It took Cian a long time to save up for it, and put him in debt for the next ten years, but he finally did it. He finally bought a brand new Jaguar XJ6--a car that was worth what he made in a year as a junior computer programmer for Megatelco in New York City. At least, being single, he had no other major expenses.
He arrived home from work Friday night to his flat overlooking the river Hudson, and began to nuke his dinner. Then, as he sat down to eat, his phone rang.
"Oh, hi Piaras!"
"Oh not much, just about to chow down, maybe head downtown later in my new Jag! How about you?"
"Yeah, you heard me right! I got it!"
"Yeah, sure, I'll stop by. Want me to pick up a flick on the way?"
"Sure, you pick up a thriller, and I'll stop at my local on the way and pick up some Guinness."
"Yeah, sure... Okay, see ya' later Piaras. Bye."
Cian often hung out with his best friend Piaras and Piaras' wife Eithne, both whom he knew from work. Sometimes they went out drinking together, but they weren't really barflies, so very often they just hung out at each other's place and watched rented movies, or played poker for small change.
Cian arrived at Piaras and Eithne's place and parked in their driveway. They had a little row house in one of those new planned developments. Eithne and Piaras came out of the house as he parked in their driveway and was getting out of his new white Jaguar.
"Oooh, it's beautiful," said Eithne!
"Sure, and I got it loaded too! Air... Five speed... Two hundred watt stereo... And power everything!"
"You're gonna get the babes now, old man," said Piaras poking Cian in the ribs with his elbow. Actually, Cian had never had any luck picking up women, and was still a virgin at 35. Cian wasn't bad looking, he was tall and slim, and women had actually come on to him on occasion back in college, but he was such a klutz that he always spoiled such opportunities. Eithne had even tried to set Cian up with some of her girlfriends a few times, but nothing ever came of it. Now that he was out of college and working, and surer of himself, he was secretly hoping that this car would restore some of those missed opportunities.
Once inside, Cian put the movie in the DVD player while Piaras brought out the beer, and Eithne brought out some fish and chips. The movie started and they all settled down to watch. It was one of those sexy slasher-thrillers where the woman usually ends up murdering the men she sleeps with. "Watch this, watch this," urged Piaras, "she ties him up and pokes his eyes out with the ice pick while she's screwing 'im!"
"Ewwwwwwww," added Eithne!
Cian added, "How do they do that to make it look so real?"
The snacks started to run out halfway through the movie. "How about more chips, guys?"
"Sounds good," answered Piaras.
"Sure, Eithne," added Cian.
The movie had gone along its way, and the temptress was about to strike down her next victim. Suddenly, "Oh gross," exclaimed Piaras, "how can he touch his mouth to her privates like that?"
"Hey, keep watching, lover. Maybe you'll learn something!" replied Eithne.
Cian just kept quiet.
After the movie, Cian asked, "well, you guys wanna' go for a ride in my car? Maybe head downtown?"
Eithne interrupted, "Slow down guys, why don't we just stay home, I don't feel like getting wasted tonight. And I'm sure Cian doesn't want to get high and wrap his brand new car around a phone pole!"
Cian added, "Sure Eithne, maybe its time for me to head home anyway."
"I didn't mean to say you have to go, it's still early. I'm just not in the mood to go out now, that's all," said Eithne.
"Hey, we have this old Candyland game," kidded Piaras.
"Yeah, right..." added Eithne!
"Okay, how about a game of poker?" asked Piaras.
"Fine with me," said Eithne.
"Sure, I'm game," added Cian.
"But let's up the stakes this once," urged Piaras.
"What kind of stakes?" asked Cian.
"Well, how about your Jaguar?"
"My Jaguar! No way, Piaras!"
"Aw, c'mon! You're not chicken are you? B'caw, b'caw, b'caw!"
"Hey! Do you know how long it took me to save up for a car like that? And you want me to bet it on a card game!"
"Hey En! Cian's chicken! Cian's chicken!"
"Okay, Piaras! If I bet my car, what do you want to bet? You should put up something really outrageous to make it worth betting my car!"
"What do you want me to bet against your car then," asked Piaras?
"Oh I don't know... How about your house?"
"Wait a second!" interrupted Eithne. "As nice as your car is, our house is worth a lot more. That's not an even bet!"
"She's right Cian, we can't bet our home," added Piaras.
"Well, if you want me to bet something that means a lot to me like my car, you should be willing to bet something that means a lot to you! What else do you have that's really excellent?"
"Nothing else, really," said Piaras.
"Yeah, we don't have much else," added Eithne.
"I don't know then," said Cian. "I can't bet my car if you don't have anything really neat to offer too."
"Well, do you have any ideas En?" asked her husband.
"I don't know," replied Eithne, "unless Cian can think of something that can match his car, except our townhouse."
"Any ideas Cian?" added Piaras.
Cian thought and pondered for a while, looking around the room for anything that Piaras and Eithne might be able to put up against his car. Then he noticed Eithne standing, watching him think. Eithne wasn't beautiful, but she was attractive--a tall handsome woman. Cian looked away and closed his eyes for a moment longer, then finally spoke up. "I know what you can bet against my car, Piaras! You can bet your wife!"
"What!" exclaimed Piaras and Eithne together.
"That's right! If I win, Eithne comes home with me and spends the night. No! The weekend with me, and I'll return her home Monday morning on my way to work."
"No way!" screeched Eithne.
"So now you're chicken? You wanted high stakes? There's high stakes!"
"Well," considered Piaras, "that's high stakes alright!" Piaras though for a moment and added, "How about it Eithne? We could win a Jaguar!"
"You're kidding, right?" asked Eithne.
"I'm serious if Cian is! Are you, Cian?"
"Yes, I'm serious! I'll bet my Jaguar against Eithne spending the weekend with me."
"C'mon En, be a sport!" urged Piaras.
"You guys are crazy! You know that!" added Eithne.
"Oh, c'mon En! We'll have a Jaguar if we win! But you'll only have to spend a little time with Cian if we lose, and I'm not going to lose!"
"Well," squeaked Eithne, "if Cian thinks spending time with me is worth his car, I guess I'll go along with the bet--but you better not lose, dear! "
Piaras got up and set up the card table before Eithne could entertain more doubts. "We'll make this quick, okay? Best two hands out of three. Winner takes all. Agree?"
Piaras shuffled the deck and dealt both of them five cards.
Picking up his hand, Cian held an Ace and Jack of hearts, a 4 and 5 of clubs, and a 6 of diamonds. Crap. He discarded the Jack.
Piaras dealt him a new card. He turned it over. It was a King of spades. Rot! At least he had an Ace high hand if Piaras didn't get any pairs.
Piaras then also discarded one card. That's a good sign. Piaras looked at his new card, then up at Cian in his show-nothing poker face. Cian wiped the sweat from his forehead and threw his Ace high hand on the table.
Piaras groaned and threw his hand down. Piaras showed a King, 10, 9 and 8 of diamonds, and a 6 of hearts.
"I won the first hand!" proclaimed Cian.
Piaras shuffled and dealt again.
Eyeing his hand, Cian held a Jack and 9 of hearts, a 9 and 7 of spades, and a Jack of clubs. "Not bad," he thought to himself. He kept his pair of Jacks and his pair of 9's, and discarded the 7.
Piaras discarded two cards.
Cian was dealt 6 of hearts, useless.
Piaras dealt himself two cards and looked up at Cian.
Grinning, Cian showed his hand with his two pairs.
Also grinning, Piaras slammed his hand down showing a pair of Queens and a pair of 3's. "Well, old man," announced Piaras! "The next hand decides."
Piaras shuffled and dealt once more.
Cian slowly picked up and unfolded his cards. He held a Queen of diamonds, a 10 and 6 of hearts, and a 9 and 5 of clubs. All garbage! Keeping his two highest cards, he discarded the 6, the 9, and the 5.
Piaras also discarded three cards.
Cian was dealt a 10 of diamonds, a 9 of spades, and a 2 of clubs, leaving him with a pair of 10's.
Cian waited until Piaras showed his hand revealing a pair of 8's amid other trash.
"I won!" shouted Cian, showing his pair of 10's!
Piaras sat still for a moment, then spoke up, "Well, congratulations, old man!"
"Thanks Piaras! But I'm glad that game's over! I never sweated so much in my life!"
"Say, where'd Eithne go?" asked Cian. "She was just standing here just a second ago."
"She probably thinks you're going to hold her to our bet!" laughed Piaras.
"But I am going to hold her to the bet! Be honest, wouldn't you have held me to it if you won?"
"Honestly," asked Piaras? "I guess I would have taken your car."
Eithne walked into the living room at this moment, carrying a small bag. She spoke coldly, "Yes Cian, Piaras definitely would have expected you to honor your bet." Then set down the bag.
"What are you doing with that bag, En?" asked Piaras.
"I'm going to need some clothes and things!"
.... There is more of this story ...