Jake and Skad were drunk, but not so drunk they'd let Arnie get away without paying up. The cards in his hand were garbage, just like they had been all night.
He hadn't even wanted to play to begin with, but Jake had noticed that queer pack of cards sitting on the edge of the bar, the ones with the laughing crows on the backs, and the three of them had found themselves playing hand after hand like there was no end to the night. There was an end to Arnie's money all right, and he had come to that end real quick.
The two of them were having a high old time, yucking it up every time Arnie had to push his chips their way. The sound of their barking laughter, like a couple of hyenas in heat drove him to want to break a chair on their heads. He rubbed the sweat off of his forehead, looked down and saw a card on the floor, just laying there, bird side up.
He thought just then that he'd really like to have the last laugh –– a real big laugh just like the bird. As his hand went for his gun, he thought hey, maybe that's what the bird on the back of the cards had been telling him all along... maybe the bird was saying, "Arnie, sometimes you gotta laugh it up big and let the bullets fly!"