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Dave's Place Chapter 8 - Victor

I could tell Susan was tiring of the serious conversation and I wasn't the only one. Andy caught my eye, ordered another Guiness, and said, "Tell her about Victor."

I got a big grin on my face and said, "That is the best idea I've heard all evening." Susan smiled anticipating the story. I pulled Andy his beer and began.

"Victor is a big, big Puerto Rican guy with more charisma than you've ever seen. He walks around with a perpetual smile on his face and has the most jovial laugh you've ever heard. It's a good thing, because he has the worst case of foot-in-mouth disease I've ever seen. I apologize in advance but this is going to wander a bit which is appropriate since Victor's mind runs in anything but a straight line.

"He's one of our poker buddies and one of the first things we learned about him was his superstition. He had to knock on the top of the deck any time it was near him before the deal. It happened so often, we started calling it 'The Victor.' When he's not at one of the games we take turns doing it just because it makes us laugh. We have a few of those rituals, but they all started because of his knocking on the deck. It would have been incredibly annoying if it weren't for Victor starting it.

"He joined us when Stephen brought him one evening. Victor and Stephen's wife were best friends in high school many moons ago and have stayed close. I don't think they are that close, but Stephen will always take the opportunity to bring a bad poker player to our game."

Andy chimed in and said, "If it weren't for Victor's money, I'm pretty sure I'd be way behind."

"You and me both," I said and continued. "I guess a few months went by when either Andy would be there, or Victor would be there, but they didn't see each other for a long time. That was when Andy was going through his divorce. All the rest of us knew about it, but I guess Stephen hadn't told Andy.

"One evening, months later, Victor and Andy were both there and Victor engaged in some small talk, 'How's the wife and kids?' Andy was still hurting, and didn't reply. I nudged Victor and gave him a sign to stop. He missed it completely. 'I love the stories you tell about them, do you have any new ones?'"

Andy picked up the story saying, "I managed to tell Victor I was divorced now, and I hadn't seen the kids in a couple months. He didn't believe me. He thought I was pulling his leg." Andy choked up and couldn't continue.

I went on, "I don't remember how long it went on. It took Andy finally leaving the room, and the rest of us convincing Victor."

Susan said, "That's awful. And you like this guy?!?"

Andy and I both shrugged, and I said, "He means well. He's not doing it to be mean. In fact, he only sees the best in people. He couldn't fathom something bad happening I guess. And we have to tell that story to tell this one." Susan leaned on the bar with interest.

"Years later, Andy, Kay, Stephen and one of the Johns is there. Quick aside, we have seven different Johns at the game. It gets confusing, of course. But anyway, almost the exact same situation happens. Victor asks about John's wife, and she had attended several of our games prior. But she and John had split and once again, Victor doesn't believe us.

"Now, keep in mind, Kay and I are married. Stephen is married to Victor's best friend of 25 years. and Victor says to John, 'Wow! You two are the LAST two people I thought would get divorced!'

"Kay, Stephen, and I looked at him incredulously. He didn't pick up on it and just asked for the card so he could 'Victor.'"

I sighed, and both Andy and I said well rehersed, "That's Victor."

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