I was dealing roulette, my sister Carole was the assigned chipper (mucker) on the game. For those of you not in the business, that’s the person picking the chips up that the dealer sweeps in.
“Look at this guy.” I said out of the corner of my mouth, taking in the appearance of an older gentleman, in the seat nearest to the wheel. “He doesn’t look too good.”
“He looks grey.” Carole noted.
There was something about his pallor that was quite concerning. It was like one of those black and white photos where they add color to just one area. Well he was in a color photo, yet he was sepia.
It was quite a busy game. Three or four Chinese players, and this one old sepia man. The Chinese players were betting quite heavily,erratically, while the old man was very slow, calmly placing just a few chips on only the area of the layout in front of him. After paying the winning bets from the last spin, I picked up the ball, and gave it a strong spin to give the old guy extra time.
Suddenly,he took a deep, rattly inhale, and with a lengthy, raspy exhale he fell forward onto the layout, his head landing solidly on the 2/5 split.
“Oh my God!” I yelled.
“Jesus Christ! He’s dead!” Carole yelled.
The Chinese players did not seem to notice the carcass now laying in the center of the layout. One woman actually leaned over him to place a bet on the Zero.
“No spin! No spin!” I screamed, plucking the ball out of the wheel.
“Lapsap!” The Chinese lady shouted. Apparently a corpse in the middle of the table was no reason to stop the game, but stop the game it did.
“It’s okay!” The floorperson called out. “It’s okay everybody, we have medical help on the way!”
“I think he’s dead.” I stared at his grey, lifeless eyes.
“He’s okay Shirley.” The floorperson corrected me.
“No, he’s dead.” Carole said, leaning over to get a better look. “He’s definitely dead.”
“Why don’t you go chip over there!” the floorperson ordered her, gesturing with her thumb toward one of the other tables. Carol obeyed, leaving me alone with him.
I was told to color everyone up. I took all the chips off the layout and handed them back to their respective owners. We gave them all an extra stack of chips, just to stop them trying to stick their hands under his head to grab their bets from beneath it.
I stood there watching, as the head of security, Ann, placed an oxygen mask on his face, and covered him with a blanket, while awaiting the ambulance. A little redundant, but good for business. No casino wants people dying at the tables.
“Why are you doing that?” I asked. “He’s dead!”
“Shut up!” she snapped.
“Look! His eyes are open!”
“Shut up!” she said through clenched teeth.
He was gone in less than fifteen minutes. Placed on a gurney, and wheeled out. I was tapped off the game, and told to take an extra five minutes break, you know, to help me cope with the trauma.
To this day, when an old person sits at my roulette game, I can’t help but wonder, if they’re going to bet the 2/5 split!