Wednesday, 19 January 2011


I was in a rectangular room, reminiscent of a public library. In the middle were lots of desks and tables and places to sit, although the whole place was busy and had less the atmosphere of a house-of-learning than a trading-floor. I met former chancellor Norman Lamont. Apparently I had invested £700 in some new scheme of his. However, I kept noticing him in conversation with shady characters over in the corner of the room, often taking a book out from the shelves at the same time.

I got involved in what can only be described as a form of poker-bingo. Everybody places their bets and each player is given a number of cards (I counted about 7 in the hand I was in). Then a special card is taken from a huge, separate deck and placed in the centre. This contains the community cards, so rather than actually using normal cards to create a flop, there are pre-created flops as if we were using bingo cards. My friend José (sitting to my left) had placed £3 down and had won the pot with a full house. I had only but down £1 but for some reason my KQJT9 straight was good enough to 'win the side-pot', which of course makes no sense in reality as if there would have been any side-pot it would have been between José and anyone else who staked more than a £1. I received my winnings in stacks of pennies (about 20 of them) and assorted silver. I was annoyed but amused. While the next hand was in progress I suddenly left and went across into another room.

This room was a bar, very similar to the Dirty Duck at the University of Warwick. I asked for a half-pint of coke, but he was having difficulty hearing me. I saw him pour half a pint of diet coke into a pint glass and then top it up with regular coke, as if he were preparing a bitter shandy only... with coke. He then asked for £3.60. Having left most of my coins on the gaming table I scrambled out my debit card. He said there was "-£1.15" on it, so I just whacked a tenner out of my pocket and paid with that. Of course, the fact that were was a negative amount was not actually a problem in real life: I have an interest-free overdraft facility.

I asked Oliver (a friend from school who happened to be there) whether he thought I had made a wise investment with Lord Lamont. Oliver said I should try to withdraw my investment immediately. I began to sense that I was here to play poker, and that I was at the Victoria casino in London. I then worried that I didn't have nearly enough money: I could only withdraw around £190 from my card. I began to curse myself for not having asked my employer for the two weeks of wages which were meant to come between me and this (scheduled) cardroom visit. A fight started to break out in the corridor. I am not sure what the fight was about, though it was concluded when a short, cartoonish fellow headbutted the protagonist. I heard a narrator saying that the short man was dimwitted but always a good laugh. A rating of '5' appeared above him in a golden star, as if he was a unit of that strength in some sort of card-based war game. The appearance of the short man seemed to be a mixture of Wilfred from The Bash Street Kids and that short guy from Sid the Sexist. The bully had had a rating of '11', and the short guy had used a special tactic (headbutting) to overcome this numerical disparity.

Then I woke up, around 20 minutes or so before my alarm.

No comments: