Last month I went out on a limb and published a (poker-themed) piece of fiction in Two Plus Two Magazine. I wrote it primarily as a standalone story, though it admittedly concluded in an open-ended way.
I was pleasantly surprised by how many encouraging comments I received and how many people expressed interest in hearing more from Walter Tine. So, I wrote a sequel, and this time I did deliberately write it to be part of a series, though I hope it will also read reasonably well as a standalone.
Here’s my favorite bit:
He knew that not every night could be like this, but he only needed one more. One or two. It wasn’t just the money, though that was great. It was the feeling that he’d done it, that he’d finally cracked the puzzle that had vexed him for weeks.
There was a time when Physics made him feel this way, when he’d thrilled at finally completing a particularly difficult problem set. Indeed, as a student he’d chased this high for years, the praise of parents and teachers as he struggled and eventually overcame the challenges they’d painstakingly planned for him.
But that was running someone else’s obstacle course. They’d built it, they’d decided where it would lead, and most frustratingly, they’d designed it for him to succeed. Each hurdle they placed in front him had been carefully selected to teach him something, to mold him into something.
Poker was different. The puzzles, he could see, were infinite, each opponent a new set of gears, pulleys, and springs whose internal workings he’d need to deduce. And these problems weren’t tractable, there was no solving them, because they fought back, morphing into something more difficult each time a solution came into sight.