Last Chance Saloon – A Casino Short Story
by Michael Nicholson
Harry looked at his watch, it was nearly three-thirty, the race would be starting soon, a race that would decide whether he would be able to carry on living.
He switched on his mobile phone and logged in to his online betting account. His last £200 was on a horse called Mary Queen of Scots, the odds were five to one. The commentary started; ‘And they’re off, straight into the lead Mary Queen of Scots, she is bursting clear with tremendous early speed.. as they approach the final furlong she is still ten lengths clear can she hold on? The pack is closing, the post is looming, but she’s home with half a length to spare! What a filly, what a game performance!’.
Harry was over the moon, he quickly drove home and rushed into the flat he was sharing with his girlfriend, a lovely Scottish girl called Mary. Crazy, right, he thought, putting your money on a horse just because you like the name. Mary heard him come in and was waiting for him, she was sick of Harry’s gambling and his suitcase was packed and sitting by the front door. As soon as she saw him she started shouting, ‘Get your suitcase and get lost, leave the key on the table and just get out, I am sick of your gambling and drinking so just get out and don’t come back!’
Harry looked at her and realised it was over. He put his key down on the little hall table, picked up his case and slammed the door behind him, he never even looked back. Sitting in the car he lit up a cigarette and looked in the mirror. ‘You fucking loser,’ he said out loud. I think I will take a trip to Vegas, still got my passport and £1200 in my account plus my overdraft. He switched on the Sat Nav and typed in Heathrow airport. Right let’s do it, I will just get a one-way ticket to Vegas and see how it goes.
When he got to the airport he went to the booking desk, ‘any cancellations for Vegas going cheap Doll,’ he said to the good looking girl on reception. ‘One leaving in half an hour via Mexico City only £400.’ She said, smiling at Harry. ‘I will take it Doll.’ He completed all the necessary forms and ten hours later was in Vegas.
He booked in at the Golden Nugget because that’s where the cab took him. After settling into his room he changed into his cool James Bond look complete with a bow tie. Harry loved to play the slots but first, he needed a drink so he went to the bar and downed six double scotch and cokes in about ten minutes, feeling better he wandered towards the bank of fruit machines.
He started small and after a couple of hours was more or less level. It was late but who cared, he needed a few more drinks and some real excitement. Then he saw it right in the middle of the slots hall; a giant jackpot machine with a $1,000,000 dollar jackpot, ten dollars a spin. That’s the one, he thought, let’s do it, lets rock and roll. The machine accepted bank cards so he put his in, the one with maybe £600 in it from the online horses win.
In one hour the card was almost empty, he could not play any more, he was absolutely gutted, suicidal even. He decided to go outside and buy a bottle of whisky, drink it and jump off the roof of the casino. He found an off licence and purchased a large bottle of Jack Daniel’s using his credit card, that should take me to my card limit, he thought. When he got back to the casino he stood outside looking at the bright neon lights and drinking JD from the bottle, wrapped in a brown paper bag. A girl was suddenly standing next to him, she looked English, pale blonde, but tired. ‘Excuse me, sir, can you spare a young girl a drink?’ She said in a fine English accent. She drank, they laughed, and when she told him that he could still play at this time of night as they don’t check the credit card limits, it was music to his ears.
They went back in the casino together and he deposited two grand and took his chips to play the slots. He wanted the million so put the lot in the machine and with only 100 bucks left the million-dollar jackpot hit. Bells rang, sirens sounded, he hugged his newfound friend, her name was Jeanie. They went back to his room got married and had three kids and to this day they tell the wonderful story of how a loser finally became a winner.
(Based on a true story)