Spin the Wheel (part two)
“Marie! It’s your moment of truth! Are you gonna keep the My-T-Kwik, or go for the big bucks?”
Marie told Butch she was going for the big bucks.
The first guy had not won anything, so he was out.
The second guy won frozen steaks, but he didn’t mind trading them, he said, for the big bucks, so he and Marie got to have a showdown if the last lady crapped out.
The wheel went fast, too many times for me to count, then it got slower…
Then it got really slow, and the red square came inching.
The thing that was messing me up was the audience hooting and carrying on, lit, I guess, on that hard seltzer tea they were drinking. That was on top of all the boom, boom, boom from the speakers. I felt like, if I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t move my hands. It was weird. And I had lights pulsing into my face from both sides.
Whooooah. Whooooah. Whooooah.
That’s how Butch had em going, the crowd, the wheel clacking past the arrow. So I got that nudge in maybe a second too late. A second isn’t much, but it must have looked like the wheel came to a full stop. And then it bumped ahead.
There were boos.
Butch said, “I see that happen all the time. C’mon, Marie. You’re up.”
And the audience started hooting again, right off. It couldn’t hit the red. But I wanted to be extra careful.
Marie gave it a big heave, and at the same time, I leaned in. Only, see, I was crouched down there for a while. One of my feet was asleep, and you know how it is, you don’t feel it til you move. So…far as I could tell, a couple things happened. The wheel rocked back on its stand (that was Marie), and I sort of fell against it.
In other words, it might have been okay, and I might have been okay, but coming together like that…
I mean, it’s hard for me to thread out just how the crash did happen. The cord on one of the strobe lights got yanked out of its extension. My feet ended up sticking out from under the wheel. Someone killed the music.
Butch said, “Who are you?”
Marie said, “Oh, my god!”
“I was just,” I said, when the guy with the steaks lifted the wheel off me, “trying to catch a rat.”
I had the stick in my hand. I shook it. “You know, I didn’t want it scurrying out there, scaring people.”
So Delaney said…
He was there the whole time, watching from behind the partition back of the food table, peeping out through the hinge.
“That was completely stupid. I mean, that was amazingly stupid. Butch is a pro, lucky for you. What would you have done if he hadn’t known what to say?”
Now, again, this is what I was complaining about. How is it my problem he picked me to do a job?
I said, “Yeah, Butch is a pro. Good thing.”
Delaney said, “But I like the rat. That was pretty okay, thinkin on your feet.”
He heard himself. He laughed about it for a while.
Then he said, “You gotta come to my office downtown.”
Spin the Wheel
(2017, Stephanie Foster)