by K. Ray
| Scene 2 - Casino Shenanigans
For the hundredth time in the last two hours, Madison tapped the Max Bet button on the Lucky Cat slot machine. She stared at the spinning reels, focusing intently on each reel in turn as it slowed. She held in her mind the image she wanted each reel to center on when it stopped. Rarely did the machine align exactly with her thoughts, but she was winning anyway and was convinced her (mental strength? Winning vibe?) played a part.
Taylor Beck sat in front of an adjacent machine called Panda Parade and had resorted to verbally abusing the pandas and physically assaulting the machine. She'd fed the penny machine a twenty-dollar bill three times and was almost out again.
"I'm headed to the bar, then the BJ tables if I don't start winning in about the next sixty seconds," Taylor said. She absentmindedly tapped--no, jabbed--the Max Bet button of her own machine. Her attention was on Madison, trying to perceive something her friend was doing that made the Lucky Cat so lucky. There seemed to be no pattern to how Madison pushed the button and that appeared to be the only controllable variable. She watches as a trio of the black cats for which the slot is named align perfectly in the center of the reels. She was not surprised to hear the loud siren announcing another major win. The LCD screen above the machine proudly displayed in flashing neon the amount of her Progressive Jackpot winnings--four-hundred and thirty-eight dollars, an enormous sum for a penny machine.
"I think I'm ready to hit the bar," Madison said casually as she hit the Cash Out button.
The noise and flashing lights of the excited machine quickly drew a crowd of people. At 4'2" and even shorter sitting down in a wheelchair, she struggled to reach up and grab the printed ticket from its slot above the LCD screen. Someone in the crowd would soon offer to help. She felt the stares at her back. "Taylor..." she hissed through her teeth, "Help. Me."
Taylor only let her friend squirm a moment longer before she leaned over and pulled the ticket out for her. She said, "Do I get a service fee for all the work I do being your normal-sized friend?"
Taylor was only slightly above five-feet tall and Madison laughed, "Can I take your service fee out of the hourly-rate I charge you for being a pain in my ass?"
"On the positive side, maybe there's a hot guy somewhere in this mob of people staring at us who's willing to have pity-sex. I call dibs." Taylor cashed out her own machine. The ticket seemed hardly worth printing. Waving it, she said, "Let's go to the tables. Maybe I'll have better luck there. The bar's on the way."
There were two open seats next to one another in the 2nd and 3rd slot positions of the blackjack table. Taylor sat in the 2nd position and moved the chair out from the 3rd so Madison could fit her wheelchair in the spot. Madison pulled her wallet out from its resting place, the six-inches of seaet-space between her butt and the wheelchair's backseat, and threw a hundred dollar bill on the table. She knew Tay was low on cash so when the dealer placed twenty five-dollar chips in front of her, she cut the stack in half and slid of the chips to her. As was Taylor's style, she pushed the fifty-dollar stack into the betting circle. Madison bet the table minimum of ten dollars. After all bets were on the table, the cards were dealt.
Taylor had 14 and on her turn motioned for a card. A 4 was dealt and she stayed at 18. Madison motioned for a card at 15, was dealt a king, and busted. Her chips were quickly swept away. When the round was over, the dealer took a card while showing a 6, busted at 26, and paid the winners. Taylor's stack doubled. The next round she only bet 20 and Madison increased her original bet to 20 also. Madison hit 21, paying 30 while Taylor beat the dealer 20 to 19 and doubled her bet. It seemed they were both getting lucky now and after a few more rounds and the discovery of Free Drinks While Table Betting, they began to push their luck, betting big and making riskier calls. It seemed like they played for several hours, but according to Madison's cellphone only 90 minutes had passed before there was only one chip left between them.