the gambler

the gambler

Status: Finished

Genre: Thrillers

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Status: Finished

Genre: Thrillers

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Submitted: April 20, 2017

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Submitted: April 20, 2017

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The roar of the spectating crowd is what he lived for. The rumble of the ball as it rolled around the roulette table thrilled his senses as he watched the ball frolic like a wild colt jumping in and out of the grooves on the roulette table.

Simon had hit rock bottom and is down to his last £300  crisp notes that he had drew from the cash point earlier on that night and are burning a hole in his pocket, and even though he knew it could be better spent elsewhere he couldn’t resist the lure of that roulette wheel or was it the cute croupier who stood behind it?

It didn’t help that he was mildly attracted to her. There she stood in all her splendour dressed in a short pleated skirt with a low cut blouse which accentuated her natural assets.

Simon enters the casino dressed to impress, his plan was two fold, 1, double his money 2, ask the croupier out on a date and treat her to a night on the town with his winnings.

He approaches the roulette table. His eyes instantly lock like a heat seeking missile to her exposed cleavage.

“My eyes are up here sir, not down there, sir” she says with a grunt.

“Sorry, where are my manners? I’m Simon by the way and you are?” he nervously asks.

The croupier grunts again and then points to her name tag. It reads Freda.

“Freda eh? Nice name. Unusual and yet still nice, not a common name that. How long you had that there name” he nervously waffles.

She smiles, “since birth sir” she replies. The smile that followed stretched across her face yet she couldn’t decide if Simon was simple Simon or he’s casually flirting with her.

Freda’s eyes lock with a tall suited man built like a brick shit house who is standing directly behind Simon.

“Everything alright here?, no trouble at your table Freda? He asks.

Simon looks to the voice and turns in its direction and instantly comes face to face with a solid mass of muscle. His eyes follow the contoured outline of his perfectly formed six pack up to his strong jaw line and gulps then slowly red faced he turns back towards Freda.

She noticed his distraught face and smiled which seemed to set him at ease and replies, Jim? Everything is fine. This gentleman was just about to place a bet, wasn’t you sir?” she states whilst locking her eyes with his.

“Who….. me…? Yessssss I was just about to place that bet” he replies then fumbles inside his pocket and takes out a crisp £20 note, places it on the table and says, “21, black.

Freda takes the money and places the equivalent chips on 21 black then says, “no more bets.”

She spins the wheel and says, “ round and round she goes where she’ll stop nobody knows”.

Simon eagerly watches the little white ball as it whizzes around the roulette wheel whilst chanting, “Come on twenty one black”

The wheel starts to slow, Simon watches closely as the ball bounces around the roulette wheel then lets out a sigh when Freda shouts, “TWENTY ONE RED”

Simon now gutted of losing his first £20 reaches back inside his pocket and pulls out another £20, this time he says, “Fifteen black”

Again the croupier Freda takes his money and places the chips over his preferred choice and again she repeats her previous.

“Come on baby, lady luck be with me” Simon says out aloud as the ball once again whizzes around the table.

“TEN RED” Freda says as the wheel comes to an abrupt stop. She can see the frustration on Simons face but she had a job to do so removes his chips from the table then says, “Place your bets please”

Simons miffed, he’s down £40 already and his rent is due tomorrow an hour ago he was £150 short now he’s £190 and counting. His plan of doubling his money is seriously back firing so he takes five and heads to the bar then takes a seat beside a well-dressed man.

“Half a lager when you’re ready barman” he says slapping another of his crisp £20’s on the counter.

“Be right there sir” the bartender replies. 

Simon sits in deep thought, with his head slightly bowed.

“Penny for them” the well-dressed gentleman asks.

“Penny for what?” Simon replies then lifts his head.

“You know, all those nasty thoughts whizzing around in that noggin of yours.”

“Yeah, and what would you know about those” is Simons reply.

Ha, ha, “I have a gift, I could take them away if you so wished. Imagine all those crushing thoughts that make you feel like you’re carrying the world on your shoulders just floating away.

“Yeah rite! What do you take me for, who’s put you up to this? Is this some sort of wind up?

“Nope, I stand by my word” he says with a devious smile.

 Look!  “Just piss off. Go and scam someone else, I haven’t got time for this bullshit.”

“Bullshit? Sir, I assure you I deal in facts, tell you what this I what I propose, you can either drink that half pint and go and blow the rest of your money and get on with your self pitying existence or you can take the biggest gamble of your life and play one round of black jack with me, what do you say?” He asks. Their eyes lock for a second and the sense of calm that oozed back lulls Simon into a false sense of security.

“What’s in for me then? Simon asks after carefully considering his offer. 

“So… got that old brain buzzing have I, you know what they say about curiosity don’t you Sir?”

Simon sighs. “Nope but I’m sure you’re going to fill in the blanks so to speak”

Ha, ha “how presumptuous of you sir and yes you’d be right in thinking I hold the key too many answers and to answer my own question curiosity killed the cat. kind sir.”

Simon sighs again and replies, “ and your point being?”

“Well there is no point I’m just merely stating the facts as I said before that’s what I deal in.”

“Facts” Simon asks bemused.

“Yes facts, please keep up, I don’t like to repeat myself more than once. Now to the heart of the matter, as I said before one game of black jack, your stake being the pittance you have lurking in those grubby pockets.”

“And yours, what exactly are you offering in return?” Simon asks letting his curiosity get the better of him.

“I was getting to that until you quite rudely interrupted me. Now where was I? Oh yes I was about to name my stake wasn’t I?”

“pfft , “If you say so, personally I think you’re full of shit and the only reason you still have my attention is I need money and I need it fast otherwise I’m going to find myself living on the streets so whatever it is you’re proposing spit it out and let’s get on with it. Simon replies. His patience is wearing thin and as the seconds tick on by he grows more and more tiresome of his intriguing guest.

“And again you rudely and without remorse interrupt me again. Could you please hold that tongue of yours? You’re clouding my train of thought. As I was saying your measly pittance against the greatest prize of all.”

“What’s that then?”

“What indeed! How would you like to be debt free and never have to worry about money, and I mean never.”

“That’s it I’m out, now where’s that fucking camera, and who the hell put you up to this?” Simon angrily asks as he reaches the end of his tether.

Sir! “I assure you there is no tom foolery going on here. My wares are yours should you choose to partake in one game of black jack with me?”

Hmm, “one game and in return untold riches, sounds like a scam to me” Simon remarks as he mulls the offer over.

Suddenly the mysterious man puts his hand in his pocket.

Simon gasps loudly as he pulls out a roll of neatly wrapped £50 notes and asks, “are they real?”

Ha, ha “yes sir, here in my hand lies a roll of £50’s totalling a nice round sum of £1000 of your British pounds and with this I wager you the pittance in your pocket against my majestic sight to behold and yours for the taking should you be fortunate to win.”

Simon’s eyes widen. The want and need or is it greed is just too much to bare. So many thoughts whizzed around his frail mind, one being that of stopping his impeding eviction. So decides he’s nothing to lose other than the rest of his rent which paled insignificant as he was short already and so with his mind finally made he agrees to the terms and the two shake hands to seal the deal.

The mysterious man pulls out a sealed deck of cards and breaks the seal and empties them on the bar then takes his wad of £50’s and places them beside the cards. Their eyes lock. “Your turn” the mysterious man says whilst pointing to Simon’s pocket.

Fine! “Let’s play” he replies then drops his crumpled notes on the bar alongside his.

  The man cuts the deck and gives them a good shuffle then begins to deal out 4 cards face up and leaves the fifth face down beside the rest of the.

Simon looks down at his cards; he’s got a ten of spades and a nine of hearts whilst the mystery man has a ten of clubs and a six of diamonds. He needs a five of any to suit to win. Whilst Simon on the other hand needs a two to win.

They look to one another, both looking for some tell-tale sign of weakness as they both knew their could only be one victor.

“I’ll take a card” Simon says whilst wiping the sweat from his brow.

“Here you go then” he says then slides the face down card in his direction.

Simon nervously picks up the card and slowly turns it to face him. His prolonged sigh said it all then seconds later he tosses the card which is a seven of hearts onto the bar then pushes the money towards the man and says, there you go enjoy. I hope you sleep well knowing you’ve kicked me out on the street.”

The man smiles, then replies, “want to up the stakes?”

“You taking the piss? Talk about kicking a man when he’ down you know very well I have nothing left to wager.

Ha, ha, “yes I know but  money is no interest to me. What I most desire is the very foundation of your humanity, your soul. One last game your soul against what is on the bar. Winner takes all so to speak” he replies followed with a mischievous grin.

“Excuse me!! Are you for real? My fucking soul belongs to me and even if it were possible for me to wager it how would you take it should I lose?”

Suddenly the man’s demeanour changes, his eyes roll into the back of his head and Simon sees his reflection staring back from the very depths of hell.

I would simply reach inside your body and take it like a thief in the night, I assure you it’s quite painless the only downside is you would feel no more. You would be totally stripped of all your humanity. You would literally feel nothing. No more love, or anger, no more of that self pity you seem to feed off, you’d be a shell a walking concubine not knowing what is right and what is wrong. In short you would be a walking disaster.  

Simon listens intently and with fear guiding his voice he replies, what are you? Who are you?”

Teds the name reaping souls my game. Oops! Did I forget to mention that? Look just play you’ve nothing left to lose have you? I mean let’s look at the reality here. You have no money and by the afternoon of tomorrow you’ll have no place to call home either and by night fall you will be looking for somewhere safe and warm to lay that weary head of yours. In short I have seen your future and it’s bleak my friend. So what’s it to be?”

“Fine I’ll play, seems as though I have little choice, I now need the money more than ever. Oh by the way nice hustle.

“Your too kind, stop it! Look I’m going red with embarrassment” the man sarcastically replies.

“Enough, let’s play”  Simon says slamming his hand on the bar.

The reaper sings to himself as he shuffles the cards.

“Here I go I take my hand, into your body that can’t withstand

I’ll take your soul with my tight grip and with said hands I therefore rip

 I’ll leave your body not bloody but barren

Your heart now empty no more love

Your thoughts all have gone that were stored above

Just a shell null of love

Only darkness now

No more light

Down to the depths of hell is your only plight

Deep down into darkest night and out of sight.

Your soul will remain locked out of sight

If I should win on this night.

The words the reaper sang sent a chill down Simon’s spine and made him gulp several times. He didn’t want his soul locked away in the depths of hell. His life was shit yes this may be true but he appreciated the life he had in his mortal form and he couldn’t imagine his life without feeling or meaning and decides he agreed to play again in haste and stands to leave the bar area.  

“SIT DOWN” the reaper bellows.

Simon looks around but not one person bats an eyelid. He’s bemused and confused why only he can see and hear the reaper.

NO!” I don’t want to play anymore, keep the stupid money” he defiantly replies.

Ha, ha, “you silly man. Do you really think you have a choice?” the reaper bellows

Err, “yeah as a matter of fact I did and still do.”

“Sorry Simon, and how naïve are you? You see you have already agreed to play, for you Simon there is no turning back. Your only chance little be that may is beating me at black jack, ha, ha did I forget to mention I have never lost a game” he sniggers.

“So what’s the point in playing? Just take my soul and get it over with” he announces.

 “Sorry no can do I have to win it fair and square, shall we begin then” the reaper replies then points to his seat and says, “now sit down.”

Simon does as he is asked and takes a seat back at the bar and the game begins.

He puts his head into his hands and begins to weep as the reaper taunts him by saying, one for you the light begins to fade

“One for me, your soul I’ll take.”

“One for you, in hell you’ll bake.”

One for me your life you’ll forsake.

The card face down will decide ones fate.

 Simon wipes his tears and puts on a brave face he knew deep down that there was no point in begging, he also knew his fate depended on the turn of a card.

He looks down at his cards, a seven of hearts and a five of spades stared back. His eyes then glanced to the reapers he also had the same cards but different suits leaving both with a nine or a combination adding up to nine to win. Their eyes lock, the reaper grins and chuckles to himself. Simon on the other hand frowned and vowed in that moment that if by some miracle he won he would never set inside a casino again even if that meant not seeing Freda ever again. He had learnt his lesson and realised that money was most definitely the root to all evil.

The reaper goes first and turns over the card that had been laid face down and chuckles loudly as he flips it over revealing a nine of clubs.

Simon sighs and says, “you win just take it”

Ha, ha, if only it were that simple. Today is not your day however your soul now belongs to me and when your time comes I will reach inside and take it when you least expect it. Farewell Simon I will see you soon, real soon and with that said he disappears.

Three years pass in the blink of an eye and Simon lived by what he vowed and has never set foot in a casino again. He took a job for a local charity and in return instead of money he accepted a roof over his head and food in his belly. He fell for one of his co-workers and is madly in love with her or should I say IT!!!!! Mwhhahahahahahaha.


© Copyright 2017 J A OVERTON. All rights reserved.

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