June 24, 2005

The Great Bingo Riot of 2005

Okay so I slightly exaggerate. But at the end of one of yesterday's bingo games we had five winners and the caller thought there were four so we ended up overpaying all five. After the miscue was discovered four of them graciously gave back the $50 overpayment but one said "go fish", "sorry about your luck", or "bank error in my favor". Pick your phrase.

So our intrepid leader Joe announced that the last bingo pot would be shy $50 and an uproar ensued. "BULLSH-T!" many yelled. "Why should we suffer for your mistake" was the verdict of an increasingly ugly crowd.

I told Joe that that was an unpopular message to deliver (just doing my impression of "Master of the Obvious") and he tersely said "I don't care." Sensitive subject.

So the next game was tense, the air pickled with pangs of purple'd rage (or at least purple'd prose). Something had to give. So Joe made another announcement requesting that the person who was overpaid give back the money. And eventually, seemingly hours later, he or she did. Order was restored.

"A happy ending," I said to a co-worker.

"No it's not!" snapped someone who overheard me.

Just another night in the ol' bingo parlor.

Earlier that evening I'd arrived a tad late and all the floorworkers were already doing their thing. So Joe had me training at the window where the players buy their bingo sheets. I was stationed with a guy I'll call Sam who wore a small hoop earring but was straight as the 4th of July. North of sixty years old and quick as a whip, he had white silver hair and in manner & appearance seemed a cross between Little Jimmy Dickens and Ross Perot. To say he was flirtatious is like saying Shaq can play basketball. I mean this guy holds a black belt in Flirt; he's a jujitsu instructor in female flattery. He told every woman how lovely they looked and would often hold their hands or caress their wrists and lower arms. I haven't felt as much a third wheel since high school when my best friend was always canoodling his girlfriend. "There's a shack out back we can go to..." Sam tells a particular favorite.

He took a short break to get coffee. Said he was tired. If he was tired than I've never not been tired.

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