Once a month on the third Wednesday after the Fall Equinox, a bunch of us private eye from LA LA Land get together to play poker. After cracking tough cases it gives us a chance to unwind from dangerous capers, swap lies about solved cases and a chance to shed the skank of sleuthing.
There’s Stinky Pete Peterson from the IonU Detective Agency from down in the valley, Fat Juan from Escanaba and Jim Rockford a young upstart working out of a trailer on the beach in Malibu. And of course, myself. I’m a food private-eye and I bring the chips and dip.
The game opened under a heavy layer of smoke and mystery, just the way I liked it. But the stakes turned when a curling wisp of cigar smoke ascended toward the ceiling fan and revealed a German Shepard dog smoking a Cuban Panatela sitting across the table from me holding his hole cards with one paw.
“Who’s the mutt?” I asked. I often opened a hand with a question as I tossed a Jefferson into the pot.
Stinky Pete was quick to respond. “That’s Shep from LAPD. He’s a cadaver dog with the department.”
“Beats sniffing your own butt I guess.” I was quick to respond as the canine eyed me suspiciously. The dog was equally responsive.
“Funny one gumshoe. Haven’t heard that one before.”
A wise guy, eh?
The dog continued his chit-chat as the cards were dealt and I missed hitting an inside straight.
The German Shepard recounted to the whole table his background to anyone who would listen. He was a decorated Korean War hero, he starred in a Broadway musical, he washed out of the astronauts training program and he was a former ambassador to Norway. According to him his feats, or paws were extensive as he won another pot with a queen high flush.
And then, sensing I was a to-notch private dick, he reached out and asked for my help.
“I’m being tailed by a French Poodle the past few weeks,” he explained. “She wears sunglasses and a dark wig, but I made her the first day. She turns up everywhere I go. The park, fire hydrants, strip clubs, you name it. I made her as a Russian spy but I can’t be sure. Will you take the case? I’ll pay.”
I was down to my last Franklin and went all in with three cowboys. The Shepard eyed me cautiously as he slid his chips in to the center of the table. He turned over his cards and I was busted.
Shep had a Motown full-house, Jacks “N Fives. He scooped up his winnings, cashed out and exited.
Jim Rockford gazed at me in disbelief. “You’re not going to take this case are you?”
“Why not?” I was busted.
“Because it’s obvious he’s a big liar.”
Check out the list for some delicious private-eye poker party recipes.