Thursday, July 30, 2009

two rum cherries spells casino ruin



one armed bandit. photograph by yale joel, 1951.


I like berries. I do not like fruit machines. Slot machines.

The term "one armed bandit" seems hideously appropriate. Like a shrunken Mexican purse snatcher lying in wait in a dark alley in Vegas. Or the deserted parking lot at the back of the diner.

As I mentioned here previously, I have an aversion to gambling. It is not quite a hobbyhorse, this disinclination to let my money ride, but in light of those other vices I have embraced or accumulated it
is something of a small saving grace.

Flutter. Another ominously fitting tag. Moths dancing around the flame; glued and twitching on the backlit glass as the the bars and cherries refuse to settle on the line. I have known people thousands of pounds in debt thanks to those bells and whistles. Sober, god-fearing bastards who have never smoked a joint. They pass one bar after the other without a backwards glance, but still they are hooked. They avoid the beer gut but the cold sweat waits to spring forth just the same. The anxiety and panic is always there lurking.




I have heard the police
come knocking at six o'clock in the morning to spirit away the inveterate debtor, and have felt relief it was not me. Shivering under the quilt like a coward. One fist balled in my mouth. It could have been far worse, of course. It just as easily might have been debt collectors with razors and saturnine threats. Ivory cue balls rattling on the stairs.

Pony necked, slab thighed yobs with running eyes and too much aftershave. They collected an uncle of mine that way, the bastards.


The slot machines have kept pace with shiny trends in entertainment, but the thugs employed to break arms and dislodge teeth have not changed to any remarkable extent. The interest repayments are invariably unmakable. The vigorish remains vigorously outlandish.

Still. We all have our vices. It is not merely a capitalist failing. Everyone begins a winner; flushed and flexing muscle. All bets off as the starting pistol barks.

Now, pinball, well; that's another story.

8 comments:

Löst Jimmy said...

I am in agreement with your assessment of gambling...I've never felt the urge probably because I never had the flexible sum to make room for a 'flutter' plus there is plenty of room at the bottom for those in its grip. An acquaintance of mine, long dead, was a compulsive gambler (horses, poker, fruit machines you name it and his fingerprints were all over it), he once told me that he never kept any food in the house instead eating on the go as every available penny was spent servicing his habit it wouldn't do to waste cash storing non-gambling items. The whole sordid merry go round literally killed him in the end

ib said...

After I set this down, Löst Jimmy, I was vaguely troubled that I might appear a little arrogant. I have as far as little to be proud of as is imaginable, really. I am something of a common garden fuck-up, at best.

I am amazed, after a fashion, that I was never bitten with the bug. Just like you, I have seen people literally disappear down the jackpot slot. Some of my distant family included. I detest those so-called socialist c*nts who have allowed gambling to become legitimately franchised; that oily f@cker, Blair, for one.

I would sooner see smack sold by a roadside kiosk than lottery numbers, and that's a fact. At least one can be sure one is getting something for one's troubles. Bum deal or not.

ib said...

Lest I forget. Camelot ? Decapitate the c*nts.

Löst Jimmy said...

Right on about Camelot, the whole sordid issue about the National Lottery is less about giving to 'good causes' but feeding the shareholders pockets...the bastards couldn't even get that right, greed has no bounds. Surely the purpose would be for such an apparatus to be not-for-profit?
Or is that too naive?
Besides it is yet another tax on the poor...

Don't worry though, society is down the tubes because everybody is in their front room stretching their plastic and bank accounts to meltdown playing online bingo or poker..."read 'em and weep, the dead man's hand again"

Have a good weekend brother

ib said...

Ain't that the truth. That "Full Tilt" ad gets right on my tits, especially.

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ib said...

Hey Vinny, who am I to argue ?

Horses for courses, right ?