Remember back when Val got up early and got dressed in her gambling uniform and laid out all of her gambling accoutrements and sat down to wait until time to meet her favorite gambling aunt for a trip to the casino, but AUNTIE DIDN'T GO?
That was a major disappointment, but Val had been having some bad vibes the night before, and decided it was all for the best. What else could she do, really?
We still met for lunch later in that week, and Auntie declared that we would go the following Tuesday. So Val got all excited again, and measured out her week in next-to, next-to, next-to, next-to, next-to, next-to-gambling eve. That afternoon, she set out her gambling accoutrements all over again. But Val was not in the mood for a heartbreak again. So Monday evening, on the porch with her support group of Puppy Jack and Sweet, Sweet Juno, Val sent Auntie a text.
"Are we still going tomorrow?"
"I don't know. The roofers are here. They have me blocked in the garage."
"Should we play it by ear, or try another time?"
"Let's not go tomorrow. But Wednesday should be good. They should be done by then."
"Okay. Wednesday at 10:00. I'll meet you by Save A Lot."
So Val got up early and got all decked out in her gambling uniform and stuffed her shirt pocket with: ID (for the big win, you know, because they have to withhold taxes on the spot), and her two insurance cards (in case the big win made her faint, or in case Auntie's driving luck ran out), and her debit card (for emergencies, not for withdrawing money, because casino money is separate from house money), and five Life Saver Wint O Green mints (because Val used to prefer Mentos, but that was before she indulged in mass quantities of FREE Diet Coke), and a toothpick (you don't want to have lunch in your teeth for your BIG WIN picture), and an ibuprofen (it's not nice to fool your knees into thinking they're having a normal day of sitting in the dark basement lair), and a twenty and four fives for lunch (because eating money is separate from gambling money, and you never know when Auntie might chose something more expensive than a burger).
Normally, I get to the rendezvous point ahead of Auntie, because I live closer to it. This time, I held back. I wanted to be sure we were really going. I waited until the last minute, the minute that would get me there at T minus 5 on the countdown to meeting time, and then I went to the kitchen and took my two daily pills...AND MY PHONE BUZZED.
It was Auntie, of course.
"I am stopping by the bank for money, and then getting gas."
"Okay. Just leaving."
Too bad she wasn't 30 seconds earlier with that text, because if you have ever been a taker of blood pressure meds, you know that you have a limited window of time before you have to go. Anyhoo...I petted the dogs for a few minutes, then headed to town, and was there about 5 minutes before Auntie. I climbed into her cream-colored Lincoln CXK-whatever those letters are on a mini SUV, and off we went.
Let the record show that Auntie's driving style is akin to that of Mr. Magoo. Oh, she can see perfectly fine. But she doesn't apply that vision to staying in her lane. Whereas Hick is a master sweaver, swerving and weaving regularly from center line to side line while gawking at scenery...Auntie gets carried away in conversation, and lets the car go where it wants. Slight curves on a 5-lane interstate? Pshaw! Those lane lines are only decoration painted on the pavement. Auntie is kind of like that infant in Baby's Day Out, crawling through all manner of catastrophes and coming out unscathed. The other traffic avoids her, and she eventually gets back between the lines when the road veers back to where she is going.
Midway to our destination, a sudden cloudburst pelted her little Lincoln's windshield with rain. I tried my best to put on my nonexistent brake. My short fingernails were imbedded in my fleshy palms. The windshield was awash with water, and the wipers barely going. I couldn't hold it in.
"I can't see a THING!"
"Oh, don't worry. I can." Said Auntie Magoo.
The rain stopped soon enough, and we reached out destination on the banks of the Mississippi within an hour. Auntie always uses valet parking. I felt kind of sorry for those guys, waiting for Auntie and me to unfold our uncooperative joints to disembark from the little Lincoln. Auntie has had two hip replacements, you know. And I think knees, too. Plus back surgery. Those valets might have been better off wheeling gurneys out there to roll us to the door.
We parted ways and agreed to meet for lunch at Burger Brothers at 1:30. I headed straight to the bathroom, and then took a lap of the quarter slots, playing a row of them 10 spins each. That's to see if any of them look promising. I put in a $20, play one credit for 10 plays, and then cash out and move on to the next machine. That's $2.50 a machine, testing the waters. Let the record show that only ONE out of the ten slots I played like that paid me anything, and that was $5. So I cashed out and moved on to get a FREE Diet Coke and head for my true love. It's some kind of Blazing 7 Re-Spin machine with a twin right beside it. I prefer the one on the right, which has always paid me better, though the one on the left gives more re-spins.
After an hour and a half, I had to go to the bathroom again, where I counted up my money, and was happy to see that I was $30 ahead. You always count your money in the bathroom, in those stalls that go all the way to the floor. Nobody's gonna knock Val in the head because she's flaunting her bankroll. That's why I have a gambling uniform. The pants have deep pockets, and I keep my wads folded a certain way, and can reach in and extract a bill without showing the world. And surveillance camera.
I came out to find Auntie wandering on the main aisle, and we agreed to go ahead with lunch. She sat at the table (you might remember how she was afraid somebody would put something in our drinks last time) and I ordered. Then I went to get myself another FREE Diet Coke, because I certainly did not take it in the bathroom with me. Auntie wanted a Sprite, because the cups are small, and she only had half of hers left. I returned with the beverages, we gossiped, and then we enjoyed our burgers and a shared order of fries. We even had fries left. I was having a great time (not just because of the plethora of fries), and didn't even mind when Auntie knocked over the full cup of Sprite and mopped it up with all the napkins in the holder.
After lunch, I moved two machines around the carrel I had been playing at, to a couple of machines that are Genius's favorite (him having been to a casino all of TWO times his whole life) that have a stack of 7s and then a gold box that gives FREE PLAYS if you hit three of them. It's a quarter machine, but takes five credits for max bet. So I have to watch myself there. With these two we play, the one on the right gave me more FREE PLAYS last time, but not this day. I blew a $20 in it, and moved over to the left one. It was stingy as well, but I DID hit FREE PLAY twice while in the middle of my 12 FREE PLAYS. So I had 36 FREE PLAYS running all at once. And do you know how much I won, after all that? 55 credits. That is $13.75. For $45 worth of FREE PLAYS. Not that I had to pay, because they were FREE. But still, that's not a good return. So I went back to my Blazin' 7s Re-Spin machines, where I alternated after a good hit, or after a slow streak.
Let the record show that there were not many people there that day, and I had those two machines pretty much to myself, except when a dude sat down at the left one that I had just vacated, and after five spins won $60. Even though it was rightfully mine, too bad, so sad, I had been impatient after a lull. THEN a real weirdo was pulled by my magnet. A wacko lady put in her money and kept talking to the machine.
"Come on, baby, give me something good. Come on, now!" She rubbed the top of the machine and fondled the buttons and pretty much made me feel like I needed a shower. She lost a $20 and put in another and then won something like $40 and was quite orgasmic about it. I was glad she cashed out.
My bankroll was going south, and I took a break to use the facilities and count up my cash. So much for my earlier $30 advantage. I was now down $40. And I had played through most of my money. For those of you wanting to comment that you are confused, let the record show that Val takes a set of bills, plays some in the machines, but when she earns credits, she moves some of her playing money to her other pocket, and thus never loses it all, but comes out pretty close to even most trips.
For example, when you put a $20 in a quarter slot, it gives you 80 credits. As I'm playing, I keep a running total in my head as I win credits. When that adds up to 80, I take a $20 from my right pocket, and put it in my left. That's the WINNINGS pocket, and not to be played from. Once the playing money is gone, I'm done.
Except on this day...
I was out of my playing money, and I thought, "I still have those four fives that we didn't use to eat. It can't hurt to use those four fives. It's still 90 minutes until time to leave. I'm going to play those fives." So I put two of them into my Blazing 7s machine, and knew that those 40 credits, at 3 per play, would not last long. I didn't have playing money to put in my other pocket, so what I lost here would just be gone, baby, gone. Like how Hick plays. I got down to 50 cents left. That's not a max spin. So I couldn't get the re-spin if it hit. I had three ones I got back in change from lunch. I put them in so I could play max. My next spin gave me a bonus, the 3X, and the other bars that came up were a 2X and a 7-bar, I think. Anyhoo...it won me $120. I played another spin, and hit another small bonus.
Val knows when to fold 'em. I cashed out $135 and went to the ticket machine to change it to money. But then I thought, "It's still an hour until time to leave. I have that $10 bill and $5 bill where I just cashed out. I might as well play them..."
I went back to play the right-hand Blazin' 7s. I put in my $10 bill and was getting nowhere, so I put in my $5 bill, and had one full max spin left...and hit a $60 jackpot. I cashed out and went to count my money. Between some small wins when I was counting credits, and my last two hurrahs, I ended up with all of the money I took, the money back for the lunch fives I spent, plus a profit of
*** $120 ***
Yeah. Val is not exactly a high roller, but that was mighty exciting. For me, anyway. Though not for you to read about.
But the story doesn't end here...
Once back to Backroads, I had to go get my 44 oz Diet Coke. That money was burning a hole in my pocket, so I used $20 of it to buy four scratch-off tickets. Three were winners. For a total of $40.
I can't wait to go again. Or plan on it twice, and then go the third time!