The Mile-High Strip Poker

The Mug-shot lords talked sports to pass the time and because sports exemplify the survival of the fittest ethos they sell like television evangelists to the flies.

Football is America’s game because it replicates war and we are by necessity a warrior nation.

And as we are what we behold we will always be.

The National Football League is America’s league on account of its apocalyptic scale and because player contracts are not guaranteed, and salaries are capped. Consequently, team owners enjoy infinite returns.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is exactly that. And he is Captain America because he is stoic, got Gisele Bündchen, and most of all because he wins.  And he is a Kunt fan to Nike boot.

Baseball is a 162-game grind (even if you don’t make the post-season) and grinding is un-American.

Major League Baseball is soft on its players, whose contracts are GUARANTEED and who swill performance enhancing drugs like Boldenone like pigs to endure the grind.

And 31% of Major League players, and more than 50% of Minor League players are Latino —“How fucking American is that?” Asked Wilbur Ross who wasn’t asking. He was telling us how unfortunate that is.[i]

As for basketball, the Mug-shot consensus was that the National Basketball Association is a socialistic enterprise because revenues are redistributed so that small market teams are guaranteed revenue equal to at least 70% of the league average, and because players are guaranteed 49 to 51 percent of basketball related income, and because coaches like Steve Kerr at the Golden State Warriors and Gregg Popovich at the San Antonio Spurs are anti-Kunts.

They never got around to discussing the ice hockey because Joy came over to us with a handful of Kunt golf-umbrellas and led us 100 paces through the quiet storm to the golden ostrich, which she told us “Can carry as many as 239 passengers but is configured for only 43.”

Inside, Joy joylessly gave us the “Nickle Tour” — through a corridor plastered in lacquered mahogany, a lux-lounge packed with club-chairs wrapped like beige kid-gloves and stamped with the Kunt crest, and a dining room where the Mug-shots got off a tour they’d taken many times.

At the Master Bedroom Monica put her bag on the leather massage chair like she was reserving the room.

The chair was Kunt branded —- Everything was.

The en-suite master-bathroom bragged 24 karat taps, a throne bog, and a golden shower.

“There’s enough gold on this ship to plate a Greyhond bus,” Joy gushed quoting Kunt I supposed, though the compare seemed obtuse to me.

The guestroom had a pull-out bed, a big screen, and over 1000 movies to play with. And it was mine.

So, I lay on my west couch and skipped through The Godfather as the K-bird taxied, took off and broke through the storm layer to clear skies.

The last scene I watched was movie producer Jack Woltz refusing to cast Johnny Fontane (Don Corleone’s godson) in his new movie in a barrage of anti-Italian slurs.  Payback came the next morning when he woke up with the severed head of his prize thoroughbred lying next to him in bed.

Restless, I peeked in on Monica, but she was deep in a Big Sleep.

So, I ventured out to the dining room where the Mug-shots were reliving and reveling in 2016 Presidential campaign highlights around the dining table.

The game was a bastardized form of “strip” poker, the loser having to confess a campaign crime, and the winners collecting peanuts worth $10,000 a kernel.[ii]

Ike Mercer was dealing.

He offered to deal me in like he was offering me membership of a very exclusive club.  Or was it that he was just showing me he had sizable balls,

As I had no pressing sins to confess, I declined and reclined in a suede smothered club chair and watched the game from a few paces away.

Wilbur Ross lost the first-hand bluffing with a pair of threes.  He might have gotten away with it, but Ike saw his hand reflected in the lacquered walls and called him a Kunt on it.

Wilbur’s confession was he’d overpaid Kunt’s inauguration committee $5,000,000 for rooms and meeting spaces in the Kunt International Hotel, to “expedite” his selection as Commerce Secretary in an “auction” with Linda McMahon, co-founder and chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment who got to play with the Small Business Administration as a consolation prize.

Cohn lost the next hand with four-fifths of a Royal Flush.  He expanded on the tale of Kunt’s hush-money meeting with Stormy, Pecker and Kunt, which had apparently ended with a slap.

Isaac “Ike” Mercer was the monster at the table — a veteran of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, who immigrated to the U.S. and gotten a jump start selling surplus goods and expired produce to dollar stores.

He’d made a fortune in 1984, when he sold his Odd Lot Trading to Revco D.S.

He’d joined the Billionaire’s Boy Club with the acquisition of Marvelous Comics which then released a succession of superhero box office hits.

He’d built Rebirth Capital into the most profitable hedge fund on earth, which had grown his fortune until it rivaled the good fortune of Bezos, Gates, Buffett, Slim and Kok.

He was sitting in front of three aces, but he had a story to tell.  So, he tanked his hand — exchanging the Ace of Spades for the Kunt of Hearts.

Ike confessed the biggest and baddest and most original sin of the bunch.  His firm, Cambridge Analytica had used its “special relationship with Facebook and my friendship with Zuck to harvest almost 100 million user profiles. And we built data-models to exploit what we then knew about the users to target their inner fucking demons with pro-Kunt messages. Kunt’s margin of victory was 107,000 votes in 3 swing states --- Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.  Our model shows that we delivered at least half a million votes in those three states, effectively delivering the election to Kunt.”[iii], [vi]

And then he bowed his head to acknowledge his own excellence and the disruption he had wrought and insisted I join the game, staking me with 5 peanuts.

I won the hand with a full house, my 5 peanuts became an ounce bag, which didn’t sit right with Ike who was looking for a fight through the coldest brown eyes I’d ever seen trapped between half-closed lids, munching on his finger-nails like the taste of his dead molecules was the most satisfying meal in the world.

He cleared his throat like I was smoke, pollen or some other irritant and spat: “Degas, I see you like collecting birds with broken wings!" as if he’d heard the locker-room tape, adding for good measure:  “what’s your sport? who’s your team?”

I’d never met a billion dollars before, so I stared at it with my mouth a little way open for a while. His thin smile was almost impossibly straight and equal to most men’s snarl and his jowls sagged around it like a mean old English bulldog. His hairline was too straight to be God-given, his were engineered to be perfectly straight, and his sharp nose looked out of place on his face.

His hockey team had won him a Stanley Cup and Marvelous Comics had won him an Oscar and Rebirth Capital won him a pot of gold which he’d used to rig the BREXIT referendum and the 2016 Presidential election. And he wore all the shiny cups, trophies, medals, rings, and the certificates he’d won up the sleeve of his off-white silk shirt, which lived under a navy-blue cashmere Loro Piana blazer decorated with a Shangó-red silk pocket-square.  The shirt matched the off-white silk socks that showed above Ferragamo driving shoes made from something very young and precious.

“Barca.” I leaked turning away, because I didn’t want to look  at him anymore, he was too fucking frightening.  And then I took a flyer on account of the pocket-square, the ink, the ‘birds with broken wings’ and because he was the kind of god that likes to see how far his money can stretch: “What’s the deal between you, Shangó, Monica and the Vols? How are you all related?”

“You’re an insolent mix Degas; a bit of a cynic and a bit of a clown,” he smiled, but the curl of his lower lip made a liar of his smile.

“Uh-huh, I’m a bit of this and a bit of that but mostly I’m a bit tired of watching you gnaw on your nails without offering me any. You’re an ends-justifies-the-means, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud type of monster that collects trophies and listens in on locker-room beat-downs and gets high on absolute power.  And with Vladimir’s help you’ve gotten Kunt on a string,” I said flailing away.

He laughed like I’d just said the most ridiculous thing in the world and peered back into my soul again without blinking once and lowered his voice until it was hard to hear what he was growling over the throb of the twin RB211 turbofan Roller Coasters.

“You seem to be confused,” he said, spreading his snarl over expensive dental work.

“Yeah, I picked your name out of a telephone book and decided to slander you, because I’d run out of shit to do with my day!”

“Degas, your infantile sarcasm may well work wonders on the street, but it doesn’t mean a flying-fuck up here.  You see the difference between those who have power and those who wish they had power, is, that we say what we mean and mean what we say, because we expect to be listened to, whereas you are content to snipe, belittle and ridicule our faith, our traditions, and natural law, without having any alternatives. And even if you did, who the fuck’s listening?”

“Horton the fucking elephant,” I joked, but he blew right by me to Monica who had joined the hand.

“Degas, some sad fucks give to Aids research and wear yellow ribbons to support breast cancer research. I prefer to let fags die for their sins and give to CONSERVATIVE CAUSES for the purity of their thought and the boldness of their vision.”

“So where do Shangó and his Beast’s for God fit in?”

“I had heard they do good work in the community. And every uprising needs foot-soldiers.”

He then paused a moment to wiggle his ears and check how I was making out.

I spread my lips around a response, but it felt insubstantial, so I aborted it and looked past Mercer to Cohn, who looked away embarrassed, to the magic carpet of clouds below us.

I figured he was wondering like I was wondering what Ike would dazzle us with next.

I didn’t have long to wait: “We live in a strange times Degas,” he mused as if perplexed.  “A time where the lines between us all have become blurred. African slaves have become African-Americans, with approximately the same rights as us. But because of affirmative action they do not have the same capabilities. Degas, how do you starve people-of-color to death?”

He said ‘people of color’ like nigger and stretched a smile so far it disappeared, like he didn’t really think his joke was all that funny after all.

“You put food stamps under their work boots.”

The mug-shots sniggered at that.

“And I don’t suppose you know what they call a white guy surrounded by 100 people-of-color either?”

As I didn’t, he got to answer the question himself: “Coach.”

The mug-shots sniggered a little louder at that.

“Or, what you call a white guy surrounded by 1,000 people-of-color?

I didn’t know the answer to that one either, so I shrugged.

“Warden!” He barked.

And the mug-shots fell about laughing.

So, he riffed.

“Why do white people go to people-of-color yard sales?”

The mug-shots knew the answer to that one and yelled in unison: “To get their shit back!

He waited for the Mug-shots cackles to settle down like a comedian perfectly timing his crowd and spat again: “Jerome; a kid in sixth grade, came home from school and said to his mom, ‘today, I found out that my dick is the longest and fattest in my class.’ When his mom answered, ‘That’s nice Jerome,’ he asked, ‘Is it because I am black?’ His mom shook her head and replied, ‘No baby, it’s because you’re 15.’

“You know a lot of jokes,” I said dryly. “They were funny at first, but the humor’s wearing thin, just like you intended. I get the point; denigrate people-of-color enough times and it’ll become obvious you’re something more a little special, but I knew that before I met you. And it says so on the cuffs of your shirt.”

He laughed harshly and for more than 20 seconds.

He didn’t find me funny at all.

When he was done he twisted his lips into something dry and extremely unpleasant and broke wind: “Degas, the New York City Schools Chancellor, recently suggested that 14th and 15th grades be established in public schools to enable kids-of-color to graduate, because so many of them are left behind. And their single parent —” he said pausing to amplify the missing s, “is more gullible and less adept and interested at participating in our processes as they mistrust our institutions, so, during the days leading up to the 2016 Presidential election we used Facebook data to target people-of-color with voter suppression messages more than 200 million times.[v]

“The best investment I have ever made was getting Kunt elected and I am confident of the returns.” He boasted bouncing a cold stare on Monica who was pulling nervously on the finger where the ring had once shone brightly and rose to the provocation with a staccato: “il·le·git·i·mate.”

I had a hunch he’d backed Kunt, Bannon and Blackheart to make sure that somebody was listening to his beefs. But he didn’t seem to be in the mood for my hunches. So, I beamed at him brightly, to let him know I understood he was baiting me and watched him a while.

Flaunting the wide extremities of his separatist mantra to a mutt was getting him off, there was a small bump in his pants where a limp dick had been.

“Degas,” he said stabbing Monica with a stare.  “When I first met Monica Rivera with Shangó in 2015, she seemed like a nice young lady. But we both know that nice ladies become cunts when they’re spurned.”

“I judge people on how they smell like y hueles como una comadreja muerta,”  Monica  spat back.

Neither of them blinked. And they didn’t kiss.

“Be careful Monica, I have a great deal of influence in this city, state, county, world because I don’t overuse it. But every now and then I twist and turn and stretch news to my competitive advantage. And every now and then I let my bias and prejudice shine through. And every now and then I demolish an enemy or the family of my enemies because I can.”

I admired his arrogance a short while, while I tried to decide whether he was threatening or bragging.   He mistook my admiration for respect and curled his lower lip another notch and stretched it into a smile, the kind of slick star-spangled thing you unfurl to tell a loser you’ve won; because you always win, because you are a winner.

But, I’d tired of his bragging. So, I smacked him.


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