Author: 66sixx PM
The game of Mahjong has reached the height of its popularity, attracting the attention of gamblers in the west. The gamblers seated at the table tonight play for keeps, as always. But what value is to be placed on integrity and trustworthiness?Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Words: 1,508 - Published: 06-19-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3033953
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Andrea Bianchi took his seat at the table. The game of Mahjong was at its highest point in Europe. The game originated in China, spread to Japan and Korea, and was recently brought to the West by Japanese immigrants where it became a popular fad. The game unsurprisingly gathered the attention of western gamblers and crime lords, who used the game for their own gain. Bianchi had been a gambler for his entire adult life. He never had (or needed) a job, because he got his money from others who were unlucky enough to sit at the his table. During a night at a Mahjong parlor in Napoli, the owners gave him a chance to test himself against players with a similar degree of experience in the game. Andrea gleefully accepted the offer given to him. It was an hour and a quarter after midnight and all of the casual players had been long gone from the parlor. The gamblers made their living after dark. Three other gamblers accompanied Andrea at the table. To his left sat Gabriele Greco, one of the most feared players in Sicilia. Across was a Lorenzo Moretti, known for his ability to win with large hands. And to his right, was a rare female gambler, Giulia l'Aquila, who made her name known with her quicker than normal wins. The four of them wagered twenty thousand euros each, a large check to a normal person, but just bigger than small change to each of these top gamblers. The winner would gain three quarters of the eighty thousand euros at stake, and the second place player would have their stake returned as if they never played the game. With preparations completed, the game was set to begin.
East Round, 1st hand, Dealer: l'Aquila
On her third draw, Giulia made it within one tile of winning the hand. "Riichi." She laid down a 4-coins at a right angle to her other two discards. As per the rules of the variant of Mahjong they were playing, she wagered one thousand of the twenty-five thousand points given to start the game. Just moments later, Gabriele took that penultimate step and countered Giulia's riichi with his own. Andrea was the next to draw. By this point, he knew that this was not his hand to win and focused his attention toward not losing. He saw a 4-coins in Giulia's most recent play as well as Gabriele's opening move. His next draw was a third 4-coins, a 100% safe tile. It took him no time at all to throw out the newly drawn tile.
"Ron." This word referred to a win by another player's discard. Lorenzo revealed six different pairs and the fourth and final 4-coins tile. "Seven pairs, +2, 4 han, 25 fu." The bonus tile indicator was a South wind tile. As the next tile in the cycle, the West wind, was one of Lorenzo's pairs, he received one extra "han" for each West wind tile in his hand. Since Andrea's tile was used for the win, he had to pay the full value of Lorenzo's hand. Lorenzo whispered as he calculated the value of his hand. "Two to the sixth is sixty-four times twenty-five is sixteen hundred... times four is... 6,400." Andrea paid Lorenzo 6,400 points. Additionally, Lorenzo took the 2,000 on the table left by Giulia and Gabriele. The score stood at Lorenzo with 33,400, Gabriele and Giulia with 24,000 each and Andrea with 18,600. The deal passed to Giulia's right, Lorenzo. Seven hands remained in the game.
East Round, 4th hand, Dealer: Bianchi
Score: Greco 31,700; Moretti 27,800; Bianchi 20,800; l'Aquila 19,700
By his seventh turn in this hand, Andrea had a very valuable hand in front of him. He had three hidden triplets (Japanese would call this "San-an-kou", worth two "han"), one of those three being a triplet of East wind tiles. Since Andrea was sitting in the East wind position and the game was in its East round, this was worth two more "han" for a total of four. The bonus tile indicator was a 5-strings. With his triplet of 6-strings, Andrea could claim a "+3", bringing his hand to seven "han" for a "haneman", a hand worth one and a half times the value of a "mangan", giving it a base value of 3,000 points. Yes, with a hand like this at this stage in the deal, Andrea had a reason to consider himself lucky. Plus, he had not yet called any of his opponents' tiles to arrive at his hand. This meant that he could still declare "riichi" for one extra "han", giving eight, the lower limit for a "baiman", a hand with a base value of 4,000, twice the value of a "mangan". A dealer win would give six times the base value as opposed to four. Between a "haneman", worth 18,000 and a "baiman" worth 24,000, there was no reason to change any of his tiles and therefore no additional risk.
"Riichi." Andrea now needed a 4-characters or a 7-characters to complete his hand and take an astounding lead in this game. Everyone immediately took caution, but continued to work toward their own hands with the knowledge that one wrong move could lead to a large payout. It worked, for a while. With luck on his side, Andrea eventually drew a 7-characters. "Tsumo." This word was used for a win by a self-drawn tile. "Riichi, Menzentsumo, San-an-kou, Seat wind, Round wind +3, 9 han, 8,000 each."
South Round, 2nd hand, Dealer: Moretti
Score: Bianchi 41,200; Greco 25,300; Moretti 18,800; l'Aquila 14,700
"Pon." The word "pon" meant that a player with two of a tile was going to meld a third of that tile into his hand instead of draw, he must keep all three tiles exposed for everyone to see. Lorenzo revealed two white dragon tiles and added a newly disowned third to his hand, permanently revealing all three for everyone to see. He thought for a moment and chucked a 2-characters. Later in that hand, it happened again.
"Pon." Lorenzo showed two of the green dragon tiles and melded a freshly discarded third. He then threw out a red dragon tile. This ruled out a "Dai-san-gen" hand, one of the many "yakuman" hands in Mahjong, worth four "mangan" hands. With the coast clear, Giulia, Gabriele and Andrea went back to work on their hands. After a few go-arounds, it seemed that the wall would empty before anyone made their hand. Andrea drew the last tile in this hand, a 9-coins. Without a second thought, he threw the tile out of his hand.
"Ron." Lorenzo disclosed the rest of his hand. For a reason beyond Andrea's knowledge, Lorenzo's hand showed the other three red dragons. "Dai-san-gen, yakuman, 48,000." As Andrea had run out of points, the game must be aborted. As he said "Guess I win." Andrea noticed a light shining from Lorenzo's hand. Then he remembered, Didn't he have a hand closed for the last five minutes? Almost as if to confirm Andrea's hunches, he heard the clicking of two tiles bumping into one another.
"Moretti, what's that in your hand?" Giulia looked to her right and saw the same thing that Andrea saw.
"It's nothing." Andrea knew how to find a cheater. His response:
"Then open your hands, Moretti. Let's see your palms." Andrea left his seat and wrestled mildly with Lorenzo, forcing his hand open. The two tiles in Lorenzo's hand fell onto the table.
"It's not what you think!"
"You cheat! Baro!" Gabriele angrily left the table and took the twenty thousand euros he wagered. Andrea tackled Lorenzo and forced him against a wall, holding one of Lorenzo's wrists.
"So, Moretti, is this your way of life? Pulling fast ones on us and taking our money?" Andrea revealed a knife and flipped the blade where Lorenzo could clearly see it. Giulia pinned Lorenzo's free arm to the wall. Andrea cut at Lorenzo's shirt. He pressed the blade against Lorenzo's chest.
"No! No, No, No!"
"I'm going to teach you a lesson. And you're going to teach that lesson to everyone who passes by this place."
"Put it down! I don't wanna die! Put it down!" Andrea began to carve into Lorenzo's chest. With Lorenzo's screams of agony in the back of Giulia and Andrea's minds, a message was written in blood. When the message was completed, Lorenzo's body was laid in front of the mahjong parlor to deliver a message to all who would pass by.
IO SONO LORENZO MORETTI ED IO SONO MORTO PERCHÉ IO ERO INAFFIDABILE