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Why?’ Savonarola wondered, trying to keeping his demeanor solemn as the flames licked at his face. The pain was excruciating as the flesh of his oddly shaped nose melted away. He managed one more look around the square before the smoke mixed with his tears and stung his eyes. The warping air finally forced him to close them. It was getting harder to concentrate on prayer as the smell of burning flesh overpowered his senses. With one last breath before he passed out, he felt what little liquid his body could produce quickly boil and evaporate through him.

Why? wondered David, feeling the flames, losing his precious fluids.

* * *



Two


Glancing down at his pair of sixes, Ed called the final opponent’s raise. The dealer placed the three community cards on the table: a five, a six, and an ace. Ed re-checked his cards, grimacing as if trying to hide a look of regret even though he knew a “three-of-a-kind” was a pretty good hand.

The large, older man sitting directly across from him bet two large stacks of chips. Eager to go “all in” Ed decided to stall. He rubbed his face like he was thinking hard about what to do. After an excruciatingly long minute he said, “Call” and added his chips to the pot. He had only slightly more chips than his opponent, but if the guy was holding a pair of aces, Ed knew it would be over quickly.

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