. J.T. snap called. Farmer showed three of a kind. J.T. hesitated for a moment... either he was too drunk to read the board or slow-rolling his opponent. My guess was both.
Finally, J.T. slung down the winning hand: ten four of diamonds. A flush on the river.
I rolled my eyes in disbelief.
Laughing, J.T. collected his latest pot. Another two hundred for his growing stack. “Nice hand, sir!” he taunted the frowning farmer. “You see that shit, Trent! I played that shit like you!”
Broke and on his tenth Corona, David now sat behind me. A rail I never asked for… but an entertaining one at least.
He leaned in toward me. “Hey, here she comes!”
A red-headed waitress complete with an hourglass figure and flawless face walked toward us. Right into David’s carnal sights. Then again, I couldn’t blame him.
He waved his beer at her. “Hey, I need another one!”
Annoyed, she stopped and jotted down his order.
David grabbed my shoulder. “What are you having!”
“Miller Lite,” I said to her, my calm voice the opposite of David’s rowdy roar.
“Alright, I’ll be right back,” the waitress said.
With drunken confidence, David reached toward her. “Hey, sweetie, what’s your name?”
He just missed her… The waitress was in a hurry.
“None of your business!” she yelled back.
With that, she high-tailed it straight for the table games. Then again, neither of us were complaining to watch her leave… Only the beer was definitely gonna take awhile. Especially once she stopped to take an order from a young bodybuilder. A hunk by the slots. Excited, the redhead leaned in closer. A rare smile on her face. Her thirst obvious…
David turned to me. “Hey, why’s she talking to him like that!”
“Damn, boy, she got you good!” Trent teased.
David shrugged him off. “Man, fuck you, Trent!”
“Language!” our dealer warned us in a pissed-off growl.
Trent collected another pot. “I don’t think she like you anyhow,” he told David.
“She just playing hard to get!” David yelled. The alcohol hitting him hard, David leaned in toward the table. “I bet I can get her before the day’s over with! I’ll get her in my room-”
Like a brick wall, a fat arm blocked David. A pot-bellied security guard glared over him. “Move back, son!”
David threw up his hands. “Alright!”
J.T.’s crude laughter echoed through the room. The rest of the table cracked up in a sadistic chorus. Even the dealer.
Keeping my cool, I pointed David behind me. “Just sit here, man. Drink the beer.”
“Get your brokeass back, David!” J.T. jeered.
“Man, whatever.” David moved his chair behind me. Flashed a glare at the guard. “There? You happy?”
Behind a cold expression, the guard just stared at us. Completely unamused.
I looked over at a corner where the front desk was. Where all the chips and cash were. The clerk just watched us, her dark eyes like lasers. David again the center of attention.
A wave of cold air hit us. My FSU hoodie couldn’t keep me from shivering. And regardless of all the booze, I suspected David’s long-sleeved AC/DC shirt wasn’t helping him much either.
I looked down at my cards. Ten three offsuit. Yet another fold on my fucking big blind.
Then a rotten smell hit me. Well from beyond the grave. The scent more putrid than roadkill.
“Is this one three hold em?” I heard a guttural drawl say.
The entire table looked toward our latest player. Hopefully, our latest fish. The black man certainly looked the part. Dressed in rumpled jeans and a red jacket with rolled-up sleeves, he was in his fifties. His scruffy beard matched by greasy Jheri curls. Years of wildness captured in his arsenal of tattoos and odd jewelry. The skull-and-bones earrings and gold teeth certainly hinted at what was sure to be an eccentric gambler.
The man’s stern gaze locked in on the security guard. “Is it one-three?” he asked in that muddled Cajun accent. With a flourish, he pulled out a bundle of Benjamins. Well over five-hundred dollars.
Immediately, the guard went to work getting those chips. Him and the clerk eager to count the dough.
The Cajun took a seat right beside J.T. Seat number seven.
“Holy shit…” J.T. exclaimed. He flashed David and I a drunken smirk.
But soon, that smile was wiped clean. The wild man didn’t know what the fuck he was doing and he may have been stinking up the place with a corpse’s hygiene, but he was damn sure winning.
Even Trent and Lily’s stacks were going downhill. Left with only fifty bucks on the table, I just enjoyed the show as David kept the beer flowing. Him and I an audience for this black Cajun man’s rampage.
Ashley sent me an obvious drunk text: I love you :)
Grinning, I texted her back: The two of us drunk at noon on New Year’s Day. How cute.
J.T.’s triumphant yell then caught my attention. “Whoo!” He slid out a huge tower into the pot. The arrogance such an obvious tell… “Come get some!” he shouted at the Cajun.
The man deliberated on the river bet.
Like a young gunslinger, J.T. leaned toward him. Trying to get eye-to-eye. “Come on, call me!” he yelled, desperate to antagonize the man.
The dealer forced J.T. back. “Sir, please don’t lean over the table.”
Holding his latest mixed drink, J.T. waved toward his opponent. “I don’t care! I’ll call clock on his ass!”
“Aw-in!” the man stated. He pushed his huge stack out.
Everyone watched, dumbfounded... but fucking entertained. Even if we didn’t quite understand the man’s dialect...
The dealer leaned in toward him. “Uh, sir. Was that an all-in?”
“Aw-in!” the Cajun declared. “I said aw-in!”
Now put on the spot, J.T. trembled in the cold. His weakness well on display. “Goddammit!” he yelled. His good mood long gone, he threw the cards toward the dealer. The confident drunk now hurtling through depression.
“Language, sir,” the dealer reminded him.
“I don’t give a fuck!” J.T. replied.
Now David was the one laughing his ass off…
J.T. motioned toward the Cajun. “How the Hell you keep winning these hands!”
With a smile of gold rather than teeth, the man faced J.T. “Dat’s juss how I play, boy.”
I couldn’t help but crack up. Trent covered his own chuckle.
“Yeah, and you stink like Hell too,” J.T. said.
Cackling, the Cajun stacked up his winnings.
Lily looked over at J.T. “Maybe that’s part of his strategy.”
“Well, I’m about to bust that shit! Fuck his strategy!” J.T. shouted. “And you wanna know why!” He looked down at his latest cards. “Because I’m J.T. Torres! That’s why!” On the warpath, he took out his phone. “I’m about to get in my zone, Rhonnie!”
I cringed. Simultaneously amused and embarrassed.
Tom Petty’s “Last Dance With Mary Jane” blasted off J.T.’s phone. Over the IP’s soundtrack. Over Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising.” J.T. glared at the whole table. “I ain’t playing now! Who wants some of this!”
“It’s one three, boy,” Trent quipped.
Growing more and more aggravated, the dealer confronted J.T. “Sir, you can’t play music,” he said in an exasperated tone.
The security guard approached us. “No phones on the table!” he barked at J.T.
J.T. cut off the music. “Alright, that’s fine!” Without hesitation, he waved at his stack. “Fuck it, I’m all-in!”
“Sir-” the dealer began.
“I caw!” the Cajun cried. With everyone else out, he flipped over his cards. Pocket aces. The fucking bullets.
A dramatic intensity dominated the table. Only the ominous beat of “Bad Moon Rising” could be heard. The man’s rotten stench like cigarette smoke in the arena’s atmosphere. This heavyweight match we all anticipated now looking to be a quick knockout.
“Oh shit!” Trent joked to J.T. “You done fucked up!”
The twisting knife sent J.T. further into his downward spiral. Anger built inside him. He threw up his pocket kings. “Goddammit!” he said. “How much does he have?”
“He’s got you,” remarked the dealer in a not-so-subtle jab.
The Cajun chuckled. “I got you covered, boy!”
And he damn sure did. J.T.’s fifteen-hundred dollar stack was in a world of pain.
“Fuck!” J.T. yelled.
I then noticed the man jam both his hands inside those hoodie pockets. Burrowing them in deep.
“What the fuck!” I heard J.T. say to me. “What the fuck else could I do, Rhonnie! I had fucking kings!”
I watched the Cajun’s lips move... but his voice didn’t carry. He was mumbling… All while his eyes stayed glued to the center of the table. To where the cards would fall.
An unsettling realization hit me. The guy was praying… Mumbling some sort of chant.
“Luckyass bitch!” J.T. yelled.
With indifferent efficiency, the dealer laid the board out quick. The Cajun wound up with four aces. J.T. gone from a bad beat to outright slaughtered.
“Stick a fork in him!” Trent’s Southern accent joked.
“Oh shit…” David chimed in. He nudged me but I was too disturbed to respond. Too drawn into whatever was going on in seat seven’s world.
Full of rage, J.T. stood up, spilling some of his drink. “Man, fuck y’all!”
The guard took an annoyed step toward us. “Sir!” he yelled.
J.T. turned his irate eyes toward the Cajun. The man still had his hands in his pockets. His eyes still on the board. Still in prayer.
“He comes in here stinking up the place!” J.T. continued. He stumbled toward his nemesis. “And what the Hell’s he doing now!”
Trent glared at J.T. “Man, just leave him alone! Your ass can’t afford to play, you shouldn’t be here nohow!”
In his trance, the Cajun stayed in his seat. Still chanting. His hands still hidden deep in those pockets.
Moving quick, the guard took off for the slots. His walkie-talkie at the ready. Eager for back-up.
David faced J.T. “Goddamn, man, chill!”
“Fucking idiot,” I heard Lily grumble.
The alcohol giving him fake toughness, J.T. pushed the man back. “How in the Hell did you win that!”
Startled, the Cajun stumbled up. His eyes in a panic. A disturbing amulet stuck in his sweaty hand.
The table gasped and screamed. Us drunks louder and more terrified than the rest.
The horrifying smell somehow got more sickening.
“What the fuck!” J.T. yelled at his rival.
Trembling, the man looked at each of us. Too scared to talk. Still clinging to a baby wolf. A real, dead baby wolf.
Like a furry fetus, its decomposing corpse resembled a crude outline of life. A tiny, crumbling cadaver. The pup’s hollow skin in a post-mortem preservation. Its blue eyes forever open.
And the Cajun had been holding this wolf for a very long time. A good luck charm in which the superstition outweighed the pup’s gruesome touch and nauseating stench.
A necklace of a noose was wrapped around its small neck. Rather than a medallion, the wolf wore a shiny dime. One with a hole drilled in the middle of it...
“It’s my Gris-Gris!” the man yelled in a guttural growl. Possessive, he pulled the wolf in closer. A literal baby in his arms. “You ain’t taking my Gris-Gris!”
Through the tension, no one said a word. No one except J.T..
“Hey, gimme that shit!” J.T. yelled. Pissed, he snatched the corpse out of the Cajun’s desperate grip.
“No!” the man cried. Tears formed in his eyes. “Gimme my Gris-Gris! My Loup Garou!”
“So that’s how your ass has been winning!” J.T. continued. He held the baby wolf out toward the man. “That’s how you been getting all them Goddamn cards!” With savage glee, he flicked the dime. “This is your nastyass good luck charm!”
The Cajun held his pitiful hands out toward J.T. Literally begging him… much to J.T.’s twisted delight. “I need him back!” he cried. “Gimme my Gris-Gris!”
“Give him the damn thing!” Trent shouted at J.T.
“Naw, Hell no!” J.T. replied. He squeezed on to the pup, making the wolf’s eyes even bigger. Further taunting the Cajun. “I need me some luck after this bitch took my chips!”
Weeping, the man motioned toward the corpse. “It’s no good, boy! Dat wolf’s only good luck for me! He’s bad luck for you!”
J.T. cackled. “Bullshit, bitch!”
“Whoever touch it get bad luck!”
Dismissive, J.T. looked toward the clerk. “Hey, get me three-hundred in chips! I’m reloading!”
A flash of silver caught everyone’s eye.
The machete whirled right through J.T.’s neck. A red river spread across his slit throat. For once, J.T. went silent.
He dropped the wolf and grasped at the fatal wound. A fountain of blood poured out his mouth.
The dead pup hit the felt. Its soft thud caused chips to collapse. Bits of its old flesh fragmented upon impact. The decomposing smell somehow hit new highs...
“My Gris-Gris!” the Cajun screamed
J.T. landed in his chair. His body convulsing in a painful rhythm. His death slow and steady. Blood now spewed all across table eight.
David and I exchanged frightened looks.
Disgusted, Trent moved his seat further away. Trying to avoid J.T.’s gore.
“Seat open on eight!” the dealer hollered out of instinct.
“Give us the fucking money!” a Southern drawl demanded.
The dealer went quiet quick. So did the rest of us. The rush of fear spread throughout the game.
All of us stared at the three men standing over us. Each of them wore black suits. Their faces disguised by straw hats and green bandanas.
The leader waved a long machete around. J.T.’s blood adding decorative crimson to the sharp blade. The other two robbers carried pistols. Without hesitation, they scooped up all the hundred dollar bills. The literal blood money.
The Cajun man reached for the wolf. “Lemme get my Loup Garou!”
With a harsh shove, the leader pushed him back in his seat. “Sorry, buddy!”
In tears, the Cajun looked toward the floor. His voice got lower but his words remained constant. Back to chanting.
A hush lingered on table eight. All thanks to J.T. going completely still.
Using his machete, the leader motioned his partners toward the clerk. “Go get the fucking money!”
They did as they were told. In a panic, the clerk opened the registers. “Please! Don’t shoot me!” she cried
The leader snatched the baby wolf. I sensed a wicked smile behind that bandana. “This must be your good luck charm.” He faced the Cajun. Holding up the corpse as if it were a pathetic trophy. “Is this shit how you won all the time?”
“Drop your weapons!” we heard someone shout.
Footsteps stormed behind us.
We turned just in time to see the security guard leading several armed officers inside the poker room.
Without hesitation, a cop fired. And not a warning shot either.
The bullet blew the leader’s brains out. Blood and gray matter sprayed over us. Courtesy of The IP.
“Goddammit!” the dealer shouted.
Screams formed our soundtrack. Several players jumped up.
“Stay where you are!” the guard commanded.
The leader collapsed on to the table. More grue covered the felt. The leader’s dead hands dropped both the machete and amulet.
The cops came rushing forward.
“Don’t move!” an officer screamed. “Sit the fuck down!”
The other players got back in their seats. Together, we formed a gruesome congregation. Each of us covered in blood. J.T.’s corpse seated as if he were ready to play. Table eight a poker game from Hell.
Eager to keep up with the real cops, the security guard descended upon us. He cringed at the smell. “Jesus Christ!” Then the wolf caught his eye.
“I wouldn’t touch that if I were you!” Trent warned him.
“What the Hell’s this...” the guard said. He snatched the dead pup. Dusty flesh and dry blood stuck to his fingertips.
Instantly, several shots rang in the new year and the guard’s brutal death. Bullets obliterated his face into oblivion. In the chilly room, the gunfire left us all coated in another layer of crimson.
The security guard fell to the floor, motionless. Gaping holes leaked blood from his head. The baby wolf still clasped in his tight grip.
David downed his beer. The now-red Corona didn’t bother him at this point...
Behind us, I saw the cops apprehend the other two robbers.
The lingering fear made me shiver. The gang could’ve shot any one of us… but deep down, I knew why they only killed the guard. And why they immediately surrendered afterward.
I looked on at the dead wolf. Its baby blues remained fixated on me. Tempting me to touch. Its mummified body the prettiest corpse in this poker room’s collection.
“Shit, I ain’t touching it!” I heard David say.
Weary, Trent stood up and pushed his seat back. “Fuck it!” Blood dripping off his beard and jacket, he looked toward the nervous clerk. Pointed down at his ridiculous chip stack. Even at the pieces of flesh stuck to them. “I’m cashing out!”
14
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We’re Having Problems On Table 8

2020 was already getting off to a bad start. Here it was New Year’s Day in Biloxi, Mississippi and I was already down four-hundred for the year. And it was only noon...
Of course, the black-eyed peas didn’t help. No good luck charm could cure my current drought at the Imperial Palace’s poker room.
This was the last day my buddies and I would be out here. Our final day touring Biloxi’s many casinos. Just like years past, The Vegas Of The South hadn’t been kind to me. But I still had fun. Your wacky horror author Rhonnie enjoyed poker after all. Even when I was constantly being battered by bad beats.
There were four of us out here. Me and my Stanwyck, Georgia poker pals. I was the youngest of the bunch. Scrawnier than ever, my combed-over brown hair was still a mess from this wild binge of booze and cards. My green eyes wild with drunken life. The gambling fix just what I needed after a hectic 2019.
Obviously, I missed Ashley… But I suspected she was doing just fine partying with Carty and Erika in Columbus, Georgia. The power trio indulging in their own New Year’s blitz of margaritas and dancing.
My friends J.T., David, and Trent were all with me. From playing nickel/dime house games to $1/3 at the IP, we brought the rowdiness of South Georgia with us to this fine establishment... much to the chagrin of all the dealers and poker players.
A few years older than me, David was a stocky, red-headed Southern boy. The combination of his loud voice and drunk shit talking ensured we’d never keep a low-profile. David always unrestrained unless he was behind bars or in a strait-jacket.
J.T. was similar but more stable. At forty, he’d skirted by authority and drama with the type of good luck he inexplicably had at the casinos. Tall and lanky, J.T. was Hispanic in ethnicity but a crazed country boy at heart. And with him and David together, their fighting and flirting hit a manic overdrive. Trent only dealt with them due to experience... J.T. was his ex-brother-in-law after all.
Trent was the most reserved out of us. Even drunk, he didn’t cut up much. His bushy beard and piercing eyes certainly gave him clout on the felt. Not to mention he was the only one with a real job. With real money to spare. When David, J.T., and I inevitably went broke, the three of us followed Trent around like roadies desperate for a rock star’s sloppy seconds.
New Year’s Day was just a chaotic continuation of our three-day bender. At noon, everyone but Trent was already hammered. The constant “free” beer and vodka our only way of staving off the New Year’s Eve hangovers hunting us down…
This early, the IP’s card room was empty save for one $1/3 table. The usual players probably still out recovering from the previous night’s festivities. Party favors and empty bottles littered the other tables. The room’s 60s soft rock soundtrack well overshadowed by the constant chimes of neighboring slots.
The four of us had table eight together. Under bright lighting, we enjoyed the game with four other Hold Em stragglers. I only recognized Lily a hot regular I’d seen over in Gretna, Florida’s poker room. Someone from our neck of the woods. Wearing Louis Vuitton sunglasses and flaunting her stylish short brown hair, she was the only female player here... And already, both David and J.T. had tried her. And already she’d insulted them right back. Not to mention took the last of David’s pathetic chip stack.
Table eight’s other players included the usual low stakes caricatures. The shitregs. A depressed dad with an equally depressing dad bod. The smartass college kid masquerading as a poker pro. And an older farmer still wearing overalls, the type of surreal sight you somehow take for granted in Biloxi. Our dealer was a bitchy man in his mid-40s. The type of rude personality reserved for the casino’s deader shifts.
None of the players were any good. Then again, I couldn’t talk much. My thirty-big-blind buy-in strategy had been continually getting crushed by suckouts. Usually by Trent. Needless to say, he and Lily were the big winners so far… Their colorful chip stacks even contained stray hundred dollar bills. But somehow, J.T.’s drunkass had even more. Obnoxious as ever, the son-of-a-bitch had been running off Fireball cinnamon whiskies since the ball dropped. And here he was with over three grand on the table. A stack of Benjamins clustered amongst his towers.
Now the farmer had just thrown in another hundred dollar bill. J.T. snap called. Farmer showed three of a kind. J.T. hesitated for a moment... either he was too drunk to read the board or slow-rolling his opponent. My guess was both.
Finally, J.T. slung down the winning hand: ten four of diamonds. A flush on the river.
I rolled my eyes in disbelief.
Laughing, J.T. collected his latest pot. Another two hundred for his growing stack. “Nice hand, sir!” he taunted the frowning farmer. “You see that shit, Trent! I played that shit like you!”
Broke and on his tenth Corona, David now sat behind me. A rail I never asked for… but an entertaining one at least.
He leaned in toward me. “Hey, here she comes!”
A red-headed waitress complete with an hourglass figure and flawless face walked toward us. Right into David’s carnal sights. Then again, I couldn’t blame him.
He waved his beer at her. “Hey, I need another one!”
Annoyed, she stopped and jotted down his order.
David grabbed my shoulder. “What are you having!”
“Miller Lite,” I said to her, my calm voice the opposite of David’s rowdy roar.
“Alright, I’ll be right back,” the waitress said.
With drunken confidence, David reached toward her. “Hey, sweetie, what’s your name?”
He just missed her… The waitress was in a hurry.
“None of your business!” she yelled back.
With that, she high-tailed it straight for the table games. Then again, neither of us were complaining to watch her leave… Only the beer was definitely gonna take awhile. Especially once she stopped to take an order from a young bodybuilder. A hunk by the slots. Excited, the redhead leaned in closer. A rare smile on her face. Her thirst obvious…
David turned to me. “Hey, why’s she talking to him like that!”
“Damn, boy, she got you good!” Trent teased.
David shrugged him off. “Man, fuck you, Trent!”
“Language!” our dealer warned us in a pissed-off growl.
Trent collected another pot. “I don’t think she like you anyhow,” he told David.
“She just playing hard to get!” David yelled. The alcohol hitting him hard, David leaned in toward the table. “I bet I can get her before the day’s over with! I’ll get her in my room-”
Like a brick wall, a fat arm blocked David. A pot-bellied security guard glared over him. “Move back, son!”
David threw up his hands. “Alright!”
J.T.’s crude laughter echoed through the room. The rest of the table cracked up in a sadistic chorus. Even the dealer.
Keeping my cool, I pointed David behind me. “Just sit here, man. Drink the beer.”
“Get your brokeass back, David!” J.T. jeered.
“Man, whatever.” David moved his chair behind me. Flashed a glare at the guard. “There? You happy?”
Behind a cold expression, the guard just stared at us. Completely unamused.
I looked over at a corner where the front desk was. Where all the chips and cash were. The clerk just watched us, her dark eyes like lasers. David again the center of attention.
A wave of cold air hit us. My FSU hoodie couldn’t keep me from shivering. And regardless of all the booze, I suspected David’s long-sleeved AC/DC shirt wasn’t helping him much either.
I looked down at my cards. Ten three offsuit. Yet another fold on my fucking big blind.
Then a rotten smell hit me. Well from beyond the grave. The scent more putrid than roadkill.
“Is this one three hold em?” I heard a guttural drawl say.
The entire table looked toward our latest player. Hopefully, our latest fish. The black man certainly looked the part. Dressed in rumpled jeans and a red jacket with rolled-up sleeves, he was in his fifties. His scruffy beard matched by greasy Jheri curls. Years of wildness captured in his arsenal of tattoos and odd jewelry. The skull-and-bones earrings and gold teeth certainly hinted at what was sure to be an eccentric gambler.
The man’s stern gaze locked in on the security guard. “Is it one-three?” he asked in that muddled Cajun accent. With a flourish, he pulled out a bundle of Benjamins. Well over five-hundred dollars.
Immediately, the guard went to work getting those chips. Him and the clerk eager to count the dough.
The Cajun took a seat right beside J.T. Seat number seven.
“Holy shit…” J.T. exclaimed. He flashed David and I a drunken smirk.
But soon, that smile was wiped clean. The wild man didn’t know what the fuck he was doing and he may have been stinking up the place with a corpse’s hygiene, but he was damn sure winning.
Even Trent and Lily’s stacks were going downhill. Left with only fifty bucks on the table, I just enjoyed the show as David kept the beer flowing. Him and I an audience for this black Cajun man’s rampage.
Ashley sent me an obvious drunk text: I love you :)
Grinning, I texted her back: The two of us drunk at noon on New Year’s Day. How cute.
J.T.’s triumphant yell then caught my attention. “Whoo!” He slid out a huge tower into the pot. The arrogance such an obvious tell… “Come get some!” he shouted at the Cajun.
The man deliberated on the river bet.
Like a young gunslinger, J.T. leaned toward him. Trying to get eye-to-eye. “Come on, call me!” he yelled, desperate to antagonize the man.
The dealer forced J.T. back. “Sir, please don’t lean over the table.”
Holding his latest mixed drink, J.T. waved toward his opponent. “I don’t care! I’ll call clock on his ass!”
“Aw-in!” the man stated. He pushed his huge stack out.
Everyone watched, dumbfounded... but fucking entertained. Even if we didn’t quite understand the man’s dialect...
The dealer leaned in toward him. “Uh, sir. Was that an all-in?”
“Aw-in!” the Cajun declared. “I said aw-in!”
Now put on the spot, J.T. trembled in the cold. His weakness well on display. “Goddammit!” he yelled. His good mood long gone, he threw the cards toward the dealer. The confident drunk now hurtling through depression.
“Language, sir,” the dealer reminded him.
“I don’t give a fuck!” J.T. replied.
Now David was the one laughing his ass off…
J.T. motioned toward the Cajun. “How the Hell you keep winning these hands!”
With a smile of gold rather than teeth, the man faced J.T. “Dat’s juss how I play, boy.”
I couldn’t help but crack up. Trent covered his own chuckle.
“Yeah, and you stink like Hell too,” J.T. said.
Cackling, the Cajun stacked up his winnings.
Lily looked over at J.T. “Maybe that’s part of his strategy.”
“Well, I’m about to bust that shit! Fuck his strategy!” J.T. shouted. “And you wanna know why!” He looked down at his latest cards. “Because I’m J.T. Torres! That’s why!” On the warpath, he took out his phone. “I’m about to get in my zone, Rhonnie!”
I cringed. Simultaneously amused and embarrassed.
Tom Petty’s “Last Dance With Mary Jane” blasted off J.T.’s phone. Over the IP’s soundtrack. Over Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising.” J.T. glared at the whole table. “I ain’t playing now! Who wants some of this!”
“It’s one three, boy,” Trent quipped.
Growing more and more aggravated, the dealer confronted J.T. “Sir, you can’t play music,” he said in an exasperated tone.
The security guard approached us. “No phones on the table!” he barked at J.T.
J.T. cut off the music. “Alright, that’s fine!” Without hesitation, he waved at his stack. “Fuck it, I’m all-in!”
“Sir-” the dealer began.
“I caw!” the Cajun cried. With everyone else out, he flipped over his cards. Pocket aces. The fucking bullets.
A dramatic intensity dominated the table. Only the ominous beat of “Bad Moon Rising” could be heard. The man’s rotten stench like cigarette smoke in the arena’s atmosphere. This heavyweight match we all anticipated now looking to be a quick knockout.
“Oh shit!” Trent joked to J.T. “You done fucked up!”
The twisting knife sent J.T. further into his downward spiral. Anger built inside him. He threw up his pocket kings. “Goddammit!” he said. “How much does he have?”
“He’s got you,” remarked the dealer in a not-so-subtle jab.
The Cajun chuckled. “I got you covered, boy!”
And he damn sure did. J.T.’s fifteen-hundred dollar stack was in a world of pain.
“Fuck!” J.T. yelled.
I then noticed the man jam both his hands inside those hoodie pockets. Burrowing them in deep.
“What the fuck!” I heard J.T. say to me. “What the fuck else could I do, Rhonnie! I had fucking kings!”
I watched the Cajun’s lips move... but his voice didn’t carry. He was mumbling… All while his eyes stayed glued to the center of the table. To where the cards would fall.
An unsettling realization hit me. The guy was praying… Mumbling some sort of chant.
“Luckyass bitch!” J.T. yelled.
With indifferent efficiency, the dealer laid the board out quick. The Cajun wound up with four aces. J.T. gone from a bad beat to outright slaughtered.
“Stick a fork in him!” Trent’s Southern accent joked.
“Oh shit…” David chimed in. He nudged me but I was too disturbed to respond. Too drawn into whatever was going on in seat seven’s world.
Full of rage, J.T. stood up, spilling some of his drink. “Man, fuck y’all!”
The guard took an annoyed step toward us. “Sir!” he yelled.
J.T. turned his irate eyes toward the Cajun. The man still had his hands in his pockets. His eyes still on the board. Still in prayer.
“He comes in here stinking up the place!” J.T. continued. He stumbled toward his nemesis. “And what the Hell’s he doing now!”
Trent glared at J.T. “Man, just leave him alone! Your ass can’t afford to play, you shouldn’t be here nohow!”
In his trance, the Cajun stayed in his seat. Still chanting. His hands still hidden deep in those pockets.
Moving quick, the guard took off for the slots. His walkie-talkie at the ready. Eager for back-up.
David faced J.T. “Goddamn, man, chill!”
“Fucking idiot,” I heard Lily grumble.
The alcohol giving him fake toughness, J.T. pushed the man back. “How in the Hell did you win that!”
Startled, the Cajun stumbled up. His eyes in a panic. A disturbing amulet stuck in his sweaty hand.
The table gasped and screamed. Us drunks louder and more terrified than the rest.
The horrifying smell somehow got more sickening.
“What the fuck!” J.T. yelled at his rival.
Trembling, the man looked at each of us. Too scared to talk. Still clinging to a baby wolf. A real, dead baby wolf.
Like a furry fetus, its decomposing corpse resembled a crude outline of life. A tiny, crumbling cadaver. The pup’s hollow skin in a post-mortem preservation. Its blue eyes forever open.
And the Cajun had been holding this wolf for a very long time. A good luck charm in which the superstition outweighed the pup’s gruesome touch and nauseating stench.
A necklace of a noose was wrapped around its small neck. Rather than a medallion, the wolf wore a shiny dime. One with a hole drilled in the middle of it...
“It’s my Gris-Gris!” the man yelled in a guttural growl. Possessive, he pulled the wolf in closer. A literal baby in his arms. “You ain’t taking my Gris-Gris!”
Through the tension, no one said a word. No one except J.T..
“Hey, gimme that shit!” J.T. yelled. Pissed, he snatched the corpse out of the Cajun’s desperate grip.
“No!” the man cried. Tears formed in his eyes. “Gimme my Gris-Gris! My Loup Garou!”
“So that’s how your ass has been winning!” J.T. continued. He held the baby wolf out toward the man. “That’s how you been getting all them Goddamn cards!” With savage glee, he flicked the dime. “This is your nastyass good luck charm!”
The Cajun held his pitiful hands out toward J.T. Literally begging him… much to J.T.’s twisted delight. “I need him back!” he cried. “Gimme my Gris-Gris!”
“Give him the damn thing!” Trent shouted at J.T.
“Naw, Hell no!” J.T. replied. He squeezed on to the pup, making the wolf’s eyes even bigger. Further taunting the Cajun. “I need me some luck after this bitch took my chips!”
Weeping, the man motioned toward the corpse. “It’s no good, boy! Dat wolf’s only good luck for me! He’s bad luck for you!”
J.T. cackled. “Bullshit, bitch!”
“Whoever touch it get bad luck!”
Dismissive, J.T. looked toward the clerk. “Hey, get me three-hundred in chips! I’m reloading!”
A flash of silver caught everyone’s eye.
The machete whirled right through J.T.’s neck. A red river spread across his slit throat. For once, J.T. went silent.
He dropped the wolf and grasped at the fatal wound. A fountain of blood poured out his mouth.
The dead pup hit the felt. Its soft thud caused chips to collapse. Bits of its old flesh fragmented upon impact. The decomposing smell somehow hit new highs...
“My Gris-Gris!” the Cajun screamed
J.T. landed in his chair. His body convulsing in a painful rhythm. His death slow and steady. Blood now spewed all across table eight.
David and I exchanged frightened looks.
Disgusted, Trent moved his seat further away. Trying to avoid J.T.’s gore.
“Seat open on eight!” the dealer hollered out of instinct.
“Give us the fucking money!” a Southern drawl demanded.
The dealer went quiet quick. So did the rest of us. The rush of fear spread throughout the game.
All of us stared at the three men standing over us. Each of them wore black suits. Their faces disguised by straw hats and green bandanas.
The leader waved a long machete around. J.T.’s blood adding decorative crimson to the sharp blade. The other two robbers carried pistols. Without hesitation, they scooped up all the hundred dollar bills. The literal blood money.
The Cajun man reached for the wolf. “Lemme get my Loup Garou!”
With a harsh shove, the leader pushed him back in his seat. “Sorry, buddy!”
In tears, the Cajun looked toward the floor. His voice got lower but his words remained constant. Back to chanting.
A hush lingered on table eight. All thanks to J.T. going completely still.
Using his machete, the leader motioned his partners toward the clerk. “Go get the fucking money!”
They did as they were told. In a panic, the clerk opened the registers. “Please! Don’t shoot me!” she cried
The leader snatched the baby wolf. I sensed a wicked smile behind that bandana. “This must be your good luck charm.” He faced the Cajun. Holding up the corpse as if it were a pathetic trophy. “Is this shit how you won all the time?”
“Drop your weapons!” we heard someone shout.
Footsteps stormed behind us.
We turned just in time to see the security guard leading several armed officers inside the poker room.
Without hesitation, a cop fired. And not a warning shot either.
The bullet blew the leader’s brains out. Blood and gray matter sprayed over us. Courtesy of The IP.
“Goddammit!” the dealer shouted.
Screams formed our soundtrack. Several players jumped up.
“Stay where you are!” the guard commanded.
The leader collapsed on to the table. More grue covered the felt. The leader’s dead hands dropped both the machete and amulet.
The cops came rushing forward.
“Don’t move!” an officer screamed. “Sit the fuck down!”
The other players got back in their seats. Together, we formed a gruesome congregation. Each of us covered in blood. J.T.’s corpse seated as if he were ready to play. Table eight a poker game from Hell.
Eager to keep up with the real cops, the security guard descended upon us. He cringed at the smell. “Jesus Christ!” Then the wolf caught his eye.
“I wouldn’t touch that if I were you!” Trent warned him.
“What the Hell’s this...” the guard said. He snatched the dead pup. Dusty flesh and dry blood stuck to his fingertips.
Instantly, several shots rang in the new year and the guard’s brutal death. Bullets obliterated his face into oblivion. In the chilly room, the gunfire left us all coated in another layer of crimson.
The security guard fell to the floor, motionless. Gaping holes leaked blood from his head. The baby wolf still clasped in his tight grip.
David downed his beer. The now-red Corona didn’t bother him at this point...
Behind us, I saw the cops apprehend the other two robbers.
The lingering fear made me shiver. The gang could’ve shot any one of us… but deep down, I knew why they only killed the guard. And why they immediately surrendered afterward.
I looked on at the dead wolf. Its baby blues remained fixated on me. Tempting me to touch. Its mummified body the prettiest corpse in this poker room’s collection.
“Shit, I ain’t touching it!” I heard David say.
Weary, Trent stood up and pushed his seat back. “Fuck it!” Blood dripping off his beard and jacket, he looked toward the nervous clerk. Pointed down at his ridiculous chip stack. Even at the pieces of flesh stuck to them. “I’m cashing out!”
14
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