Bingo by Lela Marie De La Garza
The cards were sheets of gold; the letters and numbers engraved onyx. The discs were diamond chips. “Come on B Twelve,” Talbot muttered. That one number would complete the row he needed to make a bingo. The prize was his choice of a sea, a mountain, or a forest. Talbot already knew he wanted the mountain. It was called Calvernia, and he could visualize it standing silver and majestic against Ovrul’s purple sky.
Part of the prize was a house built to his specifications. He wanted it right on the summit. Not some four-story monstrosity with cupolas and turrets, and all that fancy frosting. A tasteful two-story structure, four bedrooms with baths, kitchen, dining room, living room, entertainment center. And it came with money enough to maintain him in luxury for the rest of his life ...
“I Nineteen. I Nineteen.” Talbot held his breath, waiting for someone to call it. This was the last game of the last set. There’d be no more chances.
Earth had introduced bingo to Orulian, and now the craze was planet wide. Huge bingo complexes were everywhere. Orulian was a large, rich planet, and the prizes were treasures beyond dreams. But there were rules. Each bingo was played in tournaments: twenty five games in five sets. You only got one chance. Win or lose, once you’d played a tournament, they were all closed to you. And getting into one in the first place was costly.
Talbot had worked ten years on earth, saving up money just for this. His passage here had cost him half of it. He’d put down the rest on this tournament. And he had to win.
A car — his choice — was part of the prize package. He wanted one of those little sporty models that went from zero to 100 in ten seconds, and could navigate itself up and down his mountain ...
“N thirty four. N thirty four.” Talbot tensed up, sure someone had the number. But no one called it. Suppose the unthinkable happened, and he lost? He couldn’t return to earth — a failure after all he’d put into this. No, he’d have to go to work in the Orulian baz factory, which manufactured a feathered substance used twice a day by adult Orulians in ritual bathing. He’d have to get up at ten one morning a week and go pull a lever for two hours. Of course, a house and car would be provided, but he’d be living in comparative poverty — two bedrooms instead of the luxury he’d hoped to gain ... and on three acres instead of the gloried mountaintop ...
Another number was called. Someone yelled “Bingo!” It was over. Nothing to look forward to now but backbreaking work at the baz factory ... two hours of pulling a switch ... a tiny shack on a miniscule lawn ...
Then, as Talbot realized he was on his feet, he realized two other things: the last number called had been B twelve. And it had been his voice yelling “Bingo!”
Now the room was thundering with applause. Talbot swaggered to the front holding his golden card. An Orulian administrator said “Congratulations young man. What will you have? The Gravilot Forest? The Bartol Sea? Or the Calvernia Mountain?”
Talbot took his time, pretending to think over his choices. The mountain,” he said finally. “Yes. I want the Calvernia Mountain. Now ... let’s talk about my house ... ”
© 2014 Lela Marie De La Garza
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Lela Marie De La Garza has had work published in “Behind Closed Doors”, “Pound of Flash”, “ChickLit”, “Daily Romance”, “Creepy Gnome,” and “Mad March Hare.” She was born in Denver, CO. in 1943 while her father was serving in WWII. She currently resides in San Antonio, Texas with three and a half cats, and a visiting raccoon.