Short Fiction by Tony Daniel

 

This body feels so weird… it’s hard to move… what is that thing called? Arthritis… that’s what it must be. Let’s see how much he enjoys retirement now. Wow.. that hurt… okay… wallet… debit card… act casual… “Yes, I would like $10,000 in chips, please?”

 

Yeah, screw nickel poker-chips-black22slots tonight, George… all that praying… jackpot, indeed…

 

Who is…?

 

“Why, thank you, young lady, yes, I am that very man. And I would love to see the high limit area.”

 

Nice ass… “I’m sorry? Oh, I don’t know. Feeling lucky. What’s your high-limit slot? By all means, lead on! Certainly. Well, let’s give it a try.”

 

“Oh, you can do that? Well, here… you take those… and… isn’t that fascinating… you can load that card right off your phone… technology today… I swear…  Just run it through here? And push that… Okay, let’s give it a go!”

 

Fuck.

 

“I…  am … stunned… I know… fifty-five thousand is… and you can… so that card has… um… wow… you know what?   I want to try something new. I don’t know… you got roulette wheels here? No, I’ll follow you!”

 

Damn… one friggin’ spin, hit fifty-five grand. Well, you know what, George? You are never gonna know what hit…

 

Wait, what?

 

“I’m sorry… no… I’ve seen it on television. You pick a number, or color, or odd or even, and… well, why be modest? … I know! My luck’s amazing… yeah… Can I play with the balance on that card, too? You can? Well, let’s do that, then.”

 

What the fuck? No, I know this isn’t how it works. Yes, sir, I know. Well, you didn’t give me that ability, now did you? You said, ‘Ruin this man, make him despondent, so I can eat his soul.’

 

No, you did not tell me… I know you’re busy…  DON’T yell at me! Fine, you know what, watch. No, I do not need your help. I got this! You sweep in and get all the glory. Oh, fuck you…Roulette

 

“I’m sorry, honey? Wow… all of these’re mine… I don’t know… something just said, ‘Tonight’s your night.’ Well, thank you.. No, I want one number. If I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it right.”

 

Is that better, boss?

 

“What? Oh, I know… it’s 35 to 1 odds… do I want to… Oh, no… I don’t think I will.. Well, you know what? Here… hold this one chip out for me… taxi money. Okay, so… tell you what… let’s go for 22 Black… nice round number, huh? ”

 

I like Casablanca… sue me, asshole…

 

“What? No, young man, I don’t need to think about it… You only live once, like they say? Spin it….”

 

There, you happy now? He’s done… Oh, what do you know? You bastard. You send to do this shit, knowing nobody is going to get the credit for any of it but you. All these years, and all you do is…

 

“What? What do you mean, congrat…”

 

… motherfucker…


Tony Daniel has been writing stories since he could hold a pencil. He currently spends his non-writing hours as the artistic director for Newnan Theatre Company in Newnan, Georgia. Look for his first novel, Return To Sender, in the next few months.