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    The Fourth Factor

    Cold Water Casino

    by , 05-15-2019 at 03:06 AM (30 Views)
    I’m on a trip with my parents and an unfamiliar young man. We were all supposed to go to a casino—and they did actually go. But I didn’t care much for that plan, and so I’ve been off doing something else and only arrived back at the hotel room in time for their last trip there, late on the final evening.

    I have the impression that this is a place they’re familiar with, but this will be my first time there. I’ve been told not to bring my purse with me for whatever reason, but I don’t like going around without writing materials on hand, and so I say that I’ll just take my wallet out before I go. But it seems my parents are so eager to get back that, rather than waiting the couple of minutes this will take, they go on without me, leaving the young man to drive us there.

    Outside, it’s raining hard, and has been for a while, judging by all the standing water in the streets. As we go on, it only gets deeper, until the car, which is a fairly low one, starts having trouble moving forward. Some light on the dashboard has come on. He curses at the car—and quite probably my parents, who would have had no trouble handling this in theirs. I suggest that we just pull off the road onto higher ground, as some other cars seem to be doing, and walk the rest of the way there. It isn’t very far. He agrees to it.

    The next part I remember clearly is being inside the casino, in a large room with a grand staircase, crowded with fancily dressed people. On the upper floor, near a restaurant area, I meet up with my parents again. It’s sort of like a buffet, with tables in a horseshoe shape, each one with an attendant behind them, offering samples of various kinds of foods to the guests. Mother is going to get a chocolate milkshake—apparently, a favorite of hers there—but my father isn’t interested. The idea doesn’t appeal much to me either, and anyways, this is all new to me: I want to try things out before I order anything.

    He heads off somewhere else. I get some kind of a soup, and then head over to where they’re serving white wine. I try the sample they have there, which is pretty good—but they have all kinds of interesting drinks here, and this would be a good chance to try things I wouldn’t necessarily want a full glass of. And my mother is trying to get my attention from across the room, so I leave the table without ordering anything and head over in her direction.

    Then, suddenly, I feel a spray of cold water—and the people around me do as well, judging by how they’re crying out. It seems someone is spraying people with a hose. I move out of the way, wondering what that was about. Maybe the casino staff themselves are responsible. The whole reason this place exists is to take money from people, after all—I think it’s best not to lose sight of that—and it wouldn’t surprise me at all for one to start charging people to keep things going nicely, once they’ve got them used to it.

    Once out of range, I pause and kneel down to make sure the cat is still with me. He is indeed still there and comes to get pet. He’s an orange cat, an adult, though on the small side, and has been here with me this whole time. So far, nobody has noticed him—or else they just don’t care. But it’s still a little dangerous for him to be here with me, and so I’ve been making sure he stays close, waiting until I feel him against the back of my ankles before moving on.

    11.5.19

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