"If everyone's ready we can start the session" said Dollface. His porcellain skin made a clear contrast with his coal black watery eyes. He blinked once, took a look at all the expectant faces surrounding the table.
"I have a question."
A voice came behind the rags. Pavy Patty was still hiding under dirty clothes and old newspaper though she was far from the dangers and cold of the streets.
"Is it possible if I join the session from here? I'm not really used to sitting on a table, you know. I don't think I can concentrate up there."
The Lady answered sharply, "Nonsense! How on earth do you think we can join hands when you're down there? Get your ass up here punk!"
Nobody knew the real name of the Lady. Nobody dared asking. With her 18th century clothes (moth eaten rags actually but anyway) and exuberant gestures she earned her name. She always held a wine glass in her gentle hands but no one ever seen her drinking a drop. Her eccentricity came by nature and that was the very reason she was one of the outcasts.
A deep, smoky and bored voice filled the room. "Let's start" said Conan the Bohemian. He had a king's voice, a gypsy's outfit and a bard's talent, which made him a dangerously charming man. "Come on Patty. And don't make me say it twice."
Reluctantly Pavy Patty found her way out of the dirt, moaning and silently cursing the weird crowd. Carrying bits and pieces of paper to the table for safety, she was still asking why she had to obey the rules.
"Join your hands already! Do I have to tell you everything?" snapped Conan. Actually he had to tell them everything because if he hadn't, he wouldn't like the situation. He liked to take the lead at all costs. Free will was out of the question even when it meant he would change the better to worse.
"Will we do it in Latin or plain English?" the Lady asked.
"What if I said in French?" responded Conan. "You couldn't have pronounced the words accordingly and God knows we would have whose spirit on the table. Since you are the only Latin speaker in the room and since I won't repeat after you, it will be in English as always. Now join hands and repeat after me: Hey there the unholy spirit of Alice of Clubs!"
"Wait wait wait! You are summoning a spirit! Shouldn't you be more polite and like... mysterious?"
"No Dollface! I'm a bohemian, see? I can speak anyway I want. It just makes me more bohemian. Now if you're all clear about the course, let's proceed. I don't want any more interruptions."
"Before we proceed," said The Lady, "I don't want to hold Patty's hand. She stains my glass."
"For God's sake Lady! You can't hold your glass during the summoning. How many times do I have to tell you?"
"But I can't concentrate without my glass!"
"And I can't concentrate on the table!"
Dollface made a cracking noise.
"Guys, my face won't hold for long and I'll need to apply my moisturizer porcellain polish soon. I don't want to leave the table but we've already lost pretty much time."
"O.K, O.K! Ready or not, Alice of Clubs, we summon you to be our croupier in this game of poker. If you don't have anything better to do tonight I mean. Though I think you're pretty bored up there in heaven or hell, whereever you are. So let's come here baby and make my day! Hallelujah!"
The poorly lit room filled with light and smoke all of a sudden. The Lady either screamed or giggled, nobody noticed. Pavy Patty hid her head under her rags in fear. Dollface pulled out an umbrella out of nowhere to protect his fragile face. Conan did nothing, he didn't even recognise the light since he was behind a heavy wall of cigar smoke.
A beautiful woman emerged from the smoke and light with her tight black dress and top hat. Her dress was so short that she seemed to be all legs and no torso at first glance.
"I truly, deeply hate you guys" she said with an angelic voice, "The moment I get used to being dead you summon me and it starts all over again. Do you know how hard it is to be dead? Boring as hell you would say but believe me, even hell is more boring than you would imagine."
"Alice! I missed you baby!" said Conan, helped her off the table gently and gave her a long, passionate kiss. The moment he realized he was kissing a dead woman he got sick all over the room. Alice slapped him several times but thinking of her boredom on the other side, she didn't leave.
The cards were spread, the bets were placed (which were mostly trinkets) and one hell of a game started.