Monday, January 23, 2017

How to Cheat at Cards--The Right Way

    The Zombie Elf (my eight-year-old boy) and Doctor Jones (my six-year-old girl) spend absolutely all of their free time together.  
    Not much has changed from when they were babies. You can read about that HERE:
    But lately they've been playing cards.  The Zombie is honorable and abides by the rules, but he always loses, because when he isn't looking, Dr. Jones switches up the cards and stacks the deck.  That's why I was so nervous when I heard that her 1st grade class would be having a card day with students and parents.  I just knew everyone would find out my baby is a hustler!
    I visited her classroom last Thursday. All of the kids there looked like angels, they'd be easy for her to hustle!
    I sat in front of her desk and she began dealing the cards like a vetran straight from Vegas. A couple of parents looked at her and blinked hard.  "Wow," a woman who resembled Cindy Lou Who said, "isn't she good!"
    "I've been practicing," Dr. Jones said.  Wasn't that the truth!  And we were just about to start playing, when Dr. Jones glanced over and saw a kid sitting forelornly at his desk.  "Hang on, Mama," she said. Then she walked over to his desk.  "Jeff, your mom didn't come again?" 
    He nodded. 
    "That's it, you're playing with us!"  She pulled another chair over to her desk and made him sit down. 
    I prayed then, "Please don't let her cheat, God. This boy is already having a tough enough day as it is!
    Dr. Jones dealt the cards with disturbing accuracy, and we played.  The point was to get as many tens and pairs of tens as you could--in an effort to teach the kids addition.  We played and played, and Jeff was really falling behind.
    "Don't worry," I said. "This just might be your lucky day."
    "It's not my lucky day. I'm not the one who's mom showed up...."
    Dr. Jones frowned with resolve. "Time to up the stakes," she said, because she freakin' remembers AND COPIES everything I say. 
    She let Jeff deal the cards this time.  "Your turn, Mama!"
    I played. Then it was the doc's turn, but when she saw her cards, her eyes went big.
    "It's your turn," Jeff said.
    "Sorry, I'm planning my next move.  Give me a sec."
    We waited and waited.  Dr. Jones kinda kept on eye on Jeff the whole time.  I wondered what in the heck would happen, until Jeff set his cards face down on the table, and turned to look boredly around room.
   As he faced the other direction, Dr, Jones, flipped three of her cards over so I could see them--three 10s, she'd win for sure--then she slid them into his cards on the table, trading him.
    "Your turn," she said.
    He turned back around lazily, and yawned. "What's the point.  I never win at anything."  Then he looked at his cards.  The kid was golden, glowing with pure joy.  He even got some attitude, dancing as he placed all the 10s faceup on the table. "You're right! My luck is changing."
    He won that game and two more after.  And just before I left, he gave Dr, Jones, a birthday invitation. 
    "We weren't friend before," he said. "But I figure we should be friends now."
    That night at the house, Dr. Jones was so happy.  "I did a nice thing. I didn't want to get anything out of it, but instead, I got a new friend."
    I hugged her so tight. "YOU are a sweetheart,"I said.
    "I told you," she said, "cheating isn't ALWAYS bad."
    I rested my face in my hand and shook my head. 

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