Sam was a little odd, but his friends chalked that up to a strange childhood with a lot of moving around which was also the only thing they knew about his childhood. You see, Sam was very tight lipped over his family, his nonexistent home and his whole life before Standford. And his friends were curious as fuck, so they hatched a plan: get Sam drunk.
This was of course a great plan in theory, but the execution was harder than expected, because as it turned out Sam was great at holding his liquor. They were already five shots and a few beers in him and the only indicator that he had drank was the small blush on his face. Julian tripped over his words as he asked: “How do you do that man?”
Sam chuckled and said: “Dude, weird ass bars that serve to underage kids were basically my second home next to motels.”
Immediately more ears listen to the conversation, Sam had given them more information than before, maybe the alcohol was getting to him. Julian noticed too and asked further: “Really? How old were you when you had your first drink?”
Sam shrugged and said: “I think around fifteen, but my first time in a bar was when I was ten.”
That got some raised eyebrows and Toby got himself involved in the conversation. He asked: “What were you doing in a bar at age ten?”
Sam shrugged again, but didn’t react any further. That had been enough information for one night. He however continued to drink with his friends and after a couple more rounds his friend were completely shitfaced, save a the two designated drivers. One of which said: “Come on, guys, if we want to be able to afford the bill we need to stop. Lets go.”
“No, no, no, I’ll get us some more money.” that was Sam, now swaying a bit on his feet.
Julian said: “You can’t make money appear, Sam.”
Sam grinned and said: “Watch me.”
Then he walked, or stumbled, over to the dart board where a few scary looking dudes were darting. He put a twenty dollar bill down and slurred: “I feel lucky, who wants to play?”
His friends wanted to stop him, but he waved them away and focused on the guys who took one look at this baby-faced boy who was drunk of his ass and smirked at each other. “Yeah, I’ll play.” a guy said and also put down 20 dollar.
Two other guys followed. Sam smiled at started and, he was terrible. He was way behind and lost his money easily. His friend now really wanted to drag him away, but he shook his head and said: “This one just wasn’t my round, next one will. I feel it! 30 dollar!”
He fished the money out of his pants. The other players rolled their eyes at the boys naivety and put their own money in the pot. Sam lost again and his friend were getting really desperate, but Sam pushed them back again. He told everyone: “Ok, ok, maybe that wasn’t the best. I just need higher stakes, jep, that’s it. Higher stakes and it will be my round, I feel it in my bones.”
He smiled his goofy smile and got 50 dollars out of his pocket. He looked disappointed and quickly turned to his friends and asked: “Does anyone have 100 dollars?”
“No, Sam. Please quit. You need that money to pay for-”
Jessica was cut off by a totally drunk Brady who was so drunk he believed in Sam. He pushed 100 dollars in his hand without question. “Thanks, dude. I’ll pay you back.” Sam said.
He turned back to the group guys and asked: “What do you say? 150 dollar?”
The guys shook their head, but didn’t let the opportunity pass to make some more cash. The three dudes put down their money and a fourth said: “Hell, I’ll risk it.” and put his money down too.
Sam smiled and the game started. Everybody was confused as Sam suddenly became much better and was beating the guys. One grabbed him by the collar after a particularly good throw and suspiciously said: “Were you playing us, boy?”
Sam put on his best confused/scared face and innocently said: “What do you mean? I sobered up a bit, that’s all. I don’t know what’s going on either.”
The guy eyed him for a second, but let him go. A few more throws later and Sam was collecting his money, smiling all the way.
His group was still shocked as they payed their bill and left. When they were outside Julian asked: “When did you get good at that?”
“What? Darts?” Sam smiled, “Me and my brother used to play all the time when my dad left us at bars when he was working. After a while you get good and convince guys like that that they couldn’t possibly lose to two kids. Always nice to have a dollar extra.”
He continued smiling at the memory, but was taken out of it when Jessica and Julian both asked him a question: “You have a brother?” “Why weren’t you good from the beginning then?”
He decided to answer Julians question and ignore Jessicas. “Number one rule of hustling: You gotta lose some money to win a lot. You can’t raise the staked to a 150 when no one knows your skill, that way no one will bite. You gotta take it slow.”
Julian nodded and said: “Nice”, but Jessica was not amused and she asked: “Did your brother teach you that?”
Sam nodded and looked to the sky then he thoughtfully said: “Hope he isn’t dead yet.”
That got Jessica to frown concerned and she softly asked: “What makes you say that? Did he get into a lot of bar fights?”
Sam looked at her and whispered: “Yeah, you could say it’s something like that.”
After that he didn’t say anything anymore and the next morning he pretended that he didn’t remember a thing, but Jessica did and her interest was piqued. She would get to know this Sam better.