WinnersThere was nothing there.
I eyed the double zero wondering if anyone would place a bet on the empty space. The sudden sound of marble hitting the wooden wheel brought my attention back to the entire table. The usual click, click, clicking started. There wasn’t time to wonder. Without thinking long I leaned over the crowded table and moved my stack of ten chips from zero to double zero just before the dealer waved their hand announcing all betting was to stop.
Seventeen, the popular number of the moment, was covered. There was a large mound of bets with every edge stacked. And Thirty-two was running in second place, a smaller yet still impressive load with two sides empty.
Few numbers were vacant, and with my covering double zero the chance of having a loser this round was slim. The odds dictated that someone, some number, simply had to hit.
The woman at the end of the table was fidgeting with her short stack of unplayed chips. She was picking them up and dropping them over and over again making a faint, quick, tapping sound.
A gentleman beside me sat his cigarette on the edge of an ashtray, the smoke gliding up in rhythm with the spinning roulette wheel. Soon they were out of sync as the wheel slowed.
Click, click, click, the wheel was beginning to stop.
All patrons around the table seemed to lean in closer as the wheel slowed. The noise of the casino surrounding us, slot machines blaring, was out weighed by the silence in our immediate space. It was as if the roulette table had a barrier and outside noise was not allowed, as if we were in a library or a church.
The woman at the end of the table was playing pink chips. Looking over towards the wheel I saw zero, where my redirected bet had been, held three stacks of ten pink chips. Her quiet tapping echoed in the roulette church as she sped up her nervous habit.
Soon the clicking ended and the dealer announced, “seventeen!” Smiling faces greeted the welcome number and the dealer busied himself paying the winners.