“It’s gorgeous in here,” Audrey said upon entering the main level of the gambling casino. She and George had just paid the admission charge and left their coats in the cloakroom. “It looks likes a space ship, with all the glittering lights, bells and reflections.”
“Do you gamble often in London?” he said.
“I live in Knightsbridge and regularly go to the casino right off Piccadilly, past Green Park, not far from my flat. It’s a lovely place but a lot smaller than here.”
“The gaming tables are upstairs. Walk this way.”
They ended their short trek at an American Roulette table. He bought chips worth one hundred and fifty euros to get into the game. Audrey threw down one hundred euros in exchange for her stack to wager. Both of them worked extremely well together, covering the table in different directions; and one of the two came up a winner with almost every spin of the wheel. His chips had doubled in no time, and so had Audrey’s; nonetheless, they continued to ride Lady Luck.
The couple had at least quadrupled their winnings when deciding to cash in, noticeably ahead, especially with lucky number seven’s coming up on the previous spin, after their each placing chips on and encircling the illustrious numeral completely; but Cynical George sensed his luck was about to run out and so did Audacious Audrey.
George’s cash-in totaled twelve hundred and seventy-five euros, putting him ahead eleven hundred and twenty-five smackeroos, with subtracting his loss from the previous evening. Audrey’s chips were worth seven hundred and fifty euros, sextupling her initial investment.
“See, what did I tell you,” Audrey said. “We both came out winners.”
“My luck came from meeting you. Let’s stop into this restaurant for a quick bite to eat. My treat.”
“You are just too sweet,” she said and planted a kiss on his cheek. “OK, I could go for a sandwich.”
Two men in black suits from out of nowhere approached the lovebirds as they were about to enter the bistro. They grabbed Audrey and George very abruptly by the arms, demanding the pair go with them, escorting both into a security room, accusing them of collusion while attempting to cheat the casino.
“Whatever are you talking about?” George said. “We absolutely were not cheating and played by all the rules.”
“We were watching you on closed-circuit TV,” one of their captors said. “We saw how you both were covering the table and conferring with each other in between spins.”
“We’re friends, playing a game together and having fun,” Audrey retorted. “How could you presume we were cheating?”
“It was shown on your last play, Juffrouw. Your friend had placed his winning bet after the game ball had landed.” The head of security accused them of unlawful behavior. “We are pressing charges. The politie are on their way to take you two to their headquarters for questioning.”
“That is totally absurd,” George insisted. “The chips were placed well before the croupier motioned for no more bets; and why is Audrey being held?”
“As an accessory to your crime,” one of the men in black replied. “The law will have to decide your guilt or innocence.”
The police arrived and handcuffed George and Audrey, bringing them to the nearby precinct, where both were separated. He was strip-searched and held in a cell. It wasn’t until later that George learned Audrey was stripped-searched also, much to her grave humiliation. The couple was brought back together to be questioned by a magistrate on duty after an hour or so had transpired.
The casino’s head of security, one of the men dressed in black, and the general manager of the gambling house were present with a videotape, containing footage of the alleged, unlawful activity; and everybody reviewed the scenes on the big-screen monitor, hanging in the interrogation room. Audrey looked as if she had been severely traumatized by this crazy mix-up and miscarriage of justice by the casino’s security department.
“See, it’s seen right there,” George said. “Stop the tape and rewind it back a bit.” The attending detective rewound the player to just before the spot where it showed the accused, putting down the last bet on number seven. George pointed out his placing the final wager on the numeral, well before it clearly displayed the croupier’s passing his hand over the table, indicating no more bets; however, it was indeterminable whether or not the game ball was still in play, or resting in the numeral’s cradle on the wheel. The detective rewound and played the tape over several times.
“Wait, look here. Back it up,” the security man in black said. “OK, see? The ball has clearly landed in number seven’s slot.”
“Objection, please; continue rolling the tape,” George said. “Watch for the croupier’s motion, indicating no more bets right after I finished placing the last chip,” he added. “There, see me do it? Now note his motioning afterward. Did you see that? That’s how I rely on knowing when to stop betting, not by watching the roulette wheel all the time.”
“I think that’s proof enough,” the magistrate said. “The game ball appears to have fallen completely into the groove, but it was obvious the croupier stopped the betting after this gentleman had clearly placed his chip on the number,” he concluded. “The casino’s employee was at fault, not these two tourists, which fully exonerates them.” The official turned to face the casino’s head of security and suggested, “I think you and the casino both owe these two individuals an apology.” The presiding court officer said that was all and the vindicated pair were free to go.
“I demand more than just an apology,” George said. “Our pressing charges against these incompetent casino officials for their nearsightedness is what they deserve. Look at my friend. She’s been in tears and is completely out of sorts.”
Audrey appeared totally out of it, as if she had just suffered a wretched, agonizing experience. Mascara had run down her cheek, smudged otherwise around her eyes, which shone with utter astonishment at George’s presently blatant recommendation.
“I’m so angry over this,” George went on to say. “I can feel my heart is palpitating.”
“We are terribly sorry for our mistake,” the casino manager said. “For your inconvenience and our harassment, allow me to offer both of you a free dinner at our casino’s finest restaurant, and two tickets to the show afterward,” he proposed. “I will even throw in some gambling money for recompense.” George looked over at Audrey and she nodded wearily in approval, wanting to get the hell out of there.
“OK, we’ll accept your apology,” he said. “No further action will be necessary.” The casino official pulled out two complementary tickets to their third-floor showplace and lounge, a gift certificate worth two hundred euros redeemable at any of the casino’s attractions, and VIP passes for two full-course meals at their exclusive Ristorante Casino Royale, apologizing once again after handing the couple their retribution and having them sign a waiver to hold the casino harmless against any future litigation.
“Excellent,” the detective said, standing up and putting his hands on the shoulders of the two former captives. “You can pick up your belongings at the main desk. The constable will escort you there and then bring you back to your hotel.”
“Thank you,” George said, appearing quite relieved; and he shook the officer’s hand. At least the judicial system had done their job correctly, except for the questionable strip search the two had to endure. The couple was finally returned to their accommodations unscathed but evidently, emotionally drained.
The preceding was adapted from Amsterdam High Jinx.