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A Fool Proof System For Beating Roulette
The most unpopular bet on the whole table, thought the dealer to himself. He bulldozed the mass of chips, all losers, from the felt, then went into the repetitive motion of chip stacking. The old feisty oriental woman on the right side of the table immediately began re-stacking chips in her usual pattern. She smoked at the table a cigarette too large for her, the smoke forming a milky haze that wafted visually towards him.
The only other player sat at the opposite end of the felt. His pattern was a predictable distribution of chaos. He would throw his chips haphazardly once the ball began its inexorable spin to individual randomness. He was a bald young man, late twenties with a high nasal voice. A seemingly insecure person who had been admonished for bad bets too many times by the old woman. He would have probably complained about her smoking had not the Oxygen Enhancers not kicked in immediately, swallowing any smoke that wafted their way, leaving both player and dealer in a smoke-free environment even while the oriental woman, only inches from them both, staggered along her cancerous route while defying the odds at her age of developing Lymphoma — but not defying the odds of losing at Roulette.
Still, the dealer thought, at least these players had the sense to play at the Double-Zero wheel, even with its higher minimum of $2500 per hand. Most players preferred the low minimum $500 tables with their Quadruple-Zero layout. The casino loved those suckers! Of course, the Quaduple Zero wasn't all bad! There was the en-prison rule at that table. If any green zero, double-zero, triple-zero, or quadruple-zero came up, all even money bets were held for the next spin. If any green repeated, then the bet doubled but was still held en-prison. If any green came up a third time, the bet was tripled but held once more en-prison. The fourth bet was the deciding factor. If the ball landed green a fourth time in a row, the bet was quadrupled, giving the player back a hefty sum.
Of course, the four in a row, while happening with enough regularity for a dealer to remark, was still a rare enough occurrence to make the table a money pit for the casino's. The odds of winning 35-1 while now playing at a table with forty numbers made the steep vig too difficult to overcome. No, the double-zero table's were the safest money bets in Roulette. There had once even been a single-zero roulette table! The dealer had seen one at the museum, and he understood there had once been a zero-less table, but those were from the very early days of the game.
Out of the corner of his eye, the dealer noted the non-descript hook-nosed man standing in the shadow of a pillar viewing and recording the outcome of every single spin. He had been there for almost four hours, the dealer was certain. Not completely unusual. Sometimes it was a sign the person had gone bankrupt but still had hours to kill so they watched enviously other players lose their money, somehow fantasizing that everyone but them was winning.
In this case, the man was obviously one of the sad populace that thought a winning system could be devised for Roulette - a game that been vacuuming up players money without fail for twelve centuries. The man tried to surreptitiously enter the outcome of each spin at the table into his Memory Recorder. Although he tried to sneakily enter the numbers, as if he was scared of being noticed, it was still pitifully obvious. The Memory Recorder was too large not to notice. It recorded the numbers directly onto the man's cerebrum for later recall, which if each spin was not an independent event would make them illegal in a casino. But since knowing the previous spins did nothing to enhance the chances of winning, the casino's allowed their use, snickering at the Gambler's Fallacy that people stuck by.
The Memory Recorder's had first been developed for the military and spy departments of the Government. They quickly had been subverted by College kids to cheat at their exams, shouldering them with an onus of ill repute. But the Memory Recorders were now used for many legitimate purposes. Some fields it was an absolute requirement, like the medical field. No one would utilize a surgeon who did not use Memory Recorders for their practice. They enabled memory retainment of perfection. The surgeon or lawyer or any other high paid field technician that did not use one would find himself regarded as an ancient relic from the twenty first century when people only had x-rays or computers to do their work for them. And Heaven forbid the politician who flubbed a line because he did not use a Memory Recorder would be booed off the stage with derisive catcalls of "Bush, Bush, just like Bush."
Still, most people tried to hide their use of the devices. It was probably due to a myth that Memory Recorders could enhance one's game of Blackjack. But the holo-shufflers eliminated any benefits of the Memory Recorder, turning each game into a completely random, independent event. No, casino security snickered at their use and those people who utilized them.
Tonight, however, security was probably not even paying much attention to the hook-nosed man as a robbery/murder had occurred earlier in the afternoon in one of the hotel elevators. Although gambling continued as usual, a section of wing had been cordoned off and an hour had passed before word came the suspect had been apprehended, sending a sigh of relief amidst the curses of losing gamblers.
The dealer yawned as his shift came to a final close. The Hook-nosed man was still recording his data when the dealer noticed the four burly Casino personnel that surrounded him, although the head of security, Dexter Masterton was noticeably absent. Curiosity piqued the dealer. The hook-nosed man seemed nervous, reticent to go with the motley crew which was insistent they escort him away.
Hmmm, thought the dealer. He hadn't done anything he noticed as being worthy of back-rooming. Still, one never knew. Perhaps he had been connected to the earlier murder? It would make a great alibi to be standing all evening at the casino, being caught on camera, but somehow the dealer didn't feel he would have hung around after such an incident. No, must be something else, he decided. The dealer spun one last spin for the captive audience at his table. The oriental woman won - on Double zero. Hmm, some people do learn.
The hook-nosed man mopped sweat from his forehead with a robo-tissue. The dissolving paper eliminated any environmental waste but left a pungent odor until it had dissipated. He looked at the beefy man seated in front of the door to the room he had been escorted. The guy looked like an ex-con in a suit. Or a former pro-wrestler in a suit.
The security/ex-con/wrestler eyed him opaquely. "Security Chief Masterton will join us in a moment. I understand he's waiting for the police to arrive. Can I get you some caff-coff?"
"No thanks," he uttered. How could he calmly suggest caff-coff when the police were on their way? Sweat re-beaded on the hook-nosed man's face.
"So, what's your name?" asked the guard.
Is he seriously being friendly? "Um, Aaron Tommy Baker," replied the hook-nosed man. But that wasn't his true name. His first name was not Aaron. His first name was Tommy with no middle name. Some inner voice had inspired him to give the falsehood. The guard gave him a sweet saccharine smile that sent a chill to 'Aaron's bones. He had to get out of here. He didn't think he would be in deep trouble for the Memory Recorder, everything he had read had indicated they were acceptable in casino's but his major concern was the piece of contraband they would find if they searched him thoroughly. He had to escape for that reason. He would be in serious trouble with the law, otherwise.
He formulated a plan.
"Can I use the restroom, please?"
"Sure," indicated his captor with a nod.
'Aaron' Tommy Baker stood up and entered the restroom which adjoined the office. It was smallish, a single window open allowing a cold breeze to filter through and rain currently downpouring from the night-sky to splitter-splash on the sill. The windows had security bars and the only avenue of escape would be through the door leading back into the office. There was no fear on the part of security that 'Aaron' Tommy Baker would make a hasty retreat. Tommy glanced out the window at the cold dark night.
Well, here goes, he thought. He flicked the hidden compartment on his wristwatch, took a deep breath and activated the pre-programmed contraband device secreted inside. 'Aaron' Tommy Baker winced at the bright stabbing sunshine of early afternoon that flared into his eyes.
Exiting the restroom, he glanced nervously about. The room was void of life, the place where the ex-con/wrestler security guard had been moments before vacant. Apparently, the room was not occupied when someone was not being interrogated or held for questioning.
'Aaron' Tommy Baker quietly and he hoped inconspicuously left the casino and went home.
"You what???" bellowed Sammy.
"I time-slipped," repeated Tommy Baker, seated over the kitchen table across from his son. Sammy, now twenty years old looked at his dad dubiously. Sam was already a well-rounded and experienced individual. At eighteen, he had signed up with the military, risking his life in the outer space wars that engulfed the planet, being entrusted with heavy military weaponry and first class star freighters to pilot. A decorated war hero, having killed many alien terrorists in the pursuit of freedom, justice and his planet's ideals, he had come home jobless and had made some quick cash as a porn star in some very well-distributed porno cubes.
Nonetheless, Sam still patiently waited for his twenty-first birthday, when the law would finally allow him to make really important decisions about his life, like whether to place his chips on black or red at roulette. He might also be able to rent some of those porno cubes he starred in for the first time - the law being quite clear that he must be over eighteen to star in porno's but over 21 to watch them.
"You time-slipped? But that's illegal. Where did you pick up a device?"
"Black market, of course. Check it out," said Tommy, raising his sleeve to expose the watch that hid the device.
Sammy looked at it with strained curiosity. "So, you won't take hallucinogenic drugs because it violates the law, dad, but you'll use strictly forbidden tech like Time-slippers?" Tommy shrugged embarrassed. "You can get fifteen to twenty for utilising this tech. I only get five days max for my mushrooms."
"Look, it's only forbidden to keep people from going back in time and saving Lincoln, or Obama or Kennedy..."
"Either, or worse, Hitler. As long as the past isn't changed, there's no side effects."
"That's not true, dad. Forgetting time-stream impacts, there's the physical health effects. Each time you time-slip, the skipped time is deducted from your life-span. It's only a fraction, of course, but like smoking, it will come back to haunt you later on."
"Yeah, well, that's why I'm done with it. It was just this one time."
"Until you get hooked and need to time-slip to get out of every bad situation in life."
"I will not get hooked. Look, it's just a small jump, one day into the future I did, and then back."
"Got it," said Sammy. "So, you went forward to tomorrow, visited the casino, and used a Memory Recorder to imprint all the winning bets for a four hour period of play, then jumped back so that you can visit the casino, come tomorrow and rake in the winnings."
"You got it. We're gonna be rich. I'm gonna bet high. We're gonna be billionaires."
"If you don't get caught."
"How? Now that I know the winning numbers, I just go up and play them. I've already transferred the Meme's into my head. I know every spin as it's gonna happen."
Sam pondered this for a moment. "I don't know. What makes you think the future is set? I mean, isn't it possible that you change it by sitting down and playing? You'll interrupt the flow of the chips, the payouts, so that the spins are done at different times with different speeds by the dealer. You'll get different results tomorrow."
"I know that the future is not set. That's common knowledge..."
"No, it's common theory. No one really knows. No one has yet been able to prove the future has been changed because when someone claims it, no one else experienced what it was supposed to be in the first place. So, who knows if the future is set or not."
"It is not set! It can change! That's why it's in the future and that's why my plan will work. I will go to the table, knowing the winning bets, and I will change the future by plunking down money where I did not before. But I will always make sure I have my money down on the table before the other players finish so that they are still the ones who instigate the spin by the dealer. That's how I know the spins won't change."
"I don't know. It still sounds like it isn't fool-proof."
"Well, I'll test it with a few experimental bets. If I win, I'll know."
"Okay, I suppose. I guess, at this point, it can't hurt to test the theory with a few spins. So, you didn't see yourself playing at the table?"
"No, of course not. I hadn't changed the future yet. I was just getting the numbers. But there is going to be plenty of space at the table for me to sit. There is an old Oriental woman at one end and another guy on the other. I'll just sit between the two and rake in the dough while they lose their shirts — again."
Tommy barked some laughter. Sammy winced. "Hey, I'm curious. Turn around and see if you observe yourself taking down the numbers while you play."
"No, I really don't want to do that. I don't want to see myself in the corner nervously registering spin outcomes. I'll just sit down and play as if I am not there behind me."
"Hey, so what's the weather like, tomorrow?"
"Rain, all day."
"Damn, I have a game to go to. Guess it'll be cancelled for the weather. Any other important news tomorrow?"
"How should I know? I wasn't paying attention. I just went to record the numbers, then hopped on back."
"Got it. Well, good luck, it sounds like a better plan than the other systems you've used over the years. Better than that Martingale, for sure."
"No, it's not luck this time. This time I win. This time I have the fool-proof system for beating roulette!"
Tommy straightened his outfit in the mirror of the hotel casino. He had rented a room on the thirteenth floor under the names Tommy Baker and Aaron Baker. If and when the camera's caught both him playing at the table and recording the spins behind him, he would point out that was his twin brother, Aaron.
It was a good cover. Tommy raised the images of the spins that were now imprinted on his mind, images no one but he could see. The Memory Recorder inside his wristwatch was removed and left at home in case someone did question his winning streak.
Memory Recorder's were pretty simple to use. Even a child could operate one and in fact, some school districts handed out Recorders as part of their book package to help school age children speed up the learning process. Some traditionalists argued that young people were not learning in this manner, but really it was just a different form of learning. No one really cared.
The Memory Recorder actually recorded its info onto a safedisk. That disk allowed you to re-enter or delete info. Info could be entered via keypad as he had done, or via scanning, download or photographic equipment. Techs were discussing the next wave of Recorders would allow one to Memory Record entire films so you could play the latest block-buster uncut and uninterrupted in your head. This was especially appealing to film-makers with more adult, violent versions of their films as the individual could decide what is good for them, and no one else could see the images. You could theoretically play porn films(hopefully not ones starring his son) while travelling home in a crowded trainship. The studio's were the only ones griping about copyright infringement and the ease of bootleg copying, digital memory records for pirated distribution. But it was gonna happen. It was inevitable.
Once the info was finalized on the Safedisk, then it was uploaded to one's cerebrum where it could be pulled up on recall easier than one's memories and seemingly as if they were. The recorder time-stamped each entry, so Tommy knew exactly when each spin's results occurred(or at least when he had entered them, directly after.)
Well, he was ready. He grabbed his large wad of stake cash, stuffed it into his pants pocket and left the room, locking it behind him.
He boarded the elevator, already occupied by a scruffy, unkempt man who was bedraggled with wet clothes from the rain outside. Strange, Tommy thought, that he was going down if he had just come from outside. Perhaps, he had lost something downstairs?
The man eyed him nervously, almost embarrassed but not quite. "Heading to the tables?" he asked politely.
"Yep," replied Tommy. "Roulette is my game! I don't like slots. Or any other table game for that matter. Tonight is my night to win big at Roulette. What's your game?"
Tommy turned to face him. "Robbery!" The man held a blastgun straight at him. "Hand over all the cash."
Tommy winced. Here he was going to win his big night at the casino and he was being robbed? It was comical. "Stupid security here is pretty bad. First they had a robbery murder yesterday and now..."
A palpable moment of spiraling reality surrounded Tommy. "It wasn't yesterday," he mumbled in an inaudible whisper.
A million thoughts flooding through his head including several hundred outcomes on a small wheel of fate called roulette and Tommy was leaping forward, his murder known to him with full prior knowledge.
And a pink band of bright stabbing blastlight flared into his eyes!
Head of Casino security, Dexter Masterton collapsed into his seat behind the banks of camera's that followed the movements of all living souls in the casino. His junior assistant, Telly, was glued to the screens as he had been all night. Telly turned to his superior and smiled a sympathetic face. "Long night?"
Dexter nodded. "The crime scene is cleaned up and we seem to be back to normal. The only missing piece is the victims supposed brother. He was registered at the casino but we have no contact info or way to reach him. He wasn't in his room. It's so upsetting when one of our law abiding customers gets murdered for such petty reasons."
"Did he try to resist?"
"Yeah, thats why he was killed. Unless you know you're going to be murdered, you should just hand over the money. Your life's not worth it. So, anything interesting happening while I was dealing with this whole shebang?"
"Nada. Pretty quiet."
"Anyone acting suspicious?"
"No, not out of the ordinary. There's this guy using a Memory Recorder to follow roulette spins, another systems believer."
"Let him try!" Dexter looked at the video screen which clearly delineated the man and his hook nose with the Memory Recorder. "Sonofabitch! He looks like the murder victim. That's gotta be the brother we're looking for. The resemblance is uncanny!"
"Has to be."
"So much for being able to tell when your sibling is hurt or killed. This guy seems to have not a care in the world except for recording his numbers. He's been in that same spot for almost four hours."
"Yeah, he obviously doesn't know. Send a security detail to bring him to the back-room. I'll go and break it gently to him. And get the detectives back over here. I'm sure they'll want to question him."
"You got it. I wonder if his brother was thinking of him when he was, you know, murdered. I mean, them being identical twins and all."
"I can tell you what his last thoughts were."
"Oh yeah. How's that?"
"The police did an on-site brainscan. Standard procedure in a homicide to see if the victim has used a Memory Recorder within the last month. If so, they leave a psychic flashback at the time of death, which can aid in the homicide investigation."
I see. So, what were his last thoughts?" asked Telly.
Dexter looked weirded out. "'The future IS set. The future IS set.' Those were his last two thoughts, repeated twice. Strange to be thinking that at such a moment."
Telly smiled. "Well, let's hope the future really isn't set. Some Joe Shmoe is gonna grab a TimeSlipper one day and put us out of business."
They both chuckled at the thought as ridiculous as it sounded. "Security has him," Telly informed him.
"I'll wait till the detectives get here. I don't want to interfere with their investigation. Oh, look, that oriental woman won big." Dexter pointed to the screen.
"Oh, yeah," exclaimed Telly. "She won real big. And on Double Zero, too. Looks like she switched her bets. Hmmm, some people do learn."
Other Short Stories by Aaron Denenberg
- A Fool Proof System For Beating Roulette.
- Another Fool Proof System For Beating Roulette.
- A Newcomb Being's Paradox.
Books by Aaron Denenberg
Written by: Aaron Denenberg