The Lucky Number

Published by K.M.Lynch in the blog K.M.Lynch's blog. Views: 50

What a night. He had no idea what time it was, but then that’s the way they planned it. No windows, no clocks and no way of knowing how long you’ve been sitting there spending money you don’t have. He’d lost a fortune tonight or was that yesterday?
He was currently ambling along an alleyway, hoping that he was going in the direction of his apartment. He stopped for a minute; he had no recollection of how he had come to be in this alley. He shrugged his shoulders as though his thoughts were being shared with others and continued his ambling.
He couldn’t understand how he always lost so much. It started out the same way every time. First there was the rush that came just from playing the game. The entire room was full of people holding their breath, all of them dreaming of winning the jackpot. The excitement, the intensity was electric and he felt as though it was rushing through his veins. It was a thrill that came from nothing less than betting it all. He remembered every win and forgot every loss. All that mattered was the game.
Then all of a sudden, reality would intrude on the fantasy. He’d realize that he was thousands of dollars in the hole, that he’d had been playing for the last eighteen hours straight and that he’d missed work. It felt unreal; he was drunk, but it was a lingering grogginess rather than an intoxicated glow. More than anything he felt confused; it was like he’d blacked out and woken up in an entirely different place.
He would start to wonder how he had got to where he was. Had he really bet ten thousand dollars on the turn of a card? He knew he was smarter then that and yet, it hadn’t been someone else; it had been him. However it was a him that was diseased. The truth was starring him in face: he had a gambling addiction.
He was disgusted with himself. It was as though he had a horrible, seeping wound, half scabbed over and hideous beyond words. All he wanted to do, all he could think about doing was cutting it off, purging his body of this terrible affliction. Only it wasn’t so simple. This was in his mind, in his soul. It was a part of him and one he felt he couldn’t escape from.
He had come to another stop, though he couldn’t seem to remember when. He looked up and found that he was standing outside his front door and that his keys were in his hands. He unlocked his door and stumbled into his apartment. It was a mess; it reflected its owner. He pushed a collection of remotes, sweaters, a pizza box and a couple of random socks off his couch and collapsed onto the stained upholstery. Sleep brought him sweet oblivion.
He woke sometime later. It was dark outside but he didn’t know if it was morning or night. He felt weighted down and yet hungry at the same time. He reached for his laptop which he had left on his coffee table. It had been sleeping too.
He pulled up a local news site hoping for the time and the weather. The top headline caught his eye. It read: “Casino burns down in suspected arson.” The article didn’t offer much more information. Police believed that a drunken patron had started the fire, but as of yet they had no suspects. A few people had received minor burns and there were a couple of broken bones reported, but overall no one had been seriously injured.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small match box that had the words “Lucky Number 7 Casino” written on it. It was empty. He smiled. His future suddenly seemed a lot brighter and he thought to himself, “Finally, seven is my lucky number.”
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