Joe is a smart guy in his seventies who should know better. But he’s bored to death, feels neglected, and goes in search of adventure. Unfortunately, he gets more excitement than he has bargained for. Will he survive his latest boredom-cure?
Damn, I was going to have some fun tonight if it killed me! Mumbling to myself as I shuffled down the hallway, away from the master bedroom, away from my wife of forty-five years, away from the noise of those damned Brits on TV, munching their words like they were eating something and didn’t want to splutter in their tea. My wife’s obsession with the BBC was driving me nuts. She didn’t want to golf with me anymore, didn’t want to play Texas Hold’em anymore, didn’t want to take walks around the block anymore. Didn’t even want to have sex anymore, for crying out loud.
Christmas was two weeks away, the house was decorated, the tree adorned and lit and all she could talk about was what gifts to get for the grandkids. Instead of my stupid stocking hanging from the mantel, I had to admit I secretly longed for affection, attention, a bit of sex from my wife of forty-five years.
From the looks of it, that was as unrealistic as winning the state lottery!
So I checked out my wallet, called out to her that I was going to the store to buy some ice cream—Rocky Road’s my favorite, and hers is something different, can’t remember what—oh yeah, strawberry. Or is it cherry? Anyway, she called back something unintelligible, which meant to me that she couldn’t care less if I crossed the border and got stranded down in Mexico.
I got my old brown leather sports jacket, stood at the entryway mirror, and straightened my Polo shirt collar. At seventy, I wasn’t a bad looking dude. Still tall at 6-foot-one, slim, fairly broad shoulders, hair salt-and-pepper—more salt these days-but plentiful, thanks to the good ol’ genes from my father’s side of the DNA family. I tightened my belt a bit. Something starts happening to your body around seventy that fattens either your belly, waist or hips even if you just look at a donut or Big Mac. Or the converse happens. You lose weight like the poor ol’ guys in a WW II prison camp and everything starts sagging, from your abdomen to your dick and balls. In my case, it was the latter, and I was starting to look like my father at age seventy, Haggard, sagging, almost gaunt. I wondered when my testicles would drop to my knees—ha! It happened to poor ol’ Dad. He passed on three years later. Never saw it coming.
Many a time I wondered if the same would happen to me. Three years to go... Would anyone care? Would anyone notice?
The Hard Rock Casino-Hotel near downtown took me a twenty-minute drive in my 2015 Mercedes SUV. As a retired college chemistry instructor, I wasn’t worried about paying the bills for my wife, also a retired teacher, and I had been smart enough to invest along the way of our journey through the best years of our lives. We’d invested mostly in houses (like gold mines in the valleys of SoCal), put our two kids through college, managed to travel a fair amount in the summertime and keep our health up. We’d been lucky, maybe had gotten a little complacent, like this was the way it was always going to be. Just drifting along, being frugal, saving, investing, being good parents, giving our kids financial stability. But somehow, along the way we’d lost each other.
As I parked in the parking garage, I shook off this dark mood and turned to the bright lights that welcomed me. The place was packed. Who knew? Maybe tonight I’d win a new car or even a free cruise. Who cared? The gambling was all about the fun, the risk, the intermittent thrills of winning a handful of change.
I settled in front of a dollar slot machine that linked to the Progressive Jackpot of a hundred-thousand dollars. Not that I really figured I’d win, but heck, you never know what the night has in store for you.
A young woman, maybe in her thirties, stood next to me, inserting the coins like me, at a slow, leisurely pace. After about ten minutes, her rhythm matched my own. One-two-three, in-you-go, all-three-rows, line-up-good, bring-me-luck!
“I like your style,” she said to me, gazing up at me with big mascaraed eyelashes flipped upwards like spikes, her blue eyes dark and teasing.
“Thanks,” I told her, interrupting my rhythm with the slots to really look at her. Her long blonde hair was straight and streaked with strands of pale yellow that hung alongside both sides of her round face.
In an offhand way, she reminded me of my wife when I first met her at UCLA, the hippie look still in vogue then in the late sixties. For a moment, my mind harked back to the blonde I fell in love with on the steps of the science building.
A flash of psychic pain stabbed through me and I blinked and shook it off. The bourbon-on-the-rocks I swigged down helped shake it off, thank goodness. Now was not the time for pointless sentimentality.
“It’s easier on the hand and arm this way,” I told her, “especially if you plan on doing this all night.”
She giggled and flung one side of her long mane over her shoulder. Her tight-fitting tee shirt showed an outline of plump breasts and small waist. Below, a pair of cut-off jeans shorts snugged her slim hips, revealing long legs that ended in wedge heels. Even a little rounded cheek showed below her ragged cuff. No doubt she was a little skanky and rough around the edges but probably enticing enough to a younger guy. I hoped my thirty-two year-old daughter never dressed this way.