Chances Are

I ain’t never been lucky.

I don’t know what possessed me to take a trip to Las Vegas, but sure enough here I am. I flew in last night with a hotel reservation, a ticket to see Johnny Mathis in concert, and ten dollars I was willin’ to waste in the casino.

I spent most of this mornin’ walking along what they call The Strip. The fancy hotels with their fountains and volcanoes and shows and whatnot are truly a wonder. And then for lunch I found one of them buffets for cheap that have real prime rib and crab’s legs and a salad with four beans, not just three. I ate till I was like to bust.

I had a few hours yet till Johnny Mathis so I figured it was time to see a casino. I had watched on the TV in my hotel room about the rules for some of the games and I had a mind to give one or two of ’em a try. Blackjack seemed like the easiest. Back home we call it 21.

I found a $2 table so that meant I could play at least five hands even if I lost every one of ’em. I busted the first hand and then the dealer got blackjack the next hand. But then I got a blackjack and then the dealer busted and I was right back in it. I was startin’ to see why people take a shine to gamblin’.

I kept on like that for a good half hour or so, never bein’ more than a few dollars up or down from where I started. Finally I put the whole ten bucks on one last hand. Son of a gun if I didn’t get another blackjack. I took my winnin’s and started back toward my room.

I was feelin’ kinda high from winnin’ and couldn’t resist stoppin’ up at the roulette table. Just for curiosity, ya know. Since I was ahead from the blackjack I put a few bucks down on red and won three times in a row. I got nervous and moved it over to black and won twice more. Then I moved my chips to number 17, my Momma’s birthday, and darn if that didn’t get me a whole big stack.

In spite of winnin’ like that I thought the roulette was sorta borin’ so I picked up and moved again. I watched the dice game — I don’t care for that name they call it — for a bit. It seemed real excitin’. I figured to risk another ten bucks. Even if I lost it all I’d be way ahead for the day. A pretty girl started bringin’ us drinks — just a coke for me — and ‘afore I knew what there was another pretty girl standin’ next to me cheerin’ and tuggin’ at my sleeve. Next thing I know I got my arm around her and she’s lookin’ all dreamy-eyed at me. I can’t say I really understand the dice game all that much, but the stack of chips in front of me kept gettin’ bigger anyhow.

Some guy with a coat and tie came along and said they wanted to upgrade my room since I was playin’ so well. I’d heard of that, but for sure never thought it would happen to me. He even said he would have somebody take my things over from the old room for me. Can you believe that?

When it came my turn to throw the dice that little girl took hold of my hand and blew on ’em. “For luck,” she said and I for sure felt somethin’ stirrin’ through me. I don’t know that it was luck, but it felt pretty darn good. We kept on like that until I looked at my watch and darn if I wasn’t gonna be late for the show. I excused myself to go find my room, but that girl tagged along like a lost pup.

I didn’t know if she would wait or if I could get another ticket or what, but it felt real nice to have her hangin’ on my arm so I decided not to say nothin’ ’bout it till after we was up in my room. It was bigger than my apartment back home with a sittin’ room and kitchen and separate bedroom that held a great big bed with a mirror over it. I don’t rightly know what that’s all about.

All of the sudden there was a strange man in behind me whackin’ me on the head with somethin’ heavy. I crumpled to the floor and he rifled through my pockets for my wallet and every cent to my name. I never did see that girl again. And now here I lie, starin’ up at the ceiling with my life blood pourin’ out of my head. I swear from somewhere in the distance I can hear Johnny Mathis music wafting up from a show I ain’t never gonna see.

I tell ya, I ain’t never been lucky.


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    • Thanks, Marc. That’s my favorite detail. It really showed me the personality of the character. ~Tim

    • Thanks, Adam. This is one where the character told me his story. I just listened and wrote it down. ~Tim

  1. I agree with Adam. You got the character just right and so likeable too!

    Bummer he got crooked though.

    Never trust a pretty girl who pops up out of the blue.

    • Thanks, Craig. Yeah, I liked this guy from the moment he started talking to me. Bummer is right. ~Tim

  2. Vegas is really really no place for such a nice, and naive kinda guy.

    I simply had to cheer him on through his lucky streak, but just had a feeling that he wasn’t gonna be taking that dough back home with him.

  3. I agree with the others. You did an excellent job with this character. I’m sure I’ve met him somewhere, but I can’t quite remember where.

    • Thanks, Raven. With a twang is just how it should be read. [After all, it’s the way the character said it in my head.] ~Tim

  4. Amazing, I just read another story about a ‘nice guy’ but his bad fortune turned good, while this guy’s good fortune turned bay. Now I don’t know if I should be a nice guy or not…

    Anyways, This was a fantastic story. Great job.

    • Thanks, Michael. I rarely offer advice, but consider this bit of wisdom from Elwood P. Dowd, the character played by James Stewart in the movie Harvey:

      Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.


    • Thanks, Icy. I agree, but I wonder if learning to balance cynicism, suspicion, and trust is the secret to being lucky. ~Tim

  5. The character was so strong in this piece that I felt I could hear him. I knew when the girl turned up there would be trouble! ^_^

    • Thanks, Helen. Would I sound like a terrible cynic if I said there’s always trouble when the girl turns up? ~Tim

  6. Yup, so many people have said it all already. Helen, especially. I agree, when the girl starts hanging on you, it’s a sign of trouble to come. Too bad he couldn’t just walk off and go to his Johnny Mathis concert.

    Loved this character’s PoV, even though it had to end badly for him.

    • Thanks, FAR. Unfortunately for the MC, I started this one with the ending. Poor guy never had a chance. ~Tim

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