Friday, February 25, 2011

(43-213) The Elusive 43

On February 3, I wrote "A Spirit Lift," and I told you that I was looking forward to the pre-Valentine's Day date day that Luis and I had planned for the 4th.  But as you may recall, from "All Around All-Star,"  Nicky got sent home from school sick, on the 4th; so Luis and I postponed our date until today.  As it had been a while since we went on a date; we decided to go to Talking Stick Casino.  Due to a conversation that Jackie and I had just had the night before; I texted her to let her know that we were at the casino; and she responded, "Find slot machine number 43 and put the full money in to play."  I typically don't play slot machines; but I was perfectly willing to follow her instruction because I thought that 43 was her lucky number.  After thinking about it for a few seconds; I realized that Jackie was telling me to play machine 43 because she wanted 43 to be a lucky number for me.  I told Luis about Jackie's text; and he said "let's do it!"

During our lovely lunch, we talked about our lucky numbers; because Luis thought that we should play those machines as well.  Luis said his lucky number was 7, and I told him that mine was 22.  I thought that Jackie's was 13; (but coincidentally I found out later this afternoon, that it's 22, just like mine.)  We agreed that we would look for machines 43, 22, 13 and 7; but I requested that we look for 43 first.

After lunch we started looking for the number 43 series of slot machines.  We scoured the entire casino, but there was no 43.  The numbers appeared to be completely random, and as we looked high and low, I felt like I was on "The Amazing Race."  Once we were completely, convinced that there was no 43 series, we decided to look for a slot machine that ended in the number 43; which was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  After scrutinizing several slot machines, I finally found a number 43 in the penny slots; but there was an elderly, white haired, woman playing on it and she seemed very committed to this machine.  We expanded our search to the other side of the casino, and found three more machines with the number 43; but each was occupied by a patron who was engrossed in their gambling.

Luis and I laughed non-stop, because we couldn't believe how difficult it was to fine the elusive 43, let alone one that was available.  We returned to the machine that the white haired lady had been using; but there she sat.  Her pot was dwindling down to around $4 so we were hopeful that she might be done soon.  We knew that it could go either way, but when she reached into her purse and pulled another $20 from her wallet; we knew that we didn't stand a chance.

I excused myself to go to the restroom and while there, I thought "Maybe we should play machine 44;"  but I remembered why Jackie had told me to play 43; so I was uncertain.  As luck would have it; when I got back to Luis, he was sitting next to the WHL (white haired lady) on machine 43; as he sat playing on machine 44.  I couldn't believe that he was playing 44 after what I'd just been thinking in the restroom; and he told me that he had put in 25 cents and was up $5.  He then looked at me and said "Go ahead, make your maximum bet."  And with that, I pressed the button and 1,2,3, diamond after diamond dropped into the slots.  Each one was a different color; and I must have anticipated that this meant something good, because I started screaming.  Luis and I couldn't believe our eyes.  Even though we didn't know exactly what all of these beautiful, diamonds meant; we KNEW something good was going to happen.  The machine advised us that we'd triggered a bonus, but we didn't know how to proceed; and the WHL leaned over and told us to hit SPIN.  We did, and all of a sudden a screen appeared with 9 boxes, each containing a different number, and the possibility of three prizes - the biggest being $1068. and the smallest being $21.  We still weren't sure what to do, and again the WHL told us to hit SPIN.  We did and the machine told us that we could stop the spin whenever we wanted; but the WHL told us not to.  We listened to her and the first number that came up was a three, which was one of the three numbers in the thousand dollar prize.  With great exuberance, we spun again, and again, and again.  Only, I did stop the spin a couple of times.  After 5 spins, we were one number away from the thousand dollar prize; but the WHL then told us that we only got five spins.  WHAT??  Luis and I couldn't believe it.  We were both under the impression that we'd continue spinning until we won one of the prizes; but clearly we were mistaken.  We were shocked; and felt foolish for listening to the WHL. We should have stopped the spins ourselves, each and every time.  The machine then instructed us to spin one more time; so we did, and we got the number three.  This meant that we won three times the prize that we originally earned; so when all was said and done, we won about $35.00  We took a couple more spins, but we weren't coming close to that magical moment that we'd earned so effortlessly; so we decided to go visit one last 43 machine to see if it was available.

We found a vacant 43 machine, that happened to be a 2 cent Wizard of Oz progressive.  The jackpot was over $600,000.00 and we had no idea how much the maximum bet cost.  We put a $20 bill in the machine and did a test run with the minimum bet; which turned out to be 40 cents.   We deduced that the maximum bet was $3.20; so we decided to try our luck.  I spun the wheels, and was reminded of why I never personally play slot machines.  I simply had NO IDEA what was going on, or what it took to win; and it just didn't make any kind of sense to me.  After the wheels stopped spinning; I won $5 and Luis advised me that if I'd had one more of the progressive symbols, I would have won at least $1000.00, if not more.  OMG!  I have NEVER come that close to winning $1000 dollars; and now twice in one day, opportunity had knocked and I was unable to answer. Luis put it well.  He said it was like someone dangled $1000. in front of us, but we just couldn't grab it.  We cashed out of machine 43; and laughed all the way home.  It wasn't necessarily a happy laugh.  I think I might describe it like the laugh one has when they're in shock.  I told Luis that I felt nauseous; the way that you feel after going on an amusement park ride that didn't agree with you.  We kept reviewing the events of our afternoon; and the one thing that we couldn't get over was that not only did the WHL keep me from machine 43; she also sabotaged (although not intentionally) the perfect ending to this post.

All and all, I have to say that other than my first date with Luis; this just may be the best date that we ever had.  It would have been incredible to win a thousand dollars; but we know that we are rich in the way that matters the most. 
Till next time...

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