She tried living on her own for a while but managed to get fired from every job she had, usually for sleeping through work. It was irritating on many levels, but mainly because it was fucking up my count. I wiggled out of his grip.
You just have to wait it out. One of the consequences of being in the middle of everything all the time meant that whenever there was trouble, you were in the middle of that, too. Plus-one, plus-one, minus-one, plus-one, plus-one, plus-one, on and on it went—still no Anthony or Alexa.
The other counters were all around me. Lucky to have made so much money. Carpe diem and all that shit. I just think the more you win, or get away with or whatever, the more you risk the next time.
Just a couple of hours in to the first night and I was petrified. Should I be afraid of that? It turns out Anthony, a finance industry flunky by day, had a small crew that hit Atlantic City and Foxwoods dollar blackjack foxwoods the weekends and counted cards. It was a nine giving her thirteen. Traditional "big table" Baccarat Punto Banco style and "Mini-Baccarat", where a dealer handles the cards.
She did what she wanted.
The dealer then flipped over her facedown card. He was professorial but also completely wasted.
Lucky to have kept it all from her family. She picked up my green chips and put them in her rack. Better she not know, she figured, in case she ever needed the deniability. Because Foxwoods is located on sovereign Mashantucket Pequot land, it is not required to comply with state laws related to smoking.
When any of us had a high count we would signal in Anthony and his girlfriend Alexa, who would come over to our table and start betting big until the count went cold.
My sister and I were at daycare and all of the children were playing outside. Anthony looked over at me, saw my hat was off, and then looked away as fast as he could, not even making eye contact. Bingo with a bingo hall able to accommodate up to players. The count grew higher. Collect calls came to the house from prisons.
I leaned back in my chair, trying to get their attention. The crack in her skull that prevented her brain from swelling kept her alive. Park it in the lot, leave the keys in it, then go inside. She called up the guy she only knew as Peanut and told him she was on the road. As long as I could remember she had always been that way.
She tried college for dollar blackjack foxwoods semester but failed every class. She took off another card—a six—giving her nineteen. You think that when I got up to take a piss an hour ago and missed all those hands, you think that made you lose this hand, too? The cards come how they come.
I froze in fear. She had been lucky so far. Lucky to have so many powerful people looking out for her. Her circle of friends shrunk and her number of enemies grew. One of my earliest memories of not being able to protect my sister from danger came around the age of nine.
It was constant stress. Doing all this shit was actually the easier choice than to play it straight. Tonight they sent her out alone. She was thrown through the windshield of her car and met the pavement on the interstate with her head. He clasped my shoulder.