Lady Luck

by Gay M. Walker

The cook reached for the pot, a smug grin on his acne-scarred face. She watched, waited until he almost had what he was after before speaking with quiet certainty. "Not so fast. I believe my straight flush beats your four fucking aces." At least she'd be kept hold of her bra and one shoe, preserved that much of her dignity.

A series of whistles and booms signaled the fireworks' finale at the nearby college stadium.

"Football game's ended," said the busboy. "Looks like I get to keep the shoe." He gave her a grin, dangled the sling-back pump from his index finger, and leaned in close, his breath hot on her cheek. "What's it worth to you sweetheart? Or will you be working your shift without it?"

"There ain't enough money in the world as could make me deal with the likes of you," she said. She slapped his face away. Damn kid folded as soon as he'd looked at his cards. If only he'd placed a bet first, she might have won it back. Now she'd have to try again next week. "So, boys, again next Friday?"

They nodded.

She stood up, tied her apron and prepared to meet the onslaught of customers. The first of the alumni would walk through the door any minute now, followed by the students who thought they had something to prove, who thought it meant something that they were hanging out in a no-account pizza joint bar, instead of Chuck E. Cheese or one of the other family places.

The first customers to arrive were regulars, came in after every game, no matter what the sport. Some of them brought their wives, had been coming in for years. At least they took pity on her odd limp-like walk, asked her if she'd gotten hurt, if Fred had punched her again.

"Fred? That sorry ass?" She laughed as she slid mugs and pitchers of beer onto their tables. "No. He's safely in jail, and I done put him there."

"Well, what about those other creeps you been dating?" asked Sally. "Tom, Dick... and that last guy, Harry?"

No. Nor Steve or George or Amos or Ted or any of the half dozen other men she'd gone out with, because she studied karate now and had earned her red belt. She was a new woman. Men didn't mess with her anymore, not if they were smart. "No. I'm fine. No pain. Not in my bones. Not in my heart. I just lost my shoe to that prick of a busboy when I was playing poker. Don't know what the hell he's going to do with a lady's left shoe, though--but maybe I can guess." She'd flicked her wrist and pranced. The customers laughed.

She didn't say she sure as hell needed to earn some money, because that would get her fired. But sure as shooting, money was what she needed, because she was going to have to go shopping for a new pair of shoes in the morning. Waiting tables was hard work, and maybe she could manage one shift gimping around on a single sling-back pump, but more than that and she'd be a cripple, no two ways about it. She couldn't afford bus fare, and since the K-Mart shut down, a paycheck didn't stretch as far as it used to. She was the kind of gal that had to hoof it everywhere, and she wasn't going to be hoofing it much of anywhere with only one shoe.

She was just starting to feel sorry for herself when Lady Luck walked in the door and dropped a present at her feet, but like a lot of presents, it didn't look like much at the outset.

Long after the rest of the football fans arrived, a group of kids showed up, perhaps players from the team, she wasn't sure, but they were a cocky lot. Good-looking, smooth-talking, sure of themselves, with cheerleader-type girls on their arms. She'd seen them before, hadn't given them a second glance. One of the louder boys in the bunch, a blonde with blue-eyes and a too-wide grin, waved her over. He was half her age, if that, and he was without his girlfriend that night. He ordered a beer. She knew root beer was more his speed, and she told him so.

"But sweetheart," he said, flashing every one of his pearly teeth, "I just had a birthday. I need something cold and wet to celebrate with. How about you take that darling little behind of yours back behind that counter and get it for me? I'll make it worth your while."

"Last I checked," she answered, "root beer was pretty cold and wet. I'll go get you some."

He laughed and showed his dimples, and while he laughed, he reached out, grabbed her and pinched her ass. Then, before she could blink, he spun her around, stuck a hundred dollar bill down her blouse and kissed her full on the lips in front of everybody.

She wanted to slap him, but how did you slap someone that just gave you a hundred dollar bill, especially if that someone was just an ignorant kid?

"Here's my I.D.," he grinned. He handed it to her wrapped in a fifty.

She held it up to the light. It looked real. It looked like him, but it said he was twenty-four. No friggin' way. He wasn't a day over nineteen, she was sure of it. Must be an older brother. She eyed him suspiciously and tapped her foot.

He smiled. "Would you like to see the rest of my wallet? Of course, you'll have to sit on my lap to do it, but the cards all match. Come on. I dare you."

So he'd swiped his brother's wallet. She wasn't buying, but what could she do besides get him his damn beer? She thought maybe she could get away with doing something to make it, well, less alcoholic, so she told him that she heard that in Europe they drank it mixed with lemonade, half and half. "Say hey, do you want to try it all exotic like that and not the baby way they drink here in these United States?"

He laughed harder, reached over, and pulled her onto his lap. Then he yelled at her boss, "Hey, Russ! I'll pay you three hundred bucks, and three hundred bucks to the little lady here, too, if you'll give her the rest of the night off. That sound okay to you? I like her. She's cute, and I want to spend some time getting to know her. I just might like to date her."

He pinched her breasts with both hands and tried to kiss her flabbergasted face, but she took care of him. Oh, yes she did. Before he could say 'greased lightening,' she grabbed his hands and pulled the right one to her ass to fake him out, bent her elbow for leverage to break free, spun to the left toward him to deliver a karate chop to his other arm, and laid him flat out on the floor in front of his friends. What kind of a girl did he think she was? Just because she was walking around missing a shoe didn't mean she was easy. She had standards. She wished she'd slapped him earlier when she had the chance.

"Hey, there," said one of his friends, pointing. "What is it with you man? You keep falling for the feisty ones."

"Not as good with the ladies as you thought, eh?" jeered another.

She ignored him, ignored the jeers of his friends. From a dark corner of the restaurant came the musical sound of women laughing. She recognized that emotion. Eyebrows raised, she went in search of the source. She found two young women, one of them dark-haired with red-rimmed eyes, seated at a booth. They looked away with embarrassment when she approached.

"Hello," she said to them. "Had it coming, did he?"

The dark-haired girl smiled shyly. "Yes. Yes, he did. If you only knew."

"Tell you what," said the dark-haired girl's friend, rummaging in her purse. "Why don't you take the evening off, go out with him."

She grew angry.

"No, hear me out," the friend said. "Here's another $300. That'll make $900 total. Not bad for a night or two of obedience training. It's what every dog needs, and it looks like you've got the tools to train him. What do you say?"

She looked at the two young women skeptically.

The dark-haired girl shot her a pleading look. "You need some shoes."

She nodded. That much was true. After a moment's thought, she answered, "We'll start with down, boy. Then we'll progress to sit, heel and stay."

© 2007 by Gay M. Walker



About the Author

When new author Gay Walker made a mid-life career shift from practicing medicine so she could spend more time with her teenaged daughter, she began a roller-coaster ride filled with the unexpected that has included time to fulfill a lifelong dream of writing.

Her publication credits include newspaper and magazine articles, as well as short stories. She also self-publishes a serialized romantic farce, Norbert and Smedley at, which has developed a following on the Internet, and recently completed writing her first novel, The Learner's Permit.

She lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and daughter, dog and two cats.


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