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How to Lose Money and Irritate People

322 pages4 hours


Angry Joe is yelling about something again, his moustache bristling and his dark eyes full of intense concentration as the reels spin before him. To his right the shabbily dressed 60s housewife gone bad Voula is swearing to herself in Greek and mumbling something about ‘her system’ for what must be the thousandth damn time. I stand above them all and then offer some words of advice to Voula which quickly turns into a story. I tell her about the time I stuck fifty bucks in a machine at Crown Casino and pulled out two hundred and fifty five minutes later. I was betting ten bucks a spin I explain. Can you imagine? I love those last three little words, ‘can you imagine’ because I know full well that she is imagining it and this combined with her surly look at me makes me smile all the brighter as I move on to my next victim... I mean customer. He begins by complaining about a coffee one of the other staff made for him, too weak, far too weak and too cold. I nod and look serious at this most heinous of offenses, where’s the International Court of Justice when you need them? And I consider my response as I turn to look at the machine to his left, a silent but hopefully deadly fart escapes me as I’m pretending to check something. I look back at him and he looks at me with suspicion and as I smell the air I gesture with a tilt of my head at the Mug Punter next to me and I wrinkle up my nose in disgust. Mission accomplished and blame averted I move on around the gaming floor of the Club. While I know that the Mug Punters here are all prisoners because of their addictions it occurs to me too that the need for a constant pay check has made me one too.

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