The Gambler (Flash Fiction #10)

Arjian is a local hairdresser, but his true passion is poker. He’s very skilled in women’s hair and very good at following the latest trend of South Korean singers and actresses. Consequently he’s always in high demand. There are women who would travel all the way from Eastern Pennsylvania to come to Edison, New Jersey–about 100 miles–to see Arjian. He is so good and so popular. Other hairdressers just can’t compete with him.

He’s been a hairdresser for twenty years and anybody else, as sought after as he is, would have had an established life by now with a modest house or a modest hair salon. However, Arjian is not a man who can manage his life very well. At first, he started a salon with his wife, who helped him with all the appointments and other business side of things. However he couldn’t stand working with his wife. Not that he doesn’t love his wife. He loves his wife, but he couldn’t stay with her 24 hours a day 7 days a week. That’s just too much for him to bear. So he and his wife ended up working separately in two different salons, and financially it’s not the best arrangement.

After that, he got himself into a partnership with another hairdresser. They jointly owned a salon, but before long arguments about finances and work responsibilities arose. It became so bad that they had to split. Somehow Arjian was the one who had to move out and the moving is more costly than he originally thought.

And finally Arjian is quite fond of poker, which grew from an occasional visit to casinos to a systematic participation in competitive poker games. He often starts with the game of $500 entry fee and works his way up to the second round and then the third round. Several times he even reached the fourth round, where the professional gamblers would come in, each with $20,000 entry fee.

“Look, you’ve got blotches on your skin and you are losing a lot of your hair recently. It must be the stress from the gambling.” His wife says to him sternly in the morning.

“Oh, come on. I am not stressed. Poker keeps me alive.” Arjian says.

“You call it alive and I call it stress. You can’t go on like this.” His wife insists. Arjian often wonders why Asian women have the stereotypical reputation of being submissive and agreeable. In his life, he’s never met one Asian woman like that. If anything, he’s always been the peacemaker in his relationship with his wife.

“OK. I hear you.” He says.

“So you are not going this time, are you?” His wife stares at him.

He doesn’t say anything. When his wife turns around, he swiftly moves towards the door. He steps out and gets into his car. As the engine starts, his wife emerges.

He rolls down the window and feels that she wants to pierce him with her stare.

“OK, this is the last time. I promise. The last time.” He smiles awkwardly. Then he looks at himself in the visor mirror–the blotches his wife talks about–and sighs. “I am getting old. Don’t be mean to me. Be nice.”

His wife throws up her arms and makes a helpless gesture.

The car drives away instantly. Arjian wonders to himself how many “last time” he can pull off before reaching the limit of his wife’s tolerance.

38 thoughts on “The Gambler (Flash Fiction #10)

  1. Haha I so understand what Arjian is dealing with in regards to being a business partner with his wife — mixing work with pleasure can be a nightmare cocktail. Sometimes you need the space and the room to just focus, keep things professional and manage operations the way a business is supposed to be run without too many personal things getting into the way.

    On the other hand and ironically, the one thing the wife surely would do is probably keep him from wasting his money on alcohol and “gambling”, because wives and alot of women in general regardless of nationality or race, tend to not play games when it comes to finances 🀣🀣. This in of itself might sound like a stereotype but it is very true lol

    Liked by 2 people

        1. I love Asian shows more πŸ˜…
          I don’t watch American πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
          And about the link below I will sure get help from it πŸ˜ƒ

          Thank you 😊

          Liked by 1 person

  2. As long as he lives, he is going to do that ‘one last time’ and his wife if going to stare at him and throw the tantrums everytime he goes out. That’s how it works in Asian families, isn’t it?

    Liked by 7 people

      1. Yes, we Asian women club should support each other in our fight against prejudice and stereotype. We often feel alone in our fight, often feel dispirited by people taunting and suppressing us, often fight without a good strategy. However we grow and we learn. We get better. It is a good cause and it is a worthy progress.


    1. You are soooooo right. Such stereotype is beyond comprehension. I don’t even know how it started. We are the toughest and bitterest homo sapiens on planet earth. Let’s debunk the myth together and sharpen our writing skills along the way.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve never understood that ridiculous submissive Asian women stereotype either- the only people who believe it are those that have never met any Asian women.

    Gambling additions are so sad- gambling gives you a high but it’s really not worth it. I was just talking to my mum about her friend and their family. They got addicted to gambling and have recently lost all their money and still refuse to stop gambling.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. You are absolutely right. Asian women are tough, reserved, and bitter as hell. LOL. I mean the “bitterness” is the most conspicuous and most prominent trait. I was shocked that there exists such a stereotype of submissiveness. So ridiculous. We could only laugh. πŸ˜‚πŸ€£.
      Tell me about it. There are several people that I know (not friends, but I know them) who gamble away their restaurant, stores, their family. People tell me that one waiter in a popular restaurant used to be the owner of that very restaurant, but he gambled it away.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Haha stereotypes are always very far from the truth πŸ˜‚

        Yeah I have heard a lot of stories of people ruining their life because of gambling and losing everything they own. I heard of a lady who gambled away all of her and her families money and the husband was so shocked when he found out he had a heart attack and died. It’s quite sad to see people destroy their lives because of addiction.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes, that’s so true. I know people who save every penny in their life, but they can gamble all their money away in casinos. I am speechless. I wonder if there’s a psychological explanation for gambling. LOL.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yeah I’ve learnt about it in psychology when I was learning about addictions and it’s similar to all other addictions in that people are always chasing that high you get when you win which is quite rare but worth it for them.


        3. Sorry to interrupt your convo, yeah gambling is so addictive just because the return (pleasure) is unpredictable. Read about Skinner experiment on rats and pigeons, it can give more insights ! Well this post is nicely written, typical Asian life !

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Thank you. Yes, gambling is quite prevalent. Some more serious. I can imagine if I’ve ever won anything in Atlantic City, I would probably be addicted too, but fortunately I’ve never won anything at all. LOL.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like he has an addiction. But when he gets to those high stakes levels, does he win? If he played his cards right he could retire early. (I thought I’d use an idiomatic expression that seems to fit really well. To play your cards right means you take advantage of those little breaks you get in life sometimes.)

    Liked by 7 people

    1. That’s a wonderful pun. Let’s pray that he plays his cards right but he just can’t. I don’t know how people can do it at the high stake level. I mean I would have had a heart attack to lose that much money in just one shot. LOL. He never wins. He ends up throwing away 500 dollars each time.

      Liked by 3 people

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