We are at the roulette table in the Bellagio.
The computerized one because it has seats
and lower betting minimums. A mother and daughter
beside us keep hand feeding this cute little dog
treats. They even get him a bowl of water to sip
at as he leans over the mother’s arm and watches
the lights. He seems bored. Like obedience school
is for losers and everyone should know it. On the other
side of us there is a group of Russians.
The missus leans in close and tells me she doesn’t
trust Russians. The Cold War is over, I tell her,
the Russkies aren’t evil anymore, they’re just stupid now
like all the rest of us. You want to see someone on heroin?,
my wife says, look at the girl with them. I look. Not so obvious!
It is too late, I have no filter. I also point at people
when I’m talking about them which drives my wife nuts.
I guess I just don’t care enough to be discreet.
But there are two girls. The heavier one on the end looks
as though she is there for support. The skinnier one is rolling
her eyes in and out of consciousness and falling over the machine.
She is even drooling a little with an absurd smile on her face.
The other girl plays her numbers for her. The Russian men
pay no attention until it is time for them to throw
more money in her machine. That’s an expensive date,
I say. I hope she enjoys the short high, my wife says, because
she’s going to be sore tomorrow. What she’ll have to do for
that high, I wouldn’t want to be her! I watch the whites
of her eyes. She looks like a zombie, I say. A Russian zombie,
the missus says, a Russian princess. And it is true. The guys keep speaking
Russian and throwing their hands up at the table and taking care
of everything. I look at the dog and he looks at me.
I have made a friend. When he takes a sip of water, I take
a swig of beer. We are in this together andwe both seem to know it.
About Ryan Quinn Flanagan:
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Horror Sleaze Trash, In Between Hangovers, The Dope Fiend Daily, and The Oklahoma Review