Guest Post: Third Floor Bingo

I am delighted to post this fictional story from David Miller. David is a published author, song lyricist, compiler of limericks, and an accomplished blogger. He lives in Nevada USA, close to Las Vegas, and is currently working on some new novels. You can see more of his work on this blog,  https://millerswindmill.wordpress.com/ and his books are available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Pope-Dole-Mr-David-Miller/dp/1490324593

THIRD FLOOR BINGO

Narrative:
Some years ago–I don’t remember exactly when–I got bored one afternoon, and so I called for a cab, and told the driver to please take me down to the local casino. You know, I thought I’d play me some bingo. I hadn’t played for a while. Maybe a good long while…
Anyway, once I got inside the casino, I looked around, and all I could see was playing tables, slot machines, a cashier’s cage, a buffet, and a bar. Everyone was busy, so I figured I’d ask a cocktail waitress for directions. I can’t picture her anymore, but I’ll bet you my bottom dollar that she was young and pretty.
“Young lady,” I said. “I’m looking for the bingo.”
She smiled–at least I think she did–and said, “Oh, it’s up on the third floor. Just take the elevator over there.”

Choir:
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
The bingo is on the third floor
The bingo is on the third floor
Third floor…

Narrative:
So, I thanked the waitress with a tip of the hat, and made a beeline for the elevator. Because there’s only one, you see. And it kept me waiting there for quite a while. When it finally did arrive, I stepped in, and took a look at the buttons. My stars, there must have been a dozen of them! And darn if I couldn’t remember which one to press! So I just pressed them all. When I got to the second floor, the door opened, and a couple of out-of-towners with a funny kind of accent jumped right in.
“I’m sorry to bother you, folks. But I’m looking for the bingo parlor. I don’t suppose you’d happen to know which floor it’s on…?”
“See that little sign up there? Bingo. Third Floor.”

Choir:
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
The bingo is on the third floor
The bingo is on the third floor
Third floor…

Narrative:
You know, those funny-talking folks were really nice because they made sure I got off on the third floor. And there it was, right across the hall–the bingo parlor! I walked through the big glass door, picked up a bingo card–they didn’t have all those fancy electronics back then–and I sat myself down at a table. There weren’t but a few people playing. But one of them grabbed me by the gut: a genuine pearl of a woman in a blue chiffon dress. She looked to be a little younger than me. And she was playing all by herself. So I upped and went over to introduce myself. That’s when I found out her name was Mabel.
“Mabel, would you like to have some company?”
“Oh, that’s so very sweet of you. But I’m expecting Mr. Sanchez at four o’clock.”
Or maybe she said five o’clock. I’m not sure. What’s important is that she was expecting him pretty soon. So I asked her who this Mr. Sanchez was, and she said they’d met a few years back, that they’d been keeping a correspondence through the post. After all that time, Mr. Sanchez had finally decided to come visit her, and maybe take her out on a date.
“And what if he don’t show up?”
She smiled–I do remember that smile! And she said, “Well, if he doesn’t present himself by four thirty, I’d be most happy to have you come join me.” She gave him half an hour past the appointed time to make good on his promise. So I prayed in my heart that he wouldn’t show up at four thirty–or five thirty, whichever it was.
“Mabel,” I said, “this suitor of yours might not be as punctual as you’d like. After all, it’s a big casino!”
But Mabel shook her head. “Don’t be silly! I told him I’d be right here on the third floor, playing bingo….”

Choir:
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
The bingo is on the third floor
The bingo is on the third floor
Third floor…

Narrative:
Well, that did it! I had to make a move, you see. So I asked her straight out, “If he don’t make it on time, would you be agreeable to go out with me on a date?”
She laughed–I do remember that laugh. And she said, “I suppose there would be no harm in that. Do you have a car?”
“You know how it is, Mabel,” I said. “We’ve got two cabs for every resident in town. Who needs a car anymore?”
And here, I’ve got to give Mabel some credit. Instead of calling me out for fibbing, which I’d done out of shame, she hatched a little grin, and–for just a moment, mind you!–she rested her hand on mine. Well, that hand was like a warm iron on my soul. It smoothed out the wrinkles, and I didn’t feel ashamed anymore.
You see, in my younger days, I used to tear up the county roads. Why, I even played chicken once, and kept a steady hand on the wheel while the other car ran off in the ditch! …But the time came when I had to give up the wheel. I don’t recall when I stopped driving–not exactly. But that ain’t important to the story.
Oh, and just so you know. Mabel didn’t have a car either.
Anyway, I went back to my table. And I played my cards, but I couldn’t get a winning pattern–or maybe they were playing blackout? Whatever it was, a few minutes before Mr. Sanchez was supposed to arrive, I got up and went over to Mabel, and told her I was going down to the bar for a drink, and that I’d be back soon, so don’t you worry about me. The truth is that I had to pay a visit to the men’s room. But I was coming back alright. I was curious to see what kind of fellow this Mr. Sanchez was.
So I got back on the elevator. And, to be on the safe side, I took note of what floor I was on before taking the elevator down.

Choir:
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
The bingo is on the third floor
The bingo is on the third floor
Third floor…

Narrative:
It seemed to me that the noise in the casino had gone up a notch or two. Maybe it had, or maybe I could just hear better because it was my spirit that was up. To be honest, I didn’t give it much thought because I had some urgent business to take care of.
On my way to the restroom, I played chicken with the change cart that was making its rounds. I nearly wet my pants, but I felt good afterwards because the change attendant avoided me by making a quick turn off the main aisle. Me, I just smiled and kept on going!
Now, I should probably mention that I didn’t need any help finding the men’s room. It’s pretty well marked, so you can’t hardly miss it. Anyway, I milked myself as dry as I could, and when I came out of there, I ran smack into that cocktail waitress again. And I realized that I’d somehow forgotten which floor the bingo was on.
“Young lady, just where is that bingo parlor, anyway?”
She must have thought I’d been looking for it all that time! Because she went to giggling, and nearly tipped over the drinks on her tray! Leastways, that’s how I remember it.…
“You see that elevator over there? You can take it to the third floor. The bingo is on the third floor.”

Choir:
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
The bingo is on the third floor
The bingo is on the third floor
Third floor…

Narrative:
Naturally, I directed my attention at the elevator. And what did I see? There was a curious gentleman standing there. He was wearing a white suit with a black western tie. And I knew right away that it must be Mr. Sanchez. My memory ain’t so good anymore, and, if truth be told, it wasn’t all that sharp back then either, but I’ve always had a keen sense of people.
So I excused myself from the waitress, and beat a path to the elevator.
I was so sure of myself that I walked right up to the gentleman in white, and I said to him, “Good day, señor! What brings you to these parts?”
Well, he was a friendly kind of fellow, and we began to talk. And, by golly, I was right. He was Mr. Sanchez, come to take Mabel out on a date. The elevator was busy as usual, but, of course, what goes up must come down. When it did, the arrow lit up with a ding, and Mr. Sanchez noticed, but I kept him talking, and we didn’t get on.
“I reckon you’re on your way up to Mabel’s room?” I asked him finally.
“No, sir…. She asked me to meet her in the bingo room on the third floor.”
“Now isn’t that odd? The bingo closed at three.” Or maybe I said four.

Choir:
No more bingo, wah-o-o!
No more bingo, wah-o-o!
No more bingo, wah-o-o!
The bingo has just closed the door
The bingo has just closed the door
No more…

Narrative:
Well, by this time, Mr. Sanchez had come to trust me. And so he just nodded, shook my hand, and walked away–at least that’s how I remember it. I stood around a bit, waiting for the next ride up. The elevator was in no particular hurry, of course. By the time I got on, and looked at all those buttons again, I have to admit that my mind drew a blank. But then I noticed the sign: Bingo. Third Floor. So then I knew which button to press.
As you might have guessed, I found Mabel right where I’d left her. I waved at her as I passed through the big glass door. And so as not to give a hint as to what I’d done, I sat down at my old table, and I waited….
And when the clock ticked past the thirty, I went over to Mabel, and took a seat beside her. We played a few games, and shared a laugh or two. And she didn’t seem to mind that Mr. Sanchez had failed to turn up. So I reminded her that she’d agreed to go out with me on a date. And she gave me a gentle pat on the cheek.
Some things you never forget!

Narrative:
So that’s the story. We never got married. But we ended up living together here at the home. Mabel got to feeling feeble after a while, so they put her in a wheelchair. And after my fall, I was given a walker. Believe me, it ain’t much fun getting old! But the nurses here take good care of people, and they set up the bingo tables every Friday night. Mabel and I never missed a game! That is, until she passed away.… She passed away on a…Tuesday? It don’t matter. She’s gone now. And on Friday, when the nurse comes by to ask me if I’m up for a game of bingo, I always say no. My heart just ain’t in it anymore.

Choir:
No more bingo, wah-o-o!
No more bingo, wah-o-o!
No more bingo, wah-o-o!
I won’t play that game anymore
I won’t play that game anymore
No more.

© David E. Miller (4/15/18)

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