Young Americans

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Ryders On The Storm

"And that, gentlemen, is a stwrraight." Ah, who missed Ryder? He's got a pen in his mouth, but the room is all smoky, so we're supposed to think he's smoking a cigar and playing cards in his dorm room, but really the pen is in his mouth so I don't mock his mushy accent anymore. Everyone throws their cards in and does the all-important moaning. Ryder pulls the money from the center of the table and then says, "Read 'em and weep, boys," even though someone has already pulled the cards from the table. Will walks up to the doorway, where three other boys are standing and watching. The Woody Harrelson-looking guy points at Will for some reason. "My little Krudski," Ryder says with a smile. "Cah-uh join us?" Will says through the dark and smoke that taking Ryder's money "would be too easy." Ryder laughs and says, "Oh, right. Of course. You've got that thing. That 'I'm so poor. Please take pity on me!' thing." Okay, I like Ryder and his giant mole and his bleached Caesar hair. I don't care. I like him. Why isn't he naked? Where is the nakedness, people? Everyone gives Will the "burn!" moan until Ryder says, "I'm joking. Come on." Will squints his eyes. Ryder lifts a bill and says he'll ante for him. "On second thought, I'd love to take your money," he says. Ryder tells one of his cronies to move over, and Will moves through the dark and sits on the opposite side of the table.

As Ryder chews incredibly loudly on his pen, I start trying to remember if Will is wearing the exact same shirt as Matt Damon in Rounders, but decide it's one of Matt Damon's shirts from Good Will Hunting. And Ryder's accent sometimes sounds Russian, so...close enough for me. Somehow the bet isn't really going all the way around the table, and once Will puts in his cash Ryder immediately sees the bet. If this happened at our weekly poker game, my friend Chuy would have smacked that pen out of Ryder's mouth with a Coors Light can. "Krudski takes three," Ryder says as he leans in and deals out Will's cards. Poker Face starts grinning like crazy as he looks at his cards. Everyone else is just out of this game with their cards folded. I don't know. Will puts his cards down, even though they should have made another bet, and shows that he's got a straight to the jack. Ryder nods, throws his cards down and declares, "Lucky hand." As Will takes his money and does an "I rule" grin at Ryder, someone pats Will on the back. Ryder sighs.

Montage of Rounders memories. Will shuffles. He looks at Ryder. Shuffling. Close up on Ryder. Will's flush beats Ryder's pair of Jacks. Will laughs and takes more money. Pile of money. Ryder gets frustrated. Will has the Manson lamps on Ryder. Aren't there other people in this game? Card dealing. Ryder chews his pen and sizes Will up. Will looks at his cards. Overhead shot of the game as Ryder says, "Check." Will puts in two fifties. Ryder counts out one hundred dollars. Then he raises it one hundred. Will gives an eyebrow and a lip dip. He chuckles, and then puts a stack of bills on the table. He doesn't say how much it is, but it causes some terribly extreme close-ups of Will and Ryder looking at each other. Ryder puts a wad of folded cash on the top of the pile. Somebody whistles. Will calls. Everyone looks around for a second. Ryder says, "You do realize, if I win you owe me five hundred dollars." Will doesn't look at the pile of cash he has by his arm, and instead reaches down to the ground and picks up his laptop. He puts it in the pile. Everyone laughs. "That abacus?" Ryder smiles. I like him. Why wasn't he this cool in the last episode? Will says it's worth at least five hundred dollars. He then smiles and puts down his cards (which he isn't supposed to do, since he called). He's got "four cowboys" and the ace of diamonds. Ryder whistles. The sides of his grin go beyond the frame of the extreme close-up. "You're good, Krudski," he says. Will nods and squints. "But not that good," we all say in unison. Ryder puts down his cards. He's got a straight flush, nine to the king, diamonds. But some of the cards are covered up, and you really can't tell if he has the hand or not. Will looks crestfallen anyway, as the cronies laugh and Ryder starts picking up his winnings. "Don't cry, Sunshine," he says. "Get me five hoondred books, you can 'ave your compoo-ah back." Will gives another eye-squint for good measure. Ryder raises him a laugh.

"Five hundred dollars?" Scout's job is to kick people while they are down. "And you put up your laptop?" He sits in the chair beside Will. "Bold move," Verve says. Terri is playing with something in her hand. "It was a stupid move," Will says. Scout says he should have asked for it back. Nice. That'll get you on everyone's good side in the gambling room. "Yeah, Scout's right," Terri says. "You shouldn't have to pay. Ryder's a total jerk-off." "Jerk-off or not, I have to pay it." Scout asks how he's going to pay. "You're not exactly raking in the dough at the diner." He really is an asshole. How about you lend him the money, rich roomie? Verve says that he's hungry. Terri agrees. Verve tells him that if he needs to borrow any money "there are plenty of people here with a lot more money than me." They laugh. He says that if Will needs anything, he'd be happy to help him out. Terri says she'll do the same. Scout stays suspiciously quiet throughout this entire "being a friend" exchange. Will thanks them and says he can handle it. Terri and Verve leave. Will says he'll work extra shifts at the diner. "I guess I won't be taking Caroline Bus out to dinner." Here's a quick tip. If you're still referring to her by using her first and last name? She's not really your girlfriend anyway. Scout offers to "loan" him the money. "And you can pay me back instead of Ryder." Not really the kindness Verve and Terri offered. Will says he doesn't want to bring anybody else into this. Scout stares. Will says he made the bet and he's going to handle it. Scout reminds him that he's there if he needs him. As Scout gets up and leaves he turns around as this bad dubbing asks, "Oh, by the way. Jake and Hamilton are..." Will nods and says, "Oh, yeah. Definitely." Cue the Steel Drums of Non-Gay Love.

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Young Americans




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