Luck SlideThe coin wasn’t making it. Held in mid-air by my right hand, it was trying to get it to the machine but her grasp held it back.
“I won! I won! I won!” The woman continued to scream as she clung to my arm and jumped up and down.
Her loud voice inches away blended with the sounds coming from the machine she’d played. The slot machine was as expressive as she was. Lights flashing, bells ringing, sirens screaming. There was good reason to be excited, it was a big win. I was unsure what her exact payout would be, but she had won at the dollar slots. It had to be big.
When the woman let go of me, I rubbed my arm where her fingers had held tight. It was the sight of a casino slot attendant at the woman’s winning reels that took her physical attention off of me. Although I was happy about this stranger’s good fortune, it felt nice to be walking away from the chaos, again.
What was going on? This was strange, very strange.
The dollar token was still in my hand. I slid it into my pocket as I walked through the casino. When I looked back, a small crowd had taken my place by the woman who had won.
We had arrived yesterday, the first day of our three-day adventure. We all registered, took our things to our rooms and after dinner and a show, we parted ways with plans to meet this morning for coffee. I woke early and had been taking my time walking around the casino. I played an occasional slot machine as I kept my eye on the time.
The first thing I was drawn to this morning was a rather small and quiet room of quarter slots. Machines lined each side of the long, narrow room. There were a few rows, three machines wide, down the middle. The room was empty except for an elderly couple. I nodded hello to the gentleman and asked if he minded my sitting beside him.
“Be my guest,” he said.
“Thanks, and good luck to you,” I told the man.
The next pull of the handle in front of him and he almost fell off his chair.
“I’ve been here since 5 a.m. looking for those flaming sevens! And they hit, they finally hit!” he exclaimed.
“You did it,” he said. “You gave me the luck! Thank you!”
I finished the one play I’d started and left quickly, congratulating him as I walked away. This was when I came to the dollar slot machines where I again wished luck on my gambling neighbor, the woman who would shortly win big.
Being a witness, not a winner, twice in such a short amount of time was disheartening. I thought it might be more fun to spend my time drinking coffee.
The café was nearly empty, only a handful of guests were seated. One man sat alone and I asked for a table near him, yet where I could see the café entrance. The man looked like he’d been there a while playing Keno. When he wasn’t staring at the small paper he was holding, he was fixated on the television mounted high on the restaurant wall.
“Damn,” I heard him say as he crumpled the paper and tossed it onto a growing pile. Quickly he marked numbers on another paper before the Keno attendant took his money and his entry and walked away.
“Good luck next time,” I said.
“Thanks, I need some luck,” the stranger said.
When the waitress returned, I asked for regular coffee, nothing fancy, and cream.
“I’m expecting my friends to join me soon,” I told the waitress.
She nodded as she took her notes and returned quickly with extra mugs, a pot of coffee and small pitcher of cream.
I looked up at the television. Keno numbers were bouncing on the screen, settling in their proper order.
“Come on, come on,” I heard the stranger mutter. “Come on, one more.”
“Amazing!” the stranger screamed in the quiet café. “Yes! I’ve been here hours and hadn’t won until you sat there and wished me luck! Thank you, thank you,” he said through his huge smile.
Three near me. I wondered to myself as I sipped my coffee and waited for my pals, when would my good luck be sticking instead of sliding over to whoever was nearby?