Attempting to edit that prohibition era Jack Tale in time for the WisCon writers’ workshop hmm we’ll see. Anyway, I’m probably cutting the scene where everyone starts talking like my roommates, so I thought I’d throw it online. It makes me smile.
As a favor to his only sister, he pulled Jack aside. “Want to put you a nickel down on Tom going home alone at the end of the night?”
Jack scrunched her nose up at him. “Awful unkind betting against your baby brother, ain’t it?”
He shrugged without a lick of remorse, and give her a little smile. “Safest bet.”
Jack snorted and was fishing in her pocket when Tom come up on her other side. He announced: “I’m gonna get Polly Presnell to kiss me.”
Jack froze. “You’re crazy,” she says. It was almost dazzling, how crazy he was.
“You’re gonna help me,” Tom added.
She raised her eyebrows. “Am not.”
“You’re good at this!” He gripped her shoulders like that would make a difference, his eyes sparkling with how brilliant he thought he was. “You’re a girl, go make friends with her.”
“No, listen,” he insisted. “Get her to come over here and play cards with us.”
Will leaned over to stare at him. “Oh, Tom,” he says, his voice full of Christian pity.
“Shut it Will, no one asked you.”
Jack rubbed at her eyes.
“You know how this goes!” Tom barreled on. “We have fun at cards, and then someone—not me—says why not let’s play Suck and Blow.”
“Tom,” she says, “that is the worst game.”
“No, Jack, it’s the best game. You know why?”
Jack just crossed her arms.
“I’ll tell you. It’s ‘cause we pass the card round the circle, with our mouths, right? And I’m sitting next to her, right, and when she tries to pass me the card I drop it and then,” he finished in triumph, “we are accidentally kissing!”
Will and Jack was silent for a moment, feeling sort of hollow.
“You know that plan ain’t never worked for you, Tom,” Jack says after a spell.
He squared his jaw up. “If you love me you’ll do this for me.”
“If you want a nickel you’ll do this for me?”
Jack squared her jaw right back. “No!”
Tom’s voice was getting closer to squeaky every word he said. “A quarter. Come on, Jack.” His hair was mussed, and his lip quivered in a way he couldn’t’ve faked. It was this stupid game or he had to go on thinking on Jenna Lee.
Jack guessed she was worse than the both of her brothers put together: a greedy drunk and a friendly drunk.
“Pay me up front,” she says with a big sigh. Will groaned like she had just failed him personal.