Confidence Trick

All eyes were on me as I counted out loud, placing each crisp fifty pound note in a neat pile on the pool table. I was putting on a show and taking my time.

“There. One thousand.” I said firmly and confidently.

“Sure?” asked Roberts.

“Yeah. For those odds, yes. Yes, I will. Mackenzie has the skill. Peters’ time is up.”

I finished my drink, turned and left the stunned crowd. I heard the whispers start as I climbed the steps back up to the street. I had caused a stir and would be talked about up all week until the match Friday night. No one had put down such a bold bet on a rising youngster. They had not expected that. At last, I had their attention. No more ignoring me. I was setting the agenda.

The winter air hit me, as I walked home and together with a wave of regret now the crowd was gone. Only a few low denomination notes left in my wallet. Mackenzie has the skill? Really? Did you not see his last game you idiot? You fool. Another costly mistake.

The odds were high that another cold and hungry month lay ahead.