I grabbed my ladyfriend—or did she grab me?—and we headed down the once pastoral I-44 corridor with no particular place to go. However, we got about as far as Newcastle when we decided to pull over at Exit 107 to hit the Love’s Travel Stop across from the Newcastle Casino for two fill-ups: one for the car and one for me.
The convenience store was generally hopping as many of these Love’s usually are; a few customers coughed, wiping their noses on their sleeve as I walked past the sweaty roller-grill items and durable free toppings bar to the soda fountain. As I pulled a large Styrofoam cup out for an unsweetened iced tea, I heard the sound of buzzers and bells over the canned music and uncontrollable hacking.
I looked to the side and noticed a casino—a Love’s sanctioned casino!—that was just beyond the glass door.
Walking into this house of monetary sin, a purely Oklahoman blend of cheap cigarettes and expensive vapes enveloped my soul; the small casino looked like a garish photo from a tourist’s travel guide, with truckers and winners, hitchers and losers, having a grand time in this Vegas-style bargain buffet of basement slots, courtesy of, as I later learned, the Chickasaw Nation.
As the security guards gabbed over by the restrooms, Prefab Spout’s “King of Rock and Roll” played overhead—hot dog, jumping frog, Albuquerque—while I toured the den of inequity, looking for that one slot machine that will quickly lose me an easy twenty dollars of spending cash.
Over my shoulder, I heard a mighty throng of digital beasts charging me from the Buffalo Gold’s glaring display. Reckoning there was no better game to burn this hateful Jackson in my pocket, I sat down and loaded the money in. Hitting the Max Bet button, I lost dollar after dollar, until that twenty became a buck and a half.
With little faith left, I pressed the final spin, immediately winning five free games…and that’s when the mammoth gods of the great plains stampeded through the spare-parts casino, the dollars racking up as constant sets of free play were inexplicably won; I was on such a lucky streak, I just had to sit back and let the machine play itself, a newly christened ramblin’ gamblin’ man.
Like shooting Custer in the gut and stealing his wallet, by the time this streak was over, I had won over $450 on this blessed Buffalo Gold machine.
Riding an orgasmic high that I needed to dangerously chase, I was about to hit the Max Bet button one more time when my ladyfriend grabbed my hand and told me to cash out, her fear of me losing this hard-won dough stronger than my will to bareback this apparatus into a penniless horizon.
Responsibly, most of the money went to that ever-loving pile of medical bills on my desk. But, the next time we’re driving through Newcastle together, maybe I could tempt you to get off on Exit 107 for a roller-dog, a fountain drink and just a few minutes to win even more filthy lucre on these money-hungry slots.