The Lucky Hat
"Are you going to wear that all day? You look ridiculous." Tina rolled her
"Yes, I am," said Sam, "if it means I'm winning. You have to admit we've
stunk it up in Reno, until I got my lucky hat. It all started with a tiny
balloon and the genius clown artist who blew up more to create this
"Nevada has not proven lucrative. I do way better in Jersey. Maybe it's the
ocean breeze," she replied.
It was Sam's turn to sigh. "You hate Atlantic City, always complain about
the whiny kids on the boardwalk, and that seniors hog the buffet line. Let's
go to the Gold Mine Casino. Haven't tried my new system there."
Tina shrugged, clucked her tongue, and snapped open her compact for one last
glance. She fluffed her bangs and then slid out of the diner booth.
Smoothing her black mini-skirt, Tina sashayed past a table of
twenty-something men. They hooted and begged her to come to the Peppermill
for their bachelor party. Tina blew them a kiss over her shoulder. Sam
glowered at the table and followed Tina.
"I hate when you're like this. You're old enough to be those kids' mother."
"Oh, we were having fun. You should be proud these legs get a whistle. I'm
with you. What does it matter?"
"Sheesh. Act your age sometimes."
Tina patted Sam's head, "Yeah, like that hat dignifies your age." Sam
re-adjusted his headgear, as the balloons squeaked.
The two entered the Gold Mine Casino, removed their shades, and took a lay
of the land. Blackjack left, roulette right, all past the blinking lights of
the slot machines. Brown swirl carpet hid footpath dirt and a few picks,
shovels, and miner's hats hung on the gold-flecked red walls to acknowledge
"Craps for me," said Sam, "are you coming to blow on my dice?"
"I'm in the mood for a drink and some slots. Good luck, baby. I'll find you
in a bit." Tina kissed his cheek, settled down at a dollar machine, and
lost. The waitress never brought her drink. Annoyed, Tina wended her way to
the craps tables. A cheering groundswell led her to Sam. Flushed with
excitement and a huge pile of chips on one number, Sam shook the dice and
took a step backwards.
Unfortunately, a waiter walked by. Headed to the buffet table, Manuel
carried a heaping tray of shish-ka-bobs over his head. Tina gasped as a
ka-bob skewered Sam's hat. The lucky charm popped, as he leaned in to throw.
The dice bounced wildly until snake eyes emerged. Sam collapsed along with
his balloon hat as the croupier raked in the chips.
First published: August, 2007
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