Unka’ Jim and Gin


Gin. Not the drink, the card game. When Unka’ Jim comes into town to visit, it is a deck of cards he carries with him that defines you as man or child, victor or ashamed loser…

This man grew up with the game, played it with his old man as a kid. Now he’s passing on the legacy to me. I’ve played since I was little too- and have even been known in recent years to beat him a few times.

Unka’ Jim doesn’t have a poker face. In fact, I would say he’s the opposite of “serious”. He’ll fan the 10 cards out in his hand, look up from them and smirk at you, even laugh at you- make you feel like a little boy about to be whipped. He’ll talk about his hand like it’s a business he has spent the last 10 years building into a colossal giant. He calls you names like “Sissy Boy”, “Little Girly Girl”, and “Homie the Clown”. And finally, he destroys any confidence you have with verbal mockery and humiliation- mixed with an odd twist of compassion and love.

Then he’ll beat you.

When he does, he sings “Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer.

Afterwards he’ll collect the cards, place them carefully back into the deck, take out a pen and sign the box. Then he’ll hand it to you with that smirk- “Maybe next time good buddy”.


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