Gone Vantage — A fool and A Thief

In a bet, there is a fool and a thief.

“Alright, alright. Here we go. Follow the hands!”

The three street bookies swiftly shuffle the cups as their eyes fixed on the player. The staring supposed to intimidate the player, breaking the focus as the game is enhancing. They mess the shuffle constantly, change the counting pattern, and make disturbing gestures, all to distract the player. Once they satisfied, the one in the middle claps his hand as signification. They are excited, this bet is unusual and they are definitely winning.

“Well now, were you following the ball?”

The people were swarming the table, as the player stands quiet with his hands crossed. It attracts a few eyes for the start, and then more and more people are starting to get interested to this scene. They saw a man betting against the reputably undefeatable bookies all at once, and could not ignore it. It is 3 against 9 factorial possibilities.

Judging by the look, the fancy suits and ties perfectly reflect the player’s vanity. There are a stack of cash on the table as the stakes. Who would have dare betting that much of many against them? This cocky man is about to lose them, they would thought.

“Let’s triple the stakes.” The player finally broke the silence. His voice is calm but impactful. He got that looks and gestures that demands respect. You can see it in every part of him.

The bookies stare at each other, as if they could not believe what they just heard. “You sure? Raise all you want, we won’t mind.” Says the leader.

“Sure. triple is enough.”

“Okay, triple the stakes. But, remember, you have to guess all the three correct to win. One mistakes, you lose.”

The player answers in a nod.

The player stares at the left bookie. He’s the youngest of them all, wearing a yellow hats and a black hoodies. He couldn’t help but to show a wide grin at the player. He couldn’t hide the excitement.

Then, The player points at the cup on second to the left. The boy’s grin faded, he looks at the leader before he opened the cup showing a white Ping-Pong ball. The crowd is starting to mumble as the enthusiasm grows.

“Ah, well done. It’s one out of three. Shall we continue?”

The player nod again. He then looks at the right bookie. He’s the tallest and skinniest of them three. He wears an oversized and worn out grey shirt. He has huge panda bag bellow his eyes as if he had not been asleep for weeks. His face is literally the skull but with a nose. This bookie is certainly a junkie.

“Don’t look at me bro, I ain’t telling you a thing” The right bookie then smiles, showing a nasty teeth behind those lips. He drags when he talks.

“I guess I’m going to have to follow my guts. The farthest to the right.”

Again, the smiles fade just like the left bookie grin. He opens the cup showing another white Ping-Pong ball inside. The crowd starts mumbling again, this time with a little bit of cheering. They cheer even more noticing the nervy faces of the arrogant bookies.

The player looks around the crowd. There are probably more than three dozens of them. Mostly they are an office employees that are passing by on their way home. Well, most of them even have played this bet, before, and lost. This scene is certainly gives them a bit excitement. Feels nice to have a bit entertainment on the way home.

The bookies even has gone viral in the online world for a while, now. They’ve been here for months and keep on winning. That’s how they got the reputation, the undefeatable bookies. But, right now, they are losing.

The player then notices a little boy on the crowd. He is wearing a school uniform with a colorful bag, holding his mom’s hand. The boy looks more excited than the whole crowd does. The player catches the boy’s eyes and gives him a little smile.

“Why not make things more interesting.”

“What are you saying? The game is already more interesting.”

“Double the stakes, and I’ll let that little boy guess my last cup.” The player said as he points to the little boy.

The bookies eyes finally lighten up again. This proposition brings them back to their initial position. The odd is back on their favour, three against one. They cheer a bit inside as the crowd makes another noise. The crowd could not believe what they are witnessing.

“You are a cocky man, aren’t you? Well then, if the mother approves, why not.” the bookie leader smiled.

The mother confused at first, then she asks the boy, “do you want to help the man?” The boy stares at the player and nods. The boy then emerges to the table nervously, with his eyes fixed to the player.

The player then bows down, as the boy is only three centimeters higher than the table, “Hey, tell me, how old are you?”

“six, sir.” the boy whispers.

“Well, I’m going to give you a little tip. Whistle to your point finger, then point the one you want to choose. It’ll be bring you luck” Said the player as the boy arrives at the table.

“It’s alright, boy. Take your time.” Another stare and smile from the bookie leader as he tries to intimidate the boy. The bookies lead has a long beard covering half of his face. There are even more hair on his chin than there are on his head. His nose overly pointy giving a creepy feeling to whomever he talks to.

The boy then raise his point finger and make a little whistle at it. The crowd giggles as the boys barely make any whistling sound. He then finally points at the cup in the center of the line. And, for the third time, another smile turns fade. The bookie leader then hesitant, “are you sure, boy?”

“I think this boy is pretty sure.” Said the player to the bookies leader.

Gutted, the bookies then open the cup and show the last white Ping-Pong ball. The crowd cheers and jeers as they’ve seen ‘the bookies that never lost’ finally defeated, miserably.

The player then smiles.

He left the crowd that is still cheering, with a packs of money on his suit. The bookies are holding their heads, as they could not believe just happened. What a luck that man has, they thought.

The fact is the player already won way before the game started. He watches these arrogant street bookies for months now, alternately taking money from passerby.

Well, They are greedy enough to use the same shuffling pattern over and over, and they are arrogant enough to think nobody notices, lesson to remember, he thought. It’s just a simple math, all people need to do is to pay attention.

Also, The boy is not a trick. After all, winning obvious odds is boring. Reclining into luck is what makes a man alive. That is who he is. So, he took a chance with the boy. And, like always, he got lucky. Always.

Neither of the bookies nor the crowd knows that he has strings of hundreds men and women luck betting against his, and yet he still wins.

Nobody there knows that deep inside this city, there’s a man holding a key to the thousands of people chest of luck.

Nobody there knows that he lives by trading luck.

And, simply, he always wins.

He is a thief, and the others are always the fool.

and He is back.

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