John loves MaryJohn and Mary are a married couple. They enjoy walks on sunny Sunday afternoons in fresh air and beautiful landscape, having casual conversation.
One sunny Sunday afternoon they came by the local casino. Mary already had been suspicious when she spotted the towers from further away. Now, standing in front of the entrance, Mary was really upset: "Are you serious? Look at this wonderful sunny day. And you want to go in there, in this dark and smoky ... uh?"
Warily John tried to convince her: "Look, I haven't been playing for quite some time. And now while we are here ... I somehow feel that luck is on my side today." Mary turned away from him. Wasn't there something in the corner of her eye? She looked more closely and for the first time realized what nice gardening the casino had around. Flowers, bushes, a few trees, and some seating. "Ok.", she said. "I will sit over there on that bench, smell the flowers and feel the sun on my skin. You go and do whatever you have to do."
John was relieved but showed no sign of turning towards the glass wings. "Mary?", he cautiously asked. "Could you lend me some money? I don't have any with me." Mary laughed out loud: "I can't believe it. Wants to be one of the worlds greatest gamblers but doesn't carry any money." Shaking her head she reached into her purse. "Here you go. Five dollars. That's all I'm willing to waste." "Thanks, honey." she heard but John already had vanished.
A bit more than an hour later Mary saw John shuffling slowly in her direction, hanging his head, looking terribly miserable. When John reached Mary's bench he wordlessly pointed a five dollar bill towards her. "What's up?", she asked. "Why the long face? Are they closed and it took you an hour to find out?" Grinning she put the money back in her purse. "Much, much worse.", John replied in the saddest voice ever heard. "I lost ... uhm ... hundred seventy five."
"WHAT???", Mary exploded. "Are you completely out of your mind? Lying to me and flushing money down the toilet? You told me you had no money with you. What is wrong with you liar?"
"I didn't lie. I really didn't even have a single cent with me. When I got inside I walked straight up to the roulette table and bet the five dollars on your birthday. Unbelievable, but I won - thirty five to one!. I felt that luck was with me, so I put another five on your birthday ... and lost. Tried some other numbers - no hit. I changed to the craps table and bet five on the pass line plus odds: Seven out. A few hands at Blackjack: That dealer took it all. I had two reds left and decided to cash out both. On my way out I hid one fiver in my pocket and slipped the other in some fancy blinking slot machine. Can't even remember what type of game, desperation had me. And then I found myself back in the sunlight again."
While John was reporting, Mary's anger calmed down. She sat back on the bench, closing her eyes, contentedly turning her face towards the sun. John was sitting beside her, staring at his feet. Silence.
After some minutes, still having closed her eyes and feeling the sun in her face, Mary commented: "That's fine. Nobody hurt. I have my five dollars back, you don't have any money with you, just as before, but you seemed to have a lot of gambling fun. Money neither lost nor won, I'd say."
John kept staring at his shoes, thinking about the apt words Mary said. Very slowly a slight smile came back to his face. Eventually he sat up, turned to Mary and said: "You know, Mary, that's why I love you so much."
* * * * *
A few weeks later, John checked the points of his player's card only to realize that the casino had appreciated his action of hundred eighty dollars on that special Sunday.
to be continued I suppose
I think you may as well say "newly married couple" in this story. John commits some mistakes a man who has been married for a while wouldn't make. I could go on if you want, but in particular the married man hooked up with a non-gambling wife will want to put a positive spin on whatever happens... never the opposite!
That is why I am NOT married. Guilt-free relationship where I can gamble without excuses win or lose.
Thank you both very much for your comments.
They are eye-openers to me because I would never have expected that to the reader the marriage could be the crucial point in this story. The basic message I intend to convey doesn't seem to attract the least of attention: Putting three different price tags ($5, -$175, $180) on a single succession of events.
"Use storytelling.", they say. "That is the best way to get your message accross.", they say. What a waste of training budget.