Standing Room Only

A World of Short Stories

The Gambler

As the ball soared toward the net, I hoped it would not go in.  If we lost this game, life as I knew it would be over.  I had confidently bet on the Lions to win the tournament, but it looked like my brother’s team was about to go ahead by two goals.  And with only six minutes remaining, I didn’t have much hope the Lions were going to be able to pull it off.  I began to slowly walk toward the car park in hopes I could get away before Jake found me.  I paused when I realized the Lions bench erupted in a roar when their goalie made a miraculous save to stop the goal.  As all the Lions made their way down the field in a sprint, I held my breath. 

Maybe I wouldn’t have to leave town after all.  Maybe I could continue my life without a major upheaval.  If the Lions managed to pull off a win, I swore to myself this would be the last time I ever gambled.  I was afraid to blink because if I did, the Lions might miss their one chance to tie the game. My heart started to pound and just when I thought it might burst out of my chest, I knew I had to close my eyes. With my heart in my throat, I heard the cheers. I was too nervous to open my eyes and instead tried to assess the situation through listening to the bystanders. No matter what, my life was going to be in upheaval for the next few weeks. I was either going to have to run for my life or I was going to be richer than I had ever imagined.  

Before I opened my eyes, I felt somebody sidle up to me and gently take my elbow. I took another deep breath and wondered what was going to happen next. 

“I think you should follow me,” a male voice said into my ear. My eyes shot open and I shook my elbow out of his grasp.  

“You. You have nothing to do with this.” As I looked toward the field, I could now tell that the Lions had tied the game and if nothing new happened in the last few minutes, the game would go into penalty kicks. There was no way I was going to go with him. No way would I ever get into his car. I would never make it home again. I would never go back to any semblance of my life no matter what the outcome of the game was. 

“I am your father. I have everything to do with this.” 



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