Andrew glanced at his hand then back to William: four aces and the ten of spades. Four of a kind! Beat that! He thought. He could see William's hands were shaking just a tad too much and you could play connect-the-dots with the sweat on his brow.
“Come on William—play your hand.” He said with his poker face.
Andrew and William had been friends for years. Two peas in a pod—they often joke about how they met in Sculley’s Tavern on Karaoke Night. Andrew had been attempting to sing ‘Friends in Low Places’ by Garth Brooks.
On a good day, Andrew couldn’t carry a tune to save his life. On that particular day, all the liquid courage he drank didn’t help improve his pitch and the audience validated it. William was part of that crowd and Brooks was his favorite. So he jumped in and gave Andrew a hand, saving him from being tossed out of the Tavern. From that day on they’d been the best of friends.
When it came to cards, they always played for money. This time the stakes were high. Winner took all.
“Gimme a minute Andy,” William said fumbling his cards from sweaty hands. His eyes kept darting between Andrew and his hand. “Royal Flush!” He said slapping down the cards with a splat.
“Royal Flush, huh?” Andrew asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Yeah, whatcha got to beat that?” William said, locking eyes with him.
Andrew closed his eyes and took a shallow breath as he carefully put down his four aces and ten of spades. “Four of a Kind.” He replied softly.
“Ha! Royal Flush trumps Four of a Kind!” William said with a nervous laugh.
“It does, doesn't it?” Andrew questioned, his eyes still shut.
“Well, yeah. It trumps all hands, don't it?” William replied tersely.
As he opened his eyes, Andrew stared at Marty with a strange expression on his face. “I guess that it does, Will,” He muttered “I guess it does.”
Before William even knew what was happening, Andrew grabbed his dewy unopened glass bottle and swung it at William’s head. The bottle connected directly with his temple and shattered, severely cutting William’s face. Blood splattered everywhere and William fell unconsciously to the floor.
When he came to, he was in the passenger seat of Andrew’s rusty old pickup truck, pulling up to the emergency room. Williams’s eye was swollen shut and crusted over with blood, and he was still in a daze as Andrew grudgingly helped him into the hospital. On the way to the nurse’s station, the two men heard Garth Brooks' song ‘Friends in Low Places’ from the old-fashioned radio in the waiting room.
William urged Andrew to a stop at the sound, a tear welling up in his good eye. “What gives Andy? I thought we was best friends! Why are you such a sore loser?” He asked confusedly.
“We were best friends, Will. But, there are only four aces in a deck of cards.”