I wrote this is 2007 following a disastrous night playing solitaire
It’s Only A Game
copyright 2007 gch
“What to do you mean you haven’t received my remittance yet? Who is this? Why are you bothering me? If you think I owe you money, send me an invoice.” Clyde slammed the handset onto the cradle before the caller could respond and returned to the Solitaire game on his computer screen.
He’d only had Solitaire on his computer for about ten days and found it a good way to relax. His favourite was the Vegas version, where he could see whether he was ahead of the computer or not. When playing, he preferred a two-handed method – left hand tapping the enter key to turn cards and right hand working the mouse to move the cards. It may not have been more efficient, but he felt it required a bit more concentration. “Let’s see … Red six on black seven, yes, now turn over the top card, good, the black five can go on that red six.”
Two days later, the mail brought an expensive looking envelope bearing the name of a well-known casino. Never having been to a casino, Clyde was curious about why they would be contacting him. His fingers told him the envelope was stuffed with paper. Returning to his study, he reached for the letter opener as he sat down.
Carefully slitting the flap, he slid several sheets of paper from the interior of the envelope. Several appeared to be computer printouts and one, on vellum paper, looked like an invoice. Scanning this, he gasped as he saw the bottom line, which read “Balance outstanding as of May 31, $51,118.00.”
Turning to the other sheets, all the while muttering to himself “There must be some mistake. I’ve never been to any casino, let alone that one. Somebody must have stolen my identity and run up this huge debt” he examined them. They were daily tallies of amounts, usually losses, and each bore his name and an account number at the top.
Returning to the letter, he carefully read it.
Dear Mr. Partridge:
As stated in our telephone conversation of June 4, we have not yet received your payment to cover your losses at our games for the month of May. In response to your request, attached please find copies of our records. Kindly remit by return mail no later than June 15.
It was signed by someone in accounts receivable.
In a panic, Clyde again scanned the letterhead, searching desperately for a telephone number. Finding one, he telephoned the casino and angrily demanded to speak with the Accounts Receivable manager. A few bars of soft music later, he was connected.
“Clyde Partridge here. I just received an invoice from you for some $51,000 dollars. I wish to tell you sir that I have never been in your casino before, so I don’t see how I could have incurred this great debt. You must have me confused with another Clyde Partridge.”
“Are you Mr. Clyde V. Partridge of Flaherty? You are? Well then Mr. Partridge, these amounts are indeed your responsibility.”
“But, I’ve never been in any sort of gambling establishment. I don’t know how to play poker. I’ve never even bought a lottery ticket before.”
“Oh no, Mr. Partridge, there’s no mistake. And by the way sir, these are not poker debts, these are Solitaire losses.”
“Solitaire? The only Solitaire I play is at home on my computer. I certainly wouldn’t go to a crowded room to play a game of Solitaire.”
“I understand that sir, but that Solitaire game on your computer is linked to our computers which keep track of your winnings and losses. If you had won, we’d have sent you a letter telling you that you had a large credit balance.”
“But, how is that possible? I have a computer, but I don’t have any form of internet access. And I’ve only had the Solitaire game about a week.”
“Yes sir. Isn’t wireless technology is marvellous.”
I was playing Vegas Solitaire one night (yes, and losing) when a fiction writer’s favourite words – “what if …” popped into my head. This is the result of that question.
Enjoy the rest of your week and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.