The Gambler

Scene Three

(GEORGE is sitting at the table waiting for VASCO to return with the poker cards. Blood is dripping everywhere from the knife wound in GEORGE's hand. The knife is still stuck in GEORGE's hand. ANTONIO is keeping watch over GEORGE.)

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO returns with a deck of cards and throws them on the table.)

Are you ready my friend? These games decide your fate.

(GEORGE angrily glares at VASCO. VASCO laughs at this.)

I'd recommend cheering up. If you are angry like that, this game isn't going to be as fun.

GEORGE SHAW

Why would you think this is fun?

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO pauses to think.)

I don't really know. This is my first time playing against someone like you. I guess I just like the risk of losing some of my money. I also like watching all hope disappear from peoples' eyes when I win.

GEORGE SHAW

You. Are a mad man.

VASCO ESPINO

I never really thought of it that way, but yes. Yes I am.

GEORGE SHAW

(GEORGE's voice is raising.)

You are a fool. A liar. A cheat. The list goes on and on.

(VASCO leans forward to listen and nods.)

You are a coward. You are a worthless human being. You are a disgrace to your fam-

(VASCO jumps forward and hits the knife deeper into GEORGE's hand.)

VASCO ESPINO

You call me a worthless human being, but what does that say about you. You came to get money from me, a worthless human being. You are worse than me. You say I'm a disgrace to my family.

(VASCO leans forward to whisper in GEORGE's ear.)

I killed my family.

(VASCO leans back and speaks louder.)

I don't care what my family thinks!

(VASCO spits on GEORGE.)

Now. If you don't mind. I'd like to get this game started.

(GEORGE says nothing.)

Ok. Let me go over the rules.

VASCO ESPINO

We will play the best out of three rounds of five card draw. I assume you know what five card draw is?

(GEORGE doesn't answer. He keeps his head down staring at the ground.)

Well it's pretty simple. We each get five cards, we can draw cards of we don't like ours, and more rules, and it's pretty simple. And you of course know what we're playing for. If I win, I get your life. If you win, you get thirty grand.

GEORGE SHAW

What happened to fifty?

(GEORGE angrily looks up.)

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO smiles.)

I've decided that I don't like you.

(VASCO starts dealing the cards.)

Well I guess we'd better start before you waste more of my time.

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO starts counting aloud.)

Let's see… One… One… Two…Two…Three…Three-

GEORGE SHAW

Could you go any slower?

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO looks up at GEORGE. He thinks to himself for a second.)

Five grand.

(VASCO continues counting. GEORGE slumps his head.)

Four…Four…Five...And…Five. Time to start my friend.

(VASCO picks up his cards. GEORGE leaves his on the table.)

You know if you don't play, I could find your family.

GEORGE SHAW

(GEORGE raises his head.)

You don't know who, or where, my family is.

VASCO ESPINO

I don't now, but I have connections. I can and will find them.

(GEORGE picks up his cards.)

There you go! See, you're getting the hang of it. Will you draw any cards?

GEORGE SHAW

(GEORGE throws two cards on the table. He struggles because of his hand injury.)

Two.

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO gives him the two cards.)

And I myself will take three.

(VASCO takes his three cards and is satisfied by them.)

Ok. What do you have?

GEORGE SHAW

(GEORGE lays down three queens, an ace, and a king.)

GEORGE SHAW

Three of a kind.

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO lays down four jacks and an ace.)

Four of a kind.

(VASCO laughs.)

Looks like you lost this round. You still have a small chance though. I remember when I was a kid and first learning this game, there were many time where I would lose so many in a row and come back with an amazing hand.

GEORGE SHAW

Well when you were a kid playing, your life didn't depend on it.

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO chuckles.)

You'd be surprised my friend. There were many people willing to kill over poker.

(VASCO leans back to think for a second.)

There were many threats out there. I still remember playing against my uncle, and he said that if I lost, he would get to watch me be in pain. I thought he just meant pain over the loss, not the fact that he was waiting to slash me with his knife. Do you want to see the wound?

(GEORGE does not know how to respond so he shrugs.)

Here it is.

(VASCO rolls up his shirt sleeve revealing a long ugly scare that was obviously not taken care of.)

GEORGE SHAW

(GEORGE is still unsure of what to say.)

I'm… sorry about that.

VASCO ESPINO

What do you have to be sorry for? It was my fault that I lost.

GEORGE SHAW

Sorry about saying sorry sir.

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO laughs.)

Now you're just saying sorry for things that don't matter. Let's get onto the second round of the game.

(VASCO deals out the cards. He counts aloud, but GEORGE does not yell at him for that.)

There we go. Five cards each.

(Both GEORGE and VASCO pick up their cards to examine them.)

GEORGE SHAW

(GEORGE throws two cards down and VASCO gives him the two cards he needs. VASCO draws three cards, and discards three cards.)

Are you ready to throw the cards down?

(VASCO nods. GEORGE throws down a five, six, seven, eight, and nine.)

Straight.

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO throws down two queens, and two sevens.)

Two pair.

GEORGE SHAW

(GEORGE smiles just a little bit.)

Looks like I won.

VASCO ESPINO

Don't get your hopes up, you still have one more round to get through.

GEORGE SHAW

True, but my chances just improved.

VASCO ESPINO

You seem to have very high hopes that you will win and I will let you go.

GEORGE SHAW

If we don't have hope in this world, what is there?

VASCO ESPINO

Realism. All there would be is realism. Think about it.

(VASCO leans back and his eyes wander off into the distance.)

If we didn't have hope, we wouldn't strive for the impossible. Men wouldn't be dying in space shuttle launches, humans wouldn't be dying in revolutions against the government, and no one would waste their lives on things they can't reach.

GEORGE SHAW

I don't agree with you. Hope got us to the moon. Hope got us better governments. Hope gave us smart people and new inventions. I believe in hope.

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO laughs.)

How can you talk about hope at a time like this? You're gambling for your life. You have a knife stabbed through your hand. If you are caught, you go to prison.

GEORGE SHAW

I try to stay away from the negatives. Now before I lose more hope, can we start the third round?

VASCO ESPINO

Of course.

(VASCO shuffles the cards and deals them. GEORGE examines his cards.)

GEORGE SHAW

I'll take one please.

(GEORGE discards his card and VASCO deals him one. After this trade, GEORGE looks at his card and smiles.)

VASCO ESPINO

It looks like you got a good hand.

(VASCO discards three cards and picks up three.)

Ok. Lay your cards down.

(GEORGE lays down a Full House.)

GEORGE SHAW

You look a little stunned sir. You might as well lay down your cards.

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO goes from a face of shock to an amused face,)

I was shocked that you came that close.

(VASCO lays down a Straight Flush.)

I was also shocked that I got this hand.

(GEORGE is now in shock and completely silent.)

Well. I guess your mine now.

(ANTONIO aims a gun at GEORGE.)

Do you have any last words?

GEORGE SHAW

Please sir. Let me call my friend.

VASCO ESPINO

I will allow you one call. But Antonio dials the phone and the phone goes on speaker.

(ANTONIO brings the gun closer to GEORGE's head.)

And if you say anything about this, your family might have even more troubles than before.

GEORGE SHAW

(GEORGE is now very angry.)

GEORGE SHAW

Don't you dare touch my family.

VASCO ESPINO

Oh, I wouldn't touch them, I would probably have Big Joe get them and sell them to a drug cartel as slaves or something.

GEORGE SHAW

Just let me have the phone call.

(VASCO nods. GEORGE tells ANTONIO the numbers to dial. The phone starts ringing.)

JADEN HAMMITH

(JADEN answers the phone.)

Hello?

GEORGE SHAW

Hey Jaden, it's me, George.

JADEN HAMMITH

Hey man. Do you need anything?

GEORGE SHAW

Yeah man. Remember the favors I asked you for?

JADEN HAMMITH

Of course.

GEORGE SHAW

I'm just calling to tell you to that they should probably be implemented now.

JADEN HAMMITH

I see.

GEORGE SHAW

Thanks man-

(ANTONIO hangs up the phone.)

VASCO ESPINO

What are these favors you asked for?

GEORGE SHAW

Just basics if I had died here: Take care of my wife and give her a necklace.

VASCO ESPINO

Was there anything else?

GEORGE SHAW

(GEORGE thinks for a second.)

I think there were two others.

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO nods to ANTONIO to bring the gun closer to GEORGE.)

What were they?

GEORGE SHAW

Well if I can recall them correctly.

(GEORGE looks down.)

Which I don't know if I can. It was a few hours ago and I don't really know if I'll remember them clearly and-

VASCO ESPINO

Why are you stalling? I know you're smart enough to remember them. Just say them.

GEORGE SHAW

Well fine. I guess I would be able to do that.

VASCO ESPINO

(VASCO slams his hands on the table.)

JUST SAY THEM!

GEORGE SHAW

(GEORGE looks VASCO in the eyes.)

The first would be to call the police. The second would be to kill you.

(VASCO goes silent and a faint police siren can be heard.)

VASCO ESPINO

I will kill YOUR FAMILY!

GEORGE SHAW

You can't do that in prison.

(The sirens are now very close and shouting can be heard outside the building. The door is broken down to the building and SWAT men start moving in the house.)

VASCO ESPINO

Well if I can't kill your family, I'll kill you.

(VASCO takes out a pistol and aims it at GEORGE. Just as this happens, one of the SWAT members rushes into the room and aims his pistol at VASCO. ANTONIO then aims his gun at The SWAT team member. The set goes pitch black (or the curtain drops) and a single gunshot is heard, followed by the sound of a body hitting the floor.)

End Scene 3