Gambling Debt – Sunday Photo Fiction

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. A story, about paying an unusual gambling debt, begins after the photo.

Genre: Science Fiction/Humor

Photo by: Alastair Forbes

Gambling Debt

As the two men arrived at the edge of the abandoned dock, a fog rolled in, obscuring their activities. On the cracking cement stood a table with a chess set and only one chair. The game had begun and was already lost. For the moment, Grimes ignored the curious arrangement. He chuckled, “I knew there’s coppers on the take, but I never expected it’d be you, Cumberland.” His gold tooth shined faintly beneath his hood.

Detective Cumberland scowled and buttoned up his great coat. “Not that I approve of you lot, mind you.”

“I don’t give a fig,” said Grimes. “Still, I’m curious. Why the change of heart?”

Cumberland shrugged and lit a cigarette. “I have to pay off a gambling debt.”

“Aha! You have vices after all. After all these years of chasing me, I thought you were lilly white.” Grimes pointed at the chess set. “You play?”

“Not well enough, apparently.”

“Bugger me! You are full of surprises.”

Cumberland took a long drag. “That’s not the best one.” Grimes never got a chance to respond. A massive tentacle shot out of the water and wrapped around his head. In moments, the sound of collapsing bone was smothered by chilly fog. The tentacle dragged the limp body into the sea.

Calmly, Cumberland sat at the single chair and finished his cigarette. He stubbed it out and placed the chess pieces in their starting positions. As he worked, four giant tentacles emerged from the water. They moved in complex patterns.

Cumberland used sign language to answer. “You are getting better at this. Another game?”

The tentacles moved rapidly.

He signed again. “Same stakes as last time. If I win, I get a whole tuna. You win, you get more of the same.”

The tentacles whipped.

“Oh, I’m not worried about losing. There’s plenty more of them to be found!”
Each week, Alastair Forbes presents an original photo as a writing prompt. All are welcome to join this literary fest of fun! This week’s prompt may be found here:

About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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19 Responses to Gambling Debt – Sunday Photo Fiction

  1. Al says:

    I love that. If he wins he gets a whole Tuna 😀 Brilliant


  2. J. Raven says:

    Didn’t see that coming! Nice surprise!


  3. Danny James says:

    Well for the first six paragraphs I thought you might have changed your writing style. But nooooooo. Another good one.



    • EagleAye says:

      Haha! Catch you off guard? I’m just not comfortable if there isn’t an alien, robot, or monster in there somewhere. Thanks for stopping in and commenting, Danny. I appreciate it. 🙂


  4. I really liked that. Quite a different idea. Quite a Holmesian type of detective, I see.


    • EagleAye says:

      Yeah, the greatcoat would give him that look. A deerhunter’s cap would’ve been too much, though. He just needed that because the fog is cold at the docks, and his chess partner occasionally splashes the water too much. 😉


  5. Adam Ickes says:

    Not only does it get criminals off the streets, it does it without giving him extra paperwork. He’s losing on purpose isn’t he?


    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. Maybe. Just a little bit. He’s a competitive soul, and his wife can really work wonders with fresh tuna. He’ll be sure to win a few of these. Thanks for stopping, Adam! 🙂


  6. Well written and darkly humorous. I wonder if that monster is related to the one that pulled Johnny Depp down to Davy Jones’ locker.


    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. No, it’s not the Kraken. Instead, it’s a Colossal Squid (not to be confused with the Giant Squid). More info here:

      And just like it’s name, it has a Colossal appetite. Winning at Chess has worked out to be an effective hunting strategy for this particular one. Thanks for stopping in and commenting. I always enjoy your visits.


  7. Indira says:

    Ye. You are back after that soft piece. Monster is winning or Cumberland loosing purposely. Very witty.


  8. Shey says:

    hahaha, sign language by a creature with large tentacles. Too funny and engaging to imagine.


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