The Cheatress

She asks for me to join her in the game she wants to play.
Although I told some Bulldog fan, for whom I cared not much
That I would play another game with him, he's not around.
And Bulldogs get in trouble now and then, for they do cheat;
So wouldn't I be better off to play a game with her?
I'm thrilled by this new prospect of some joy and fun delight.

The game is played, at least this time, in small teams of three.
It's a card game played upon a board; the board is on the floor.
I sit upon the carpet floor, and it comes to pass
I have the pleasure of the spot seated by Invitress' side.
However, we are adversaries in the game because
All teammates alternate their seats with rivals on each arm.

A Prophet of an unknown message sits to my left side.
(If you know Latin, you should know that left is sinister.)
The Prophet speaks outrightly as he speaks his mind out loud:
"The rules encourage you to cheat in this game that we play."
I took it as a joke, as did the fellows on my team;
They're gentlemen of honour who do stand for upright truth.

Across from me is seated a good-natured woman there
Who hears the Prophet's comment and is startled by the words;
She thinks she must've heard amiss, for such things are not said
Within the realm of any civil conversation heard.
And on my right is the Invitress, keenly list'ning in,
I watch her start to smile, or is it more a smirk?

I knew she wasn't gullible to heed the Prophet's words.
But in her mind is cunning brewing thoughts unknown to me.
I don't know yet, but she has started strategising ploys
For many subtle yet profound cheating moves to make.
The sole suspicion I do have is on the Prophet weird,
But I thought that he lacked the skill and gall to carry through.

The first round starts. I play my card but forget about the rule
That states that I may draw another card to take its place.
According to the rules, I have forgone my chance for good.
And I accept my state as fine for my forgetfulness.
But then Invitress whispers in my ear a hint to take,
"Just sneak and pick up two cards when you draw your next one, see."

I'm not quite sure how I should take her comment made to me.
I choose to just ignore the quip, regarding it as jest.
I s'ppose I am dismayed that she would lower her esteem
To act along the lines of Prophet's crass attempt at jokes.
But whatever slight dismay there is is overwhelmed so much
Just by the fact a cute brunette has whispered in my ear.

The game continues its first round. My team ends in defeat.
The Prophet and Invitress' team has beat us this time, ugh.
Embarrassment and shame are felt to lose unto those folks,
But we decide to play again, to let us try once more.
The second round begins, we play, and my team wins this time.
The fun persists, so we play on, and things begin to change.

The team I'm on plays very well, a five-card sequence quick.
But in retaliation, it's now Invitress makes her move.
She plays a queen, yet makes a move as though she played an ace.
She plays a king, yet keeps him in her hands to use again.
She casually slides markers on the board to "better spots".
She goes whene'er she wants to, skipping my team, caring not.

To catch her at her cheating is a new game of its own.
I must admit it adds fun to the game as we played on.
I must arrest her sly hands as they bump the markers 'round
Or as she plays a card out of her turn, pretending not.
She never does apologise. She never does deny.
She just continues playing; she's a cheatress, short and sweet.

I could go on and tell you how the Prophet egged her on,
Congratulating ev'ry cheating move she made or tried.
The table talk was blatant: they talked about their hands,
And told the others what they planned to play on their next go.
They argued when their secret winks and knocks were misconstrued.
Their cheating was so overboard, it made me start to laugh.

Aware of all their cheating, my team easily prevails.
We've whoopt 'em four to two when we decide that we should stop.
I wonder, if we'd looked out for their cheating perfidy
Way back in the game's first round, would we win that one too?
I think about the cheatress, whether I should give her thanks
Because of her dimension that she brought unto the game?

A new game now — it's dominoes; this time we sit in chairs.
She sits beside me once again, with a face of slight despair.
She says "you cannot cheat in dominoes; that's how it is."
But she has vitiated me, and now I find myself
A-whispering to her, "Why sure, you can!" whilst knocking down
My domino. "It's back inside the boneyard now, you see."

© Curtis Smith 2003