Posted tagged ‘fruit machines’

A New Year’s Fairytale

January 1, 2013
 

After an interminable meeting abroad with fellow finance bloggers -one has to suffer for one’s art, as the saying goes- I was stuck in the waiting lounge of one of those Godot forsaken airport terminals of foreign parts. Around me were other British nationals bound for other destinations in our great country. I cased my surroundings.

There was an amusement arcade in the foyer with a few enticing slot machines. The kaleidoscopic flashing images on their console was hypnotic. Alas, only one taker had ventured into this Venus flytrap. A young man with a string of flowers round his neck was trying his luck at a one-armed bandit. He wasn’t having much success at the game and his flowers were beginning to wilt.

“Frack!” he said to himself.

Now I was unsure if he was using the frack word as a swear substitute or if he was in deep thought about the fracking process involved in the extraction of shale gas from the ground. The hydraulic fracturing technique of fracking can gain access to hydrocarbons that were previously inaccessible. Environmentalists insist that there are health issues that need to be addressed by the procedures. Frackists counter-claim that it is safe. The discussions rumble on as these things tend to do.

The hapless chancer had another pull on the lever. The reels of the machine spun round and round, round and round, round and round, The wheels of fortune came to rest on a losing combination. A petal fell to the floor.

“Frack’s sake!”

This louder outburst settled it. He was using the common curse from the Battlestar Galactica franchise. In that science fiction adventure Starbuck was the top dog gambler of the fleet played onscreen by the future A-Team member, Dirk Benedict. In the updated TV series Starbuck became a woman. This re-imagining of the character goes against all my traditional conservative values. Although admittedly, Katee Sackhoff is a pretty one at that so we’ll forgive the producers.

 

Starbucks #1 and #2

 
My reflections on space opera was halted by a domestic baritone voice. In the lobby a young girl had strayed from her boundaries because her parents ushered her back to them. The dad said in a strong Pavarottian scouse manner.

“Looprevil, come back over here, darling.”

Looprevil? What devilish name is that? Then, I remembered reading that some doting fathers from Merseyside had called their daughters after their favourite football team only they spelled it backwards hence Looprevil is in honour to Liverpool F.C.

Great, great idea that. It makes me want to have another son so that I can call him Sregnar. Sregnar, now there’s a name. Totally Viking in flavour. After Hagar the Horrible and Noggin the Nog we now have- Sregnar: Sregnar the Superior. All I need is MrsW to agree…

“Frack!” Flower boy was still losing.

To my side sat two men and instantly I recognised one of them as the comedian The Candle Man. The Candle Man had played theatres all around the world and his speciality was candle jokes. Somehow he had made a career on the flimsiest of devices. He was telling his partner his latest candle gags.

“This candle is walking along the street and he stops this man and asks him ‘Have you got a light?’.

“What’s a candle magician’s magic word? Candelabra.”. This gag also had a visual attached to it. At the line of punch The Candle Man puts one step forward and opens his hands aping a ta-dum moment.

“What’s a candle’s favourite museum? The waxworks.”

By this time I wouldn’t say The Candle Man was getting on my wick but he wasn’t getting on my bamba.

“Frack! Frack! Frack!” Starbuck only had a vine round his neck by this time and I could tell this was going to be his last spin because he kissed a solitary coin in his palm. “Well, I’ll be-” he said. Lady luck had just shone on him.

A rattling drumming noise preceded the falling of coins into the winner’s enclosure at the bottom of the device. Filling up to capacity the coins kept raining. It was like being at the fountains of Peterhof. A cascading stream of silver flowed round the winner’s feet eventually coming to a halt in the form of a shiny volcano.

The rest of the travellers witnessed this spectacle in awe before something even more marvellous occurred. The bing-bonging tannoy service was announcing that flights were ready to go. I was trying to calculate the weight of the man’s bounty. He was going to have a job getting that lot on the plane. I didn’t need to worry for he had picked up a handful of coins and put them in the slot. Pulling on the arm he was ready to try his luck again. Wish you were here? He could be here forever.

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