Monday, January 06, 2014

2006 Changes In The Cards

As had been the case lately, the advertising production crew found themselves with nothing to do late in the shift. Every ad that was booked for the next month, not many at that, had been built then safely stored away in the paper's computer system ready to automatically pop onto the page when the time arrived for publication. With nothing to do but wait until quitting time the crew played more spades. Tumbleweed loved to play spades since it was some form of human interaction. Plus, Tumbleweed had that blind ass luck and drew fantastic cards that he would always underbid. It was like the universe was compensating Tumbleweed for his sorry life with lucky cards. As good as his cards usually were he still didn't know how to play his hand. Randy and Dave were more savvy players who were on opposing teams usually. This night Heather, an ad builder, rounded out the players. Randy had just finished dealing the cards so everyone was shifting them around by suit and figuring their bids. Randy and Tumbleweed were teamed up against Dave and Heather.

"Did I ever tell you about Bob on the dance floor back in the seventies? He could drop to the floor and do the splits." Randy remarks to the players then bids three. Everyone sort of shakes their head that. no they had not heard of Bob's dancing moves, though being more focused on their bids at that moment. Heather speaks up as she's sitting to Randy's left. "I'll go two." Immediately Randy goes on with his story. "Yeah old Coop' was real drunk this one night. Anyway, he did this kick straight out then dropped down into the splits which was his signature dance move. The cat was amazing - real limber though you'd never know it now. The trouble was he was so drunk he managed to kick some guy dead in his ass before dropping to the splits. The guy who'd just been kicked in the ass turned around and cold cocks the guy closest behind him, never even seeing Bob down on the floor in the splits." Everyone starts to laugh at the thought of Bob, now in his sixties, doing this. "Hey Tumbleweed. You going to bid tonight?" Randy asks looking over at Tumbleweed still shuffling his cards. In the process one of his cards drops to the table. It's the queen of spades. "Oh well dude. There goes your mellow bid." Dave says as Randy rolls his eyes at his partner. "Come on bitch. Get with the program." He complains looking disgusted at Tumbleweed who softly mutters, "I bid two." Dave who has been ready to bid and pretty much knows what cards everyone is holding once the bidding stops, starts playing his mind game. "Let me see. Randy's going to go three...probably. My partner's going two. The Tumbleweedster is going two but he's probably holding four or five tricks depending on how badly he plays them. That's nine or ten tricks. I'll bid three so we'll go five together." Randy hates being predictable and realizes Tumbleweed normally underbids. Bidding three now will make that smart ass Dave look like a mind reader so Randy bids four.

Heather begins fingering her cards deciding which she will throw down first then remembers Randy playing some jokes on Bob. "Didn't you put a sign on Bob's car?" Heather remarks and leads with the Queen of Diamonds. This causes Randy to laugh thinking about that prank. I'd heard this one before.  "Bob had just bought a brand new Miata. Nice looking little car. He was driving home after the shift - about three or four in the morning. This car began flashing it's lights and beeping their horn at Bob who tried to out run them for miles. Finally, even though he couldn't understand why these guys wanted to fight him, he figured he couldn't outrun them so he'd better confront them and try to bluff his way out. He slammed on the brakes and jumped out of his car with a tire iron and asked the guys what their problem was? They told him 'Everything is cool dude. I just want to buy your car'. Bob turned around and saw the For Sale sign I put on the back of his Miata. I had her up for sale for $1600 cash money. Of course that was about one tenth of what the car was worth." The players start to laugh again as Randy prods Tumbleweed. "You going to play a card Tumbleweed?" Tumbleweed begins fiddling with his cards not having given thought to playing as he listen to another one of Randy's stories about how it use to be at the paper in the hay days. He mumbles, "Ah." Before Tumbleweed can get his words or a card out Dave continues playing with Tumbleweed's mind. "What' a matter cat got your tongue? Which card shall I play? Not sure if you should play that King of Diamond now or later?" This causes Tumbleweed to pull his cards closer as if Dave has hit the nail on the head and gotten a peak. He plays the Three of Diamonds. Immediately Dave flips the card over that he's been holding down on the table like he knew what Tumbleweed would play. He usually did through a combination of luck and skill. Dave's card is the Two of Diamonds. Finally Randy having that worried look come over his face plays the Four of Diamonds. Heather grabs her trick then throws down the Jack of Diamonds. Tumbleweed hesitates then plays the Six followed by Dave playing the Five. Finally Randy plays the Eight of Diamonds. His look of hopelessness grows as each trick is grabbed by his opponents. Heather plays the Seven of Diamonds forcing Tumbleweed to play his last Diamond - the King. Dave starts laughing then throws down his Ace of Diamonds.  Randy throws the Seven of Diamonds. Dave is already waiting to grabs the last card of his trick. Randy begins complaining to Tumbleweed. "Damn boy. You going to take a trick tonight?" To which Dave jokes, "He's more likely to turn a trick tonight." The group minus Tumbleweed laughs as Tumbleweed tries to defend his play. "Shut up. How many tricks you taken Randy."

As fate would have it this first round would lead Randy and Tumbleweed into the deadly cross cut where Heather ran out of Heart and Dave Clubs. So first one could cut then lead to their partner who would drop a spade. When the dust cleared from that first hand Randy and Tumbleweed were sixty to the minus. "God dammit Tumbleweed. You're killing me Whitey, you're killing me!" Randy whined to his partner. Heather grabbed up the cards and started to shuffle. "I work with a guy back in the Sixties named Whitey. We faked his death to fool this real stupid guy that use to work here?" Of course I'd heard this one too but let Randy but let Randy tell the card players. Dave asks looking at Randy who still has that disgusted, annoyed look, "You killed somebody back in the sixties?" This momentarily lifts Randy's spirits as he recalls that incident and his expression changes. "That guy was so stupid, we told him that Whitey died. But the funny part was we had just gotten some big piece of equipment delivered to the loading dock. It came in a big box that looked like a coffin. So we draped some cloth over it and stuck a few flowers around that we snatched from out front and got Whitey to lay inside the fake coffin with his arms folded across his chest like this. This guy was so stupid he just stood there hovering at the fake casket saying over and over again 'Whitey's dead? I can't believe it. Whitey's dead?' It never crossed this guy's mind why anyone would hold a wake in the topography department of a newspaper." By now all the players are rolling in their chairs as Heather attempts to deal the next hand. She says, "That's a riot, Randy." But Randy continues telling the rest of the prank. "That's nothing. You should have seen the dude when Whitey sat up suddenly and moaned. The guy, Albert was his name I think - screamed like a woman and jumped back about ten feet." At this point everyone is heaving back and forth laughing except Tumbleweed who is smiling but more interested in the cards Heather has just deal him. He bids. "I'll go mellow." Dave has finished sorting out his hand and bids over his laughter, "I'll go six to set." This prods Randy to speak still grinning himself from telling his story. "Damn dude. I was going to go mellow. I guess I'll go two to protect." He folds up his cards and waits for Heather to make her bid. "I'll go five. So we'll take eleven together." The hand starts out with Tumbleweed playing the Jack of Clubs which signals to Dave that Tumbleweed is low on Clubs and wants to see if he can get it out early. Dave plays the Ten followed by Randy protecting Tumbleweed with the Queen while bugging his eyes out at his partner. Heather grabs the trick with her ace.  She is assessing her next move as Randy begins talking. "We use go to this bar over on K Street because it had some really nice woman. But the owner was a real asshole. Anyway they were having this celebration in the bar like a birthday or something. They had balloons floating all over the bar that had faces on them with ears. Anyway, like I said the bar owner was a dick. I took one of the balloons and hooked it on this guys belt when he passed by." They start to laugh and Dave sees where the balloon buddy trick originated from that Randy so often used on Tumbleweed. "To make a long story short, this guy walks back and forth throughout his bar with his balloon head buddy following him around from behind - back and forth. Of course all the customers were cracking up and the waitresses too. Finally, he's standing over by the bar looking at himself in the mirror of course and notice the ballon head behind him so he wheels around. But the balloon turns around with him out of his view. So he turns back around looking in the mirror and there's the balloon behind him again. This asshole turned around three or four more times until one time he spun around fast and came face to face with the balloon smacking his head. That's when he realized it was attached to his belt. The waitresses were laughing then this asshole starts screaming at them saying they were fired if they were the one's who did the balloon trick on him. He was ranting and raving so I finally went over and told him to relax - that I did it." Heather plays the Two of Diamonds and asks, "What did the guy do to you?" Randy replies as Tumbleweed plays the Five of Diamonds. "He didn't do shit. We used to spend a lot of money in his place."

When the last trick was played Randy had only taken one of the two tricks he needed to for his bid. But he'd been protected his partner's mellow bid assuring that he took no tricks. Dave led with the Two of Spades followed by Randy with the Queen of Spades he'd been saving to get his last trick and to protect Tumbleweed. Heather played the Jack of Spades then everyone turned to Tumbleweed awaiting his final card. But Tumbleweed had that weak worried look on his face causing his partner to remember he had not yet seen the King of Spades played. Slowly Tumbleweed laid down the King taking the last trick. Randy cried out, DAMMIT FOOL! You went mellow with the King of Spades?"  Tumbleweed defending his actions replied, "I only had two Spades - the Three and the King. I had nothing higher than a Jack otherwise. Besides, without my trick you wouldn't have made your two bid. Heather comments laughing, "Ah yes. Another crazy night in Odd Aps." Reversing the name of the Advertising Operations department to make her pun. Dave replies, "Yes it is Heather. Yes it it."

At this point in the game Randy and Tumbleweed were better than a hundred points in the hole and it would get worst. By the time Dave and Heather passed five hundred points their unlucky opponents still hadn't crossed zero. All the managers were gone leaving Randy in charge. There was still thirty minutes in the shift but Randy had no hope of victory tonight with the cards game so he gave everyone a slide. The crew dashed for the exits as usual before he could change his mind. It was the time in the evening when the staff of mostly over weight diabetics could really move the fastest. Every night began to be just like this night. Our work was done by 9 in the evening and there was nothing to do but play more spades. Classified had been getting whacked by the Internet and was tiny now compared to the old days. But this didn't effect me for the most part because I wasn't involved in classified ad production. However at this point I was proofreading once again. What I did notice was the Real Estate market freezing up. The same properties remained for sale for a long time. Then the prices began dropping but the places still didn't sell. The longer this went on the more it prices dropped but only for Real Estate. Everything else, especially gasoline, was soaring in price. Randy and the ad ops right wing staff of dupes claimed the high gas prices were because liberals had blocked drilling for oil in the ocean. The Liberal ad ops staff comprising the vast political majority on the floor said the oil companies weren't paying enough taxes and that wind power would solve the problem. As for me I knew the Federal Reserve Board was where the cause for high gas prices lay. The more money pumped into the economy the higher prices rose. Now gas was around four bucks a gallon. I drove a gas efficient Toyota so my gas bill rose to around $35 per week - still affordable for me. However, most folks in ad op be they left or right hadn't seen the huge gas price increases coming so they drove big SUV's or pickup trucks generally. They were getting hammered for over a hundred bucks a fill up. I knew this could not go on forever or an inflationary spiral would ensue dropping the fiat Federal Reserve Note to zero in value. Before that happened I expected the Fed banksters to stop the flow of dollars with higher interest rates and/or regulations. The question was when would they pull the plug on the money supply?

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