Is That Real or Made of Pudding?
by Mouse
How have I let things get this bad? Here I am sitting next to a fat welfare momma on a Greyhound bus; twenty-four hours ago I was on top of the world.

Sitting at a black jack table with 2.5 mil in chips in front of me, shots of Johnny Walker Blue comped by the hotel at my beck and call ladies lining up to gravy train. I was in heaven. Then I heard a voice...

I turned toward the direction of the voice and I saw it was her. The flowing auburn hair, the gaunt powerful chin, the swagger of a gunslinger; Alisa! I was dumbfounded by her presence. Unable to hide in time it was like a crescendo of childhood embarrassment.

‘MOUSE BABY what are you doing here?’ I went red in the face as the crowd turned to study me again, this time with a skeptical gaze.

‘I can't believe the money you have won! Let's get you out of here now. I know the pit boss, he can get security to escort you back to your room,’ she said, pushing her way past the shameless tarts vying for my attention; a tigress protecting her young, she threw herself into the fray of the chaos. Like a junkie in need of a fix I scream to leave me alone. Alisa grabs my arm, ‘you have won enough’ she pleads as I pull away.

I take 25 10k chips and calmly place them in the circle in front of me. I get dealt a six/five with the dealer showing a four. ‘Double down’ I shout as the crowd gathers to watch me play.

Alisa turns her head afraid to look, closing her eyes as the dealer flips me a nine. ‘Player has 20’ announces the dealer as he flips his down card. ‘Dealer has six.’ A hush falls over the crowd as the dealer turns a three, then a five followed by an ace. The dealer steps back to show his hand ‘fifteen, dealer hitting fifteen’ he calls out. You could hear a pin drop.

Alisa opens her eyes….time slowed as he turned the next card, ‘Six. Dealer has 21.’ The crowd is stunned silent as they watch half a million taken off the table.

‘Let’s go,’ she says. ‘One more hand, I can win it back!’ I tersely shout. She steps back, embarrassed by my behavior. Within ten minutes I lose every chip in front of me. The crowd turns and walks away snickering at the turn of events.

The dealer showed his hands up and down and left the table. I sat alone with my thoughts as Alisa returned to me. ‘I saved you a hundred dollars so you can get a bus ticket home.’

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