Dogs Don't Roll Over
Written by: Alex Sandell
Trapped With the Priviledged Few
I load up my apron and sell change for nearly an hour without any odd occurrences. Things almost seem too normal. I still haven't seen Sue on the floor yet today, although Richard and Carrie both claim to have seen her.
I decide to find Richard and ask him to use his walkie-talkie to locate Sue. I ask Carrie if she knows where he's at, she tells me that she hasn't seen him since I got back from the bathroom. I decide to walk to "High Stakes" and see if pregnant Bonnie knows his whereabouts.
There is so many change lights going off that it takes me nearly twenty minutes to walk the thirty feet to "High Stakes." I start getting upset that Bonnie couldn't grab any of these lights. At this stage in her pregnancy, carrying her unborn child is about as hard as walking around with a half-digested M&M in your stomach. There is absolutely no reason that Bonnie should be allowed to sit around while Carrie and I do all the work.
After what seems like a thousand customers, I reach "High Stakes." Nearly every slot machine has its change light on and the customers are obviously losing their patience. The second I walk in, I feel like a bleeding dolphin swimming around a bunch of great white sharks. Countless pairs of hands start groping at me, each one holding some sort of currency. Some have fifty dollars, others a hundred. All are desperate to give away their hard-earned cash, and they wanna give it away now. They have been waiting for an excessively long time to be granted this gambling privilege. I wonder where Bonnie is?
I ask the grumpy old guy in the "Bangles" t-shirt how long it's been since a change girl has been in here. "She left about half an hour ago, ma'am." I don't bother to tell him that I'm a man, not a "ma'am." I've already notified him that I am one of the Earth's many vagina-impaired humans. There's just some people that refuse to believe a man's hair can grow past his shoulders. If your hair droops over your ears, you simply have to be female. I give him $200 dollars worth of $25 tokens and turn to grab cash from one of the other change-starved hands. "Thank you, ma'am," the old man in the "Bangles" shirt yells to me while inserting his first couple of $25 dollar tokens into the machine. I try to cover my embarrassment.
My nerves are becoming frayed to the breaking point by the dozens of wealthy "High Stakes" gamblers with too much money and not enough places to spend it. All the privileged citizens in America's upper class are blaming me for the slot machines taking their money. I keep apologizing and reminding them that luck has "got to kick in sooner or later."
"Well, when the hell's it gonna kick in?" a middle-aged man thats wearing a suit that probably cost more than my annual salary screams to me. "My daughter and I have been here for nearly eight hours, and we haven't won a damn thing." "Things are bound to turn around pretty soon, then," I say, putting on my best "I'm just a lowly worker and I sympathize with your pain" look. "In the meantime," I ask, "would you like a hors-d'oeuvre?" The man grunts at me while grabbing an old chicken-wing and returning to his machine.
Wealthy people are very similar to little children. They will whine and cry if they feel they are being treated unfairly, but they're quick to shut-up if you throw them a treat. Also like little children, it isn't long after they finish, or get bored with, what you threw them that they will start whining again. They didnt get rich by wanting less.
"It's my wife's birthday y'know, it seems like wed win something today, just for her" some 60 year old rich dude with a golden watch wraps his arm around a young girl, about a fourth his age and wiggles her around a little bit, as he talks to me. Oh yeah, like the machines loosen up for the Holidays. "Im sure youll win something soon," I lie, my best fake smile in place.
The girl inserts another ten-dollar token into the "Volcano Valley" machine and pulls the slot handle. The computer screen sends various objects twirling. Volcano, volcano . . . (the girl holds her breath) cherry. "Damnit," the 60-year-old man with the girlfriend thats almost too young for me to date mumbles. "The way things are going," he says half to me, half to the ceiling, "I'd almost believe these damn things were rigged." Uh, gee, do people always get extraordinarily wealthy being this quick-witted?
The man then turns and wiggles his wife around a little bit to show his support. The young wife pouts out her lips, gives him her best puppy-dog eyes and says, "mew." The man sighs and then shrugs, putting his hand into his pocket and pulling out another couple of hundred-dollar bills. I count out twenty ten-dollar tokens into his hand. "Gooooooood luck," I say, as though that might help.
I turn to face a long line of solemn looking faces. The first man in line begins screaming into my face, bad breath emanating from his mouth as he speaks, "this fucking place is a joke! Tell your Indian friends to stop being such tight asses and to loosen up these machines. I've spent over five thousand dollars here today and haven't won a thing. I'd almost prefer those fucking welfare mothers getting my money than your fucking redskin friends! We need more Republicans in office. Republicans know how to get things done! Those fucking wimpy liberals always want to help people. Let those fucking bastards help their damn 'selves, or send 'em off to Ethiopia to let the pricks starve. Better them than me, I always say. I'm never gambling in this shithole again! Give me five-hundred dollars in twenty-five dollar tokens why don't ya?"
Anger is already getting the best of me, and this conservative bigot is making me more nauseous than my decomposing canine. It seems the more money somebody loses the more racist they become, and the more money somebody makes, the less they want to give. When it comes to losing money, everyone feels that somebody else must be to blame.
Gambling seems to reduce people to the lowest common denominator of human decency. There's one sure way not to lose your money at a casino, don't spend any. I refuse to sell this man tokens. I realize this is improper procedure, but I am willing to accept the consequences. "Sorry, Sir - but I make it a policy not to sell change to racist, close-minded pricks, such as yourself."
The man exhales loudly (blowing his feces scented breath into my nose) "No one talks to me like that. 'Specially not one of you girly-boy, hippie liberals. I'm reporting you to upper management." I smile proudly at his frustration. Rich people are always reporting everyone to upper-management. He pushes his cowboy hat tightly over the top of his head and disappears from my sight.
After selling tokens to a couple more people I run out of change. I look around to see if Bonnie has returned and then leave to go and reload my apron. The remaining people in line all begin bickering like spoiled children. The overweight lady wearing a fur coat and pearl necklace begins crying at me; "I waaaaaant my change! I waaaaaaaant it NOW!" "I'm sorry ma'am," I try soothing her with the same comforting voice Id use with a two-year-old child, "I don't have any more change to give you." "Well then, I'm just going to have to report you to upper management," she snorts before walking away. I almost feel happy for her, she's finally found a goal in life. She gets to report me to upper-management!
I turn my back on her and leave. I never succeed in making many friends in the "High Stakes" department.
Go to: Chapter 25
©1997 Alex Sandell but, if you're a book publisher and, you wanna get this puppy out, please get in touch with me, hand me a nice, big contract and, of course, a 12 pack of Grape Soda and maybe we can do lunch.
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