Roulette

Was Ralph dreaming again of being on a desert island, throwing a bottle with a message into the ocean? Or was he merely dead to the world that Wednesday at 3 AM when a booming voice, seemingly from the heavens above, awoke him? He was in his third-floor apartment, and the voice came from more than just the fourth floor.

– RALPH. RALPH, GET UP!
– What? What time is it?
– GET UP NOW! IT’S 3 AM.

Was this some stunt by Al and Ed in Accounting? Could this be Sheila’s way of sending him a message? She had said, after all, that it was over. Had she changed her mind?

– GET UP MEANS GET UP. I WANT YOU TO FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS EXPLICITLY, RALPH.
– Who are you? Where are you?
– I AM WHO I AM. AND I’M WHERE I AM. AND I WANT YOU TO LIQUIDATE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE, TURN IT INTO CASH, AND GO DIRECTLY TO THE CASINO. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?
– Liquidate and get cash.
– I DON’T NEED REPEATS. A SIMPLE YES WILL DO.
– Yes, I understand.
– A SIMPLE YES WILL DO, RALPH. YOU’LL RECEIVE FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS THERE.

It didn’t sound like Al or Ed. It didn’t sound much like Sheila, either. But it had the authority to shake the room, the bureau, the single bed, and Ralph himself. And shaken, he stirred, following orders, skipping work. Later that day, with all the money in the world that he had, he was at the casino.

– GOOD, YOU’RE HERE, RALPH. AND YOU’VE GOT THE CASH?
– Yes.
– A SIMPLE YES IS GOOD, RALPH. WHILE I’M TALKING TO YOU IN A BOOMING VOICE, I’VE MADE IT SO THAT NO ONE ELSE CAN HEAR. I DON’T WANT ANYONE ELSE CASHING IN ON YOUR GOOD FORTUNE.
– Yes. But why me?
– YOU’VE BEEN CHOSEN, RALPH. DON’T ASK ANY MORE. JUST GO TO THE ROULETTE TABLE AFTER GETTING YOUR CHIPS.


Ralph went. He perspired. Never before had he done this. He figured he’d see no one from the office, never mind Sheila, who said he never took chances. He was at the table.

– RED 27, RALPH. EVERYTHING ON IT!

Red 27 won. Then Ralph, as instructed, played Red 21 and Black 35, with everything on them. And he won.
– RALPH, NOW RED 8. YOU UNDERSTAND?
– Red 8.
– A SIMPLE YES, RALPH.

But it came up Black 4. One spin, one Black 4, and it was as dark as 3 AM. Now he was shaken but could not stir. How could he pay his rent? How could he face Al or Ed, never mind Sheila? He might as well have been on a desert island.

– I don’t understand.
– I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT EITHER, RALPH. I HAD SUCH A GOOD FEELING ABOUT RED 8. DAMN, I THOUGHT RED 8 FOR SURE…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s