COL #4 – Already Been Chewed

Jonathan watched from the safety of the far end of the pit as Miss Diamond slurped at Charles’s soul, her aura flaring brightly as she absorbed him.  Charles moved mechanically, his wraithlike body bowed slightly forward as he held tightly to the blackjack shoe and dealt his game.  His eyes were empty and withdrawn.  Jonathan felt a tug of recognition at the blank expression, the emotional refusal to interact with the guest.  Considering the earlier encounter Charles had with Dolphus Grime, it was a wonder the young man had made it this far into his shift.  Charles was a shell of the person he had been six hours ago.  It was not unheard of for the casino to literally lose a dealer or two when Dolphus came to play.  The appetite of the man was unmatched and he usually ate until he was too full to move.  

Miss Diamond frowned at the dealer and pulled her chips from the betting circle.  Here we go, Jonathan thought.

“Excuse me, Floor?”

Fixing his expression Jonathan slowly walked toward Miss Diamond.  She was a regular and her appetite was something of a joke among the staff.  Unlike Dolphus, she liked to feed off a select few and when she couldn’t there was usually an argument that often escalated up to the Pit Boss.

“Good evening, Miss Diamond.  How can I help you?”

By reflex Jonathan weighed his appearance against hers.  Miss Diamond was a middle aged, black woman with a solid income and tasteful clothing.  Her nails and hair were impeccable, her eyebrows always perfectly arched.  His suit, while it fit him well, was bought off the rack at a local outlet.  The slacks were a bit snug in the butt and the jacket a hair too loose in the shoulders.  His haircut was a little grown, needing a trim.  Compared to the younger Floor Supervisors who shopped mostly at discount stores, he looked damn good.  Standing beside Miss Diamond, however, he looked like he tried to hard.  He felt small.

“This dealer… Charles?”  She looked closely into his eyes.  Jonathan nodded obediently.  Yes, he was paying attention.  “He appears to be… used…”  Her voice trailed off expectantly.  Jonathan knew he was supposed to just understand the question.

“Yes ma’am.  It has been a busy evening here at the Casino of Light.”  He tried to sound apologetic.  “Many of our dealers have been… overworked.”  He glanced at Charles as he spoke, assuming the man was listening despite his closed off appearance.  Overworked was an obvious understatement but he was trying to be tactful.

Miss Diamond frowned again and tried to move closer to Jonathan.  He held his ground for a moment, anticipating her next move but not prepared to submit.

“Don’t you have some way of… refreshing them?”  Her aura shimmered outward, barely noticeable.

“I’m afraid not,” he stated with a tight smile and stepped casually out of reach.  “The next shift will be here in just a couple hours.”  He was rewarded with a sharp flash of her carefully made up eyes.

“You were always one of my favorites,” Miss Diamond purred.

“Mmm hmm.”  Jonathan took another step backwards, openly avoiding her.  He saw Charles’s head turned just a bit toward him now, watching from the edge of his vision while he continued to deal.  So there was a bit of life left in him?  Clever man.  

Turning to face the south end of the pit Jonathan used his chin to indicate a woman with dark hair and a very slender build dealing on one of the tables.  Her expression was open and smiling, completely blind to the actions of the feeders around her even though one was actively gulping at her, his aura flaring like a beacon.

“We have some newbies that just started tonight.  Maybe one of them would be suitable for you?”  Jonathan was gratified to see Miss Diamond follow his gaze and lock onto the female dealer.  Interest sparked in her eyes.  He wondered if her interest was just in the dealer or in being able to cut off the greedy feeder?  Based on his knowledge, she would enjoy both games quite a bit.

“Maybe…”  Miss Diamond stepped back and collected her chips from Charles’s table.  “I’ll have a look.”

Jonathan nodded politely and stepped forward a bit.

“Yes ma’am.  I’m glad to have been of help to you.”

Throwing a crisp smile at him she headed down the row of tables.