“What the hell are you staring at Ferguson? Pay attention to your game!”
Stepping right into his personal space, the Pit Manager Louis planted a large, hot hand on the back of his head and shoved his face down toward the table.
“Head down, ass up! Nothing else matters!”
Blood surged into Shane’s cheeks as Old Dave the Boxman turned to stare at him with his too small, ermine eyes. The hairs on the back of his neck leapt straight up. The players on his end of the dice table started chuckling. Thinking of them as second rate hyena’s he wished them all a healthy meal of his embarrassment and prayed for them to choke on it. Six rolls of the dice passed before he dared to pick his head up again and casually glance into the other pit. Camilla was dealing at optimal speed, her hands and arms flowing like water, placing cards with precision. She was a perfect study in efficiency.
Tearing his eyes away he automatically started grabbing up the losing Passline bets in chunks that he dropped on top of his number line amid a chorus of complaints.
“What are you doing, man?” A dark hand reached down to block him from picking up the next wager.
“Seven out, sir.” Shane looked up into the older, frowning face. “The Passline loses.” It was a stupid explanation but sometimes the players forgot what was going on. And if he wasn’t mistaken, this guy had laughed for three rolls over the head down, ass up thing.
“Dude, the dice haven’t even rolled.” Continuing to block Shane, the man shook his head firmly and used his other hand to point down the table.
Cautiously turning his head to look at Chuck on the other base, he saw his friend standing motionless, hands on the rail with all his Passline bets still in place. Feeling panic start to slither into his throat, he looked at the Stickwoman. Cassie stared back at him. The thick, black braid over her shoulder seemed to bleed its darkness into her eyes.
“It was the table behind you,” she said, tapping the base of her stick lightly against the green felt covering, a clear sign she was irritated with him.
“The dice haven’t rolled, Shane.” Old Dave the boxman wiggled his swelling finger joints at the mess in front of Shane in annoyance. “You need to put the bets back.”
“What the hell is wrong, Ferguson? Still not watching your game?” Louis barked from his podium, his voice booming and hard enough to split granite. “Dave, get a grip on this guy, will you!”
With trembling hands Shane started sorting through the chips he had dropped onto his line, feeling Dave’s eyes on him. His boxman was a lifer, never supervising anything but dice. If the Pit Manager was snarling at Old Dave then Old Dave was going to rip out someone’s throat. Shane was positive he would be dealing blackjack for the next week once Dave finished with him.
Five minutes later the bets were restored but his ego was shattered. Holding onto the rail for support, he stared down at the table listening to his players talk rudely about him like he wasn’t there, and waiting to feel a tap on his shoulder signalling he should clear out. The dice rolled. Leaping into action, he paid everything and returned to his starting position, still waiting for the tap. After two more rolls he heard the harsh, blatting of Old Dave laughing through sinuses that were too used up to support the sound.
“I think he’s got it now, Lou.”
“Good. I’m already tired of him today.” Louis’s voice drifted away, signalling he was walking to the other end of the pit.
“He’s so scared of me he probably won’t look up for the rest of the week.” Slapping the rail beside Shane, Old Dave rocked slightly in his broken down office chair. “Don’t worry, Shane, I’m not tossing you over to blackjack just yet.” He chuckled. “From the look of things, you’d be happy there right now.”
In the edge of his vision he saw Dave focus on the other pit and knew he was looking directly at Camilla.