Gin, Dear

by Ken Kapp

It was 4 o’clock. An evening breeze blew in from the ocean two miles away. The jitney left Marley and Kevin off beside the clubhouse and they walked directly to the deck. Marley carried a beach bag. Inside, a small insulated bag muffled the sound of the ice cubes in a large-mouthed thermos. Kevin clutched the official-looking pouch under his arms that contained two decks of playing cards and a thumb-worn scorebook. Mondays and Thursdays the old couple played gin rummy for an hour before going into the clubhouse for dinner when dinners were 10% off.

Marley removed the insulated bag and two plastic glasses from the beach bag. Kevin placed the cards and the 6 x 9 notebook opposite the glasses. He reached for the thermos as he sat down. “It’s your turn to deal, dear; it’s Thursday.”

“I know, Kevin; I’m not dumb. We watch my favorite rerun…Wednesday at 8.”

Kevin terminated the smile forming in the corners of his mouth as he poured chilled gin in the glasses. He was aware that Marley had struggled to recall that it was “All in the Family.” Marley’s becoming more like Edith every day.

She shuffled and he cut the deck, placing it back in front of his wife of 47 years. They both took healthy swallows from their tumblers.

“Not so hot this evening, I think.” Kevin held his drink up, marveling at how little was left.

“No, the breeze helps. Be fall soon and all the snowbirds will be coming down. Do you think they’ll continue the Specials into November?”

“Nah, it’s the almighty dollar. You going to take that discard or should I draw?”

“Draw, I don’t want it. I dealt myself dreck again.”

“Dreck? I should be so lucky. I may have to start taking Metamucil again. And I’ve been drinking lots of water. Maybe we don’t get enough vegetables. Fred tells me he and Ethel have a salad every night.”

Kevin put down a meld.

“Four sevens? Where did that come from so early in the game? I watched you cut, Kevin.”

“You shuffled. Your turn to draw.”

Marley put down the empty tumbler and shook the thermos. “I think we need a bigger thermos.”

Kevin picked up the 10 of spades she had just discarded. It fit nicely between the 9 and Jack he held. He inverted the Jack of Diamonds on the discards, spreading the run next to his first meld. “Gin, Dear!”