Free Shrimp Cocktail

Rickover looked down at his cards, trying to concentrate through the discomfort of the heat, trying to remember the last couple hands, trying to count cards. “Hit me.”

The demon snapped another card off the top of the deck and deposited it in front of Rickover, hissing, “Jack, bust. That’s another thousand years you owe me.”

Rickover didn’t swear at his bad luck; that would just have cost him more time. “Deal again.”

“My pleasure.” The demon dealt each of them a card face-up, and then likewise one face-down. “The dealer shows an ace; want to buy insurance?”

“How much?”

“Up to five hundred years.”


The demon looked at his hole card, and then turned over a Queen. “Blackjack.”

“Oh, of course.”

“Are you suggesting that I’m cheating, Mister Rickover?” The demon leaned in, steam coming from its nostrils. “I’m not the one at this table who cheats, am I?”


With a grin, the demon dealt again. After looking at the card, its toothsome grin expanded. “Rickover shows a pair of tens. Want to split?”


“Oh, I’ve been looking forward to this.” The demon turned to grab an enormous blade from the wall. “Now, hold very still.”

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