This drink is the last, I said I wouldn't be late. But... cards!
The table is cleared and one of the new guys deals with rapid flicks of the wrist. Nigel catches my eye and shakes his head, perhaps he's had enough, slips outside for a smoke.
After an uncertain start I hit my stride. Money is down, nothing serious. Luck ebbs and flows. I admire the Queen in my hand, at the head of a running flush, her beauty refracted through whisky. I drink to her.
The banker indicates he's cleaned out. But he brings out his car key with a questioning look, we laugh and nod, he throws it in the middle. It's a Merc. All our keys go in too.
Hands go down. After a numb pause, I turn and leave empty-handed.
The air is cool outside. Nigel puts out his last cigarette, and shakes his head.