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Raynelle Bullfinch told the young oiler that the only sense of mystery in her life was provided by a deck of cards.
“Died and Gone to Vegas” is the first story I’ve read by Louisiana author Tim Gautreaux. It’s a short story made up of numerous shorter stories. A group of workers on an oil rig at the mouth of the Mississippi sit down at the end of the day to play cards. Of the group, Raynelle Bullfinch is the lone female but she holds her own with all of her male counterparts.
While it’s not planned, one of the players tells a story which reminds another player of a story and then another and on it goes. Each story is pleasant, fun, mildly crass with a character who is down on their luck. If I would pick a protagonist from the bunch, I would say it would be Raynelle. She seems to provide a frame to the story in that she begins the game and, then, ends it with her dream of heading to Las Vegas to play cards with more sophisticated men than her present company.
The individual tales all have a Twain-esque feel to them in that they are humorous and “tall”.
And its always interesting when the Deal Me In fates deal up a story about a card game.
This story is included in my collection The Best American Catholic Short Stories. I read it when I selected the Four of Clubs for my Deal Me In 2016 short story project. My Deal Me In 2016 list can be found here. Deal Me In is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.