A man, Mac Thomas, walked down a street in the pouring rain. A long forgotten man, walking down a long forgotten side-street in a long-forgotten town. All he owned was lost, gambled away, and the rest of it, like his life, had been sucked down the drain, like the vomit from his drunkenness. He just couldn’t find a job. Even the Army, in the throes of World War II didn’t even want him. He was a hopeless bum.
Suddenly, he stumbled into a trashcan, knocking it over, and he and it crashed into the ground. Blood soaked into his old, tattered silk slacks from the scrapes on his knees, and his palms stung. He rubbed them together in his drunken state, bent double from the awful pain in his stomach, filled with almost a gallon of alcohol. He noticed something that had fallen out of the trashcan and reached out to grab it. It looked like a billfold. He opened it hastily and found five hundred dollars, enough to feed and shelter him for months. He could get an apartment, clean himself up, and easily get a job, looking nice and not being in his perpetual drunken state.
These logical things weren’t running through this man’s head, though. The first thought he had was of gambling, hoping to double, even triple that five hundred dollars. He hastily gathered himself up, jammed the money into his wallet and took off, sliding around the slippery street.
The laughter and loud noise nearly deafened Mac as he walked into the casino, and the lights nearly blinded him. He made his way to the poker table and sat down confidently. The dealer looked at him skeptically.
“Mac, you left just half an hour ago. Your credit’s overdrawn as it is.” Mac grinned cockily and whipped out the five hundred.
“Won a bet on a fight.” He said. “Deal me in.”
The dealer looked reluctant, but dealt Mac the cards.
Half an hour later, Mac had quadrupled the money. It was the best streak of luck he had had in his life, and the highest winnings the casino had ever seen. He had women hanging off him, a cigarette clenched in his mouth and a bourbon cradled in his hand. There was only one competitor left, one of the wealthiest men in the city. He and Mac stared each other down, neither one giving any ground, nor letting their poker-faces slide. This hand, Mac’s opponent won. It was a small bet, however, and Mac knew he could regain the loss. He’d only lost the five hundred dollars he found in the wallet. He would bet one thousand and get back his loss, plus five hundred. He won that hand, and just after he had raked in the winnings, a policeman walked in the casino.
“Alright, everyone stop what you’re doing, put all your money where I can see it.” He said, walking over to where Mac sat.
“Whatcha doin’, officer?” Mac asked, even more drunk than he had been before.
“Well, sir, someone stole a wallet from an apartment. It was on a windowsill. Someone could easily have grabbed it as they were walking past. It’ll be easy for me to find the money, though, all of it had a watermarks. Now, how about I take a look at your money?” The police officer said. A look of horror came over Mac’s face, he had just taken the money from the billfold he had found, containing the watermarked money back from his opponent and stuffed it in his wallet.
“Come on, give me your wallet to look through.” The officer encouraged, and Mac slowly handed the wallet over.