Thursday, October 6, 2011

Show Don’t Tell

First published at Long Story Short (2008)

Molly can’t see his eyes. They’re hidden by the dark glasses he wears every time they meet here.

She stares, stoic, yet defiant, mirroring his demeanor, and waits. Despite the practiced exterior, her stomach feels like it’s at high tide. She refuses to show outward signs of fear, though. That’s what he expects.

She assumes the robotics have taken over his bodily reactions. They’re illegal, but everyone uses them to cheat, including her. She’s not concerned. The technology hasn’t been perfected. He’ll slip up. Everyone does. Molly taps two fingers on her forearm, sending him a message of her own.

She tilts her head down, the bill of the brown cap obscuring her eyes momentarily. Molly smiles, aware he’s eying her every move. She knows he hopes to see something when their eyes meet again, a sign. He won’t. Even without the mechanical assistance, she’s good at what she does and determined to show the men she belongs. Molly raises her head, the smile gone. She observes him licking his lower lip and tapping the table in reply.

There. She hesitates to see if he repeats himself. A twitch causes a wave to flutter across his cheek. That’s new. Is he trying to confuse her? Was the first message sent to throw her off? She takes her time, watches some more, and then decides her next move.

“All In,” Molly says and pushes her remaining two million in chips toward the center of the table.

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