Playing The Odds
written by: Eve Dobbins
The gambler as he was known in a few circles threw the confetti wildly at the couple posing on the church steps. The confetti brushed past the bride’s face and then plopped on the ground catching the sunlight and glittering gold as the sun shone brightly just after noon. The bride’s nose twitched and then she giggled drawing her arm closer to the groom. The groom eager to reach the BMW and drive off to the airport on a flight to Tahiti for the honeymoon waved eagerly to the crowd and smiled a big smile which to the thoughts of his nephew didn’t appear quite honest or sincere.
The gambler caught the eye of the nephew and noticed him draw his chin closer to this chest. That is his tell he thought observing quietly the nephew watching the uncle. He moved quietly closer to him as the crowd started to move next door toward the reception hall. Out of the corner of his eye, he observed the parents of the bride who appeared to be counting the number of people attending the hall. He heard the mother say, “I think there are some gate crashers but we have only paid for 150 people to attend and now it appears as if there are closer to 200.” He watched with interest as she began talking with the head waiter of the restaurant.
The gambler moved closer and watched with interest as the head waiter unobtrusively as if not to attract attention to himself withdrew a small calculator from his pocket and began to tabulate. Moving closer, he could hear his French accent clearly.
“Oui, c’est plus chere que avant…parce que…” and then he stopped abruptly as he was pushed by the father who was a big guy, about 6 feet 4 inches who bumped into him and stated, “Tell me, in English!”
Then he grabbed the arm of his wife and the French head waiter and quietly left the entrance to the Convention Hall. The gambler or “Jo-Jo” as some called him, observed the wedding hall with the guests leaving and departing. Catching the arm of a very pretty girl, he asked her “Do you know them?”
She turned as if surprised and squealed. “Well, of course, I am a friend of Demetri and Ami.” She gave him a look and then said, “Do you know them?” pointedly.
He shrugged philosophically, “Demetri and I go way back. You know in our 20’s.”
She gazed with curiosity at him, “And don’t I know that the things we do in our 20’s don’t always bode well in our 40’s.”
“40’s” he said loudly, “Which one is 40?”
“Well, almost 40,” she corrected herself smiling once more and raising her eyebrows. “What are you drinking?”
“Well,” he said, “not yet, but I am thinking of a straight shot of bourbon.”
She flounced and said, “Yeah, that does sound good.” They both headed to the bar where the head waiter was engaged in a muffled conversation with the parents.
The father was gesticulating wildly to the mother, “I can’t afford this. First, we had the damm corona virus, my work hours were cut, and now this.”
The mother patted his shoulder, “Please she will only get married once.”
The father rolled his eyes and flounced away to the bathroom but not before grabbing a jigger and shooting it quickly down his throat.
The gambler or “Jo-Jo” looked at the pretty blonde next to him.
“By the way, what is your name?”
“Desiree, I am Jo-Jo, pleased to meet you.” Both raised their glasses to salute one another and drove the jigger quickly down their throat.
Desiree giggled and said, “Wow, that went down fast.”
Jo-Jo nodded his head and said, “Let’s get another one.”
He waved over the barman and ordered a double. As he watched the barman pour the golden liquid into the glass, he curiously watched as the father wavering slightly after leaving the restroom guided by the mom. “Whoa, what do you think is going on there?”
Desiree shrugged, “All is not what it seems.”
“What do you mean by that?” Jo-Jo asked.
Desiree glanced sidewise at him, “Can I tell you a little secret?” and she hiccupped.
He grinned, “Desiree,” and then smiling full force with charm, he said to her, “This is the time and place to be truthful. I don’t know where else you can be as open and non judgmental as a wedding. Everything is so so hopeful right here.”
She looked around warily, “Yeah, I guess you are right.”
“Well,” she said, “He and I were once lovers.”
Jo-Jo spit out his drink, “Say whaat?”
“We were lovers – Demetri and I. Then I introduced him to Ami.”
He opened and closed his lips, “Wow, that is something. And how many people know that?”
She reached over and put her finger on his lips, “Only two because three cannot keep a secret.”
“Only two. So you mean, me and you.” He let his head lean more towards her.
She nodded and giggled. “Don’t tell Ami.” Then she said, “Got to go to the little girl’s room.” And left.
He stood there thinking with his hands moving back and forth as if playing a game. The head waiter watched him with interest.
“What are you doing?”
He confided, “I am calculating the odds.”
The head waiter said, “Well, I wish you knew the odds of me finding my next job. I just feel as if I am going to lose my position soon as the father of the bride just cussed me out.”
Jo-Jo looked at him appraisingly, “Was it because the cost of the meals was miscalculated?”
“Yep, as if I can control crowd crashers.”
“Who are you related to?” he asked sighing heavily.
Jo-Jo turned and said, “I am not here for the wedding. I am here for the odds. Excuse me, I have a bet to place.”
As the maître de watched, Jo-Jo got on the phone with his broker, and said “We want them to buy the house. As for the likelihood that they will stay together. 1 in 99.”
The bartender stared with curiosity. To avenge his curiosity, Jo-Jo asked the head waiter “Do you want to win? Bet then.”
The head waiter stared intently at Jo-Jo. “Every day I get up and show up for work is a win-win. Do you have inside information on this bet?”
Jo-Jo winked, “It’s in the cards.”
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