Bluff City 22: Hard Luck Pt. 3

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Episode description[edit | edit source]

[One sheet of letter size paper, black, white text, secured to a telephone pole in a column. Bluff City.]

For each of the cliffs tumbling toward the water there are those that are steeper. For each stretch of marshland beyond the city there is a span that is wider. On some winter evenings, as the sun sets, the ocean becomes as a slate and, still, there is a place where it is smoother and greyer and meets the sky like a fingernail against skin. There is a place where the temperature of your shadow is cooler.


Contents[edit | edit source]

Plot[edit | edit source]

A 70s song “about a bad person” begins playing as the person seen at the end of the previous episode enters the casino floor.

The scene cuts to Nash yelling to Carly to take the next exit - they are in the van with the chips (plus the title to his houses and car, the money that was in the safe, and bonds) , and the van is on fire as they race along the highway heading towards the mainland. A black towncar sedan slams into the back of them. It is revealed that the person is chasing them is working on behalf of their father.

Carly asks if he’s going to give the chips to their mother, and Nash dodges the question, calming himself down with the knowledge that Cinnamon Crisco is a sure thing. Carly is visibly uncomfortable.

Behind them, the car behind them honk, approaching rapidly. Carly says they should pull over, and they agree that they have “a choice on what parent to disappoint right now”, depending on who they decide to give the money to.

Carly pulls over suddenly, causing the car behind them to slam into them. Carly waves, saying that they are coming out, and she and Nash get out slowly. Nash chucks the dufflebag with the chips out first, some of which spill onto the ground.

Nash offers the man anything they have in the van, including the van and his personal bonds and stocks. It dawns on Carly that the man was trying to kill them, on orders from their father. The hitman says what he does “depends on what’s in the other bag”. Nash, unwilling to hand over the rest of casino chips, offers him everything he has if the hitman will let them go.

The hitman demands their pagers and as Carly offers it to him their van explodes, singeing Carly’s hair and one of Nash’s eyebrows. Nash charges the gunman, taking him out but getting shot in the stomach in the process. He tells Carly to get the chips and grabs the hitman’s gun. She drags him and the casino chips away through the cornfield, back towards the city. The hitman follows them, Carly’s pager in his gloved hand.

Meanwhile, Herc watches as people begin to arrive at the casino, putting the final touches on the casino despite the late hour. He takes the elevator towards the penthouse, watching as Bluff City is laid out below him, the flare of the fire briefly catching his attention before he reaches the top floor (“Huh. Someone’s having a bad night”).

Meanwhile, at a small dock in the marshes, Jackie and Judy discuss where they should keep the horse. Jackie says they should take the horse to the track, as it is the place people are least likely to look for it, and Judy argues that they need to get it as far away from town as possible. Jackie doesn’t want to keep the horse on the boat, as he still claims the horse is seasick and that it is much too visible standing on the small dingy. Judy argues that they don’t have any other options apart from keeping it in the truck they drove it to the marshland in, and doesn’t want to keep the horse in there for so long.

Carly and Nash stumble through the bullrushes towards them, startling Jackie and Judy. Judy tells Jackie to go help Nash. Nash stumbles through introductions, and Carly says that they need to get Nash to a hospital. Jackie says they should take him to a vet instead of a hospital, since that way the police won’t have to be involved, but Nash says he doesn’t care.

Judy says that Nash can’t call out of work. Carly says he should go to a hospital, and Jackie agrees, saying that he should delegate his work. Jackie works at keeping Nash awake while Carly pulls Judy aside, telling her all about Nash and Herc’s plans and attempting to unwind Nash’s bet with Herc. As Judy insists that it doesn’t have anything to do with her, a gunshot rings out, signalling the arrival of the hitman. Carly and Judy rush into the van and the group speeds away, with the horse.

In the van, Nash and Jackie lean against the horse to stop it from sliding around the back of the van as they take sharp corners, driving erratically in an attempt to evade the hitman. Nash asks about the horse, and Jackie says he’s watching it for a friend who is out of town. Judy says it’s her horse. Carly sits very still.

Carly asks if the horse is fast, and Jackie says it’s not as it is sick. Judy says they could do a meet and greet with the horse at the casino, and Nash agrees that it’s a good idea. Carly says that they were going to bet on a horse, and Jackie loudly insists that this horse isn’t the one that’s a sure thing. Carly attempts to get Nash to change his bet but Nash is sure that the horse he has bet on will win.

As Jackie asks why they’re being chased by a hitman, the hitman rams into the van, sending it tumbling down an embankment and into the cranberry bog. The maneuver causes the hitman’s car to crash as well. The horse, perfectly calm, eats some of the cranberries as the others struggle out of the slowly sinking van.

Nash says he will stay in the van, and that she should go. Carly says that their situation is her fault, telling Nash that she arranged the whole thing with Herc, and that Cinnamon Crisco was going to lose in order to get his money. Nash takes the news surprisingly calmly. 

Jackie yells down that the hitman has died in the crash, but that his car is undrivable. With that news, Nash decides to get out of the van. Judy and Carly help him out of the van to see a crowd of onlookers have gathered. Sirens sound in the distance, signaling the arrival of the police, or an ambulance.

The scene cuts to the hospital. A nurse wheels in a television for Nash to watch the 4pm horse race. Jackie is sitting beside him, also watching.

The scene changes again to a crowd at the racetrack. Carly is in her coup with the bag of casino chips, driving to see Herc before the race starts. She finds him in the stands, sitting down next to him and demands an end to the bet. Herc says that there is no getting out of the bet (“This is a business! This is my job!”).

Carly offers him a deal - her shares in her father’s business in exchange for getting out of the bet. Herc says he wants to look over the shares, and Carly gives him the envelope of shares. Herc cannot read any of the documents as they are in Blough City script, although he can see that they look legitimate, as he recognises the script from his dealings with people from Blough City. Herc agrees to their deal, and Carly walks away without saying anything. A person leans over to Herc and says that there is a call for him.

After the race Herc returns to the casino, which is now bustling with people. The high rollers have arrived for their early opening fancy dinner. Herc walks though, talking in passing to the waiters as he heads towards Judy. Herc takes out an envelope and passes Judy her half of their profits.

They chat, and Judy tells him that she’s not sure about continuing with their partnership. Herc convinces her to stay on, telling her that she doesn’t have to be that involved with all the races and that Carly isn’t a friend of their’s any more. Judy offers him some of the food (bread shaped like bird’s nest), and invites him to the staff-only grand opening party that will be happening later. She also asks him to bring some carrots to Cinnamon Crisco, which she is keeping downstairs and plans to use for a meet and greet (“how many horses do you steal doing your line of work?” “I’m not sure I’ve ever touched a horse!”).

Herc is surprised that she has the horse, and Judy tells him that she and Jackie swapped the horses around as a way of fixing the race, and now she plans to make money on using the horse as a meet-and-greet. Although Herc is worried about what happens if the horse’s owner discovers it, he is excited by the prospect of visiting a horse. He is also reassured by the fact that the reason Jackie knew the race was a sure thing was due to his own scam, and not a third party that Herc needs to be concerned with.

Later that night, the horse is having it’s meet-and-greet at a blackjack table (“Drink With A Horse”). The horse is seeming a little healthier, and is relatively chilled out about the small crowd that has gathered around it. Judy is monitoring the horse and someone comes up and offers to pay extra to have a private drink with the horse. Judy says that she could organise such a thing but a lot of people are waiting for a chance to sit with it. The man is angered by her implication, as well as assuming that the horse is being given drinks.

The man asks if the horse was at the track and Judy says it was, but that it didn’t race. The man then asks for the horse’s name and Judy says it is “Junior Mint”. The man calls that name to the horse a few times with no response, and then calls the horse by it’s real name ‘Cinnamon Crisco’. The horse immediately responds.

The man takes out a horse treat and puts it on the table and Cinnamon Crisco immediately eats the treat. Judy tries to smooth out the situation, but he insists that he is taking the horse. He demands to know who took the horse, and Judy agrees to go with the man and tell him what he wants to know.

Jackie is already in the casino, running a scam on people by “collecting” the chips that people have lost. He takes his stolen chips in a garbage bag, stopping as he sees Judy with the man, heading up towards the penthouse with the horse.

Jackie heads to the hospital to see Nash, shaking him awake and asking him if he can borrow his boat. Nash says “[his] boat only goes one place”, and that it’s not a good idea for Jackie to take it. Regardless, Nash tells him where he can find the boat and to tell the guy there that Nashton said to “take [Jackie] home”. Although Jackie is hesitant to go to the place Nash said was not good, he feels like he doesn’t have any other choice but to get away. Nash tells him to take one of the umbrellas at the front desk with him, as there’s a big storm happening out of town (“Weather update. Lucky”). On his way out, Jackie also takes the lamp from Nash’s room, another smaller umbrella, a hat, and a camera from the lost and found. He also “borrows” a dollar from the nurse at the front desk.

The police enter the hospital, putting Nash under arrest for stealing the casino chips. Five years later, his mother visits him in prison, speaking to him in a severe and disappointed tone. He nods a lot as she speaks, agreeing to whatever she says. Nash begins working at the Nebraska Bar, not as a manager but as a bartender and occasional waiter, a little greyer but a little happier. Carly returns her (now slightly bloodstained) coup to the dealership, saying that it didn’t suit her. Carly uses

the money from selling the coup to pay her landlord rent. She steps into the back of a black lincoln. Carly begins working out of town, on the 45th floor of an office building. She sits in her office, next to her full in-tray.

Herc gets home to find that his house is on fire. He pauses, then continues driving. Later, Herc approaches the casino and the racecourse but is turned away no matter what he tries. Herc gets beat up by people looking for the shares in the Nebraska’s father’s company. Herc approaches a suburban house, and the door opens to reveal Vinny, Herc’s brother. Herc gives him the shares. Vinny comes to see Herc, who’s looking a little worse for wear, and the two embrace. Vinny hands Herc an envelope of money to take care of his expenses. Herc looks out his window of his small house, looking in the distance to the fancy houses of the Shore, where Vinny lives.

During the next race, Judy watches Jackie’s replacement. As the gunshot starts the race, Judy begins to cry. She begins working at a different casino, only to be fired after telling people to make bad bets on horse races. Judy, now working at a concierge desk in a hotel, chats with another hotel employee. The other employee says that she has a real way with people, and that she should think about doing something to make money on the side. Judy’s face falls. The other employee holds a man and a woman at gunpoint as Judy sits, head in hands, on her couch. The woman grabs the bag and grabs Judy and escapes. Years later, Judy sits in a bar alone. A man leans on the bar next to her, asking the bartender if they know how he can make some money in Bluff City. Judy grabs his glass and throws it against the wall, slowly turning to the man and screaming “Get out! Get  out! Get out of Bluff City!” over and over again.

Jackie takes the boat to Blough City, although he doesn’t know that this is his destination, or that there is a massive leak in the boat. The shoreline of Blough City approaches but it is now obvious to Jackie that the boat is not going to make it to land. A motorboat approaches from Bluff, scooping up the bag of Jackie’s belongings before turning around and driving back to Bluff City, leaving Jackie to swim for the Blough City shore. Jackie begins work as a dealer at what passes for a casino in Blough City, watched carefully by a serious manager. After a long while of trying to get various scams going and it not working, Jackie unsuccessfully tries to find his way back to Bluff City.

Cast[edit | edit source]