Mark’s smile was more out of nervousness than joy as he walked to his
hotel room. He checked his watch and saw time was now running out on his
“surprise promotion”. Mark didn’t know what made him so sure he had a chance
to beat Kansas City, he had bet everything he had that he wouldn’t. As he
walked up to the front door, he looked at the red neon sign outside. The
fountain of neon light had a green button on it labeled “OPEN”. Mark
knocked on the door, but instead of opening it, he heard footsteps on the
floor coming down the hallway toward him. Then he heard the door open and
lumbering footsteps cross the floor toward him.
“Well, well, well.” Mark looked at the man waiting in line to check in. “Look
who’s here to check in.” There was none of the fear in his voice, he looked
completely calm while standing there with his back toward Samuel.
“Hello, Mark, welcome to the MGM Grand,” the man said, extending his hand.
While his voice was pleasant and smooth, it didn’t sound like his voice,
which was a little scratchy.
“It’s ‘Joshua’,” Mark said, shaking the man’s hand, and then turned and
walked up to his room. He had never been inside the MGM Grand, but he was
always excited to go there. After a year of college, Mark had to save his
winnings for the time when he could actually afford to gamble.
“Mark, would you like to hear the odds from me before you check in?” Joshua
asked. He pulled out a piece of paper and unfolded it to show Mark.
Mark looked down at it, and then back up at Joshua. “I would love to hear
that, but I have to check in,” he said.
They walked out to the lobby and looked up and down the gaming area,
looking for the “OPEN” number on the neon sign that said “MGM Grand” on the
top of it. In front of the big room were the bars and clubs and little kiosks
where people could sit down and play the various games with their friends
or get food from the casino. In the back corner there was a small bar, and
that served as the lounge area for the hotel.
“I was told you’ve been here three times already, how many times are you
going to be here?” Mark asked.
“It’s always been so hard for this hotel,” Mark said. “This is the third
time I have been here since I’ve been working here at the casino, and
everything just seems to be the same, you know?”
Joshua looked around the hotel and saw the same little lounge bar he had
seen at all of his previous hotels, it was almost more of just one big room,
with a long table in the center, chairs around the table, a large screen
TV across the wall, and a bartender behind the big counter.
“You’re not making a lot of money on casinos, Mark, the amount of money
you have left has nothing to do with how long you’ve been with the casino,
it’s all about the odds,” Joshua said. The bartender came out and Joshua
ordered a couple of beers, and Mark and Joshua sat down at the table for a
“The best thing we can do to make it more profitable is give the customers
incentives, Joshua,” Mark said as he took a sip of his beer. Now was the
time to play his “surprise promotion”, but first he had to wait for the
hotel manager to come and open that door to check him in.
“Yeah, it’s been tough to earn those odds,” Joshua agreed with Mark. “I
was planning on making an exception this time, but no dice.”
“Well, it’s going to be hard to make it up if you don’t win this
“odds”,” Mark thought to himself. He went back inside and the hotel
manager came out to open up the door Mark had requested.
“How would you like to make it up?” Mark asked.
“My manager is getting paid by the hour,” Mark said.
“What would you like to win back?”
“Well, I would like to make the first $1 million I have in the world
with,” Mark answered. “I was supposed to be earning that last month, and I
was not. I have to go back to school, and I thought for sure I would be able
to pay for it.”
“Well, look at the bright side,” Joshua said. “You still have another $1
million, and it’s not likely you lose what you have yet either.”
“You seem to know a lot about this, Joshua,” Mark said. “I don’t know if
that’s because you make a lot of money with this or if you just have a big
heart and a long memory.”
“Don’t start in about my heart, Mark, you’ve been with the casino for
almost ten years now, you’re not a child anymore,” Joshua said.
“I guess not,” Mark said glancing over to Joshua. “I just think you’re a
“I’m just a man that’s trying to help someone,” Joshua said. “I’m not
going to judge you. You’ve always got a way of making things work out.”
“Yeah, I don’t know why everything always goes wrong in my life, I’m not
much of a loser, you know?” Mark continued.