Aphelion Issue 242, Volume 23
August 2019
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Lady Luck

by Ryan D. Harris

Eddie sat at a single-credit slot machine as he did every weekend. It was a weekly routine for him to take an orbital taxi to Lady Luck, the world's third-largest cosmic casino.

Quincy, Eddie's friend, sat next to him at an adjacent machine.

"Think this is the day, Ed?" Quincy asked.

"You always ask me that, Quincy. Maybe one of us will actually win if you'd quit asking that same question every weekend."

Quincy inserted a silver credit in his machine and pulled the lever. "What's eating you?"

"Sorry Quincy, I just need to do something more with my weekends. It's just... luck is not really my thing. Remember when electromagnetic propulsion became obsolete?" Eddie pulled his lever.

"Yep," Quincy said.

"You also remember what kind of engineering degree I have."

"Ed, I've known you for ten years, so you know I know."

"When those bastards gave me the ax, it's defined me since then." Eddie tapped a server as she walked by.

Eddie said, "Could you get me a glass of bourbon please?"

The woman flashed a slim, professional smile. "Natural or synthetic, sir?"

Eddie looked into his wallet. "Let's go with natural."

"I'll be back shortly with your beverage."

Quincy chuckled in his chair. "It must be one of those days if you're getting natural bourbon."

"Doesn't hurt to splurge a little, Quincy," said Eddie heartily.

"At least you don't need luck to get a good drink right?"

"You got that right," Eddie said as the server brought his drink to him. He immediately gulped down the alcohol. "That's damned good bourbon. You know what, Quincy?"

"What, Ed?"

"Drinking that bourbon makes me want to play some blackjack. How about you?"

Quincy looked over at the tables and shrugged. "Why not? We haven't played cards in months."

The two men got up and went across the casino to the blackjack tables.

"You know what's good about luck, my friend?" Quincy asked.

Eddie glanced at him. "The fact that someone will benefit from my bad luck?"

"No, damn it. The good thing is that bad luck means there is still a chance. I know you have some left in you. If you win this first hand of blackjack, I'll buy you another natural bourbon. How about it?"

"I'll take that," Eddie said.

Eddie looked for a table and sat down at one with an older gentleman as the dealer. Eddie gave twenty in paper credits and the dealer gave him two ten-credit chips. Eddie put the blue chips on the table and the dealer gave him his two cards. The dealer revealed a king and a four for Eddie's hand.

Eddie tapped his finger on the table and the dealer gave him a seven. "Player wins," said the dealer.

"I knew it! Never doubted you for a second," Quincy said.

As Eddie got his bourbon, the men heard commotion by the slot machines. They walked over and saw a woman crying and smiling at the machine Eddie had left five minutes prior. Eddie stared in disbelief for several minutes before lurching to a lounge area by the bar.

"I don't even know what to say, brother," Quincy said.

Eddie slumped onto a sectional couch, drink in hand. He looked into his drink, defeated. "At least I got the bourbon."


2016 Ryan D. Harris

Bio: Mr. Harris was born in Charlotte, NC but currently resides in Tempe, AZ. He is a graduate of Stanly Community College and enjoys time with his son. His last Aphelion appearance was Letters to Deimos in our September, 2016 issue.

E-mail: Ryan D. Harris

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