Dead Dogs Don't Roll Over
Written by: Alex Sandell


Chapter 5
Competitive Commies

I grab someone's seat on the shuttle and watch as I see the people standing up, blowing their noses, excusing each other, and walking toward the door. I always let everyone go ahead of me, resulting in my being the last off the bus and the one to witness the most people pulling underwear and slacks out of their butts.

I walk out into the cold. I stand by the door looking inside. All of my bus-mates are already in. I suck in my last breath of brisk freedom and watch it breakout into a large cloud of smoke. "Goodbye," I call to my freedom, it disseminates in response. I hit my gloves together two times and pull open the door into the world of gambling and broken arrow's.

Once inside, a security guard, who takes his job far too seriously, asks to check my worker I. D. (hidden behind my jacket). Like a comedy vulture attacking a dead sense of humor I decide a little sarcasm is called for.

While pulling out my I. D. badge I smile and put on my best country-hick accent "gotta see this just in case one of them commies from "Treasure Land" are trying to sneak in and check us out?!" Treasure Land Casino is Broken Arrow's biggest competition. Broken Arrow is so worried about Treasure Land moving in on their turf, they force their employees to show a badge everyday before work, just to make sure it's not a Treasure Land "spy." The security guard who takes his job far too seriously doesn't appreciate my dry sense of humor. There is a dead silence in the air. The same uncomfortable silence that results from the passing of gas on your first date with a new girlfriend.

After nearly a minute, the guard sucks in his breath, puckers his lips, as though sucking a lemon, and musters up his best "hey, I work out an hour a day and took my G. E. D. to get this job" look. I smile again and debate over telling him that I did five push-ups this morning and have been through two whole years of college. He comments first "no, I just need to see your badge." "O. K." I say, "you need a sense of humor like a diabetic needs his insulin." Well, I didn't actually say the diabetic comment, but, I thought it real hard, and if I was just a bit more bold, I would have actually said it, too.

A friend of mine named Lisa hears the conversation. I'm embarrassed to find out that there was a familiar spectator viewing the entire scene. If it would have actually been a whimsical conversation, I would have been proud. The only problem was, it wasn't really that funny. It was more like a joke people would be forced to laugh with at church, only because it was the pastor who said it. Lisa shakes her head around, like she's trying to rid an irrepressible crick in her neck. "You just have a way of rubbing some people the wrong way," she tells me. Oh? And what was the first clue?

I follow Lisa down the shadowy cement stairs that lead into the heavily guarded "employees only" area. We're greeted by a little polite brainwashing. A poster stating "Attitude: A little thing that can make a big difference." I turn to Lisa and state how my penis is a little thing that can make a big difference, she laughs and gently pats an "Oh, yoooou," type slap across my shoulder.

I smile and say "duh." "Duh," is my comeback to any comment, gesture or slanderous look I receive that makes me feel unsure of myself or what I just said. Like the skinny-dipping male who finds out his penis is the tiniest one of the bunch, I start feeling a bit self conscious over my "little" joke.

"Will she know I'm kidding or will she think I really do have a small penis?" "Is my penis really small?" "Am I a loser?" "Was that joke a little inappropriate when talking to a lady that's got a year or two up on my mother?"

Like most everyone that sells rolls of quarters for a living, even at 49 Lisa hasn't reached past the maturity level most achieve in Jr. High.What Lisa has achieved is a small promotion.

She has become a "Slot Service Specialist." Instead of selling change, she runs the money to change-people when the casino gets too much business for the modest amount of employees to handle. A "Slot Service Specialist" also attends to over-eager customers who jam their coins in the machine and helps count change-people into their banks at the start of the day and back out at the end. Oh yeah, they also make fifty to eighty cents an hour more than they did as unsubstantial change-people.

Although Lisa acts fifteen, the "old as my mom" thing always gives me a little "Salson Blue" type tingle. My mom and dad once debated over sticking "prude and prudette" on their mailbox. Even after being out of the house for five years I have trouble adapting to people over 40 being able to laugh at a crude joke or comment without running to the toilet or jumping into the confessional.

Lisa and I walk around a corner and are slapped in the face with another little moral booster. This strategically placed motivational message shows a forest, completely dark, outside of a nice beam of light hitting a couple of pine trees. The neatly printed message reads "You can keep your mind out of the shadows if you keep your eyes toward the sun."

This message would be all fine and dandy if it didn't strike me as so out of place. Keep your eyes toward the sun? Unless they're asking me to roll my change cart outside, I don't see how this would be possible, being that "Broken Arrow Casino" has no windows. I turn to Lisa and ask "does it seem a little bit darker in here than usual?"

Go to: Chapter 6

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.

You know the routine, just click it.


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