The Gambler-A Short Story
It is the same every Friday night. The warm shower beats against aching muscles-shoulders, neck and arms; peels of wetness streaming down back, buttocks and legs...hairy, muscular legs.
He gets out of the tub, careful to step onto the blue and yellow striped mat, lest he leave a trail of moist footprints along the bathroom floor. Gazing into a mirror clouded with steam, he balls up one fist and wipes the glass clean with the fleshy part of his hand.
Staring at the green eyed reflection, he turns his head from side to side and scratches his jaw as if pondering whether to shave or not. But, the decision has already been made. Not to shave would be a decisive moment to change a routine established years ago.
He’s aloof to the fact that it makes him look ragged. Not rugged , as a younger man with less gray would present, but scruffy and unkempt. He certainly doesn’t agonize about the possible razor burn that occurs nuzzling up to someone, (anyone), with softer skin. It’d been far too long for any consideration of that. No, he doesn’t think of pleasing anyone but himself. It’s the prickly sensation that the stubs on his jowl create that is bothersome to him.
So, his shaving ritual begins. When he’s finished he inspects the results with a keen eye, adds a stinging splash of aftershave, and goes about the business of gathering up his clothes.
It’s Friday evening and as he zips up the fly of his too tight jeans, carefully tucking in the soft, black tail of his shirt, he looks around for his boots. Ostrich. Heels three inches or so. Old, but his meticulous care has maintained them in good condition. He pockets his wallet and his gaze follows the line of the single bureau settling on the ancient, silver dollar quietly waiting for him. His marker. His amulet.
Time to go.
He drives a hundred miles to meet the boys at the club for the weekly poker game. He goes to win. Never mind that he’s lost paychecks and more in the course of the night. He’s a winner. He’s a gambler.
Notes on the short story: The Gambler
In December 2007, my sister, who is a freelance writer, sent me two books in support of writing fiction: The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood. A wonderfully compact set of books filled with writing prompts of all types. I have: Endless Inspiration and Ideas & Inspirations for writing. She adds photos and tips for success throughout the pages. The Gambler was my first story written January 1, 2008. It is a flash fiction. Flash fiction is a type of writing that is derived from a prompt. The writer is expected to finish the story in a designated, but limited, time period. It is considered a useful tool to help writers overcome thought blocks and to spur on the creative muse.
In the prompt for this story, the directions were to "write about someone who thinks he is something he really is not". The perilous life of the gambler is that sort of person.
Kenny Rogers singing The Gambler
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What is Gambler's Anonymous?
Gambler's Anonymous, or GA, is a 12 step program that offers nonjudgmental support for people who are compulsive gamblers. Based on the Alcoholic Anonymous 12 step program, people gather to share stories of their gambling addiction and the effects it has on their lives, as well as the lives of those closest to them.
If you think you may have a gambling addiction you can follow the link here to take a 20 question quiz. http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/content/20-questions
If you would like additional information about Gambler's Anonymous or where to find a meeting follow the link here: http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/content/about-us
Remember: there is no shame in reaching out for help.