Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Five will get you Twenty


Five will Get you Twenty



How quickly the days slipped away. The decision to take a working vacation this early had not come easily. His wife had insisted. She harped on about how hard he had worked over the years and insisted that an early trip was an excellent idea. "You take Humphries with you, I can always contact him if anything comes up that needs your attention. You just have to take a break. Or a break is going to take you! And the funds need to be replenished. You may as well enjoy yourself as you take care of that piece of business." She was adamant that the "vacation" started soon. He almost became suspicious about her persistence but knew that she loved him, in fact adored him. She insisted that he go along with Humphries that she would occupy her time with the hobbies she had taken up. "In fact, I'll enjoy it more since I won't have you underfoot and demanding my attention." She smiled at him lovingly and he shrugged. "Okay, I'll get Humphries to make all the arrangements."

It was the climate difference that he always noticed most. The air was dry and warm. Warm, it was downright hot. He had immediately broken out what his wife called his "Hawaiian Look" wardrobe. The shorts did little to conceal his knobby knees and the shirt was just a canvas pulled taut over his belly. Before he had left home, he had gone to his bureau drawer and removed the flashy chip with the empty space where the name of the casino it chose to play at would go. He held it in his hand and casually flipped it skyward with the confidant air of a winner. Humphries, his diminutive traveling companion and bank keeper was dressed impeccably in a tailored pinstripe suit and highly polished Italian made shoes. He wrinkled his nose in the general direction of his boss. His boss looked at the expression on his face and said, "tacky is as tacky does, Humphries. Now be a good sport and stop casting aspersions on my outerwear." He picked up his golf hat, motioned for Humphries to take the briefcase lying on the end of the bed and they were off.

After they had arrived in Vegas, Nick and Humpries took some time to explore the various offerings of Vegas. Nick held the lucky chip in his hand and as they drove down Vegas Blvd, waited to see which would be the hotel of choice. The tingle began as they approached the Bellagio Casino and Hotel. "This is the one," Nick told Humphries. Humphries leaned forward and got the driver's attention. "We'll stop at the Bellagio, driver," he said.

"Yes, sir!" the driver answered, whipping into the hotel drive and pulling up to the front of the hotel. Like magic the Bellmen appeared out of nowhere and began to load Nick and Humphries bags onto the luggage trolley. "Follow me sirs, right this way," were tossed out as Nick paid the cabby, giving him a healthy tip in addition to the fare. "THANK YOU, SIR!" he called out to Nick's retreating back. "Nice Gentleman," he murmured, "nice Gentleman." He waved as he drove away to collect another fare.

Nick and Humphries approached the desk, deep in discussion. Humphries was still on about Nick's clothing, but Nick quickly pointed out that the shirt was silk the shorts linen and offered to let his young employee guess what it had cost. "The earth, I'm sure sir," smirked Humphries, " but it's not the cost, it's the appearance." Removing the expensive pair of sunglasses he had needed to block the burning rays of the sun from his eyes, Nick brushed him off as they arrived at check in. The clerk behind the desk was all smiles and very polite as he asked for the name the registration would be under. Nick still held on tight to his one chip, a smile teasing his lips.

"Snow, Nick Snow," he smiled to the clerk. The clerk glanced up and down the list of expected visitors on the computer screen. Looking up over the rim of his reading glasses, he spoke softly. "I'm sorry sir, I don't see your name registered here." The chip grew warm in Nick's hand. "Check again, son...it's there, " Nick replied. The clerk, eyes running down the list saw it immediately.

"I don't know how I missed it the first time, Sir. I do beg your pardon Mr. Snow. And I see you've been with us before, I'm terribly sorry for any inconvenience." He began to ring the bell sharply, to get a bellman to take the luggage and guests to Nick's suite. Nick waved away any mention that he was upset and he and Humphries approached the elevator with the bellman.

The two bedroom suite was luxurious, no doubt. Not that Nick would be spending much time inside it. He intended to lie down and take a nap, call his wife Gloria and let her know that he had arrived and then grab a shower. He would dress for dinner and the nights play at the roulette wheel. He sat down on the side of the satin topped bed and took out his cell phone. It burbled twice and suddenly his beloved Gloria was on the line. "Hello Darling, " she trilled. "I see you arrived all in one piece. No problem with the flight?"
"No, Sweets, no problem at all. We have the conveyance parked and everything in hand. We'll be going down to dinner shortly and then after that, I'll be at play in the Casino." He took the chip and turned it over and saw the word "Bellagio" emblazoned on the front. He smiled. "Yes, playtime will start soon. I wish you would come with me sometime, they have some excellent shops."
She giggled sweetly. "What need have I of shops?" she said. "You behave and don't be to sharp with Humphries. I don't think he quite approves of your play clothes."
Nick laughed out loud and the room trembled. "I'll knock his socks off tonight, my dear. I've brought my tux." A warm glow enveloped Gloria Snow as she imagined her Nick in his tux...he was a totally different man in that suit. "Good night Darling...I'll be seeing you soon?" Nick, imagining her dressed in her flowing silk nightgown, whispered to her. "Sooner than you may expect my Angel. Keep the candle in the window."


Dinner was superb. Nick enjoyed the tender sweetness of the fillet Mignon, the avocado salad was pure heaven. Humphries had enjoyed Trout Almondine and a green salad and now they were both awaiting a dessert that they had never had. The description read "Try the chocolate raspberry Decadence, a flourless chocolate raspberry cake served on top of two Florentine cookies and filled with raspberry mousse. The dome-shaped cake is rich and fudgy, while the lattice cookies and fluffy raspberry mousse are gentle by comparison." Nick took a good healthy drink of water to cleanse his palate and leaning back in his chair, looked at Humphries. "What, no harsh words about my evening attire, Humphries?" Humphries, himself dressed in a smaller version of Nick's tux, had the good grace to blush. Looking at his employer, dressed in a very classy black tux, the cumberbund a deep rose yellow and the tie the same color, Humphries looked appropriately impressed.
"You look quite dashing, Sir. I'm sure Mrs. Snow would approve." Nick laughed to himself, and the look on his face was blatant, causing Humphries to flush red. "Ahemmm," he said, clearing his throat, "I believe dessert is arriving." Dessert had indeed arrived and lived up to the high praise on the menu. Not the simple fare of milk and cookies he had become accustomed to, it was pure heart attack on a plate. Finishing up, Humphries took care of the bill while Nick excused himself and started towards the Casino and the Roulette Wheel.


The chip was so hot it nearly burned Nick's hand. He place the chip on 20 red and stood back as the Croupier valued the chip at 1000 dollars. He watched in fascination as the ball went one way and the wheel the other. It began to slow and the ball landed in 10 black then hopped out, jumped around trying to find a stopping point and landed on 20 red. "Well done, Sir ," said the Croupier and he pushed a pile of chips in front of Nick. "Let it ride," said Nick softly.

As the earned chips piled up in front of him, Humphries would remove half the stacks and take them to the window to be cashed in. He had all the paper work he needed in the briefcase. In several hours, the play went on and the eyes in the sky were trying to figure out how the well dressed gentleman at the Roulette table was cheating. Nick had managed to amass over a half million dollars. He had attracted a crowd and people were muttering amongst themselves and wondering why the Man in Charge hadn't shut the table down. Finally, at one Million dollars, he did just that. Mr. Big wanted his people to talk to this wizard of the Roulette Wheel but when they turned to talk to him, they discovered that Nick Snow was no where to be found.

Nick tucked the now cooling chip into his breast pocket and then tucked the silk kerchief back in the pocket. Humphries had gone up to the room and packed their bags. He stood at the waiting taxi, door open and nodded to Nick as he stooped to get in the back seat. "All taken care of Mr. Snow, " Humphries smiled.
"Excellent, Humphries, excellent." He gave the cabby an address out near the airport and they were off. "How much did we make, Humphries?" Nick asked.
Well over a million, Sir. We're well in the black and there should be no problems with supply this year or the next. We've done well, and the orders are in and they only await our return."

The cabby pulled into an alleyway, let the two gentlemen out and was pleased with the hefty tip he had received. He tried hard not to stare at the little gentleman's ears. They had a Mr. Spock look, sharply pointed. Funny, he didn't remember them being that way when they had entered the cab. "Thank you sirs, this tip will come in handy, this time of year. I was wondering what I was going to do about my kids. Christmas seems to get tighter every year."
Nick cocked his head and smiled warmly at the driver. "Don't you worry, John. Their wishes will be taken into account. I can promise you that." For some reason John the cabby didn't wonder how the handsome older Gentleman had known his name. He thought he already knew. He turned back to the wheel and as he drove off heard the bells of a sleigh. And smiled.

72 comments:

Jeff B said...

That Nick is a real Saint!

Sandi, that was pure magic in words. I was not expecting that ending at all, but was quite pleased with it. Very timely for the season.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Sandi - that was fabulous. It had me smiling all through and laughing out loud at the end. It's a relief to know where the funds come from too!

A x

Lu' said...

I enjoyed reading your story Sandi. It was quite good and read so smothly.

Mickle in NZ said...

So well written, magical and humorous, and so suspense-full - if there isn't such a word there now is in kiwi english.

Been enjoying your blog for several months. Confess Ii save it all up for a week or twos enjoyment at a time - with your music choices too.

k.d.langs "Hallelujah" version of Mr Cohn's (or is it Cohen?)writing on multiple replay.

Sincere thank yous and hope your Christmas is happy, joyous, gentle and peaceful,

Michelle in Wellington, New Zealand xxx, and from my rescue cat, Zebby, purry purrrumbling. Keep warm and cosy!

i beati said...

superb!!Sandy

Lee said...

Oh you clever girl! I didn't even see that coming! Well done, Sandi! :-) So glad you're doing this, it's better than hitting the library!

Hugs!
Lee

Maggie May said...

That was a good story Sandi.
That was the second time I tried to read it. I was interrupted the first time. Worth waiting for.

Sally said...

Would you please send Mr. Snow over here next year? hahaha

Great story, Sandi. Enjoyed every word!! ((HUGS))

NeereAnDear said...

LOVED THIS...

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!!

And we cant forget your mom

MERRY CHRISTMAS Y'ALL!!!

LOADS OF HUGS

JO

Raven said...

I loved it. What a brilliant idea! I started to catch on when he gave his name at the desk and I just love how the whole thing played out. Wonderfully written too! Thanks. I feel all happy and magical now.

Suldog said...

Great ideas! Lots of fun, what with piecing together the tidbits you threw out there concerning Nick's identity. Enjoyable read.

Coffee Bean said...

My, my... aren't you clever! Very well written!

Akelamalu said...

Absolutely magical Sandi and a very fitting story for this time of year. :)

Nessa said...

I loved your story. Very clever and I like the way you played it out.

Mushy said...

Absolutely marvelous Sandi!

Great photo too!

Tara said...

Great story, Sandi!

SandyCarlson said...

Your talent and wit are wonderful together. I enjoyed that, Sandi!

tardevil said...

I just came by to say thank for stopping by my blog today. I don't have time to read, but promise to come back after Fri. I've got a party & things are a little nuts here!

Finding Pam said...

well, you really had a great ending to your story! I loved it.

Thank you for stopping by my blog for my first endeavor.

Merry Christmas.

bettygram said...

That was a great story. Nice ending

Merisi said...

Wordsmith par excellence,
that's what you are, Sandi!
Great work,
congratulations.
Kudos also for your Post of the Day spot on David's list!

Finding Pam said...

Sandi, looks like we have a lot more in common than I thought. My husband was in the military too. He was a B-52 pilot, but we did not stay around long enough to retire. Our eldest son is also in the A.F.

We both have black cats and more cats.

Thanks for the nice words on my blog today. I usually fake it until I make it, but sometimes it is hard to believe it.

People are so crazy at Christmas. Seems like they have forgotten what it is really all about. I love nativity and baby Jesus, just not all that greedy stuff.

I added myself to your followers list. You are funny and have so much to say.

Pienovski said...

Lovely!!! You are such an incredible writer! Will be back!

Thank you for dropping by my blog!

Ida

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Delightful story, Sandi.:)

Thanks for dropping by my Sky Watch post today.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Ahhh, so that's how old Nick gets his funds. Fun story, Sandi! Does your grand-girlie enjoy your stories as much as we do?

Jeni said...

As always, a gem of a story, Sandi. Loved this, really great job you did.

Merisi said...

Good morning, kiddo!
You made me all giggly, what with your comment regarding the Gray Sky Sphinx! *giggling now* I had to change the link to Victoria Secret's, hitting just the right page.

Joy to you,
Merisi

Jeannie said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Cute story - answers a lot of questions for me. Any way I could get ahold of that chip?

Cheffie-Mom said...

Oh, this was such a wonderful post! Magical is the word! Merry Christmas!

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

What a wonderful story! That Nick is quite a guy ;)
Happy Holidays, DebraK

lmerie said...

Sandi, that was great! You have quite a gift! Glad I finally made it over :)

LZ Blogger said...

Sandi ~ I love your Christmas template! Very pretty! I hope you guys have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! ~ jb///

granny grimble said...

Thank you for a magical happy Christmas story. I didn't guess the end till it happened. Full marks. Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and happy 2009.

Jeanne said...

You have magic with words my friend.

San said...

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? And everybody thought that was just the coins jingling out of the slots!

RBK's Realm said...

I feel indebted to David McMahon for having visited my blog leading me to discovering yours.

You are someone with great depth and I love every post of yours-what variety and what imagination!

I enjoyed this post very much like all the others!

Denise said...

Well that was tooooooooo fun and I laughed out loud! You so do have a gift.......... I am going to post a story on my blog on Tuesday..... come by and take a read.......... I am not the writer you are but it is a story I hear years ago and I am going to try and relate it to you ladies........ It is an awesome story!

Hugs

The Muse said...

A JOY to read as I have my evening tea~ thank you!

Lawstude said...

very lucky indeed. simply beautiful story. i love it. happy holidays to you and your family.

Donna said...

Great slant on Santa!! I loved the story!!!hughugs

Jo Beaufoix said...

Oh that was just gorgeous. Sighhhh. So so lovely. Happy Christmas. :D

Gill - That British Woman said...

Sandi,

I just wanted to thank you for providing me with the link for the Christmas Cactus. It was very wet when I bought it, so I am guessing it was overwatered, and that is why the blooms are falling off.

Gill in Canada

Veggie Mom said...

You're quite a Gifted Gal, Sandi...and you really had me going for a long, long while. LOVE the ending!

Sandy said...

Fabulous story Sandi!
Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and very Happy New Year!
Many Blessings my bloggin' friend.
My New Years Resolution is to be a better bloggin friend and not so absent!
Sandy

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

I could not move. I was mesmerize with every word I read. This was so goood!!!! Merry CHRISTmas...m...

Jamie Dawn said...

Nick Snow... that's grrreat!!

Wonderful story, as usual.
If I ever gamble in Vegas, I hope to have some of Mr. Snow's luck!!

:-)
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!!
Enjoy some yummy food and make lots of happy memories.
I'm glad you are one of my blog buddies.

cheshire wife said...

Very cleverly written and enjoyable too!

Happy Christmas if I do not visit again before December 25.

joan said...

Hi Sandi,

I enjoyed your story. Very well written and fun. Hope you and Mac have a great Christmas! Merry Christmas!

Anna said...

Sandi Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and happy blogging in 2009! Anna :)

Dr.John said...

Wow! I never saw the ending coming. You are one good writer.

bj said...

Did you write this, Sandi? So so good...MERRY CHRISTMAS..
love, bj

Sandra Evertson said...

I LOVE it! Sending Season's Greetings your way!
Sandra Evertson

Veggie Mom said...

I don't know which I like best...your fabulous story, or the guy in the Hawaiian shirt. What a stitch!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Great story Sandi! Happy Christmas to you and yours. All the best for 2009! Hx

tlc illustration said...

Heh - love the idea of Christmas being funded by Vegas gambling. :-) Ironies there!

merry weather said...

Very festive Sandi! I enjoyed reading this. The end surprised me too, well done - made me smile! Ah, if only...

A very Merry Christmas to you and Mac,
HugsX

Cowgirl said...

Hi Sandi,

I just wanted to stop by to wish a very happy Christmas, and to say thank you for all the love and support you give me.

Lots of love,
Cowgirl xxoo

Trubes said...

I enjoyed that Sandi made me laugh out loud too!

Merry Xmas to you and yours.x

Di.xx

Jeff B said...

Hope all is well with you. Merry Christmas!

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

Sandi I so loved this story! Hope your Christmas was wonderful and that 2009 brings all that your heart desires.
Hugs,
Penny

Retiredandcrazy said...

Fascinating. I'm trying to catch up on blogs and I got caught up in reading your's. It was such a great read. Oh well, tomorrow is another day!

Sally said...

Thinking of you, and hoping Christmas brought you all lots of joy. :)

Deb said...

Hi Sandi ~ I have been MIA for a bit but I am back - and SO glad that I came over to your place for a visit. I loved this story. You pulled me in and kept me glued there - and I didn't see the ending coming - at all! Hope your holidays were happy - and I look forward to many visits with you in 2009. Take care.

Susie Q said...

What magic you create with words dear friend. I love your writing, your stories. You area joy and a blessing.

Happy New year Sandi.

Love,
Sue

justabeachkat said...

You have a way with words. Wonderful.

Happy New Year! I wish for you a blessed 2009.

Hugs!
Kat

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