You Get What you Pay For
By Craig (@The_Hofzinser on Twitter)
“Roller throws boxcars,” shouts the dealer who immediately begins collecting the chips and dice from the craps table.
Earl couldn’t move. Just two hours ago he had more scrip than he could earn in a month of working the mine. Three words later and it was gone. All. Gone. He stood still thinking maybe someone made a mistake and if he didn’t move they would realize it. The two doxies that were hanging on his arm for the last hour and laughing at all his jokes left as the dealer scooped his chips. Earl had the whole night planned. One more win, cash in and take the two ladies upstairs. He’d never rented a room at the Honeypot.
The table erupted in excitement as a new roller started the game again. Nobody noticed as Earl walked away. Walking past the cashier with no chips in his pocket, he stepped outside where the reality of the evening hit him like the night air.
There are times when a man’s needs exceed his means. As he walked back towards the outskirts where he setup camp he looked down one of the cross streets and noticed two ladies under one of the gaslights. He could wait a month. He’d get paid and the Honeypot always sent ladies to the mine saloon. The pay-day girls were always road hard. He really had his mind set on some city ladies. As he rationalized away the temptation he noticed he’d still hadn’t started walking again. He was still standing transfixed on the ladies under the light a block away.
Earl had his mind made up. He’d head back to camp, lick his wounds and sleep off the rough night. Why was he frozen on the street corner? By now the ladies noticed Earl and seem unfazed by his creepy stare. The one in blue waved her hand motioning Earl to come close.
“I’m going to head home, sleep this off and never make this mistake again,” were the words running in his mind as he walked towards the dames. Now he was focused on the disconnect between his thoughts and actions. He continued to shuffle towards the doxy in blue. She seemed to be the prettier gal but it was hard to tell in this light. He was only a few paces away from them when they slipped around the corner. What was that smell? Perfume and something – something else. He turned the corner. There was no light on this street but he finally could see their faces. The sight immediately allowed him to identify the smell. Rotten meat. Dead flesh.
The next morning Davis heard a knock at the door. “Come in”, he bellowed as he looked over the updated quota for this month. “I’m never going to hit this with these lazy bums and that damn union.”
The guard sergeant entered Davis’ office. “You the sup at this mine?” Davis nodded. “We got one of your guys outside. Found him this morning at the edge of town.
“Is he still drunk?” Davis was thankful he didn’t have to post bail.
“He’s in bags. Three of them. You need to talk to your boys about the parts of town to avoid after dark or we’ll start charging you for packaging and delivery.”
Great. Another man down. He’ll never hit quota. Not this month.