Thread: New studio
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:00 AM
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joseph engraver joseph engraver is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Sarzana,Italy
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Default Re: New studio

It was still wet outside; a bitter wind had sprung up, blowing newspapers and leaves along the empty streets. At reception I borrowed an umbrella, asked where I would find a man’s clothing shop.
Then I left to go shopping for a warm wool sweater, rain coat, and a beret.
When I returned to the hotel, I went up to my room and lay down to consider and think of how best to play Moss.
I always avoid alcohol and eating a large meal before playing in a high stakes game, hunger sharpens my thinking and observation of the action taking place at the table
I wanted Moss seated on my right my right, that way I would have the positional advantage.
Of course Moss would be able to take advantage and try to steal my opening blind bets with a large raise.
Provided that the table would have the customary seven or eight player I decided that the optimum place for me to sit would be three seats in front of Moss.
I am a player who rarely bluffs, never lose my temper, or control, and never chase the money I have put into a pot if my cards are not favorable.
It was still windy outside and still misting. I dressed in wool slacks, white shirt, and plain blue tie, sweater and then pulled on my comfortable old boots.
Standing in front of the mirror I adjusted my new sweater and wind proof beret.
Satisfied that I no longer looked like a walking target, I picked up the Stetson, placed in back in its box. With the rain coat over my arm I walked down to lobby where I asked the receptionist to write me a note in French which I placed inside the hat box. As I was standing there, Moss appeared from the elevator.
I spoke first. “Good evening Ronnie, I see you are dressed for the club.” He looked down at his baggy brown suit then adjusted his tie, grinned and said “Never was much of dresser, always believed that clothing was to prevent food from getting your skin dirty.”
I wanted to say “It shows” but instead asked if he was walking to the club.
“No I am going by cab. Want to go with me?”
It was perfect. Moss would be seated at the table before me, giving me the opportunity to select a seat to my advantage. I shook my head, “No Ronnie, I want to stretch my legs a bit, thanks for the offer, but I think I will walk.” I put on my raincoat and went outside.
It was cool; but the drizzling rain had stopped, the streets wet and the traffic light. I made my way to the tunnel that took me under the roundabout of the Arch De Triumph and walked towards the Aviation club, hat box under my arm.
At the entrance stood the same doorman as the night before, He did not recognize me as he accepted my membership card and politely opened the door. When I walked up to the counter to check my raincoat, the girl with that wonderful smile and so fascinated with J.R. recognized me instantly. “Good evening monsieur, I see that tonight you look quite French, I think I like you better in western clothes.” As it took off the raincoat I said “Feathers always make the beautiful bird, as does a woman´s smile.” Confused, she said.” I do not understand what you mean Monsieur” I handed her the raincoat, then the hatbox. “This is a present for you. The note will explain.”
”Je vous donne ceci comme un remerciement vous pre´sentez pour votre beau sourire”
J.R. Ewing, from Dallas, Texas
As she opened the box and began to read the note, I turned and went up the stairway wearing my new beret.
While standing before the same tuxedoed gorilla as he examined my passport and new membership card I noticed that he did not recognize me. Then he opened the door to the casino gaming room. Ignoring the restaurant sign, I went directly to the card room and found Moss sitting at a full table.
He was in deep concentration and did not notice my arrival.
I found a seat at the bar that gave me the chance to observe Moss in action. I watched every move he made trying to find some small telling information that would help me. Some small detail I could capitalizes on.
I watched as he looked at his two cards, memorized them, and then placed that silver coin on top of them for protection.
I had been watching for the better part of forty five minutes when I saw his tell.
He would slide the coin off of the cards when his hand was weak and he intended to fold. If he had a strong hand, that coin never moved.
He also had the habit of stacking his winning in one pile and his buy- in separated in another.
He was keeping track of his winning´s. I could see that Moss was having a very good night.
Like Moss, I do not believe in luck, but I believe in keen observation of my adversaries every move.
A seat opened for me. It put Moss two seats to my right which was not perfect position, but at least gave me a buffer when he attacked my blind wagers.
I knew he would do so at every opportunity. Just as I intended to do with the players on me left.
I was ready for Moss; I bought fifteen thousand Euros in chips and took my seat. For me the game and how I played it would depend on the fall of the first three cards...
I sat down to the most boring run of cards I had had since leaving the Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angles.
I do not enter a game unless my first two cards are above eight and a nine. And they must be of the same suit or at least able to make a straight.
If the first three cards that fall are not completely compatible and do not give me several different options I will check, and then fold if an opponent bets into me.
Should all players check, I will take a free draw then reassess my odds?
Winning at Poker requires the patience of a cat waiting for a mouse. Losing at Poker requires the temperament of an angry, frustrated bull trying to gore his adversary, while charging into the concealed sword.
Poker is a game of logic and mathematics. Not one of pure luck and arrogant bluster.
While I sat waiting for the cycle of cards to change I watched every player at the table, learning as much as possible about them.
The dealer shuffled and cut the deck discarded the top card and deftly sent each player their two cards. I watched as Moss looked at his hold cards, called, and raised one thousand Euros, then placed that tell tale silver dollar in their center.
I looked at my cards, first a seven and then a two. This combination was fondly referred to as a “Montana Banana” by Lucky Bob as they had the same chance of winning as banana´s did growing in Montana.
Folding my hand I watched as the other players entered into the pot and the dealer turned the first three cards face up on the green felt table. (Called the board)
There are times that I believe the Devil himself stacks the deck in hopes of tempting me to play badly.
The three cards on the table are two, jack, two then followed by a seven on the turn and then an ace, which would have given me a full house and the winning hand. After the final bets were made and all the cards were exposed Moss took the pot with a pair of aces and jacks.
At this point in the game I was down four thousand in chips. I took a break away from the table, went to the bar and drank a double espresso loaded with four spoons of brown sugar.
Bob always said,
“One of the biggest mistakes a poker player can make is not to add chips to their stack and continue to play, for when the winning hand comes; they cannot come out with guns blazing, because they are out of bullets to fight with.”
At the cashier´s cage i bought twenty thousand more Euro´s in chips, and returned to my seat.
Moss looked at my two new racks of chips, grinned in satisfaction and then he whispered. ”Running a bit short are you Joe?”
I shrugged, shook my head and sat back in my chair, saying as I did. “It looks to be profitable for me Ronnie, but I can see you are doing well.”
The dealer sent the cards flying to each player. I took a quick look at them; A jack with the trey, known in poker slang as a” gay waiter”, into the discards they went as I forfeited another one thousand Euro blind bet.
Many players when they are not involved in the wagering turn to the TV or fiddle with their stack of chips to determine if they are winning or losing.
Not me, I watch and listened to everything.
I had noticed that the Frenchman three seats to my left would frequently check a good hand and raise the pot when the betting returned to him. I also could hear his voice raise an octave.
Then I picked up two cards, the Ace and five of spade´s in the” button” position which is the last betting position.
The Frenchman raised the pot one thousand Euro´s driving out the next two players. The player next to Moss called without hesitation and Moss, who had placed that coin directly in the center of his cards glanced at the Frenchman, picked a large stack of his chips, thought another minute then raised the pot two thousand more, folding the man directly to my right.
At this point it was impossible for me to guess what cards the Frenchman, the other player, or Moss was holding.
My cards were good, with potential, but until I saw the first three cards of the flop l was investing in a “blind pig”.
I looked at the Frenchman´s stack of chips and estimated he had about five thousand left in front of him. I did not think he would re-raise Moss pre-flop.
I called, and put the three thousand in the pot. The Frenchman hesitated then called. The next player swore and threw his hand away. The dealer burned the top card, and then turned over the flop. As I said earlier I never look at the flop, I look at my opponents reaction. Moss´s eyes narrowed as he studied the ace of hearts and the two and four of spades now lying in front of the dealer. These three cards were better than I had expected. They gave me a pair of aces, along with the flush draw and a gut shot at a straight. The Frenchman bet, putting half of his remaining chips into the pot.
To my surprise Moss called without raising.
I now had a clue as to what cards Moss had under that two headed silver dollar and I was sure one of them was not an ace. I called the Frenchman‘s bet.
Sometimes in the game of poker the cards come as if by mental telepathy.
AS the dealer turned the King of spade´s, I watched Moss sit up in his chair, looked at his chips, then at my stack.
I knew at that moment his hole cards were a pair of kings. I also knew if the last card did not pair the board, and the odds against that happening were greatly in my favor, Ronnie Moss was about to be hooked by Joda Fish with an ace high spade flush.
The Frenchman pushed all his remaining chips into the pot.
I still had no idea what he had, but whatever it was, the only thing that could take the pot from me was if the board paired.
Moss took his time then raised the pot to fifteen thousand.
For the first time in three hours of playing I spoke to Moss.”Is there a Mac Donald´s nearby, Ronnie?
He looked at me, shook his head as if he heard wrong, then answered. “There is one just down the street a block.” I said, “That is good to know Ronnie as I think I am about to go broke.”
I was not sure that Moss would call my raise as I pushed my whole stack into the middle of the table.
When big game fishing and a marlin rises to the bait, many times it will grab the bait and run with it. Then it will drop it and swim away.
I have found that a couple of twitches on the line are enough to entice it to swallow the hook.
I tipped part of my stack in feigned nervousness on the table. It is an old trick that Lucky Bob taught me years ago. Moss called without hesitation. The dealer turned the seven of hearts as the last card then Moss turned over the pair of Kings. I showed him the spade flush, and the dealer pushed the mountain of chips to me. As I stacked the chips into racks Moss laughed loudly. “Joe, I was sure you were bluffing, that was the slickest move I have ever seen. I am hungry, let´s go and find that Mac Donald´s. You are buying”.
While Moss and I waited for the cashier to count and change my chips into cash he said, “How long will you be staying in Paris, Joe?”
“Ronnie, I think I will leave tomorrow, take the train to Monte Carlo and see what it is like.”
“Joe, my friend, do you know that they don’t play poker there? Only Black Jack, Roulette Slots, and Baccarat, but no Texas Hold Em. Been there once, lost my shirt at the Baccarat table.
I have played poker in London, Berlin, Madrid, Amsterdam Antwerp, and Brussels but I have not yet played in Vienna.”The conversation was interrupted when the cashier said. “Monsieur, do you want all this in cash?
I had more than enough cash in my boot.
I answered him, “No, here is the routing number for my bank. Please send the money there.”
As Ronnie was in the men´s room I decided to go downstairs and retrieve my rain coat. There was a new girl with blond hair, nice breasts and another beautiful smile behind the counter, I gave her my claim stub, picked up my coat, said “merci” then gave her three hundred Euros as a tip and went outside to wait for Moss.
I have always been a generous tipper. Not because I want to be liked or remembered but simply because I learned to understand that money was easily coming my way, while for so many others it is difficult to come by.
I was once with Lucky Bob as he gave one waitress a two thousand dollar tip for a four dollar late night eggs sandwich and a cup of coffee. She was not pretty, although I am sure that once she had been. Her hair was turning grey and her skin had lost the glow of youth. When she saw the money, she protested that it was too much and could not take it. Bob took her hand and placed the money firmly in it, saying as he did so, “I have just won more than forty thousand dollars in five hours tonight. If I cannot afford to share some of my luck with you, what kind of a person would I be? Now you take it, but don’t you put a single dime into one of those crooked damned slot machines.”
Later that night as I was standing on the balcony of my penthouse, looking at the street below, I saw that very same woman. She was sitting on the curb below me. I watched as she took off her shoes and massaged her feet. Then she took her tips out of her purse and began counting them. I understood my friend Lucky Bob.

Moss still had not arrived, so I stepped outside to get some fresh air and see what the weather was like. It had stopped raining and a pleasant breeze had dried the pavement. It was a beautiful September night. I put the raincoat over my arm and looked up at the night sky. The moon was partially hiding behind a widow´s veil of silver clouds.
I was wondering what the weather was like in Vegas when Moss appeared. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Let’s go find that hamburger my friend.” Then we started walking down the boulevard. Moss still had his hand on my shoulder as he said, “So tell me where you are from Joe. And how did you end up in Paris?” I did not mind the questions, but the hand on my shoulder did not feel right. As a matter of fact it made me uncomfortable.
I stopped in mid stride and the hand fell away.”I am from Las Vegas, Ronnie, and I came here to play poker.” I could tell that my answer came as a bit of surprise. “Oh, then you are not a tourist?” “No I am not Ronnie, I make my living playing poker and it takes me time to make up my mind who is, and who is not a friend.”
We continued our walk in silence while I wondered what wine would go well with two beef patties, special sauce, pickles, and lettuce on a sesame seed bun. “Ronnie, tell me about you. How did you end up in Paris, and I was wondering how it is that you have been to so many places to play poker, do you have a private jet?” He laughed then said, “No private Jet, but I travel free to anywhere Continental Airlines parks their planes. After Viet Nam, I went to work as a copilot for UPS Air Transport. I stayed with them for eight years until I was promoted to Captain. That is when Continental came to me and asked me to join with them flying commercial 747´s to Europe. I would still be flying with them, but a year ago I had a small piece cholesterol lodge in the vein that feeds blood to the optic nerve in my right eye. It left me permanently blind in that eye and that ended my flying days...Still I have many privileges, and with my Captains uniform on I don’t have to wait to board any flight I choose. I don’t miss the flying but I sure miss the hot stewardesses and the wild sex .My next destination is Vienna, if you want go with me I can fix it so you can fly for free.”
“That’s an interesting thought Ronnie, let me mull it over tonight and tomorrow I will give you an answer.
I have one other question. How much does a 747 cost? “Two hundred and ninety million dollars last I knew, my friend."
We arrived at the entrance of McDonalds or Mcdo as the French call it. There were no golden arches rising above the Champs Elyseés in competition with the Arch de Triumph, only the logo on each side of the sidewalk dining area and the name in stone relief on the two story renovated building. The lower floor and the street were packed with young people even at this late hour.
I stood there taking in the whole chaotic spectacle and muttered, “Capitalism has won over culture again.” “What did you say?” Asked Moss
“Nothing Ronnie, I was just thinking out loud, let´s find a place to sit, somewhere upstairs if it is possible. My stomach is rubbing against my backbone and my bladder needs relief.”
On the second floor the crowd was less, Moss picked a table near the windows overlooking the boulevard with a view of the Eiffel tower in the distance. It was not a seat that I would have chosen, but the view was nice.
Sitting next to us were four hormonally exuberant young braless girls wearing provocative short skirts and colorful tee shirts, laughing and flirting with two men at the adjacent table. Once we were seated, I excused myself and went to the restroom to relieve my bladder and freshen up. As I stood studying my reflection the mirror I saw that the stress of the years at poker table´s had aged me. I thought, “How long are you going to keep playing, how much money you need to live comfortably?” I answered out loud,” I don’t know?” then left to Join Moss.
Moss did not see me as I made my way back to the table; he was talking with one of the giggling girls, and showing her his two faced coin. The moment he saw me he stopped, put the coin back in his pocket and returned to our table, grinned, then began obscenely pushing his tongue in and out of his mouth as he sat down.
Disbelieving what I was seeing I asked, “What in the hell are you doing Moss?
“Calm down Joe,, I am just playing a little game with that hot one in the red skirt, just a little game to see if she is prime game” Then stuck out his tongue and licked his lips.
The girl who I thought to be no more than fourteen suddenly got up from her table of friends came over to Moss, her eyes blazing with anger and said.
“Monsieur, you are a fat! Disgusting pig!” then reached out to slap him.
With the reflexes of a cat Moss caught her wrist and twisted until she cried with pain, smiled, then let her go. I had seen all I needed to know that Moss and I were very soon to part from each ones company. As I sat down I said. “Sorry Ronnie, I don’t know what I have come down with, but I feel nauseous. I cannot handle a Big Mac right now. I think I need to take a cab back to the hotel.” Picking up my raincoat, I said, “It is time for me to call it a night.”
Ronnie looked disappointed then said, “Think about Vienna wont you?”
Once outside I stopped, and inhaled until my lungs were full, closed my eyes and told myself to relax; after repeating the routine three more times I felt better.
Dodging the traffic I crossed the boulevard with the intention of walking down to the Seine and Eiffel tower, hoping to find some food more to my liking.
I had not gone a hundred meters when the most delicious aroma of baking bread found me. Ahead of me there was a brightly lit kiosk with pizza’s, meat pies and baguettes for sale .The man in attendance was dark skinned, his hair and beard black, dressed in colorful wool Jebba and a white round felt hat that looked a bit like my Beret. I assumed that he was one of the many Middle East refugees now living in France. When I asked him for a slice of pizza that looked as if it were fresh out the propane fired oven behind him, he spoke to me in perfect English, “Are you from
England Sir?” “No, I come from America.” He clapped his hands, “America! How wonderful, I have many members of my family in your country and one day I hope to be there also. I am from Gafsa Tunisia, but came to France years before the revolt now called The Arab Spring; It started there you know. Please sir, take a seat,” He said indicating a small square plastic table next to his kiosk.
I placed my raincoat over the chair then sat down as he asked me if I was familiar with Tunisia. I shook my head and said I knew little about his homeland. ”In that case may I recommend to you one of my country’s favorite foods.” Then without hesitating he brought me a pita bread filled with tomato, lettuce and ping pong sized balls fried to a golden brown topped off with a creamy sauce and a glass of cold Sauterne wine, “This is Falafel, please eat sir, it is very inexpensive.
I am honored to serve to you for free.” I thanked him, took his offering and said,” I shall consider this an appetizer, would you also bring me a slice of pizza with ham, onion and artichokes and another glass of this wine?” By the time he returned with the pizza, I had already finished the appetizer. Pleased to see that I enjoyed his gift, he smiled and asked if I would like another. My mouth was full of pizza so I shook my head, swallowed, then asked him to bring me one of his meat filled pastries, and another glass of wine.
Feeling much better I asked for the bill. He made a slight bow and said that there was no bill, but he would be happy if I gave him ten Euros. As I paid him with three five Euro notes the Eiffel tower suddenly turned into a giant Christmas tree. Seeing the surprise look on my face he laughed, “It lights up every hour, I think the French are a bit crazy but it is their country.”

Here is a new abstract painting also
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"What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life by him who interests his heart in everything"-Lawrence Sterne
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