Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Oracle at DelFino's - Part 2

Angie pulled another beer for Andy Castro, clear-pale yellow in a frosted mug.

"Twenty- three," Andy said to me.

"What's that?"

"It ain't come up all day, twenty-three. You think I should play it?"

"I don't think you should play at all."

"Yeah, right. But I'm no good at math, so I ain't gonna listen. Should I play it?"

"It doesn't matter. It has exactly the same chance as any other number."

"Oh," Andy said, nodding thoughtfully. I knew he was mocking me.

"Then why doesn't it come up, smart guy?" he demanded.

"It just hasn't. It's luck."

"What're the odds of that?"

I thought about it. Twenty numbers drawn out of a field of 80. The odds of not getting a 23 would be 79/80 times 78/79 times.... not worth it.

"Pretty good," I estimated, "Maybe close to even."

"For one game, right? Well, they do a game every four minutes. I been sittin' here about three hours. That's like sixty games."

"Forty-five," I corrected him.

"Whatever. So what are the odds now?"

"Pretty low," I admitted. I whipped out my Blackberry, raised 50 percent to the 45th power.

"Wow. Hundred billion to one."

"How about that," Andy said. He drained his glass and called for another.

I sipped my bourbon in silence. The Quickdraw numbers rolled. No twenty-three.

"See? Told ya."

"So? It still doesn't mean anything."

"So ya gonna bet twenty-three, then?"

"I'm not going to bet, Andy."

"Good. Cause if ya bet twenty-three, it ain't gonna come up."

"At least you're not saying it's 'due'", I said, "but it's got the same chance as ever."

"Tell ya what, it doesn't come up next game you buy me a beer."

"You have a beer," I said.

Andy drained his glass in one gulp. Tiny streams of watery beer escaped the corners of his mouth. He ignored them..

"You said it's a hundred trillion to one, on luck. What're the odds they just lost the disk or whatever with the twenny-three on it?"

"That's not how it works," I said.


Four minutes had passed. A new game. No twenty-three. I finished my Jack Daniels and put some bills on the bar.

"Get this guy a decent beer, will you?" I said to Angie.

This post is Completely Fabricated.

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