James Wiley Ryan
James Wiley Ryan
12/19/51 - 3/15/14
A very close friend of mine, James Ryan, AKA FLATLINERJAMES, passed away. He’d been my spades partner for years. Debbie Segura and I first met him over 15 years ago in a gaming site called World Play. Naturally, his death has caused me to grieve and become very weepy. Debbie suggested I write about him because he was such a unique person, such an undefined character and because I love him so very much.
“Pick something funny to write about,” she says when we’re talking about what to write.
“Write something funny? Are you kidding me, I have loads of material. I would never be able to pick just one story though,” I replied.
Debbie starts roaring with laughter and says, “I know! Write about the time …”
There was one night, while playing in Hardwood Spades, Debbie and I had Jim on a 3-way call. We were all playing at the same table. Debbie had “pot luck,” meaning she had random partners the whole night while Jim and I teamed up. He was so drunk. He’d been hitting a bottle of Crown Royal and he was feeling no pain.
While Debbie and I bickered back and forth on the phone, Jim, my partner, listened in while he concentrated on his game - he had to, he was too drunk to focus on anything else. It was one of the funniest nights I can ever recall.
Jim was quick to say someone cheated at the game in order to win. He never cared if someone accused him, he always thought that was hilarious because the bottom line is, Jim did not cheat. He was just off the wall with his cards. Debbie and I decided to test that theory since he was so drunk off his butt.
“Jim, what are you going to pass me?” I asked him nonchalantly.
“Uhm, two cards,” he answered
“I know that! What two cards though?”
“You’ll find out in a minute,” he slurred, “They should be popping up on your screen any second.
Or, I’d ask, “Jim can you cover the queen of hearts?”
And he’d answer, “I dunno. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
“Deb, he’s not too drunk. I can’t get him to cheat,” I said laughing into the phone.
“Yes, I am,” Jim slurred in response. “I’m drunker than you’ll ever be in a lifetime! You two are a couple of wusses with your liquor.”
(He made this claim several times during the four-hour conversation using many vulgar expletives)
He didn’t like the two we were playing against and kept insisting, “These two mother- $%&# are cheating! I can tell!”
“No they are not, James,” I just as insistently answered. Debbie was too busy laughing to respond.
“Yes they are!”
“Jim, Red Herring is Debbie. She’s on the phone with us; she’s not cheating. She doesn’t even know that person.”
"Oh, Debbie wants to play? Well kick these $%&# then and let her in.”
(More of Debbie’s laughter) “She IS playing, Jim!”
Because she wasn’t playing under her usual name, Dlassx3, Jim could not comprehend Red Herring was Debbie under a different name. When her partners would leave, usually in disgust, and another sit, Jim would carry on again. “That’s the same person! All they did was change names and come back to partner Red Herring!”
Debbie eventually started speaking up, “No Jim, I’m Red Herring. That’s me - I’m playing against you.”
At one point, I had to lay the phone down because I was laughing so hard. I set it down for almost ten minutes while those two went at it; Jim accusing Red Herring of cheating in order to win the game, and Debbie trying her best to explain to him that she was Red Herring and couldn’t be cheating with all these different people, especially while being on the phone with the other team - the one she’s playing against. Even my husband had caught on to what was happening and could hear Jim on the phone yelling about Red Herring. He, too, was laughing so hard that he couldn’t concentrate on what he was doing on his own computer.
One of Debbie’s partners was pretty ticked off at what was going on. Deb and I explained that we were all three on the phone together and Jim was drunk and didn’t know what was going on. Her partner, in addition to Jim’s accusations, started accusing his own partner and me of cheating against him.
At this point, Deb is typing in the room, “Are you an idiot?! How can she and I be cheating if you’re my partner?”
Jim’s screaming in our ears, “I’m not cheating, they are!”
“No one said you were cheating Jim,” I croaked.
“Yes they did! Read the room!”
Debbie’s partner refused to play since he thought Debbie and I were cheating even though he was Debbie’s partner. The game became stalled. We tried to kick the player out and Jim refused to kick (it takes all three players to kick the fourth out).
“Jim, kick them out,” we kept saying to him.
“No, I’m not kicking him out! I want that $%&# to finish and lose. He said you and I were cheating. Let's show him how we can whip his ass!”
“No, Jim. He said Debbie and I were cheating, not you and I,” I explained.
“No, he’s talking about us because Debbie’s not even here.”
Another round of explanations about Red Herring being Deb’s new name with an equal round of not computing the thought (fragment). Finally, I quit explaining and just said, “Kick him out so Debbie can get a new partner.”
“Debbie wants to come play? Then let's kick them out and let her in! She won‘t cheat and she knows I damn sure am not going to cheat in an online game. That‘s the dumbest $%&# I ever heard of in my life; cheating in a game that has no money on the table!”
So who did he initiate a kick on? Red Herring. Debbie said, “Let him kick me. I’ll just come back with a different name.”
I agreed with the kick and naturally so did her partner since he thought we were cheating anyway. Debbie came back as Bag Maggot and then all three of us kicked the idiot partner she had.
I am so glad for that memory. It was such a fun night and was filled with so much laughter. Debbie and I called Jim back the next day and asked him what did he remember? “I remember some Red Fish person kept cheating, and his partner kept changing their name, coming back and accusing us of cheating instead.”
After Debbie and I quit laughing, we told him what happened. He was cracking up too. No matter what you say about Jim, he could always laugh at himself, especially if he’d been drinking the night before.
Rest in peace, James. Thank you for so many great memories. I loved you with all of my heart and now that you’re gone, I will miss you every day and think of you often.