Monday, December 28, 2015

And the Moral of the Story Is…

With the cookies, churros (or Cheerios and Anika called them) and milk all set out and the kids finally tucked into bed waiting for Santa Claus, the grownups earned some time for themselves and so we sat down to play Hucklebuck. Our fun nightly card game has been a bit of tradition when Ryan and Holly visit and we look forward to playing whenever we get some quiet after the little ones head off to bed.

As usual, Ryan wanted to spice up the evening’s competition. Usually, he suggests a change in the rules, manipulating the face value of the cards so it makes the game more “interesting.” But, as always, Holly and Linda are steadfast concerning the rules of the game and Ryan’s attempts to add some spice were shut down quickly. Ryan being Ryan persisted and eventually came up with a solution that he felt would make the game assume.

A bet was made! The loser of the night’s Hucklebuck game would have to get a henna tattoo or one of the tattoos from the beach vendors. This tattoo would be selected by the three other participants, who could then choose the location of said tattoo, with the only restriction being that it could not be placed above the lower neck area on the body.

As you can imagine, the tension and concentration of everyone was amped up as the game began. The bet hung heavy over the game and from the start Ryan used it to try to intimidate all who played.
Holly took the lead in the first hand which Ryan took as fuel to stoke his taunting about the bet. Out of the gate, Ryan was relentless teasing Holly as to where the tattoo was going to be placed when she lost.

By the end of the fifth hand, his strategy had paid off. He took the lead and his comments went from a general taunt at all of us to zeroing in on Linda who was, at this time, losing.  Smiling he actually said “Hum, too bad I am ahead; I would look good in a nice tattoo!”  Then he followed up with a comment that put Linda at ease, he sealed his coffin by making a comment that assumed his victory was in the bag. Linda knew that he would eat those words and soon, he did.

The next hand Ryan was poised with three cards showing and the three unknown cards left. If you have played Hucklebuck you know that you have three cards that you look at the beginning of your hand and three that you place face down and don’t know the value. You have to either exchange these three unknown cards for lower ones you draw, or you keep them and turn them over hoping that luck is on your side and that there is a low card there and not a higher numbered card or worse yet the dreaded queen.

At this, Ryan looked at Holly and smiled and then said, “I think I’ll live on the edge!” and he reached to turn over one of the top three cards. Pointing at the one on the right he started to grab it when Holly said, “If you are really going to live on the edge, you will choose the middle one because that is where we always find the queen hidden.” With all the confidence of a Vegas con man, Ryan reached for the right card again and then smiling turned the center card up. There she was, the queen!

The queen is the highest value card in the game of Hucklebuck  - 13 points.  It is hard to flip over a queen and then come back for a win and with this in mind, Ryan saw his dynasty start to crumble.
Ryan’s happy chatter of the six prior hands ceased and a clamor grew from the rest of us who had been coerced into the bet. The taunting was now relentless as Ryan’s luck went down to drain.
In the next several hands his lead shrunk and by the final two hands he had lost the bet!

At the end of the game, all Ryan could do was try to convince us that the bet was just for fun and more of a joke. The taunting became louder. “I think it should be a Rainbow Bright or My Little Pony tattoo.” someone said.  “How about a Hello Kitty on the bicep?” was thrown out to cackles and snorts. I tossed my suggestion of a tramp stamp of a teddy bear or unicorn.  Ryan parlayed with suggestions of a Seahawks logo or a man’s tattoo like a dragon. None of those went over well with the “tattoo committee”, so he tucked his pride away and went to bed.

We spent the next two days dropping hints and suggestions of what would be coming.  Ryan dodged the best he could until finally their last day in Mexico had arrived. Linda and Holly walked into town and within an hour came scurrying back into the casa. They had found a tattoo vendor and he was waiting for them back in town.  They grabbed Ryan and dragged him along back into town.  I stayed with the kids and waited with anticipation for the results.

When they rejoined me at the casa, I was told the story of the tattoo.  The young vendor turned out to be very nice, but he was very confused about who was going to get the tattoo.  We think it was because the final choice was a beautiful butterfly and he could not understand why one of the beautiful ladies was not having it placed upon their body. A delicate butterfly design like this one does not go on a man’s bicep; men have eagles, barbed wire, or dragons, not butterflies!

It took the vendor about 30 minutes to prep Ryan’s arm and apply the tattoo.  He said it would last about two weeks and that it needed to dry completely before it could be touched.

Linda, Holly, and Ryan walked proudly home, making sure that anyone who looked their way saw the new body art.

Back at the casa, the kids and I greeted the trio and gazed at the tattoo. Ryan showed it off and then took Zane aside and explained that the skin art would wash off and that it was the result of his dad making a bad bet and paying the consequences. Zane understood and Ryan went on about his packing anticipating all the explanations he would have to do over the next two weeks. Holly just smiled.

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