The end of a long day and John opened the door to his shared house with no expectations. It was dark everywhere, and he flipped the lightswitch, thinking he must be the first one home. Nothing happened.

“John? Is that you?” It was Ivy calling from the kitchen.

“Yeah, it’s me. What’s with the lights?”

“No power. Come and have a drink!”

John threw his bag down on top of the pile of shoes at the bottom of the stairs, shed his coat and threw that on top of the bag and went down the hall. In the kitchen a single candle burned in a wine bottle on the table, where Mark and Ivy were sitting. Lenton was propped up against the fridge, wine glass in hand.

“Johnny!” Mark threw an arm up in the air, and scattered half the playing cards he was holding. “Welcome home.”

“He’s pissed,” Ivy said, handing John the glass of red she’d just poured. “He’s been on his own all afternoon.”

“Power went out around four, came back from the offy around five. You play poker yes?”

“Yes.” John sat down, took a long drink.

“Then come and relieve me of my money!” Mark banged the table and started to shuffle the cards.

“It feels wrong, taking on such an easy mark.” Under the table John kicked off his shoes.

Lenton snorted. “It won’t when you’re winning.”

Ivy grinned. “Too right. That fifty quid is feeling mighty fine in my pocket.”

“All right then. You have a new player. Lenton, you’re in as well?”

The tall man folded himself into the last chair and tapped the table. “Deal me in suckers.”

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