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Friday, April 29, 2022

Divana's Lair

Just one day to go! In fact, about 24 hours from now, I plan to board the train at Flusherville Junction to take me to Toronto.

From Union Station, it's the PU (Pearson Union Express) to the airport and then hope and pray that AC Rouge leaves on time.

I've been chipping away at packing for about a week now. I'm totally out of practice. But I'm doing my best to keep it lean - my travel possessions are limited to a change of underwear, passport, money, toothbrush, and a roll of quarters in a Walmart plastic bag.

If you think I'm not prepared enough, I'll have you know that I've DOUBLE BAGGED the Walmart luggage. So really, I'm prepared for anything.

Going through some of my old stuff, my eyes took in a welcome sight - a lucky Gordie Howe hockey card. It's been with us on many, many trips. So Gordie is going to Vegas.

Gordie Howe, and ground coffee to feed the Little Giant every morning.

I also found my all-important Grommet Inspector ID from Hallowe'en years ago. So that's coming too, along with a supply of Punishment Cheese.

Not fake cheese. REAL cheese.

Just as I fit Gordie Howe and my Inspector card into my gambling wallet, I got a phone call from my sister, Divana.

"Royal, I want to see you before you leave for Las Vegas," she said. 

"Sure! I'd like to see you too, Divana. You can come by any -"

"Royal, you'll come over this afternoon, won't you." I'd been summoned.

We set a time, I did a few more chores, and drove the 25 minutes to Divana's Lair. I managed to remember the code to buzz her apartment for entry, and she picked up after 7 rings.

"Divana, it's me, I'm -"

The door unlocked with an ominous CLACK that reverberated through the foyer. And up I went.

I gave a quick knock at Divana's suite and heard the deadbolt unlock. As quick as I could, I turned the handle, pushed, and went inside. I don't know how she does it.

Divana was already seated at the far end of the suite, reclining, with a little table in front of her, full of nail shaping supplies, trimmers, polish, and the like. I walked down the hallway, passed the spare bedroom, a bathroom, and across the open concept living/dining/kitchen to greet her.

Without looking up from her nails, which were in the midst of the buffing of their lives, Divana gestured to an envelope on the little table, nestled amongst the bottles of polish with names like Diamond Decadence Dust, Morning Dew Mist Fog, Dried Ex-Lover Blood, and Red.

OK, not really, I made the last one up.

I picked up the envelope. Was Divana actually giving me something?

"Royal, I want you to bet this money. Roulette. $27 on Number 27."

This was unprecedented. I wasn't actually sure if I would be betting for her or for me.

"Royal, you'll bring me the winnings, won't you."

"Of course I will. Now, where and when - "

"You can go. Have a nice time."

As I headed for the door, I opened the envelope and found a twenty and some singles.

"Divana, there's only $24 here. And a quarter," I said as I turned back to the couch. But Divana was gone.

"Royal," she said from the door, "Royal, you'll make up the difference, won't you."

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