DIRE DAY COINCIDENCES (gamblers, beware)

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getting stung (by a bee) while winning money gambling — one of those days...

Have you ever been struck by a revelation? Has a revelation ever knocked the good legs from under you? Have you ever stood thunder-struck, transfixed, rooted to the spot? Well, I have, and let me tell you it’s about as pleasant as when a steam engine plows into your solar plexus and then stands back to survey the scene and has a good laugh.

         Only the other day I was struck by the number of betting shops and gambling dens not to mention Napoleonic casinos in Sheffield, that northern town which used to make steel knives for Jack the Ripper. Those gambling dens (of iniquity) proliferate which “probably” means that the punters lose and the shops win. Or so it seems. There again the UK is not short of other ways to get a punter and his pounds to do a quickie divorce. Throughout the European Cup a working-class geezer in a suit was regularly seen on television telling loons to gamble responsibly 365 days a year just like him. That guy also had loads of power and could place a winning bet during the last seconds of extra time before penalty shoot-out.

Well, what a load of footballs! And it prolifers in the U of K!!!

Now, I am a gambler myself and I have a penchant for 2, 17 and 29. Zero sometimes fascinates me, too. It’s round, green and empty like my head. So imagine one dire day (coincidence(s)) as the title of this piece suggests. I was scratching my inner leg on that one hot day – of the English year — and a dying bee fell out of my trouser leg. I also won 85 pounds. I went up to claim the lovely dosh, and said payee to his payer: “I live in Italy and Thailand and it’s a rare dude day I get stung by a bonnie bee but here in the U of K on the only hot day in these cold northern climes where the Brontes biffed it out something short of two hundred years ago, I go and get stung by a lousy bee.”

“And where’s the bee?” asked the guy who was trying to find the pounds to pay me.

  “Over there on the floor by the machine that let me fleece it. I killed it.”

“The bee?” he queried.

“Yep,” I replied, nodding. “I killed the bee not the machine.”

 I collected and stood rooted to the spot. The coincidence had gotten to me, bad, real bad, leaving me scratching my bald head. First time playing that particular form of roulette and I had won considerably. Then just prior I had also won considerably, 40 pounds, considerably, almost immediately, considerably, on a variant roulette I know and sometimes play. It was the new game that was ramming into my cervical brain cell.  (Quote “Prior to effacement, the cervix is like a long bottleneck, usually about four centimeters in length.” Unquote) It’s a rum roulette booty bet of magnifique proportions with a bee-sting to boot. If you get my drift. You bet, and if you win, then a load of little balls are released and bump down a bagatelle board into little holes, some of which can make you better off by dozens of quidders. That was my fortune. But, lo and behold! a long, lanky, negro guy was sitting at the same machine counting about three hundred pounds (which if I remember he had collected just prior to my having a success-bash at ‘forementioned roulette / bagatelle or bagatelle / roulette machinery).

He got down to business and I asked him if he played that particular game frequently. He turned on me: “Why are you talking to me?” I answered innocently enough: “I just played and won. I wondered if it was a good one to play.” “Don’t talk to me!” he shouted, then to the guy I had got interested in the bumble bee, “Look, do something. Look at this!”

         I distanced myself, and a guy said, “Don’t talk to him. You mustn’t!”And then, “How much did you win?” The long-framed negro was swivelling on his long, thin bum to gawp at me and tell me to go.

      Reader, I went, noting madness along the way and rueful because maybe even the guy who had listened to my bee-recount thought I was a pestilence, a raving nerkoid on the loose.

      I went across the road, into the pub where I had downed a pint, and downed another, giving the pretty barmaid I had previously parleyed with the change and telling her I had just made an escape from the betting shop across the road. “Wise man,” she said or the equivalent when she heard how I was about to be hung, drawn and quartered for talking to the professionals. (That pretty bargal was pretty good at other thought-fully-filled stuff – like, you see, like, man, like, she had even qualified my “You look strong…” with “for a girl.” Good stuff from the British Isles for once, and enough to get you a sizeable fine if you say it to the wrong sort, the stiff-necked politically correct wrong sort of jeezer-geezer.)

         Boy are those roulette-eyed, balls-dropping, gamble-guys in hell! Take it from me.  They’re probably without food, family, and shelter, addicted to a machine that rolls out white balls and slots ‘em into winning money-slots when Dame Fortune has decided to straddle formidable groindoms and grind on in there for the sheer, inner-thigh, hot, wet hell of it all!!!

         And that’s about it except that I saw my friend from The Rebublic of Kazakhstan who tells me I am very rude if inadvertently I place my right palm on her left cheek, who lights a cigarette while being shocked by marijuana smokers (“It’s a drug!” to quote), and who told me last eve that back in Kazak she makes love to hubby almost every day. (That hurt a lot! I can tell you, and I can’t even slip up and put an innocent palm on her lovely left cheek!) So we walked along idling the time away while the time did exactly the same to us (as time is wont to do) when, lo and behold! there was a tobacco tin on a low wall and beside it a packet of cigarettes. Said tin had a long-haired Bob Marley laughing with a set of uppers the envy of all dentists. The cigs had “Fumar mata” on the pack in black letters and on the derriere was written “Fumar” (white letters) “acorta la vida” (red letters). Amiba (not really the lovely Kazak’s name) told me not to look a gift-horse in the mouth but to swipe the cigs and tin which theft I performed adroitly though I say so myself.

         We went to the same pub I had patronized opposite the madhouse of gamblers crazed by the wily pleasures of losing thousands of quidaroos. I pointed it out to her and took great pleasure in telling her I had won. I also told her I had drunk two pints of beer prior to meeting her. I then told the gorg. Kazak. that she was not going to pay for drink and food because I had gambled and won. I relished. You see, her husband is still paying off a loan he took out to gamble on the stock exchange. He lost, creating a bone of contention in his otherwise middling-to-upwards Asian Islamic marriage. (Oh, it was good to have beaten him at something and to make his wife subject to my generosity financed by yet another habit she disliked – immensely, intensely. I’d thrown in the two pints as well for good measure because it’s too much alcohol.)

      We sat, me relishing me. I bought. She went. She went to the toilet. I bent. My shoelace was laced loose. I smelt. MARIJUANA! Yes, I’m not a dog but the sweet smell of the weed oozed from my (not his / her / their) Bob Marley tin. So my friend from Kazakhstan had got me to possess weed in a tin, and cigs. She who disapproved of drugs unofficial. Was I to be arrested there and then? Answer no.

         The bewitching hour of midnight was approaching. My day of coincidence was almost over. She told me with affection that I had been lovely, kind, generous and concerned. “I’m also rude,” I jogged her memory. “Not tonight,” she said sweetly. I held my hands down by and at my sides while she thoughtfully pecked me on the cheeks. Night was all around me with its ghosts, untouched bums, cinders, coincidences, gains, and losses. Wuthering Heights moaned and bent gnarled trees just across the moors from where I stood, about a hundred miles across the moors from where I stood. Cathy shrieked for her looney lover Heathcliff who gnashed his teeth in greedy jealousy in front of a plate of traditional British fare, fish and chips with salt and vinegar, please. Oh, that Emily Bronte had been a feminist! We would never have had to stomach such a vile creation as Heathcliff! But alas! she wasn’t, and so perforce we must stomach him (traditional, nineteenth-century, Yorkshire fare!). I had survived another day and as I walked quickly home I tapped the pocket of my winter overcoat (you can’t be too careful of English summers). Yes, Robert Marley tin and “fumar acorta la vida” cigarettes were still there. I was still there. All in one piece. Richer by a few dozen pounds. Bee-stung but not hospitalized. Defined as a wally but not abeaten-up. All in all it had been a great day despite the dire coincidences, the beer, the palms down by the sides. And the news that my lady-love makes love six or seven times a week (at least) back in Kazakhstan.

         Oh, woe is me! Oh, fuck the fuck!        

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