Sunday January 16th, 2011

The exercise:

Today we write something that takes place: in the casino.

Finally got the towel rack up in the bathroom today. I'd get into how stupid the design of that thing is, but I've wasted enough energy on it already.


Lydia had stopped thinking at least an hour ago. Her body was on autopilot: fingers reached into the bucket resting on her lap, grasped a quarter, pulled it out, placed it in the slot machine, pulled the lever, repeat. If she didn't call it a night, or a morning, or whatever time of day it was, she was going to develop so much muscle in her right arm she wouldn't be able to walk straight.

But still she played, some tiny voice instructing her limbs that the next pull would earn her the jackpot. No, not the next one next one, the one after that. Just keep going, all right? You can't win if you don't play.

Casual gamblers, the ones who didn't have retirement plans based on dice or slots or cards, would stand and watch Lydia for a while before moving on. Some whispered quietly to each other, but none spoke directly to her. It was obvious she wasn't really there.

When, some eight or nine hours later, she finally did hit the jackpot, she didn't even notice. She just kept pulling quarters from the bucket, placing them into the machine, and pulling the lever.


Greg said...

I don't think towel racks get much design consideration as there's not much you can change about them. Which is probably why it's always almost impossible to screw them onto the wall :)
Heh, that kind of entrancement sounds about right for a slots-player, the machines are deliberately designed to get you into that frame of mind I think. I like the small details here, they really bring the scene to life (the small voice, the casual gamblers looking on).

In the casino
Charles Ascugimento, Head of Building Security, set his brimful cup of coffee down on a solid silver coaster, and coughed once. His manner clearly indicated that he was only coughing to make a point, and his guest, who was staring at the cup because the coffee had never so much as rippled as it was set down, jumped.
"You want to put a small Italian cottage on the sixteenth floor? In the Spidery rooms?" Charles put a depth of contempt into his voice that you could lose submarines in.
"Ah, I think you've chosen the wrong meaning of casino," said Lord Mordechai, whose gaze was drawn ineluctably back to the coffee cup.
"A gambling establishment then? That will require quite possibly more security."
"Well, that's why I'm here. I have permission from the building owners to install the casino, I have the funds to bankroll the casino, but apparantly if I want security I have to talk to you!"
Charles picked his cup up and sipped the coffee while Lord Mordechai, who realised that he'd risen to his feet and was shouting, sank back into his seat again.
"I can supply your security," said Charles. He set the cup down, again without even rippling the surface and pressed a silver mounted button on a panel on his desk. "Mistress will bring the terms and conditions in, and you may have a week to review them."
"A week?" Lord Mordechai might have continued, but the door to his right had opened and Mistress came in holding what looked like a four volume Encyclopedia set.
"Ah no," said Charles immediately. "Mr. Mordechai here wants to open a casino. He'll need the unabbreviated version."

Anonymous said...

This was a tougher one for me than I would have thought. Probably because I felt that most of what I would come up with would be sad or sordid.

Marc - you captured that melancholy very nicely. Such a sad scene.

Greg - Like the set up. I'm waiting for Bond to show up. Perhaps Austin Powers.

Here's my attempt, probably would have banged my head against the wall all day trying to come up with something exceptionally clever, but that's why I give myself a 15-20 min time limit.


First drink. She welcomed me. I smiled. I gave her my money.

“Be gentle,” I pleaded.

No response. All business.

Third drink.

“So, where you from?” I ask, ignoring her name tag with the answer.

“Thailand,” she answers disdainfully.

We’re now friends.

Fifth drink. I look at my chips. Beautiful ruby red chips. Oh what hast become of ye? You once were so plentiful, but now you are few?

“Where are you going?” I ask.

“Break,” she mutters.

She dumped me. Took my money and left me alone to rot.

Seventh drink. My woman returned. She could not stay away.

“How about we make this work this time,” I say.

Cold shoulder.

The guy next to me, the bald troll, sports a much larger pile. I think she’s into him.

Ninth drink.

“I told you to stop doing this to me!” I politely proclaim.

Two cards in front of me, all of my chips in the middle. Jack. Ace. Retribution. Take that you little troll. Steal my woman will ya?

Eleventh drink.

Zhongming said...

Dumbricht - I fancy your direct approach on the prompt. The thoughts and sequence of the conversation made it sounds so smooth and action-packed while maintaining the general essence of cleverness!

Greg - that was some fine negotiating skills there. The whole appearance of your take was pretty calm and collected. Almost like James bond movie except that we’ve yet to see him!

Marc – it almost sounds like the narrator is on the brink of committing suicide! Something must’ve hit her real hard.



Team A, Team A: “Attention Required: Gather your focus to the Chinese guy on poker table no.4. He’s on nineteenth winning streak! Please report to me if the situation doesn’t change.”
Charlie – “Affirmative!”
Angel – “Roger that!”
Bob – “Yes, Sir”
Dealer starts to serve the twentieth game while looking distracted. Charlie was the first to be exposed. The Chinese guy sent a wink with a hand gesture in attempt to lure his attention. A women walks up to Charlie, blocked his view and the Chinese guy won the twentieth game. Angel and bob just looks at each other, puzzled.

morganna said...

Lights flash and flicker
One-arm bandits clang, voices yell
Day spins into night and back
Easy money awaits the lucky
Failure stalks the hallways

summerfield said...

this prompt made me remember something that happened a long time ago. it's quite long so i won't post it here because there's a word limit here and mine would exceed that limit. you can read the post here .

i do go to the casino once in a while, but personally i hate gambling. make that i hate losing. when i do go with my friends, which is once in a blue moon, i always earmark just $20 - $40 tops. once that's gone, i'm done. especially now that there are no more $5 black jack tables. dealers hate it, too, when you leave winning. hah!

good writing, all.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, well, the instructions showing me the wrong way... right, not wasting any more time on it.

I dare not ask how large the unabbreviated version is :)

Dumbricht - some days you just have to go with what comes to mind and move on. I know I certainly find that to be the case.

But! I really liked the format of your take. And the internal monologue combined with the few spoken words was very nicely done :D

Zhongming - definitely an intriguing scene, right out of a movie almost. I could imagine it perfectly :)

Morganna - really like that, particularly your third and fifth lines.

Summerfield - yeah, the key is definitely limiting how much you bring with you in the first place. Off I go to read yours!