Follow the Rules

by Derek Smith
(Broadview, Illinois)

The noise of all the slot machines was music to the ears of Theo Ray. Theo could be seen four to five days a week at the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Michigan giving his dollars to the slot machines. The slot machines always thanked Theo for his big donations. Theo always walked away with a feeling of disgust after losing big.

Theo only lived a short distance away from the casino in nearby Niles, Michigan. Twenty-seven years of marriage had aged Theo beyond his years. The arguing and wrangling with his wife Virginia Ray constantly over family affairs had undoubtedly taken a toll on the spirit of Theo Ray. The casino was his discotheque. It was a place where Theo could take refuge from his wife and just relax.

Theo was accustomed to losing $700.00 on any given day on the slot machines at the casino. This was always Theo's limit at the casino.

Avery text messaged Theo on a balmy Thursday in mid-summer begging him to go to the casino with him. Avery was six feet and four inches tall, slender, clean shaven, and one hell of a debater! Avery could debate Theo for twelve hours straight about virtually any subject. This day there was no debating as Theo quickly agreed to accompany Avery to the Four Winds Casino.

The casino was having a once in a lifetime slot machine promotion. The jackpot was ten million dollars on the Magic Eight slot machines. There were twenty-one Magic Eight slot machines throughout the casino but only one of the machines would hit for the ten million dollars.

By the end of the day Avery had won sixty-five hundred dollars while Theo exceeded his daily limit by gambling away five thousand dollars. Theo had to explain to his wife Virginia why he raided their joint savings account and blew the money on the one arm bandit.

Rule # 1 is never abandon your preset gambling limit in the casino. Theo obviously disregarded this rule.

Theo decided to ban himself from the Four Winds casino. The ban official informed Theo that the ban was for life, the ban was for all Michigan casinos, and that he would be arrested for trespassing if he stepped foot in any Michigan casino. Theo was also warned that if he should happen to step foot in a casino and win a jackpot, the jackpot would be null and void.

Two weeks later Theo snuck into Four Winds casino past security and bragged to himself about how easy it was. The female security guard on duty just waved Theo in. Theo headed straight for the Magic Eight slot machine closest to the main aisle. Before he could get there however, some sixty something year old man that looked like Mick Jagger took a seat at the slot machine.

Theo had to settle for the fourth slot machine from the main aisle. Theo took his seat on the throne and pulled the handle a total of ten times and drew a blank each time. On the eleventh pull of the handle Theo heard a series of noises that he hadn't heard before and they sounded like ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. The light on the machine was flashing and the machine read 888 with a star at the top. JACKPOT! Ten million dollars.

The casino staff and patrons descended on Theo like he was Michael Jordan at a book signing event.

Virginia Ray rushed to the casino as soon as Theo broke the unbelievable news. Theo walked over to the payment counter after a casino staff member verified the jackpot. "I'm here to collect my ten million dollars," Theo said with a smile on his face to the stunned cashier and her supervisor. The cashier supervisor asked for Theo's ID and after checking it responded by saying, "Mr. Theo Ray, you are on our self-ban list which means your jackpot is null and void."

As if losing the jackpot wasn't enough, casino security called the New Buffalo police to come and arrest Theo Ray for trespassing. Virginia Ray could only gasp for air as she watched the surreal events from the cashier counter.

Rule #2 is always follow the casino rules. Theo obviously disregarded this rule. He should have followed the rules.

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