Jack was a magician, a sleight of hand guy, cards mostly. He caught a break and got a gig, table-hopping in a club. He was good and so were the tips.


Jack met a girl named Lola and fell for her, hard. Her father owned the place. Jack was putty in her palm, her scarlet smile made him flush.


Lola wanted nice things, furs, fans, shoes and the rest. More than even good tips could afford. So Jack turned his skills to the con game, scamming jewellery from lonely heiresses.


Now he’s doing 15 years. Lola has moved on, of course. But Jack knows time will pass and after all, he is the only one who knows where the loot is buried.


I drew the Jack of Clubs: a young person, work. From there, the idea of a young guy called Jack just snowballed and I wondered if I could take him through the suits, and what kind of a story that would tell. I laced the story with card-related and magic-related words, mostly for my own amusement.

Mathew Gostelow (he/him) is a writer in Birmingham, UK. His strange tales have been published by Lucent Dreaming, Janus Literary, The Ghastling, Ellipsis, Stanchion, Roi Fainéant, and others. He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2022, and longlisted for the Welkin Prize in 2023. @MatGost