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Feeling flush

Last night saw Astragal readying himself for his weekly poker night with old pals. Cigars? Check. Whiskey? Check. Snuff for Mr Bear? Check. Pernod and Black for Mr Tiger? Check. But what’s this!? Mr Bear has brought some new-fangled deck of cards – Stars of the Architectural World – whatever next?!! Cards are dealt, the chase is afoot. Ten in on the flop, Mr Bear raises ten, Tiger picks up, raises ten, Astragal picks up. Fold. Tiger has Norman Foster, Alvar Aalto and Zaha Hadid. The pesky Bear cleans up with Jacques Derrida, M. De Clerk and Tadao Ando. Next round. Cards are out, what does Astragal have here? Oho! An Ace, one Charles Jencks and a Reima Pietila – a straight flush. Astragal goes all in – he can smell the money! What will it be? A stake in a racehorse? A day at the dogs? Round again, Mr Tiger raises – the fool! How can Astragal be beat? Hmm. Mr Bear is smirking, a bad sign. What ursine trickery has he up his sleeve? Bear lays down his cards with a flourish of his grimy paws – a royal flush. It cannot be! The vile Mr Bear has trumped Astragal with a Prince bloody Charles. He is ruined! Never again. Mr Bear gets his coat, Mr Tiger is slumped over the table asleep. Pleasantries are exchanged through gritted teeth. Bloody cards. Astragal readies himself for his weekly trip to the pawn shop…

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