Prose Header

Back to the World

by James Shaffer

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18,
19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

20: A Rooming House in Russell, Kansas

Tom was flush. The sun rose hot in the east and cut hard shadows on the wall over his bed. He’d won big the night before. The A&M game paid five-to-one on a thousand-dollar bet. His nest egg was growing. He couldn’t wait till the bar opened for business.

He’d left the bar at closing and got a room at the boarding house next door. He’d paid cash. It was just a room, but he didn’t care. It wasn’t home, just a place to lay his head and count his money. Five thousand dollars! He felt good again.

Tom knew when the streak runs, you ride it to the end of the line. Luck played no favorites. One moment it jumped and spit like a downed high-tension wire; the next, it purred in your lap like a contented kitten. Whatever cards were dealt, you played out the hand. Tom was on top of his game. He felt it. For now, the cat purred in his lap and the Lucky Lady awaited. Tom grabbed his briefcase and left the room.

Breakfast was at a diner up the street. He had the full menu of scrambled eggs, bacon, home fries, a side of pancakes with maple syrup, orange juice and coffee. The gambler was hungry. He wasn’t sure if he was feeding the purring cat or himself.

At 11:00 a.m. he walked into the bar. He knew the Longhorns were playing at noon. His lucky place at the end of the bar was empty. He leaned the briefcase against the foot rail and placed his foot on top of it as he had the night before.

He was spreading the luck around. Diversify, he told himself. A&M were good, but luck couldn’t wait for their next game; luck was impatient. He called the bartender over, ordered a beer and placed a two-thousand dollar bet on the Longhorns at three-to-one. The bartender brought the beer, set it in front of him, then disappeared again through the doorway behind the bar. Tom sipped his beer and watched the pre-game warm-ups.

Proceed to part 21...

Copyright © 2015 by James Shaffer

Home Page