Bart threw another coin into the pot.
the man next to him said.
"OK gentlemen. Show
time!" the dealer declared. He put down his hand, "Three
The fourth man, face
down, simply threw his cards on the table face down.
"Deuces over threes,"
Bart grinned as he raked the pot towards the large pile of cash
already in front of him.
Ruffles and lace pushed
into him as Molly put her hand on his shoulder. To the other men,
the Riverboat Girl seemed attracted to this young man. Or maybe
she was more attracted to the pile of coins and green in front of
Bart pulled a coin from
the table and handed it to her. He took the cigar out of his mouth
and said, "Why don't you get us something to drink." As
she started to move away he added, "Lady Luck."
She did seem to have
that effect on him. Of course he was winning. The way she subtly
tapped her fingers on his shoulder told him who was holding what.
Her confederates, no less appealing than herself, were siding up
to the other men at the table. The way they flashed their fans or
tugged on their gloves signaled their sister-in-swindling.
Molly met him several
evenings before and noticed his natural talent. That's when she
suggested her plan to him. He would play the cards, the girls would
provide the signals, and in the end, all would share in the profits.
There was another advantage
for Bart. With her flaming red hair, Molly was a beauty according
to the standards of her times, and hardly abashed in the bedroom.
With his evening winnings, he could easily afford her price. This
arrangement was fully covered in the agreement. Bart was to split
the gross profits. The other girls were insistent on that point.
So although Molly earned a little extra from his share of the profits,
none of the other girls' investments were at risk. Even with this
additional expense there was more than enough money to go around
to all concerned.
This was their last night
before docking in New Orleans in the morning. Bart pushed back his
chair and announced, "Well, gentlemen. It's been a good night,
and now I bid you good night!"
One of the other men
grumbled, "A good night for you, that is."
Another said, "I've
taken about as much punishment as I can stand for one evening. I'm
turning in too."
With that, the game broke
Back in his stateroom,
Molly took out a black book from her garter and recorded the evening's
winnings. "Wow, this is the best night ever. Let's see, a couple
of nights ago, you cleaned out that Yankee business man from Boston,
tonight you took that plantation owner for quite a bundle. Cotton
may be king, but not when you're holding four of them. Come on;
let's have another drink to celebrate. Then I'm going to show you
a time you'll never forget!"
The drink went down quickly,
and so did Molly. Molly did save her climax performance for the
last evening. Bart was sweating and exhausted by the time they were
done. He collapsed into a dreamless street. He heard the steamboat
whistle. The alarm clock used by the captain to announce their arrival
in the Crescent City. When he awoke, Molly was gone. So was his
Getting dressed, and
getting packed, he searched to boat for her; all in vain. She and
her friends it seemed had simply vanished. He did not know that
they departed on the boat sent out to deposit the pilot to navigate
the large ship through the ever-shifting channels. Passage on which
was booked, no doubt, with part of the profits of his labor.
thought, "at least she didn't get it all. He reached into the
pocket in his boot. It wasn't much money, but it was enough to get
along on for a couple more days and a stake for building more. Indeed
he knew exactly where to go to start rebuilding his wealth. He didn't
make money as fast as he did on the boat, but there were enough
rubes in every town who thought they knew how to play cards to keep
him well-fed and well accompanied in the evening.
It was in one of these
establishments that he got friendly with Sarah, the owner. Of course
he had taken in the show, and was intrigued with one of the showgirls.
He slipped Sarah a tidy sum, and asked if the dancer, second from
the left was available for the evening. Sarah, responded that for
that amount of money, she would be. "Good," he replied,
"send her to my room after closing."
Bart sat in a chair in
his room situated in such a manner so he would be behind the opening
door. He listened to the drunken stumblings of some of the other
occupants. Then he heard it. He recognized the click of the boot
heels on the hallway floor. The click of a femininely paced foot.
There was a soft knock
at the door. "Come in," he answered. She came into the
room looking around. He pushed the door shut. She turned and smiled
at him. Suddenly comprehending, her smile vanished.
"I don't have your
money," she said apologetically.
"I don't want my
"What do you want?"
He pulled her over his
lap, pulled up her dress, and pulled down her panties: all in one
smooth movement. Surprisingly, she didn't resist.
She was sobbing before
the first spank landed. "I'm sorry. They made me do it."
She never did say who "they" were.
Bart didn't seem to pay
attention and simply paddled away, "You can't con a con man."
"Oh, but I did,"
she thought. A spanking was a delightful price to pay to have so
much fun playing this game.