Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Suede Jacket and the Slot Machine Story

                                                        The Suede Jacket and the Slot Machine Story
                                                                                         1993
                                                                   Written 08/26/2016 Unedited
                                                                                Howard Yasgar


     In 1993 my wife Katherine and I decided it was time to take a vacation.
     Because we lived in Miami, it was just a hop skip and a jump to fly to Nassau in the Bahamas. It was only a ¾ of an hour flight to get there. You took off from Miami International Airport, and the next thing you knew you were in Nassau.  Once we were in Nassau we would take a cab and go over a bridge to Paradise Island. Sometimes we would stop and go under the bridge, where the conch fisherman all set up shop.  They would cut up fresh raw conch, all mixed with chopped vegetables and hot scotch bonnet peppers they would then shake it all up with lime juice in a plastic bag. Sometimes we would just sit there on the sea wall with the cab driver and have a conch salad.
     On Paradise Island we would usually stay at the brand new Grand Hotel which was right next to the Paradise Island hotel and Casino.
     By 1993, we had made this trip many times and it seems that the trip always went the same way, Katherine would call the hotel and make reservations, and she would get a confirmation number. Then we would fly over to Nassau, take a cab to Paradise Island, and approach the hotel registration desk to register. Every time we did this, the Bahamian desk clerk would give us a funny look and say they had no record of our reservation, and that was even with our confirmation number. For some reason, it seems that this happened each time we went. The desk clerk would then say they had no rooms available, and that’s when Katherine went into action and asked for a manager. Most of the time the Bahamian manager was just as bad as the desk clerk, but no matter how bad they were, after Katherine was finished with them we always got a room and sometimes a free meal thrown in.
      Now, this happened every time we went to any of the Paradise Island Hotels, so after it happened to us one or two times, I started to let Katherine go to the check in desk without me. I would pick out a comfortable chair in the lobby and wait until all the yelling and screaming was over, and then I would go to the front desk to sign in.
      This year, when we decided to go to Nassau, I looked over my wardrobe only to find that I had outgrown my
Pants and sport jacket. So my wife Katherine dragged me to the mall to get new pants and a sport jacket.
      As I looked for a sport jacket, I saw that the store had lots of Suede jackets, and as I had never owned a Suede jacket before I had to try a few on. They were really nice and very soft, but the price was much higher than I expected to spend. If I recall correctly the jacket was around $285.00, and as I never spent more than $100.00 for a jacket, I started to take the Suede jacket off. My wife gave me the evil eye, and I knew what that meant, so I bought the Suede jacket.
     Now when Katherine and I go to Paradise Island we enjoy going to the casino and playing 21. We can sit and play for hours. When we tire of playing cards, we usually get up and walk around the casino and play a few different slot machines.
      It was about 10 in the evening and the casino was full of people, Katherine and I were walking around and playing the 25 cent slot machines. As we did this, I always keep my eye on where Katherine is so I know where I can find her. That evening I looked over and I saw she was playing a slot machine and the red and white lights on the top of the machine were blinking. I walked over, and saw that the tray in the slot machine was full of quarters. Katherine said, “This is a good slot machine, I can’t lose”.  Every time she put in 3 quarters, and pulled the handle more quarters poured into the tray, bells were ringing, and lights were flashing. We wondered, could it be luck or was the machine broken. Soon the quarters were just about overflowing the machines tray. I looked for cups to put the quarters in but there weren’t any near me. So I started scooping the quarters out and putting them in my jacket pockets. As fast as I scooped the quarters out, Katherine pulled the lever and more quarter came out. It was now pretty obvious to us that the slot machine was broken. By that time, I had no more room to put any more quarters in my pockets and that’s just as well as that’s when the slot machine floor boss saw the blinking lights and came over. He looked at the tray full of quarters, and he looked at Katherine’s innocent face. Then he politely said, “Madam, I believe this machine is broken”. The fellow put his key in the machine to stop the red and white blinking lights and then he reached into the coin tray. He pushed a small handful of quarters towards Katherine,
He then pushed about 80 percent of the quarters towards the left side of the tray obviously intending to keep them for the casino. I watched as Katherine, who had now found several big paper cups, bent over and scooped his big pile of coins into the cups, leaving him with only the hand full of quarters that he had intended for her. He was kind of shocked, but never said a word, as we walked to the cashier cage to turn in our quarters.
     I emptied out all the quarters from the pockets on my new suede jacket, I must have had close to $300.00. It
was then that we noticed my pockets in the jacket were still bulging and about one inch lower than they should have been. The weight of the quarters had stretched the suede jacket pockets, and completely ruined my jacket.
     Once back in Miami, I went to a tailor, and he tried every trick in the trade to fix the pockets. It cost me another $100.00 and now the jacket was not only stretched but crooked as well, and it went right into the garbage.     



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