00 - Double ZeroSubmitted by Spam at 2005-11-21 09:23:42 EST
Rating: 1.91 on 44 ratings (44 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
“We should go out for a drink sometime before you leave Sam - you know we’re just gonna lose touch afterwards and that’d be a shame.”
I’m not entirely sure but there seems to be a hint of a catch in her voice, like she really would regret it if we drifted away from one another. Whatever, she and I get on well enough, I guess a friendly drink wouldn’t be too crucifying.
“Good evening Sir, not seen you here in a while.” It’s a pleasant greeting but somehow the doorman has managed to splice an air of smugness into his monotone.
“I’m not here to play, my friend, I quit all that.”
I don’t hear the condescension because my attention is already locked onto the entertainment, on the roulette wheel, on My Game.
Who the fuck am I trying to kid?
And so she shimmers through the door towards me, or floats, maybe she glides. Whatever she’s doing, I’d be a fool to describe it as something so mundane as mere ‘walking’. We share a quick embrace and I go for a chaste kiss on her cheek as I murmur some inane greeting in her ear, she holds me tightly though and there’s something about her body language that somebody less informed might read as more than plutonic.
But we’re drinking as friends tonight and that’s how I’m playing it. fucked if I’m gonna trust my instincts some more and get burnt again.
But of course, a guy like me can’t steer clear from the tables, even if it’s just to watch, so I stroll over, affecting an air of nonchalance that I don’t feel.
“Place your bets” says my friend the croupier.
I haven’t bought any chips but still, I can’t help playing the game in my head. The clientele around me are all throwing money onto the table like confetti but something speaks out inside me and I know they’ve all lost, I know its gonna be lucky 7 and these fuckers have avoided it like the plague.
The meal goes well, conversation flowing as freely as the over-priced wine she enjoys so much. Seems strange to me, that you could sit next to somebody day in day out for two years and not realise that actually, they’re pretty perfect for you.
She sees it too and the whole dynamic of the evening seems to change with this joint self-realisation, morphing from a plutonic last gasp goodbye between two close friends into something entirely different, entirely unknown.
We leave and her arm snakes through mine as she leans into me to protect her from the chill November air. There’s a barely audible sigh of contentment from her and all doubt of her intentions are removed, I’m certain of it, more certain than I’ve ever been of anything before.
I must have said that before though.
“Red 7. House pays out to lucky 7”
I knew it. But that’s my problem, I ALWAYS know it and I always fucking lose.
Croupier lines up for the next spin and out of nowhere that godforsaken number scorches it’s way through my synapses.
“Red 23,” I murmur under my breath.
But I’m not betting, I can’t afford another losing streak on this game.
And certainly not on That number.
“So what now?” she asks.
But that’s not what she’s asking, at all and we both know it. At least I think we do. My instincts are all fucked up though, so I ignore the apparent undertone.
“Dunno. It’s only 11, we could find a late-license bar I guess?”
She’s happy because the night is to continue but I can tell it’s not the answer she wanted.
He looks right at me when he says it. Like he knew all along what was going through my head.
Fuck you man, I aint falling for that one again.
But all of a sudden I’ve got a wad of chips in my pocket just in case I get that feeling again. I’m not going to bet though. Not unless I’m completely sure. I’ve only got those chips just in case.
Just in case.
And so we continue.
There’s a recessed sofa in the bar that affords an air of intimacy you wouldn’t normally find in such an establishment. The talk continues as we sit side by side and somehow my arm has worked it’s way around her waist, we’re both quite drunk now and I can’t recall if this is my doing or hers. She doesn’t seem to mind though and I can’t deny that the situation is rather pleasant.
The voice in my head is at it again, ‘this isn’t a ‘friend’ thing and you fucking know it man’ it says. ‘For Christ’s sake look into her eyes.’
So I do.
“Black 11” another involuntary guess.
The croupier definitely hears me this time and looks up with several questions in his eyes.
“Care to play this spin sir?” Is the one he finally goes with.
Fucking hell she’s beautiful.
And the voice is right - her eyes are full of an almost liquid adoration as I stare into them and, for a split second during our silent exchange, I imagine mine are as well.
“Why not - Just a small bet” I reply.
“It’s getting late, do you wanna come back to mine for a night cap?”
“Sure.” She says.
“Black 11” says the Croupier. “Well done sir”
Another Sofa but this one’s mine. The intimacy is real this time around and neither of us has spoken for at least five minutes. She took one my hands in hers a while back and has been idly tracing patterns on the back of it with her finger since. It’s so fucking obvious what should happen now. I turn to her and she smiles a brief smile that dissolves away almost before it is formed fully, replaced with a look of utter vulnerability as I hold her gaze.
I know what’s she waiting for, there’s no way I’m wrong, no way at all.
“Last spin of the evening ladies and gentlemen, please place your bets for the last spin of the wheel”
I already know what the number is, I’ve known on every spin all night. Now it’s time for the big bet on the once in a lifetime sure thing, the all-in gamble on the royal flush. When the odds of success is so high, so too must be the stakes, so I reach down into my pockets and move to put everything I own on this fucker.
Our heads are almost touching now and we’ve still got eye contact.
“You know, it’s getting late,” she whispers, “maybe I should think about getting home.” Her voice is thick and the way she says the ‘maybe’ leaves more than enough room for me to invite her to stay.
I move my hand towards the table and the bottom of my entire chip-stack hovers slightly over the number that just has to come up. It’s just about to touch the inviting green felt when hear my own words echoing around my head ‘I’ll never play that game again’
Flashback. ‘We’re drinking as friends tonight and that’s how I’m playing it. fucked if I’m gonna trust my instincts some more and get burnt again’.
I jerk my hand back almost involuntarily and feel a mixture of shame and regret wash over me as I realise how close I came to the big gamble I promised I’d never make again.
“I’ll call you a cab”
And it kills everything.
I leave the table before the ball stops rolling, I don’t wanna know what would’ve happened
“Nah, it’s okay, I’ll walk.”
She sounds cut up, I guess she wants to leave as soon as possible.
“Do you think you would’ve won?” Asks the doorman as I leave, perceiving my thoughts immediately.
“I’m sure of it.” I say with meaning.
He stops and thinks for a second before answering similarly seriously.
But I make no move to stop her as she leaves.
23 Red: - http://www.ubersite.com/m/67860
23 Red(reprise): - http://www.ubersite.com/m/74687