The Gamble


“No!  No!  No!  Aaaaauugghh!” Penny  raises her right arm up above the shot machine.   She looks sideways for witnesses.

I’m smiling at her.  She smiles back.   Her freckles stabs out in dark casino on pale skin.   Her yellow top is tight enough to make her look much younger.  It flatters her.  I look her over.

“These things are driving me to drink!  They are making a poor man out of me.   But maybe…” my words get lost as she stares back.

“I’m listening.  I’m getting nothing from this Ole machine!…. You didn’t!!” She slips down three machines and plunks down next to me.

The machine goes to a bonus.  I’m paying attention to her. The machine goes to auto play and ten times it spins itself.   I win a whole five bucks.  Her hand finds my arm.  Her laughter finds my ear.  

“Now, you can rub some of that luck off on me.” She laughs like a bird in flight. 

“A drink to celebrate a $5 jackpot!  Come on.  It’ll save us both money to get away from these things.”  I’m bewitched by the green eyes and smile.

“I must warn you.  I’m married.”  Penny squeezes my arm.  Pushes back from the machine, straightening her top by pulling at the waist.  It causes a man to blink once.

“Well, he’ll have to buy his own drink!” I really not sure where that comes from, but sometimes you need to talk your way through things.

Her walk is a long deliberate pace.  Always straight back.  Hips gracefully dipping slightly to sway her assets as she moves forward.  She,leads me by five to ten feet to the dark bar away from the action.

We arrive at the bar.  The small Casino behind us.  Eight giant tv’s show a couple games and Australian horse racing.  The other seven people are gambling in a different world.  So are we.
Small talk mixes with a couple drafts.  We spend time looking over each other.  Smiles and pauses dance past words.  We are drifting together.

“Pennyroyal!! Where’s the machine for the horses?!”  She yells at the bartender and three degenerates with racing forms.  They all look perplexed.  One points to the end of the bar.  “We have to bet it!  If it wins, we’ll do something crazy!”

“It’s a 25 to 1 shot! $5 a piece?” I’m waiting to see what her crazy is.   She giggles and flirts effortlessly.  

Pennyroyal stumbles at the gate.   Dead frickin’ last halfway through 1200 meters.   Her body leans forward, willing a horse across the world from us.   Every eye watches her move.   The bartender turns up the audio.  The first call of “pinter oil” come out as the horse wakes up.   In a fury, last to first charge is on the way.   We fail to realize how Pennyroyal is pronounced.   Hell, I don’t care what is called.   She has me waiting just to see what’s next.  The number 4 appears on a ticket and in the winner’s circle.

“I’ll be back” The smile that goes through me.

A delicate hand snatches the ticket off the table. The screen shows Pennyroyal  pays $42.40 on a $2 bet. That ticket is worth $212.20. She skates away.   Her arms like a bird in flight.   Her feet miss the ground as she disappears in the crowd.

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