The casino floor stretched out ahead of him, dim, windowless, ugly carpets. Frank looked down at himself, suited. He undid the tie, he’d always hated ties.
“What the hell?” he muttered, tossing his tie in a nearby ash tray. An elderly couple sat nearby at a pair of slots inspired by the TV show M.A.S.H.
“Excuse me?” he tried. They didn’t look up.
He moved closer.
“Hey!” he poked the man, the man turned, sharp, sudden. Frank backed away. The man’s face was scraps, one eye gone. His tie, neat. He garbled something at Frank. Frank backed away. Somewhere, someone, laughed. Frank looked around. It was a deep laugh. He headed into the chaos of the slots. He found the laughter reclining in front of a Seaside Plunder penny-slot. A great big man, he was clapping. The slot machine was lighting up like crazy.
“Another one-hundred and fifty years for Charlie,” The man cried. Frank frowned at him. Half the man’s face was burnt off, the other half bearded and dark eyed.
“Hey there!” the man said. “Care to try your luck?” he hit a button and a black card slipped out of the machine.
“What?” Frank asked.
The man’s one good eye went wide, “you’re new!”
“I’m Charlie, here, sit.” He patted the seat beside him. Frank took it, slowly. Charlie reached over, Frank backed away.
“Oh, don’t worry, just–” The man slipped his hand into Frank’s jacket pocket and pulled out a black card.
Frank frowned at it. “What is that?”
Charlie pushed the card into the machine in front of Frank. It lit up. A number appeared at the bottom. Charlie whistled.
“Fifty years, not bad–not bad.”
Frank looked at the number, a great big one.
“You bet minutes. Bet to lose,” Charlie said.
Frank hit a button, curiously, his number went up a little and the machine cheered. He smiled. Charlie laughed. “No– no, you see, that is the time you have to spend here. Like I said, bet to lose.” Charlie pressed his own card into his machine. Frank could barely read the number. He frowned at Charlie.
“Why is mine so big?”
Charlie shrugged. “Death didn’t change my luck I suppose. But, I don’t mind. Hasn’t gotten old yet. I never got to do anything like this in life, spent most of it locked up.”
He slammed down on max bet. The machine roared, adding another thousand or so.
“Prison?” Frank asked.
Charlie chuckled, tapping away at the machine. “Something like that.”
Frank didn’t prod. He looked at his number, then at Charlie.
“Should I bet?”
Charlie shrugged, “you in a hurry?”
“Well then,” Charlie motioned to the max bet button on Frank’s machine.
Frank hesitated, just for a moment.
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**Note for new readers: What Happened When Frank Died is a series of stories we have done every Saturday since our challenge began. You can read however many you want in whatever order you want. They are each individual stories. There is a backstory that you can figure out by looking for clues in all the stories but it is not necessary to enjoy them individually.
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