For this one, I asked my other half to give me a key word beginning with C, and she chose “crime”. So that was the title of this story up until the very last minute.

I basically started writing this one and came up with the idea of them exposing a cheat by using exactly the same methods, losing and then explaining why they’d lost. I’m not too sure that that came over entirely, or that the poker scenes worked particularly well (especially as I’ve never really played the game), but the idea was to focus on the interactions between the players. The rest of it was basically winging it by remembering The Sting.

I was quite happy with the method by which the cheat was supposed to be working the trick. After thinking of it, I did a quick web search to see whether it was possible, and found that, in fact, someone was found guilty of running much the same trick back in 2014. So that made me happy.

That also, fortunately, gave me a reason not to have CCTV in the room, which as the owner of the club, he wouldn’t have if he was using that room to cheat people. Why did he do it? Probably because he could and because he felt that it made him superior to everyone else by being able to cheat them and they can’t even tell. Of course, Rex and Johnny did, but then if they hadn’t there wouldn’t be a story.

Was that really Rex’s house? Probably not. I’m thinking he picked it up in a real estate agent’s office that morning. He’d be silly to leave his own address there, and it’s just believable enough that he’d get away with it for long enough. I originally planned a scene at the end that explained this, and got as far as writing half of it in the first draft, but felt that it all came as rather an anti-climax after the “we just followed you” line, so I decided that it should end there.

I also toned down a few of the ideas that I had. I had originally considered that Rex would nearly clean out Emerson and then suggest a big stakes hand where the prize for Rex was that he got to talk for five minutes straight without interruption from anyone. Naturally, he would win, and then Emerson would be threatened while he talked, and Rex would open with the fact that he had cheated and that he was going to give all the money back. I felt this was a little bit over the top and melodramatic. The fact that everyone would get their money back – at least from the night – would be moot if Emerson had won, and would simply be added to the pile of ill-gotten gains from the last few years.

Finally, I picked de Luca as a somewhat generic name for a mob boss. Probably inspired by a recent watch of the “Double Identity” episode of Quantum Leap, which locked itself into my head as soon as I decided on the idea of them using the mob boss for their revenge and wouldn’t let go.

Well, that’s all for this week. Any questions in the comments, I’ll answer them as soon as I can.

The post “Behind The Scenes: Cards” first appeared on and is Copyright © Simon Collis 2017. All rights reserved.

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