Jonathan Little sat at a quant black wrought iron table at the outdoor café of the Paris Casino in Las Vegas. He was in his late twenties and had been living in the Las Vegas Nevada area all his life. He sat across from his girlfriend of three months, Lindsay Freeman. Lindsay was wearing a black leather jacket over a tight grey sweater with a billowy neck that flowed above the jacket and fell below to tightly wrap her curvy hips. She was wearing tight designer jeans that continued to follow her curves down to her black high heeled boots. She wore a red scarf and red designer glasses. Her streaked sandy blond hair was shoulder length and cut to follow the round of her face. She wore a red knit hat to complete the ensemble. Stunning euro look. Jonathan was also wearing a black leather jacket and stove pipe jeans with high cut black sneakers. He wore thick designer black rimmed glasses and a black hat as well. The couple complimented each other very well. They looked very French in their dress choices. A very chic, metrosexual looking couple some would say. They were far from French. In fact, neither of them had ever even been to Europe. They both worked at the Paris Casino however. Lindsay worked at the high end jewelry shop on the peripheral of the large casino floor. Jonathan was the manager of the very café they were sitting at. The weather was quite chilly for Mid November. The air was clear and cool for noon time. The sun was blocked by the massive towering hotels in the backdrop of the quant outdoor café. The faux Eiffel tower loomed over them like a watchful eye on the Las Vegas strip.
Jonathan sat huddled over his lunch; a fresh baked croissant and a bacon , cheese and potato salad on a bed of romaine lettuce and tomato. This was absolute heaven ! Culinary genius ! His smart phone sat on the table beside his latte. Lindsay was eating a small spring salad with oil and vinegar dressing and sipping a regular coffee.
The 80’s A-Ha smash hit “Take On Me” bellowed out of Jonathan’s smartphone. At the same time it began vibrating. The smartphone really commanded attention when someone called. This time it was Jonathan’s father as indicated by the display of his picture and contact information.
“Hi Dad.” Jonathan said as he looked over at Lindsay and smiled then gave a playful roll of his eyes.
He listened for a few moments then explained. “Thanks Dad, but I gotta work tomorrow all day. So does Lindsay. Thanks for thinking of us. It sounds like fun ! “ short pause then. “Yes, will see you sometime this weekend for sure.”
He pressed the END button on his phone and slipped it into the breast pocket of his leather jacket forgetting to suppress the lock button feature. As it fell into his pocket , the sensitive touch pad rested on another item in his pocket and as he moved, his phone started doing things as the screen was touched and rubbed.
“What’s the scoop?” Lindsay inquired as Jonathan slipped the unlocked phone into his pocket.
“The scoop is that I am pissed I got interrupted during this awesome lunch. This is the best potato salad ever. “ he said as he dug into it once again and pulled up a large forkful to his mouth. “Actually that was my Dad. He asked if we wanted to go to some Monster truck event out in the desert. Can you believe it ? He really doesn’t even know me.”
Realizing that he did not lock his phone, he fished around in his pocket and pulled it out, pressed the lock feature then set it back on the table. At the same time he continued on, “I mean really, a Monster truck event ? These people ! I mean was I adopted or something ? A monster truck event ? Like I would EVER go to a red neck event like that. I mean look at us, do you think we belong at a tractor pull ? I must have been adopted. My parents love those kinds of things and I can’t stand them. Maybe I was adopted and they just never told me. “
They both giggled and got back to eating their lunch in the little café where people hustled and bustled up and down the Vegas strip. As they were people watching, Jonathan’s cell phone began vibrating and then a “ding ding” sound indicating a text message had just arrived. The “ding ding” sound was not nearly as demanding of the incoming call indicator of a few moments earlier.
Jonathan reached for his phone and read his text message.
From : UNKNOWN: “Yes. You were adopted.”Displayed on the large screen of his smart cell phone.
Jonathan looked at the text in shock. His jaw was open and dropped as his eyes looked in disbelieve.
“What is it Jonathan.” Lindsay said. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost !”
“Look at this text that just came in.” he said as he turned the phone and held it up for her to read.
“What the heck?” Lindsay looked also in disbelief. “How is that possible? Are you playing some joke here ?” she said.
“I thought the same about you but I didn’t see you pull your phone out of your purse.” he said.
They panned the immediate area carefully to see if anything or anyone looked suspicious.
“Ok, there has to be an explanation. This could not have happened.” Jonathan said.
“Answer it.” Lindsay said excited. She sat up in her wrought iron chair and put one black leather booted leg under her butt.
“What should I say. I mean , I have no idea who this is and how they know what we are talking about.” I explained staring at the text screen. He hit the reply button and quickly typed in.“Who is this ? How did you know what we were talking about ? Where are you ? Do you know me ?”
From : UNKNOWN: “Yes, I know you. I am here. I cannot answer your other questions. Please rephrase your question.”
Jonathan and Lindsay looked at the screen. They could not understand what the reply meant. Jonathan replied to the text. He used his speech activated text function now so Lindsay could hear the communications.
“How do you know me? Where is here ? I do not see you. What is going on? Are we being punked ?”
From : UNKNOWN: “You are not being punked. Ashton Kutcher is not here with us. He is filming Two And A Half Men at Warner Brothers studios in Burbank California. I don’t know you and Lindsay personally. You have activated this app on your phone. I am UBERSEARCH.”
Jonathan held the phone across the table so he and Lindsay could see the text replies. They looked at the screen then at each other in disbelief. They pulled back and sat staring at the phone then at each other then back at the phone. They appeared to be caught off guard. They did not know what to do next. They sat back and seemed to be thinking of what to ask.
“What is going on here ?” Jonathan asked looking over at Lindsay.
“I have no idea !”, she said looking back astonishingly.
“What should I do now.” Jonathan asked.
“Well, I think we may still be part of some joke or something.” Lindsay said not believing what she was even saying.
“How ? I mean the only way we could be punked here is if there was someone listening in on us. Hold on, obviously the phone is doing it. Someone put an app on my phone that eavesdrops in on us and someone is on the other end sending us replies. Does that make sense ? It does to me.” Jonathan said now thinking he has it figured out.
“Ok, ask it something only you and I know.” Lindsay said. “Ask it where we met, our birthdays or something like that.”
Jonathan held the phone to his mouth , hit the reply button of his text feature and spoke again. “What is my name ? What is my girlfriend’s name ? Where did we meet? “
Within seconds the reply was back displayed on Jonathan’s phone.
From : UNKNOWN: “You are Jonathan Little, your girlfriend is Lindsay Freeman. You met ninety five days ago at the Paris Casino within thirty feet of where you are sitting now. You both work at the casino.”
“Oh my God !” Lindsay said as she saw the reply hit the screen.
Jonathan and Lindsay sat in awe and disbelief of his phone. Was this really an APP called UBERSEARCH ? Neither of them had ever heard of anything so powerful. It was not possible. How could a smart phone APP really do this. It knows everything.
“Jonathan, it said you were adopted. Do you believe it ? I think it may be right. “ Lindsay said now whispering so no one could hear or see what was going on.
“Well, it sounds like it has qualified itself, hasn’t it ? I mean it knows so much about us. Not many people know this much about us. My parents, your parents, a couple of friends maybe ?”
Jonathan spoke into his text function again. “How can you prove that I am adopted ?”
From : UNKNOWN: “Go to your parent’s home in Henderson Nevada. Go up to the attic and look in the bottom right hand drawer of the old dresser there.”
The two of them looked at the response. Lindsay quickly turned to Jonathan and asked , “Is there an old dresser in your parent’s attic? “
“I don’t know. It’s been ten years since I was last up there. There is a lot of junk up there. There is some furniture up there for sure I know. I have no doubt that this APP is right though. We have every reason to believe it now right ?” Jonathan said.
That evening Jonathan called and made an excuse to his parents that he and Lindsay would like to stop by and say hello the next morning and that Jonathan needed to get something out of the attic he had been looking for.
They finished their lunch talking about the UBERSEARCH APP and how it was probably some joke still being played on them. Although neither said anything, something in the back of both of their minds told them that the APP was genuine and they had stumbled onto something huge.
The next morning came around quickly and as planned, Jonathan and Lindsay drove to Henderson Nevada and stopped by Jonathan’s parent’s home. They made small talk , talked about the upcoming monster truck show while Jonathan and Lindsay tried to appear interested. Jonathan was itching to make his way up to the attic to get the proof he was looking for. If he could find this information two things were definite. One, he would have a life altering issue to deal with and unfold. Number two was that this crazy app he apparently accidentally downloaded would be validated and he would have to figure out how to utilize it best. What would he and Lindsay do ?
Jonathan made his way up the stairs to the large attic of his parent’s home. Sure enough there stood an old dresser pushed up against a wall and wedged into the slope of the rafters .
He walked over to the dresser and knew what he was going to find. He opened the bottom right had drawer as instructed. Tucked down in the bottom of a pile of old papers and useless items was a small envelope. The handwriting on the front told the whole story. It read “ Jonathan’s information.” The upper left hand corner had an old worn return label that appeared to read “something, something adoption agency.”
Jonathan took the envelope, stuffed it into the back of his jacket and down his waistline and headed down the stairs. He was void of the sad emotion over this new discovery because he had already resigned to believing it the night before when the UBERSEARCH APP told him so. He believed after everything this APP knew , that he would find out exactly what he was told was there. In fact over the past twelve hours since the APP was discovered, Jonathan had done a few more things with it that even Lindsay did not know.
Jonathan knew who the birth parents were. UBERSEARCH told him what was in the envelope from the adoption agency. The paperwork knew who the mother was but the father was unknown. UBERSEARCH was able to narrow the father down to three possible men. That meant that he was obviously an accident and his mother was a free spirit and opened her legs up to anyone who asked. At least this was Jonathan’s take on it. He was not bitter and his birth parents. He was however somewhat bitter with his adopted parents for not telling him.
He descended the stairs and entered the kitchen where his parents were sitting chatting with Lindsay. When Lindsay saw Jonathan enter the room and his subtle nod she immediately ran to his side and held him. It did not look like he needed any comfort though. He looked more like he was duped. After all he was duped and by the two people he loved and trusted the most.
He did not want to bring this all up to his parents just yet. He was still reeling from other facet that was going to change his life.
He and Lindsay worked their way through the visit and took off as fast as they could get out.
“This confirms everything !” he said as he tossed the envelope into Lindsay’s lap as soon as they pulled away from the house.
“So it is true. It was definitely not someone trying to punk us.” She said.
“I told you that this phone APP was real. Now we know it. Now we can use it to our benefit.” He said with excitement.
“What about the fact that you are adopted ? That is bigger news, I think.” Lindsay said .
“I guess on some level I knew. I never told anyone or talked about it because I didn’t want anyone to know what I was thinking. Especially if I was wrong. How messed up would that have been ? I am ok with the adoption. It actually explains a lot. A lot ! Now I know why my big brother is so different than me. We are like night and day. He is a ripped jeans, beer drinking overweight red neck who drives and old beat up pick up truck. And look at me. I drive a goddam Prius !” Jonathan said with a chuckle as they both looked at properly dressed and prim they both appeared.
“ I will deal with talking to my parents later. Right now we need to talk about this game changer we have here in our hands.” Jonathan said with excitement.
“Now, do we tell anyone yet ?” Lindsay asked.
“No.” Not yet. “We need to test it and understand it first. We need to know its limits.” Jonathan explained. “Agree ?”
“Yes. Mum’s the word for now.” Lindsay agreed.
“Ok, now let’s sit down and figure out what its limits are. I want to know if it can benefit us somehow. Do you think it can tell the future ? I mean it can tell the past, right ?” Jonathan said.
“That would be a good test limit. Let’s try to ask it if it knows the lottery numbers.” Lindsay said excited.
“Great idea !” Jonathan said adding enthusiasm. He then pulled up the text message string and voice activated his question.
“What will the Nevada State Lottery numbers be tonight?” Jonathan spoke.
From : UNKNOWN: “This result is too random. No way to predict.”
“Who will win the Philadelphia Eagles , Dallas Cowboys NFL game tomorrow ?”
From : UNKNOWN: “ Dallas will easily beat Philadelphia this game.”
They drove back to the strip of Las Vegas and into the employee parking area of the Paris Casino. Neither of them had to work but it was payday and they wanted to pick up their pay checks.
As they entered the casino and were on their way to get their checks cashed at the employee cashier Jonathan had a thought.
“Maybe he can predict what machine will pop next.” Jonathan said excitedly. “Let’s try !!”
He continued on asking UBERSEARCH what machine will pay out the most and when.
The reply came quick.
From : UNKNOWN: “ There are two machines that are due to payout within an estimated two hours. The first is the “Wheel Of Fortune” machine located in the southwest corner across from the restrooms. Machine number 4159 will pay out the jackpot of over $2000. The second machine to pay out will be the video poker machine located beside the craps tables. The last dollar machine in the row. Machine number V5299 will pay out the progressive amount of approximately $5350.00.”
Then another text came in a moment later as well.
From : UNKNOWN: “There is a large upset today at the horse racetrack as well. Would you like that information as well Jonathan ?”
“Oh My God ! “ Lindsay whispered as she huddled over the phone and looked around to see if anyone was watching them.
“Let’s go see if it is true. Let’s go get our paychecks.” Jonathan said as he took Lindsay’s hand.
They went into the employee area, picked up their checks and headed directly to the employee cage to cash their checks. They stood in line anxiously waiting for their cash along with the four or five employees doing the same. Within just a few minutes they were facing the cashier with paychecks and identification in hand.
They received their cash and made a bee line to the Wheel Of Fortune machine UBERSEARCH indicated earlier.
They got to the bank of machines along the south end of the casino across from the restrooms as directed and began looking at the machine numbers. Trying not to be conspicuous, they went down the row of eight machines that were back to back from another eight seemingly identical machines. There were a handful of men and women puffing away on their cigarettes pushing buttons and hoping for the jackpot payout.Lindsay was getting a bit impatient and showing signs that would not go over well if anyone caught onto what they were doing.
“Slow down Lindsay.” Jonathan whispered. “Stay near me and try not to be so obvious. If someone sees that we are casing the place out and checking out machine numbers, we will be in trouble. Probably lose our jobs too ! Remember we work here.”
Just as they were discussing how they should be acting the bells and whistled started at the Wheel Of Fortune machine at the end of the row. They looked at each other, then down the row where an elderly man stood up and started cheering. The elder woman beside him looked over jumped up and they high fived.
Lindsay and Jonathan walked over to see what the deal was but they already knew. Looking up they could see the jackpot lights flashing.
Lindsay looked over and bent down to the elder woman and man and asked, “How much did you win?” with cheerful excitement in her question.
“$2,750.00 !! “ the older man said with excitement.
“Awesome !” Lindsay said and walked away looking at the side of the machine as she headed back to Jonathan. Yup ! Machine number 4159 !
“Was that the machine ?” Jonathan asked , already knowing the answer but looking for confirmation.
“Yup ! Shit ! We missed it !” Lindsay said as Jonathan gently grabbed her arm and started walking toward the craps table.
“Come on!” he whispered. “Let’s hit that Video Poker game !”
“Where was it again ?”
“Last dollar machine closest to the tables. I know that machine. I play it sometimes. It owes me ! “ Jonathan whispered again.
They quickly walked the short distance to the poker machines that were awaiting them. Jonathan made another bee line directly to the machine UBERSEARCH indicated. Lindsay was a full four steps behind Jonathan as they reached the machine. Now who was looking too obvious, Lindsay thought.
“Shit !” he whispered under his breathe. It was being played again ! Dammit !
Just as he slowed down his pace to see the middle aged woman sitting at his machine, she hit the cashout button, waited a moment for her ticket to print out, stood up and grabbed her paper payout ticket and walked away.
Jonathan did not skip a beat and was ready for her exit and sat down before the seat cushion she was sitting on could depress and fill with air again. He sat down on the still warm fake leather chair and looked at the payout the lady just received. It read two hundred sixty dollars.
“Phew ! It’s still here.” Jonathan said under his breath as he looked at the payout line for the Royal Flush for the five dollar play line. It read $5359.00. It was about to pop any minute now.
Jonathan pulled out his small wad of twenties and slid two in as quick as the flashing auto bill receiver would take them. He settled in at the machine while Lindsay took the empty seat beside him.
“Are we sure this is the right machine ?” Lindsay said.
“Ask the phone.” He suggested. “Think it will tell us ?”
“Why not! It should, right?” Lindsay said concurring with his idea.
Jonathan handed the phone to Lindsay without taking his eyes off his machine. He was focused and determined. Lindsay pulled up the now familiar text window and asked the question if they were at the correct machine.
From : UNKNOWN: “Yes this is the correct machine.”
Jonathan’s heart began racing as he pushed his buttons wisely and rapidly , careful he did not mess up and throw away any cards that could be the winning Royal Flush hand. Jonathan went through the forty dollars he pumped into the machine. He quickly dug into his front pocket and pulled out another three twenty dollar bills. As before, he quickly slipped the money into the mouth of the always hungry Video Poker machine. Click, click, click went the buttons as he held what he believed were the proper cards for optimum payout. Lindsay sat watching, speechless and seemingly holding her breath every time the machine dealt a new set of the five cards.
She watched the video poker machine spit out another hand: Ace of diamonds, Ace of clubs, Queen of spades, Ten of diamonds and Ten of clubs.
“Shit Lindsay ! Look at this hand !” Jonathan said. “What should I do ?”
“Play your hand like you normally would I guess.” She whispered. “ I don’t know.” She added.
“Should we ask the phone ?” Jonathan said.
“K. Hold on.” She said and then was about to speak the question then stopped. “I don’t know what to ask it.”
“Ask it if it can help us with the cards to hold.” Jonathan whispered.
“K” she whispered back. She held the phone up to her lips again. “Can you help us with what cards to hold on the Video Poker game ?”
From : UNKNOWN: “Yes. What is your query ?”
Lindsay spoke into the phone again explaining that she had two identical options for a Royal Flush. Should she hold the diamonds or the clubs.
From : UNKNOWN: “It does not matter Lindsay. Your odds are the same for either choice for a Royal Flush. It is predetermined. You will win when it lets you win. If not this hand then another will win.”
They looked at each other and then at the phone and then at the machine. “How about that ?” Jonathan said smiling.
Jonathan held the Ace and Ten of diamonds hit the deal button and closed his eyes tight. He listened to the “ding ding” sound the Video Poker machine makes when you win any hand. The longer the dings the higher the payout. A pair of “Jacks or better” dings for a brief moment, three of a kind dings a little longer, full house even longer and so on until the jackpot of a Royal Flush and then it dings for minutes and minutes.
Jonathan held his eyes shut tight for just a few seconds and listened to the dinging last longer than just a pair or three of a kind. Just when he was about to look at what his payout was , Lindsay jumped up and began to scream and laugh.
JACKPOT ! ROYAL FLUSH !$5361.00 was the payout !
They jumped up and down and could not believe they had won. They were ecstatic ! They were hugging and laughing and as happy as can be. They awaited their total to be tabulated into their machine’s bank. Once the whole jackpot of $5361 was received into their credits they punched the cashout button. The machine started flashing signifying they were to be paid in person rather than receive a ticket payout.
Excited and giddy they awaited the casino staff to arrive and hand pay the winnings. Two floor staff arrived with their money. They were hugging each other and laughing and carrying on happily. Jonathan held out his hands while they counted aloud his winnings. He tipped them fifty dollars then stuffed the rest of the cash into the breast pocket of his leather jacket, zipped it up tight and headed for the exits.
“Ok, so what now ?” Lindsay said excitedly.
“Let’s go the café outside, sit and have a coffee and think about it a while ok ?” Jonathan suggested. Lindsay agreed and they strolled along the casino pathway under the massive iron legs of the faux Eiffel Tower at the casino and made their way toward the café on the strip where Jonathan was the manager.
“Hope we can get a table.” Jonathan said mockingly as he opened the “employee only” gate of the fence that partitioned off the café from the drones of traffic up and down the Vegas strip. Jonathan held the heavy wrought iron gate open for Lindsay as they slipped in and quickly made their way to the far end of the café. They did not go unnoticed. An employee eyed them as they made their way toward an empty table. Jonathan nodded and waived to the employee and the employee acknowledged them and waived back. Being the manager, it afforded Jonathan a few luxuries and this was one of them. The gate was not to be used by anyone , employee or not. The only exception was management. Jonathan qualified as recognized by the waiter who watched him enter.
Lindsay and Jonathan settled in at their table and were immediately greeted by one of the waiters.
“Hi Chris.” Jonathan said greeting the server. “Sorry for coming in through the street entrance. We didn’t feel like waiting today. We are in a bit of a hurry.”
“Hey man, you know you don’t have to apologize to your own employee. Do what you want man, you’re the boss around these parts.” Chris replied and smiled. “ Hi Lindsay.”
“What’s going on Chris?” she said smiling.
The server took their order of coffee and a light lunch. Jonathan had the amazing potato salad. Lindsay followed with her own potato salad as well.
“You know this is just the beginning, right ?” Jonathan said in a bit of a whisper as he reached across the table and held Lindsay’s hand.
“I know. I wonder how long this will last ? I wonder what our limits are ? I wonder how accurate this thing is ? Lots of questions……” she trailed off.
“Well, we need to be very wise and quick about this. We need to set out a plan of what we can do here. I will take back my sixty dollars from our winnings and we can work with what we won today. Sound good ?This way we will not lose our own money. Also, I think we need to go to another casino, obviously.” He paused a moment and let everything he said sink in with Lindsay.He continued on. “We can only hit a casino a couple times and then we are out. Ok ? That way we will not have eyes on us. You know it won’t be long before we start getting attention put on us.”
“Exactly. You are right about everything. We should definitely not do anything here anymore. Once is no big deal but no more. I agree.” Lindsay said. “Do we go try again right now ?”
“I think so but let’s try to think about this logically ok ? There are so many things we need to be careful of.” Jonathan explained.
“Agree. What are they ? We don’t ever want to set ourselves up for losing everything on one bet right ? So we never go all in on anything , ok ?” Lindsay detailed further.
“Right. We also only go into a casino once, hit a couple wins if we can and we are out. No reentry for at least a month ? If our phone lasts that long.” Jonathan said. “ That leads me to the next question. How long do we have ? Is it indefinite ? How many people know about this APP ? We have to make sure we never have this phone leave our side. Also I think we never delete this text string ok ? I mean, once it is closed , will it reopen or is it done ?”
“Good idea. Don’t change a thing ! We never know. We don’t fully understand what is going on here so let’s ride it as fast and long as we can. What else can we do ?” Lindsay asked.
Their orders quickly arrived and they sat back and began eating their meals. They continued brainstorming.
“Ok , so what are the best payouts here in Vegas ?” Jonathan posed the question.
“Well, there are limits though right? Lottery is out. I am guessing that means Keno too ? Scratch tickets as well do you think ? What about sports betting ? Craps ? Black Jack ? “ Lindsay added.
“The phone said there was a big upset at the horse track so I am guessing sports betting is an option. We will just have to find out right ? Let’s finish eating our lunch and then slip into Bally’s next door and see what is going on at the race track. What do you think ?” Jonathan suggested.
“Good ! I can’t wait !” Lindsay said as she popped another mound full of bacon , cheese potato salad into her mouth.
The two of them finished their lunches quickly and quietly now. Once finished , Jonathan slid his hand carefully into his breast pocket and pulled out a couple of twenty dollar bills.
Chris the server arrived with the bill and held it out looking at Jonathan. “Do you want me to just put this on your desk or do you want to pay it now or what should I do with it ?”
Jonathan put his hand out to receive the bill and said , “I’ll take care of it now.” He quickly glanced at the twenty three dollar and change bill then handed the two twenty dollar bills to Chris and said “keep the change.”
Chris looked at the bill and then at the forty dollars and his jaw dropped. “What ? Jonathan, no. This is too much.”
“No worries buddy. Lindsay and I just hit it pretty big in the casino. Over five grand on the progressive Video Poker. Can you believe it !” he said beaming. “Lindsay had this premonition so we went with it ! Can you believe it ! “
“Awesome dude !” Chris said. “And that’s all the time I get ? Man, service must have been shitty.” He said lauging.
“Gotta run now buddy. Thanks ! Hey, we are going out the street exit again ok ? “ Jonathan said as they both raised and headed to the exit.
Lindsay and Jonathan began navigating the strip full of pedestrians making their way up and down going in and out of the many casinos. They were used to the mobs of people on the strip in Las Vegas and easily weaved in and out as they predicted the patterns of how people moved on the strip. The walk from the Paris Casino to Bally’s was just a few hundred feet so their navigation was very quick.
They entered the large glass doors of Bally’s casino and made their way to the back of the casino where the Off Track Betting area was located. The traffic was just as thick inside the Casino and they continued to navigate their way.
They found a table near a corner and pulled out Jonathan’s phone. Jonathan opened up the text window and the text string displayed itself.
Jonathan asked the UBERSEARCH APP, “Can you tell me who will win the next horse race ?”
From : UNKNOWN: ”Yes. The probable winner is horse number five. Brown Sugar has a ninety three percent probability of winning the next race.”
Lindsay and Jonathan awaited the next race and sure enough , UBERSEARCH was right on again !
Lindsay and Jonathan sat and discussed what they should do next and how much they should bet remembering that the phone said there was only a probability of a win. There was definitely a margin of error here.
They began asking their specific questions into the phone. After much deliberation, calculating winning percentages and chances of winning the biggest amount with the safest bet , Lindsay and Jonathan strolled to the window and placed their two hundred dollar bet on the horses in the next race. Luck Be A Lady , Nobody’s Shadow & Hellon Heels were their bets on win , place and show. The odds of this race finishing in this order was fifty to one. This had a potential of netting them ten thousand dollars ! They placed their bet, went back to their seats and watched with agonizing intensity. The next five minutes from the start of their bet to the final lap seemed like hours.
The watched the monitors and listened intently.
“We are rounding the last turn now. Nobody’s shadow is in the lead with Hellon Heels right on his heels. Luck Be A Lady is lagging behind the two leaders and it looks like he is gaining some speed here in the final stretch. Here comes Luck Be A Lady taking on Hellon Heels. Luck Be A Lady is about to pass Hellon Heels ! And there he goes ! Luck Be A Lady is pouring it on in the final stretch. He is gaining on Nobody’s Shadow. Here he comes ! He’s about to take over first place just as we come into the final yards ! That’s it ! Luck Be A Lady has come from behind and wins the race ! Your winners are Luck Be A Lady , Nobody’s Shadow takes second and Hellon Heels in third ! What a race ! What a finale ! Who could have predicted Luck Be A Lady would win this one !”
Dumbfounded. The look on Jonathan and Lindsay’s faces were comical. They could not believe this! They just won again ! Ten thousand and five thousand three hundred and change.
They took their ticket to the window and waited for their winnings. They could hardly contain themselves. They felt like criminals. Were they ?
Within two hours they were fifteen thousand dollars richer! They were excited and jumping for joy. They spoke very little as they left the casino hand in hand and headed for Las Vegas Boulevard once again. Jonathan began feeling somewhat like a criminal.
They walked slowly down the strip and headed toward the Flamingo Casino. They travelled up the stairs to the walkway over Flamingo Boulevard then back down the stairs and onto the strip again. They did not speak again until they were just outside the Flamingo casino.
“Let’s stop and sit here a while and have a soda.” Jonathan suggested. They were still holding hands and he gave Lindsay a little directional tug to a vacant table.”
“Great. We need to rest and work out our next plan.” She said smiling and still giddy.
Jonathan departed and went to the counter and ordered two Pepsis. He arrived back and set one in front of Lindsay.
“Ok, I have to say, I feel like a criminal.” Jonathan started with the conversation.
“You too huh ?” Lindsay said and smiled at him. “You know we are not though , right ? I mean I guess we are just getting advice on how to gamble. It’s not a crime.” She knew she was not very convincing even as she said it.
“So what do we do ? Do we stop ?” Jonathan asked.
“Hell no !” she said giggling as she sipped her cold drink.
“Ok so one more go at it today and then we will stop and see what happens ?” he asked.
“Sure. Where ? Here ?” Lindsay said quickly as her voice lowered a little as she slipped into her secret gambling mode again.
“As good a place as any I suppose. What is our plan ?” Jonathan replied also slipping into his secret agent mode.
“Ask the phone.” She suggested.
“Ok. Here goes.” Jonathan replied as he pulled out the phone and pulled up the text box.
“What is the best odds of winning at the Flaming Casino in Vegas.” He whispered into his phone.
From : UNKNOWN: “The question is too random. Please be more specific.”
Jonathan peered across his phone at Lindsay. “Now what?” he whispered.
“Rephrase the question I suppose.” She responded.
They finished up their drinks and walked the few steps into the casino and Jonathan held up the phone and spoke the question. “Are there any casino games here that will pay out more than ten thousand dollars ?”
“Oh good one Jonathan !” Lindsay said awaiting a response as anxiously as Jonathan was.
From : UNKNOWN: “There are several machines that will pay out an excess of ten thousand dollars today. Blazing Sevens jackpot will go for over twelve thousand dollars in the next two hours. The machine most likely to pay out is located across from Bugsy’s Bar directly nine hundred feet ahead of you. There are two Video Poker machines in the high limits room that will payout over ten thousand dollars today. There is also a Double Diamond game located at the opposite end of the casino that will pay out in excess of ten thousand dollars today. Would you like the exact locations for these machines ?”
“Yes please.” Jonathan eagerly spoke back to the UBERSEARCH APP.
The text window displayed the exact locations , numbers and amounts that will be paid out. All of them were within the next two hours.
“Ok, let’s split up and hit the Blazing Sevens and the Double Diamond machines. They have the best payouts and besides , its just a slot machine. No thinking involved.” Jonathan said, sounding like a pro now.
“Good plan boss !” Lindsay replied and laughed nervously.
“They are both one dollar machines and in order to win the full jackpot we need to do the maximum bet of three dollars a spin.” Jonathan said.
“Wow ! That is a lot of cash we have to put out then right ?” Lindsay said nervously.
Jonathan reached into his large wad of money in his breast pocket and pulled out a dozen hundred dollar bills and gave them to Lindsay. “Let’s roll.” He said.
“Wow, oh wow ! Can you believe this ! We are betting thousands of our winnings. I sure hope we win !” Lindsay said as she tucked the money into her black leather purse.
They walked together to the Blazing Sevens machine they were directed to play. Lindsay went over and sat down and got settled in to play.
“Ok, you are all set ? You know to play the maximum bet every time right ? If you run out of money, call me and we will figure out what to do. Ok ?” Jonathan said. He kissed her forehead and set off for his machine.
Jonathan found his machine. Thankfully there was no one at that machine either so he was able to sit right down and start playing. He pulled out a hundred dollar bill , inserted it into the bill slot and began to play. He was in no particular hurry this time and did not think much while he played. He repeatedly pressed the max spin button and watched. The jackpot was fifteen thousand dollars for the double diamonds lined up three in a row. He played for an hour and thought maybe he was at the wrong machine or that someone already won it in the short time from when he was told it was going to win and when he was able to settle into playing it. He wondered how Lindsay was doing too. She was way away from where he was and until she called or showed up where he was, there was no way to tell how she was fairing. He had a thought. Ask UBERSEARCH again !
“Did the Blazing Sevens payout yet?” Jonathan spoke into his phone.
From : UNKNOWN: “The machine paid out twelve minutes ago. Ten thousand dollars.”
Jonathan looked at the screen. What ? Did Lindsay win it ? Where was she if she did ? His mind raced wondering if she was caught or if she left the machine and it paid out while she left it unattended. Was she at the wrong machine ? Thoughts were racing through his mind. He was getting nervous and somewhat frightened. He was as paranoid as he could be. He did not know what to do. He couldn’t leave the machine now, he was on his fifteenth hundred dollar bill ! He was down fifteen hundred dollars now ! Lindsay had to be out of money as well.
Just as he was calculating how much they had spent assuming Lindsay used up her twelve hundred dollars she appeared from behind a row of machines. She was walking quickly and with excitement abound.
She raced to him as he got out of his seat , grabbed him and hugged him and kissed him all over his cheek.
“Ten Grand baby ! I just won Ten Grand ! Can you believe it ? “ she said and opened up her purse to show him.
“Oh my god ! You did it ! You did it !” I exclaimed.
“You are still playing ? No luck yet huh ?” she said and sat in the chair next to him.
While Jonathan kept pressing the max spin button and chugging through another hundred dollar bill , Lindsay explained why she was delayed. It was another hand payout by the casino workers and another tax form.
“Shit ! I forgot about that !” Jonathan said laughing. “I asked the phone if your machine paid off and it said it paid out like fifteen minutes ago. Well you know where my mind went !”
“Yes, you still think we are criminals.” She responded. “Jonathan, we are not criminals !”
Another hundred went into the machine and then another hundred. On Jonathan’s sixteenth hundred dollar bill Lindsay suggested he confirm that this was the machine. He told her that he did that about the same time he checked to see if her machine paid out.
The machine ate up a total of twenty one hundred dollar bills when it finally hit. Double diamonds across the board ! Fifteen thousand dollar payout ! The machine went into its frenzy of ringing and dinging and lights flashing. Jonathan and Lindsay were getting familiar with the routine of payout and forms they would need to complete to get their winnings.
For the fourth time that day the two of them sat across from the casino staff while they doled out hundred dollar bill after hundred dollar bill.
They left the Flamingo casino ahead big time. Jonathan did a quick calculation and after Lindsay’s eleven hundred spent to win the ten thousand and Jonathan’s sixteen hundred to win fifteen thousand, they were ahead a total of twenty two thousand three hundred. The day’s total winnings were now atthirty seven thousand dollars. Unbelievable ! Absolutely unbelievable ! They had just won more than either of them make in a year ! All before six o’clock in the evening.
Since Jonathan’s car was all the way down the strip now at the Paris employee’s parking area, and they were loaded with cold hard cash, they went out the back way from the casino and hopped into a cab. They sped away feeling like criminals and headed for Lindsay’s place four blocks off the strip on Paradise boulevard.
Their excitement was uncontrollable. They were out of their minds with their new found winfall and their phone APP. They entered Lindsay’s second floor walkup apartment and Jonathan quickly locked the door behind them.
Lindsay’s apartment was minimally furnished and decorated. On her salary, she was not able to furnish it the way she wanted to and it was never her focus at this early stage of her life. She had been focusing on paying off some school debt and bad purchase decisions on credit cards. Her current credit card debt was almost ten thousand dollars. Her student loans were triple that. Jonathan was in a similar financial situation. His debt was somewhere near fifty thousand.
They were both responsible law abiding young people. They would never think of defrauding , cheating, stealing or anything that was socially unacceptable. They worked very hard at their careers and their young relationship. This was the crux of their discussions that evening.
“I just want to say for the record again that we are not criminals. We didn’t break any laws today.” Lindsay said as she curled up on the couch beside Jonathan who was sitting there with the cash , stacking and putting it in order.
“I know. You said that already, but I just can’t help thinking that we are doing something wrong here. Don’t you feel that way ?” he replied looking away from the huge pile of money on the coffee table.
“I guess a little.” She replied as she started helping with the stack , counting and shaking her head.
“All I know is that we have got to get this money to the bank first thing tomorrow.” Jonathan said.
“Agreed.” Lindsay responded. “Do we divvy it up or do you want to start a joint account or what are you thinking?”
“I think we start a joint checking account with it. What do you think ? Good idea ?” Jonathan said as he finished counting and organizing the last pile of money and sunk back into the sofa.
“How much is it ?Thirty something thousand?” she said. “ I can’t believe it ! In one day !”
“Thirty Seven thousand exactly.” Jonathan replied. “Un friggin believeable!”
“Ok so we start a joint checking account tomorrow first thing.” Lindsay confirmed. “But can we take a bit off the top ? Say a thousand cash each to do what we want with it and put an even thirty five thousand in the bank ?”
“I think that is a great idea but I think we need to keep about five thousand for tomorrow’s action.” Jonathan added.
“I have to work all day tomorrow. So do you.” She answered back.
“Umm…. I think I am calling in sick tomorrow.” He said back to her then hesitated and added, “Or call in and quit.”
“No way Jonathan. Neither of us are going to quit our jobs for this. At least not yet. We have to talk about what we are going to do. Like I mean, how long do you think this will last ? How accurate is it ? We might end up losing it all tomorrow you know. One or two wrong bets and we are toast !”
“Not if we do this with the proper calculation and care, Linds.” Jonathan said and put his hand on her thigh. “We just have to be very smart and not get greedy here.”
“Ok, so we both call in sick tomorrow and do this again then ? I’m good with that. We can’t go back to any of the casinos that we just won at though. We have to go downtown or something. Let’s think about what our plan is going to be tomorrow and the next day and the next day.”
“I agree. We have to plan this all out tonight. I am off the day after tomorrow for two days. What about you ?” Jonathan asked.
“Same. I am off the day after tomorrow but have to work the next five days after that.” She said.
“Ok, so neither of us are going to quit without notice right ? I mean we cannot do that right ? What if this thing runs out in two days? We would both be jobless and our quitting without notice would hurt our resumes.” Jonathan said.
They continued to hammer out their plan responsibly and carefully. They decided that they would go to the various casinos in Vegas and gamble on what they thought would be sure bets for the next week or so. They would schedule their ventures with their daily work schedules. If things went as well as their first day then they would request some vacation time in the next week or so. They decided they would get out of Vegas and hit Reno for a few days. If their first day was an indication of how lucrative this new APP was going to be, they would be well over three hundred thousand in the next ten days. They agreed to pay off all of their debts first and then talk about buying a house together and moving in. This was all part of their ten day plan. They also agreed that if they won like their calculations indicated, they would not return to work after their vacation in Reno. They would travel from Reno to Biloxi Mississippi then to Atlantic City and try their luck throughout the casino and gambling hot spots.
By the time they had finishing concocting their plans, they figured that each casino had payouts that were going to hit at specific times anyway, so what was so bad if they were the recipients of those payouts ? Lindsay had convinced Jonathan that this was not illegal in their minds.
The next day they awoke and did exactly as they set out in their plan. Since both Jonathan and Lindsay were somewhat above your average techie, their plan was actually neatly set up on an Excel spreadsheet. Their plan, winnings, expenses, timelines and locations were all neatly organized on Jonathan’s laptop. They set out on their journey via taxi , laptop and cell phone in hand. Their golden tickets !
They went to the Chase bank a few blocks away from Lindsay’s apartment. Hand in hand they strolled up to the teller, Lindsay with a large designer knockoff handbag slung across her shoulder which matched her clothing smartly. The handbag was full of cash; mostly hundreds and twenties.
They opened up their joint account with the thirty thousand dollars cash with little to no suspicion from the Chase bank teller. They explained that they won it at the casino the night before. In Vegas cash is not something that is uncommon. People walk around with thousands of dollars on them all the time. The bank never gave Jonathan and Lindsay’s transaction a second look.
They quickly headed down the strip away from the Flamingo and Paris casinos and decided to start at the Mandalay Bay casino at the start of the southern strip. Perfect ! They would start there, then onto the Luxor then Excalibur and then over to the Tropicana and then New York New York casino. They were all very large casinos and huge payouts happened every day at any of these casinos.
The adrenaline filled day began. They promised to try to stay calm as they worked through the Mandalay Bay casino. They scanned the large casino floor and asked UBERSEARCH which machines were going to pay out the most money and the earliest. They were hoping they would not have to sit and play as long as they did at the Flamingo casino. That was nerve wracking for them. Hopefully it would be a lot of smaller quick payouts. They had all day and their spreadsheet told them they could quit at thirty thousand for the day.
They played and won a few thousand dollar payouts at various Double Diamond slots and a four thousand dollar payout on a progressive poker machine where they hit a royal flush. They were over seven thousand dollars ahead when they stopped to take a break and get some food at the all you can eat buffet.
They settled in at their booth and talked about their winnings thus far. They both anxiously sat and picked at their food. They both decided they were not hungry after all. The moved their food around their plates picking at some fruit, a few pieces of bacon and toast and soon realized that they were far too excited to get this show on the road and see how they make out for the day. Would UBERSEARCH prove to be as accurate as the days prior ?
They gathered their things from the table and headed back toward the casino floor. Lindsay did a double check of the essentials. Knock off purse full of money ? Check. Laptop in the bag ? Check. Jonathan’s cell phone ? In his hand. Check. A quick double check to see that her purse also held the cash winnings for the day, yup ! All set.
As they walked toward the casino floor Jonathan began to feel the anxiety again. The rush was incredible. Her senses heightened, her pulse raced, she had a slight trembling feeling and a dryness came over her mouth. What a rush !
Jonathan looked over at Lindsay and he could sense that she felt the same anxiety as they ventured toward their next slot machine victim.
Jonathan sat a slot machine as Lindsay hovered over. Jonathan had now figured out how to get UBERSEARCH to respond in voice rather than text on the screen. He could now speak into the search function and UBERSEARCH would speak back the responses.
Jonathan had asked if there were any large payouts about to come due in the casino. He also asked about any horse track racing going on. Was there anything that was an upset that they could bet low and win high on? Any Blazing Sevens or Double Diamonds or Wheel Of Fortune machines about to spill a mother lode today ? Nothing came up of any note for them so they decided to go next door to the Luxor. They left the casino floor and headed for the tram that connected the two casinos.
Thirty yards away stood a man in a dark suit speaking into a tiny microphone wired to his ear and suit cuff. He was standing strategically behind a bank of slot machines cautiously watching Jonathan and Lindsay exit the establishment.
“They are leaving the casino.” the man in black whispered into his suit cuff.
“Got them. I am watching them on camera now.” the earpiece spoke back. “What can you tell me about them.” It said again.
“Nothing to speak of sir. It appears they have won based on luck. They are not doing anything out of the norm. No employees are approaching them. They do not work here, they do not seem to know anyone here and they are certainly not any sort of professional anything from my perspective.” The suit replied. “I have nothing sir. The only thing they are doing is hitting slots and poker machines randomly and winning just on luck. He seems to be on his phone texting or emailing a lot but that’s about it.”
“Follow them anyway. Something is up here. No one wins on five different machines the way they did. Random my ass. See if they meet anyone or talk to anyone. Stay with them a couple more hours and see what they do.” The man behind the speakerphone demanded.
“Yes sir.” The black suit replied. He skulked onward behind Lindsay and Jonathan keeping back a distance so he could not be seen. This was not his first day at the rodeo. He had been kicking ass and taking names for the casinos in town for twenty years so tracking a couple of fresh out of high school kids running some small time game was a cake walk.
Unknowingly beings shadowed, Jonathan and Lindsay hopped onto the tram and went the short distance across the Mandalay Bay property and on into the Luxor casino. People shuffled off in one solid mob while another mob the same size and same shape mobbed onto the car. Nondescript tourists and gamblers came in and out of the Luxor. The man in the suit was nondescript but somewhat overdressed. He was not aware that when he dressed that morning that he would be shadowing suspects. He would have dressed more like the rest of the crowd. He slowed and took a back position in the wave of people going into the casino. Fully aware of his overdressed state, he took off his suit jacket and draped it over his arm. He stripped himself of his tie and unbuttoned his top two shirt buttons, folded his tie and stuffed it into his suit jacket pocket. There. He was now nondescript.
Lindsay and Jonathan made a beeline for the casino floor. They settled in at a slot machine and went through their routine with UBERSEARCH. Lindsay hovered over Jonathan while he asked the questions and listened for their instructions. UBERSEARCH determined that there was a wheel of fortune machine ready to blow its load. Lindsay paid careful attention to the machine number then went on her hunt to find it. They had determined from day one that they would be very careful about how they looked for the machine numbers. This was a giveaway to anyone who may be watching them and they knew that every person in casinos were being watched at all times. They were unaware that they were already targeted and on a watch list.
Jonathan was advised by UBERSEARCH that there were nice odds on an upcoming horse race with a huge payout so he headed toward the race track betting area. They had split up in the casino which effectively and unknowingly altered the suit’s plan. He knew that Lindsay had gone off to another area of slot machines so he quickly chose to follow Jonathan.
Jonathan went up to the cages and laid down a five hundred dollar bet with twenty to one odds of winning. If he got the win, place and show in the right order he would stand to win ten thousand ! He took a seat at a lone table and waited. He slumped back in his chair and began scanning the area. He watched people come in , place bets and watch the monitors. He watched several races finish and waited for his race to begin. He looked around the gaming room and noticed the man in the suit. He was sitting alone at a table across the room. He would not have stood out other than the fact that he was sitting there attempting to read the paper and paid no attention to the races going on all around the room. Every other person in that room was preoccupied with a race or upcoming bets they were going to make. This guy was sitting reading the paper and emotionless. He peered around his paper and noticed me looking at him. He folded the paper down completely and looked past me and around the area. He got up stretched and went to the wicket. Jonathan decided that he was just being paranoid. He wondered why this guy would be watching him ? He and Lindsay have yet to win anything in this casino and the winnings at Mandalay Bay would not have flagged them. Would it ? he thought. He decided this guy was concocted out of his own paranoid conscience. He decided right then that he would be far more attentive to his surroundings. If this guy was not casino security, maybe he was a guy that noticed the winnings and he was casing Jonathan out to rob him. That thought never crossed his mind until just now. He would definitely discuss this with Lindsay. They are starting to play with high stakes and something was bound to happen at some point. Security or muggers or even worse, murderers would start to become aware of what is going on and it would all catch up with him. Jonathan didn’t know if this whole thing was something he was capable of pulling off . Could he keep up this high pace , adrenaline packed thrill ride ? He thought certainly not without Lindsay. He decided he would talk to Lindsay about their not splitting up in the casinos anymore.
Just as he watched the man in the suit purchase a ticket from the wicket and walk out of the gambling room , Jonathan’s race was winding down. They were on the home stretch and as his ticket and UBERSEARCH stated, he was a winner ! Again ! He went to the window claimed his prize, pocketed the money and proceeded to exit the gaming area. He hauled ass over to where he saw Lindsay sitting playing Wheel Of Fortune. He sat down at the empty slot machine beside Lindsay. She was playing heartily away at maximum bet. Three dollars a crank. The crank took all of fifteen seconds to play out. By mathematical calculations that one dollar machine earns seven hundred and twenty dollars an hour when played non-stop. This casino had three thousand dollar machines. The potential earnings of these machines were in the hundreds of millions per year and that was only when they were running at a small percentage of their full capacity. Surely no one would notice or care about a few thousand dollars here and there.
Within minutes Lindsay hit for the jackpot. It was only two thousand dollars. Poor performing machine Lindsay thought. She waited for her floor attendants to hand pay her. While she was waiting and Jonathan waited alongside her, he took another quick scan around the room and landed upon the man in the suit again. He tried to look past him as if he did not notice him but it was too late. He saw the man look at him as he watched Jonathan’s eyes fall upon him. He was busted. He knew it. Jonathan’s eyes gave it away, the briefest change in his expression told him that Jonathan knew he was on to him.
“Lindsay.” Jonathan whispered to her trying not to be noticed.
“What.” She answered playing along.
“We’re busted.” He replied.
“That guy in the suit across from the craps tables. He followed me here. He was in the race track area. I don’t think he saw me win though.” Jonathan said again whispering.
“Shit.” She said.
They stopped talking for five minutes while Lindsay received her two thousand dollar winnings.
“nineteen hundred eighty , two thousand!” the floor worker counted off. “Congratulations !”
“Thank you. “ Lindsay replied , smiled and handed him a twenty.
“Thank you Miss.” He said and turned and was out of their space once again.
“Let’s go !” Jonathan said and gently put his arm around her.
“Where? Wait.” She said and curled her body out of Jonathan’s arm. “We are not criminals here. Stop acting like one. Let’s go see who this guy is. Is he security ? Is he some sort of spy ? A mugger ? Come on. I want to confront him.” She paused then went on. “Maybe we should be the ones calling security here Jonathan.”
“Right. Sorry, I am so damn paranoid ! Let’s go check him out.” He agreed.
As Lindsay carefully tucked away her earnings, they began walking toward the man in the suit. Within moments the shoe was on the other foot and Jonathan and Lindsay were now following the man in the suit. They followed him keeping a watchful eye on him, staying behind but letting him know they were aware of him and were now watching him. The cat and mouse scene played out for a few minutes as they followed him back to the tram area. They watched him depart on the next tram then turned around and went back into the casino. Their plan was to win about thirty thousand today but their total was nearing twenty th
© Copyright 2016 Cliff. All rights reserved.
Book / Literary Fiction
Short Story / Fantasy
Short Story / Fantasy
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