Appeared in ECLECTICA April/May, 2010
He was dead by the time he hit the floor.
I'll call him John, although names are not vital information here in the casino. Especially not last names. We strive to keep your true identity concealed from your fellow punters, lest your patronage be revealed to the disapproval of wives, employers, priests, and all the others who define your limits outside these walls. Limits are for stiffs. That's why we only go by first names here, and so I knew him as John, and John alone.
One thing to know about John is that he rarely tipped. Kind of a cheap fuck, actually. In casino parlance, his kind are known as fleas. Pussy bets. Whiners for comps. Tight with tokes. They keep the seats warm for the whales who come in on swing shift and splash around the kind of cash that really sweats out the contemptible Ahabs who run the joint.
He was not particularly old either. Early sixties, perhaps. He seemed fit enough for a retired accountant who spent every goddamn afternoon blowing his pension checks at my Pai Gow table. He sat here six to eight hours a day, nearly every day I worked this table. It occurs to me that I've spent more time with John this past year than any member of my family or friends, and I don't even know his last name.
And now he's spread out cold as Hades on the carpet in front of me…
(Full text available in ECLECTICA )
© 2010 R.A. Costello