The Solitaire Series Reminder: Each week, a story will appear on my blog, and be free to read for one week only. The next story will take its place, and the first story will be available on Amazon and other e-retailers. But if you follow this blog, you can read the stories for free every single week! Read more about the Short Story Deal here.
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“He calls the knaves Jacks, this boy!” — Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
The Jack in a deck of cards was originally called a Knave, or in some cases a Knight. The low-class usage, Jack, became more common when the designation of cards was moved to the corners, and the Knave, abbreviated Kn, was easy to confuse with the King, or K.
Either way, whether a Knave, a Knight, or now commonly called a Jack, typically this card represented a servant of the king, but a very specific type of servant.
The Knight served as both a protector and a warrior. Think of an elite fighter, a mercenary, or even a bodyguard.
I’m kind of a modern knight if you will, a lower member of the royalty, a servant of the Ace and the King. More often than not, just as in a deck of cards, the Queen stands between us.
Or in my case, behind me. Because my purpose is often to guard her. The organization I belong to may be called Blackjack, but within that organization, I am known as the Blackjack.
That’s because I’m short, powerful, and often used to bludgeon people when necessary. It’s my favorite part of the job.
* * *
“Just stop! Give me a—”
The sobbing starts, always with the fucking crying.
“I’ll answer your questions. Just—what do you want?”
I hit his bicep this time. It would bruise, give him a helluva Charley horse, but wouldn’t do any permanent damage.
I don’t want to do that kind of damage, at least, not yet.
The leather strap around my wrist enhances my grip on the short, blunt object. It weighs way more than it should, but that’s because it’s filled with lead.
I hear ya’, but there’s no danger of getting poisoned by this thing. I ain’t licking it, and besides there is a leather covering around it, one with tight stitches like a baseball. I had to get that cover replaced once, but that was because I got blood on it, and some fucker’s teeth actually tore it open. I wouldn’t have shoved it in his mouth so far if I’d known he had those bad boys filed.
But that aint’ this story. That’s another one for another time.
They call me Blackjack. That’s not ‘cause of who I work for, or the weapon I use so much as how I resemble it.
It’s short, black, heavy, and tough. So am I. Difference is, I’m covered in tailored Armani, not leather. To the guy on the ground, that ain’t gonna make a whiff of a difference.
“I think you’ve been asked nicely before,” I say. Even to me, my voice sounds like gravel bein’ tossed around in a cement mixer. Twenty years of smokin’ and slammin’ a shot of Johnny Walker every night startin’ on your sixteenth birthday will wreak havoc on your throat, let me tell ya’.
No one believes I’m thirty-two when I tell them, but I am. I also almost never tell them.
Damn, I heard a crack on that one. Maybe a broken bone. Best to stop for a second.
So I did.
“Ace wantsta know where the card is, asshole.”
I turn to the other fella in the room with me. You might think an Italian mafioso would be some kinda cliche. You’d be right. Tony looks, sounds, and even smells exactly like you’d expect him to.
Before you ask, he is a spaghetti-eating wine snob too, so there’s that.
“Your playing card, kid. You work for Solitaire, right?”
The kid on the floor stays quiet. For that, I give him credit. At least he isn’t a goddam snitch, or he’s more afraid of his bosses than of us.
It’s my job to change that.
* * *
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I hope you are enjoying reading this series as much as I am. You can the rest of this series on Amazon here! Stay tuned for another FREE story right here next week. I hope to see you then!