Posted 09-19-2003 at 14:29:05
[Reply] [No Email]
in my head....I'm going to share it.
When Fred and I first got married, 1983, we decided quite suddenly to leave Texas and move to Washington state. It was a desperate attempt to put space between his family and mine and the entity that was us. It was a great trip, even living in the back of the truck in a camper shell, but we decided Washington wasn't our cup of tea so we headed back home.
On the way back we passed through Reno, Nevada and I saw a glint come into Fred's eye like I had never seen before, not even on our honeymoon.
"Let's go gamble."
Oh crap. Blah. Yuk. I was whining in my head.
"Okay." I said. Never know, it might be fun.
Fred went from one craps table to the other. I, being a novice, fed the stupid slot machines. Boring. Then I hit on one and got my money back. The tinkle of the coins dropping into the winner tray held me hostage and after that I couldn't TEAR myself away. Never mind the fact that I was just basically getting back what I put in. Or so I thought. Finally I realized that my paltry twenty dollar 'stake' was shrinking, but I stubbornly went on, just knowing that I was going to hit big. I had to. Who just 'threw away' twenty dollars? It was unheard of. I didn't give up until the sucker ate my last quarter and I was flat broke. By then I had the sickness, so I went in search of more funds.
I sidled up to Fred at the craps table.
"Give me some more money please?"
"Give me some more money please?"
"GIVE ME SOME MORE MOOOONNNEEEEYY!"
His loud gulp was audible even with the cacophony of bells and whitles and chimes going off all over the place.
"I don't have anymore."
"Ohh....okay, well I guess we better leave then, huh?"
"No...I don't think you get me. We don't have ANY more money." He said under his breath.
"How'd THAT happen?" I asked, toeing the garish carpet with a dirty sneaker.
"I don't know!!! I was so sure I....I was positive I had money in both pockets, one for gambling and one for gas and food....maybe somebody picked my pocket!"
Uh huh, yeah.
"Is this the part where you tell me you have to put my butt on the streets to support us?"
His horrified expression cracked me up.
"That was a joke, honey."
He took me by the shoulders and shook me.
"We....have....no...MONEY! We are hundreds of miles from home and we have no way to get back."
This is where it came in handy being married the first time to a bum. I had learned how to get by.
"It'll be okay." I said. "Come on."
He followed me through the casino like a blind man, ran into the back of me several times as I stopped to let people pass.
"You have no idea what kind of shape we're in." He warned me when we got back to the truck.
"Sure I do. We've got about two days worth of food and drinks in the cooler, a half a tank of gas, our house on our back, and a long way to go. Did I leave anything out?"
"WE HAVE NO MONEY! You left that out."
"Oh yeah that. Just drive."
"I was hoping I would get lucky on that last roll......you know there's no skill to this craps thing.....I have no luck...what was I thinking....if it wasn't for bad luck...." And on, and on, and on, and oooonnnn......
I really wanted to slap him, but he was doing penance so I just tried to ignore him.
We made our way from Nevada, through Arizona, and New Mexico as far as Junction, Texas where we borrowed enough money from Fred's grandmother to get us the rest of the way to Austin. We borrowed from churches (which we paid back every cent) worked day labor unloading trucks, and finally in Albequerque (sp?) we stopped at a pawn shop and hocked my rings, which we sent for in the mail three weeks later. We never missed a meal, we only stopped long enough to work. It took us two weeks to get home, and Fred never relaxed for one second the entire time. For me, it was old hat to drive across country living by the skin of my teeth with the jackazz I married the first time around. With Fred it was a pleasure. Even if he was wound tighter than an eight day clock.
Fred has since admitted that he got carried away, lost track of how much he had spent and counted on winning when he shouldn't have. So what. I did the same thing, just on a smaller scale. I told him I never bought the pickpocket story anyway. For a time there, we both had the sickness and we paid dearly for giving in to it. Fred still likes to go to Mississippi and gamble on the very rare occassions that he has the money to do so, and the few times he's been, he has won back triple what he lost in Reno, but he also knows he could lose just as easily so every time he goes, he kisses my wedding rings for luck. It's a touching reminder for both of us that when the chips are down, even if it's a situation that we PUT ourselves in, we will perservere.