… if only to ask for money.
“Can I borrow your phone? I need to call my mom. I’ll give you a dollar; don’t even need to touch it. “ This comes from Chris, the Chicago Bulls hat with misshapen teeth and meth sores.
I dial the number for him, put the phone on speaker. “It’s 3am in Ohio,” Chris’ mom tells him.
“I’m sorry,” Chris says. “I didn’t realize.”
“Did you get the hundred-dollar MoneyGram I sent you? Can you come home? I’m worried about you. Have you talked to your dad? Did he send you any money?”
“Not in a while.”
“Okay, here’s the code:”
Chris’ Mom gives Chris the number for the MoneyGram. Chris writes it on his palm using the pen I lent him.
“Thanks, Mom. I gotta work in the morning, but I’ll call you at lunch.”
Chris played online poker until the US government shut it down seven years ago. Now, he teaches tennis and plays poker in Vegas, but one-tabling live is not the same context or variance as twelve-tabling on the web.
I suggested he go international—like to Cali Colombia, where he can play online again and live like a king for $1k a month. As a bonus, I told him about two ¿cartel members? who lose $1k per day in the only non-profit casino I’ve ever heard of. (A money-laundering front for the cartel? Probably.)
Chris calls his friend Red. Red’s got something for Chris. Chris writes an address on his palm next to the MoneyGram code and the “HoHoHo” he doodled while chatting with his Mom. I don’t know what Chris is going to pick up, but my money’s on meth. When he asks me for $3, I don’t know why I give it to him. Maybe it’s pity. Maybe it’s hope.
I wish he would go to Cali. The cocaine cartel in one of the most dangerous cities in the world would probably be safer company.