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Deceit and Honor

I got hustled this weekend.  Severely.  And then we met the very salt of the Earth.

Saturday unexpectedly freed up.  So we went to San Francisco in the hopes of taking the kids on a ferry.  On our way to the pier, we dropped in on a shell game in progress.

The host had a crowd of about eight people circled around him.  He was doing the shell game, but with bottlecaps instead of shells.  The man was on his game.  People were guessing wrong left and right.  What rubes.  But a couple of people guessed right, especially if they were guessing from the two remaining caps after one had been eliminated.

Lillian and I watched a few games, and we had no trouble following the cap with the ball.  We were right every time we didn't actually put money down. 

You don't have to pay until you decide to turn a cap over.  $60.00 gets you $100.00.

So I watch a game, I know where the ball is, I pay the fee and turn the cap over.  ... And I was wrong.  Impossible!  But the man looked at me and said, "I'll give you the bonus!"

I get the bonus!

Maybe I get to pick for free?  He fires up another game.  I know where the ball is.  I reach to turn over my cap, and he says, "No, no, no.  The bonus is $100.00 gets you $200.00."  Oh.  Okay.  So I pull out my wallet, fish around, find the money, pay it, and turn over my cap to collect my winnings.

All this in front of my sweet impressionable children.  Let's just say we all learned some very important lessons.  And Daddy has no money.

...

The next day, we went to a nearby farm to pick out pumpkins for Halloween.  We got a tractor ride, and it turns out the driver was Joe Perry, the owner of the farm, driving this 60-year old tractor that he bought before he was 20.  ("It was great to be able to ride a tractor instead of follow a horse.")  The man was a sweet, hard working, salt-of-the-earth type of man.  He talked about making the farm organic in the '90s, what a family business it was, and how you keep it in business these days.  He was good folk.

We'll be back to that farm for more.

I won't be participating in shell games for a while.  Nor accepting bar bets, thank you very much.

I don't really know if my kids can appreciate the different types of people we met this weekend, but I sure hope that they will.

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
tpederson
Oct. 15th, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC)
Wow, what a story. Were most or all of the other eight in on it?
dblume
Oct. 15th, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
Not all. One of the ladies who played before me walked away with us, and said, "My friend said she feels like she just got raped."

Honestly, I knew I was opening myself to the hustle. I can't exactly be angry about it, can I?

My daughter, Maddie, says she had picked the correct cap on my $100.00 choice. I didn't hear her at the time.
pastilla
Oct. 15th, 2007 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the pleasant reminder of one of my favorite News Radio episodes.

(Jimmy James had the same experience with shell games, I'm afraid)
(Anonymous)
Oct. 15th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
Most of them are usually in on it. With slight of hand, the pea, or marble, or seed, or whatever, can be controlled to be wherever he wants it, indefinitely. This is a variation of the three-card Monte. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-card_Monte

If you want to lose money at cards, come over to my place and play poker sometime.
superflytrap
Oct. 15th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
damnit, that was me

Eddie
dblume
Oct. 15th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know. It was cool to get conned, though. Sort of like going to a magic show.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )