This one is from one of my prompts.
The Number Eight.
I googled this and was amazed at just how much information there was about "eight"...worldwide...I knew about the Chinese importance...but not any of the others. The stories the others wrote were just amazing...I love this group!!
So here goes.....
Flossie was in her usual seat next to Millie on the tables in the back row of the old cinema, now used for the town's bingo sessions.
Her legs were hurting again. They had been getting steadily worse all that summer and now they were so swollen she could hardly wiggle her feet. Puddings she thought and sighed, sponge puddings, and she carefully pulled her tights over them.
That morning her normal bus had been jammed as it sailed past her, and the driver deliberately not looking her way as she tried to flag him down. There was nothing for it but for her to take to the road into town, and walk the mile and a half as quickly as possible.
She was thinking, "If I had a bit more money, I'd take a taxi", but her pension just about stretched the week as it was. A taxi might mean that she would have to draw some out of the Post Office Account and doing that was enough to make her very fearful. A lifetime of staying out of debt was like an iron rod firmly holding her backbone in place.
Millie, her bingo companion, was an old school friend. They knew one another's ways and habits and fitted together like a hand in a glove. But Millie had something that Flossie had never had... luck in bucketfuls! Whether at school, in work, in marriage...yes even at the bingo...Millie's luck regularly turned up trumps. Flossie mulled this thought over as she made her way into town hoping against hope that the dark clouds she noticed gathering in the west, didn't drop their load of rain on her before she reached the cinema.
Have you noticed how one thought can lead to another? Like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower looking for the one with the most sweetness? It may lead to a positive thought or could take you down some dark path of sadness and despair. Though never one to dwell on the past, yet that day she found herself remembering the loss of a baby, the shortage of money and Fred dying so young leaving her alone with no family and a life of scrimping. But she was nearly there at the bingo hall and the rain had held off...so...reasons to be happy!
There in the front of the queue, yohoing her over, was Millie. "I've kept your place.What happened? What a nuisance!...Just ignore the looks of those women." said good friend Millie.
Today was to be the big win. Once a month a special was held with a thousand pound win and today was that day. However the most that Flossie had ever won was a fiver and maybe once ten quid. Millie's luck on the other hand was a different kettle of fish. She often walked out with a couple of hundred. Not that she was mean...no, on those occasions she treated them both to a slap up lunch somewhere in the town for as she said she probably wouldn't have started going to the bingo if Flossie hadn't invited her along. That had been after Fred's death, when she had tried every day to be away from the memories of their life together and find something to fill the hurt and emptiness inside.
Eight games played . Those were the rules on a Tuesday morning at the bingo hall. Four games, a break for tea, coffee and a biscuit and finish up with another four. Then "See you next week," and everyone made their way out and home.
Kevin, the master of the balls, shouted for quiet. A roomful of women and men chattering and gossiping meant that he had to call more than once. But once the numbers were rolling out, the proverbial pin sounded like a gong.!! All ears alert, all eyes down and a shout of victory somewhere in the room. The games progressed, and one by one the shouts went up. Millie won fifty quid with her final seven on a card and smiled, "That's lunch for you and me today chuck",
Tea and coffee over, crumbs swept on to the floor, the caller began again. Silent players praying for success. Bills to pay, holidays to plan, family to help. Who knows what hopes and dreams were depending on success that morning in the old cinema. Game seven came and went and still Flossie sat, dobber in hand unsuccessful again. How many tenners had she paid out over the years? "I'm giving it up, not coming again, the whole thing is a waste of money and I'm stupid!"
Game eight and the people in their seats were restless. This was the big one. She looked at her card. Her eyes blurred from unfallen tears. Concentrate you fool she said to herself. Dob, dob, dob. She had one square left. Then someone shouted , "Full House!".....Flossie sighed and was about to tear up the card when the person realised they had made a mistake.
Then Kevin called out, " Lucky Chinese...number eight." In a dream she shouted, "I've got it!" And turning to Millie said...."The lunch is on me I think", as tears rolled down her face.