Posted by asm826 on October 8, 2006
“Are you going out in town?” Bill asked as he rummaged through his seabag.
Tom stood in the doorway, “I don’t know, I’m almost broke, I’ve got about seven dollars left. I’m going to the NCO club for supper. C’mon, let’s go eat, you can catch a later bus and maybe it’ll quit raining.”
The Cubi NCO club was directly across the street from the barracks they were in. They ran across the grass and up the steps of the club, skidding to a stop at the doors. Just inside the entrance there was a row of one armed bandits. Tom stopped and fished out the change in his pocket. He sorted out three quarters from among the centavos and pisos he was saving.
Bill shook his head, “They never pay off, don’t waste your money.”
“What difference does it make? Three tries and we go eat. If I win something, we hit the ‘ville,” Tom said as he fed the first coin in the slot.
The first pull yielded nothing and Bill shoved him. He stepped back in front of the machine and fed the second coin. A pull of the arm set the reels spinning. Bill started to say something as the first bar-7 rolled up and stopped. The second bar-7 clicked in. Tom started to scan the payoff list on the side and didn’t see the third number until Bill yelled and the bell on the machine went off. Quarters started raining out of the machine.
“Seventy-five dollars! Son of a …seventy-five!” Bill started to pick up the loose coins that had rolled out on the floor.
One of the staff came out and looked at the machine. He nodded and helped them collect the coins. Tom put them all in his utility cover and took them to the cashier to trade the coins for paper money. He folded up the cash, signed the form he was handed without looking at it, and turned toward the door.
“Hey, don’t you want to eat?” Bill asked.
“In the ‘ville, I want to eat in the ‘ville.”
“Going to Emie’s?”
Tom pushed open the door and stopped, “No, that’s done. Let’s hit it like it’s the first time. Drink some beer, eat some pancit, see a show,” he smiled, “Last night in the PI, I think I said that yesterday. Let’s go, I’m buying.”
They dashed back to the barracks and went up the room. Tom upended his seabag and pulled out his civvies out of the pile on his rack. He shoved the camera bag into the seabag and pushed his uniform in on top of it.
“No camera? Man, I don’t believe it.”
Tom held up his pocket notebook, “I’ve got this. I took the pictures I wanted yesterday, anyway. Besides, it’s raining like a big dog and we’re going to end up drunk.”
“Now you’re talking. I still don’t believe you won. Nobody wins on those club machines.”
They laughed. As they pulled the door shut and sprinted down the hallway to the ladderwell, they were still laughing. A taxi stood idling in front of the chowhall. They ran over, splashing through the water running along the curb and climbed inside.
The driver looked up in the mirror as they said in unison, “Main gate.”