Quote Originally Posted by BobtailCon View Post
Miller had a flat card that he flipped between his fingers. It was blank, and white, with a king crudely drawn onto it, and in the corner was the number one.
Get rid of the bold words to add more bite, speed things up.
Quote Originally Posted by BobtailCon View Post
Miller called it his lucky card, I always figured he was a fool. I brought out a smoke and matches.


Want one?” I asked. And he took one.


I brought out a match and handed him one, too. Men light their own cigarettes, I always thought, and Miller agreed with that notion. And I didn’t feel
The first emboldened bit feels slow and losing an opportunity to add tension (I liked the "...figured a fool.." bit - it adds tension which is what a reader needs to get him/her/it to keep on reading.) The second emboldened bit seems unclear. Is Miller a mindreader? Also, not keen on the "Men light their own cigarettes." The word 'smokes' feels better and I disagree with the notion which kicks me out a bit.
Quote Originally Posted by BobtailCon View Post
who always had something smart to say (and often something dim as well),
Apart from the emboldened words I like the humour but there's a lack of clarity.


Quote Originally Posted by BobtailCon View Post
We both lit our cigarettes and shook the matches cold. The tobacco ends flared and burned and smoked, and I always loved watching that. Something about a cigarette could calm you down.
I feel you're using 'tobacco' to save you having the word 'cigarettes' too often which is good. But you could just have "We both lit up and ..." What about "...killed the matches." or not mention them? Shaking them cold seems insipid.

I won't continue with these nitpicks because with thought on a second or third draft, you'd catch them yourself. The style's okay .My main problem was that it didn't grip me. Not much tension. I think you should take every opportunity to nurture the tension you've hinted at, though barely, and sharpen up thoughts and prose. It's so easy to lose a reader early on in this type of environment (writing forum) where your reader hasn't bought anything, doesn't owe you anything, and perhaps isn't really with you from the word go. You don't seem hungry enough for your reader (me) to continue.
This wouldn't take much, just a nudge here and there, to keep me reading on.