“Dammit,” Jason said, looking off into the distance. “Looks like we’re coming into some weather.”
“No worries, Pop,” Jason’s eternally optimistic son, Jimmy, said. “We can still make it home by tonight.”
“Yeah, we’ll see.” Jason looked at the car’s clock. It was around 1 p.m. If they drove straight through, except to stop for gas, nature breaks, and some fast food sustenance, they could probably get home that night.
They had already been on the road for three long days as they made their way across the country from the college back east that Jimmy, who had just completed his junior year, was attending.
Clouds were thickening and the sky darkeing as they got closer to the mountains. “I don’t like the looks of what’s up ahead,” Jason said. Even Jimmy admitted that it looked somewhat ominous.
The two drove in silence for another 30 minutes before the skies opened up. The rain was so heavy that the windshield wipers of the rental car couldn’t keep up.
Cutting across the highway, the wind was buffeting the car. Between the wind and the rain, Jason was having trouble staying in his lane. The rain was coming down so fast and hard that it was building up on the highway and Jason would occasionally feel the car start to hydroplane.
He decided to get off the highway at the next exit. They hadn’t eaten since breakfast, so it would be a good time to grab some lunch while they waited for the weather to pass. He pulled off the interstate and onto the main road that cut through a small Nevada town.
“Hey look, Pop!” Jimmy yelled out. “There’s a hotel and casino on the right and the sign says they have an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for ten bucks.”
Jason pulled the car into the casino’s lot, dropped Jimmy off at the front of the building, and searched for the closest parking place he could find. Despite running as fast as he could from the car, Jason was soaked by the time he reached the lobby.
Once inside the building, and after shaking himself off like a wet dog, Jason looked around for Jimmy. He spotted him sitting in front of one of the many slot machines in the casino.
“I thought you were hungry,” Jason said when he got to where Jimmy was seated.
“I am, Pop. But this is Nevada and we’re in a casino. I’m, you know, feeling lucky.” Jimmy looked up at his dad. “Got any mad money you can spot me, Pop?”
Jason handed Jimmy a twenty-dollar bill. “This should last you about 30 seconds,” Jason scoffed. “I’m going to the men’s room to dry myself off. When I get back, let’s hit the buffet.
Upon leaving the restroom, Jason heard all kinds of bells and sirens going off in the casino. As he approached his son, he saw that a crowd had gathered around him and that it was his slot machine that was making all the noise.
Red and blue lights were flashing atop the slot machine. Jimmy was gathering up a large number of quarters and scooping them into a cardboard bucket that looked like one you might find for carryout at a KFC.
“Pop!” Jimmy exclaimed when he saw his father approach. “I hit the jackpot on my second quarter. I hit the freakin’ jackpot!”
Once the cardboard bucket was filled with quarters, Jimmy got up from his seat at the slot machine to a round of applause from the twenty or so people who had gathered around to see what the commotion was all about.
Father and son walked to the cashier’s station and Jimmy slid the bucket of quarters to the cashier, who dumped them into some sort of coin counting machine. There were 825 quarters in the bucket. “Congratulations,” the cashier said to Jimmy as she counted out $206.25 and handed it to him.
“You’re buying lunch,” Jason told his son.
“No problem, Pop,” Jimmy said with a big, shit-eating grin on his face. “You gotta love it when it rains in Nevada.”