And suddenly, as I looked around, a crowd of people surrounded me. I was at the craps table, up $200. The die were hot that night. The people were cheering me on. “Lucky 7’s!”, they hollered. I cast the die one final time and…Hold on hold on, before I get to the good stuff let me take you back to where this really began. It all really started about a month or two before. A good buddy of mine, Jimmy, had bought a poker set. You know, nothing too fancy. Jimmy was a simple guy, we’d invite the guys over to his garage, sip bourbon, hack cigs, and throw in some logs. Some nights, when there was more whiskey in us than water, we’d wager some money. Nothing big, you know? Just maybe a $10-$20 buy in. I was a decent player I’d say. For me though, it wasn’t really about the money. I enjoyed the thrill of it, watching the river turn, going all in on a bluff when all I would have is a dirty pair of 2’s. Stuff of that sort. Soon we got into things like blackjack, and eventually we bought some old rickety roulette board that could barely spin on its axis. But it worked, none the less. I enjoyed watching the ball dance between red and black when I’d have some $25 placed on red. I always loved red, that color never did me wrong. Things continued like this for the next month. It wasn’t long before I was up a few bucks, and I started to get it in me that it was time to hit the big leagues. There was a casino in our small town not too far from where we lived. And I had a shitty old fake from Missouri. Birth year was 98, and the name was Phil. I don’t know why, but I always liked that name. So I headed to the gambling joint to dance in the devil’s playground. Upon my arrival, I was bombarded with bright lights, sweet aromas wafting from the diners, and a feeling of excitement arose within me. I wanted to fit in, so I wore a leather jacket, white washed jeans, and my nicest pair of boots. I handed the chump at the front desk my fake, and to my surprise I breezed right by. I was in. Now from the snippets of a book I had bought, and a handful of youtube videos, I learned craps gives you the best odds. So I decided to go to the craps table. I started off small. $5 bets, $10, and before I knew it I was up quite a bit. People started to watch me, enjoying this young kid run it up at the table. The old men liked my spirit, and in between roles I had some casino skanks flirting with me and offering me drinks. I was having the time of my life. I was up $200 in the blink of an eye, when all I came there with was a crumpled 20 and a dream. I decided to place a $100 bet on 7’s, I was feeling myself. I was shaking up the die, ready for a roll. People were excited, and hell, even the worker at the table was enjoying it. Then, as I cast the die, a hand snatched me by my arm. I heard a voice say, “Phil, huh? Yeah, you’re coming with me.” I turned, and it was a state trooper with black shades on.