Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: GAMBLE (04/14/16)
- TITLE: Ace
By GiGi Mezzio
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Bob had purchased an occasional lottery ticket at his
neighborhood 7-11, but had never won more than $20. He also loved
playing fantasy football. His team, the “Who Dat,” were a tribute to
the New Orleans team. He watched football religiously, thanks to the
Season Ticket he had frivolously bought.
“Of course, he loves any sport that involves a ball,” Bob’s
pretty blonde wife, Melody, often informed acquaintances, as she
rolled her sea green eyes. She preferred spending Sunday afternoons
relaxing at the Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville.
“Oh well, it could be worse,” she reasoned, agreeably.
Melody resented the opening of the first riverboat casino in their
Lake Pontchartrain community. She declared that she would never go
aboard, even though Bob told her that one of his friends would be
performing at the Coconut Casino. It turned out that Melody was “a
woman of her word”, as she frequently and proudly reminded herself.
Bob went alone.
Bob arrived at the casino early because he hoped to catch up
with his buddy, Walt, before the performance. He admired the island
decor as he crossed the plank onto the floating casino. He felt
overwhelming excitement and smiled brightly at everyone. He was
offered numerous cocktails from nubile young women wearing grass
skirts, and gladly accepted a drink from each of the lovely ladies.
Since he couldn’t locate his friend, Bob decided to try out the
gaming tables. He had always enjoyed beating his dad at Black Jack.
“I sure miss that crazy old man”, he mused as he purchased poker
chips. After winning $500 and drinking several more Mojitos, he
decided to call it a night.
“That was the most fun I’ve had in a long time, even though I
had not planned to gamble,” Bob admitted sheepishly.
The next day, he thought about the thrilling evening he’d had at
the Coconut and planned his next escapade. After work on Friday, Bob
stopped by the casino.
A lot of guys stop off for a drink after work, he justified,
knowing Melody would not be happy to find out about his latest
“shenanigans”, as she caustically referred to his behavior when it
It was past midnight when Bob tiptoed into his bedroom. Melody
was asleep, so he quietly undressed and slid into bed. He thought
about the money he had won and then lost and grinned inwardly. He
had broken even after all.
The next morning he met Melody’s dark, brooding eyes over a cup
of French brew coffee and cringed.
“So, where were you last night? I tried calling you many times
and you didn’t answer your phone!” Melody’s voice rose higher and
warbled, as she slammed a plate of syrupy pancakes in front of Bob.
Bob knew he had to think quickly. “I’m sorry, Mel. My battery
went dead. I went out and had a few drinks with the guys. I
completely lost track of time.”
Bob began spending more time away from home and when he was
there, became moody and withdrawn. He knew he had to keep his
gambling a secret. He had lost some money but still had their
finances under control. Surely, he was due to break the bank soon!
He could feel it magically happening. When it didn’t, the experience
dissolved into a desperate means of winning money.
Melody became increasingly suspicious. One day while doing
laundry, she found some poker chips. Later, when she confronted Bob,
he became angry and told her to stop snooping.
Late notices were mailed, along with threatening phone calls
over unpaid bills. Melody fervently prayed that Bob would come to
his senses. She worried that they would lose their home and their
marriage. Days passed with no words between them. Melody avoided
Bob in fear of starting another argument. Often she sat and cried--
devastated and ashamed that her husband had a gambling problem. She
didn’t like this new Bob who had moved in with her.
When Bob finally dragged himself home after losing the last of
their savings, he found Melody sitting lifelessly in the candle
light. Immediately, Bob knew the electricity had been shut off. He
took a closer look at Melody’s grief-stricken face and fell to his
knees in front of her--- tapped out, out of chips, at a complete
gambler’s ruin. He brokenly begged his wife’s forgiveness, as she
clung tearfully to him.
Miraculously, he understood that he had won an ace that he could
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