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Gambling on Life

Story by Simon N.
“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness...” Edgar Allan Poe

Nick was, by any definition, a highly desirable man. He came from a good family and had a high-paid job. He was also physically attractive. Nick had a James Dean’s type of look that would knock many women off their heels. Known around town as a womanizer, Nick changed girlfriends frequently. All of that would end, however, when he met Jasmine. Nick fell in love with her at first sight and was willing to sacrifice everything to be with her.

Nick’s biggest obstacle in winning Jasmine’s hand in marriage was her traditionalist family. Knowing this, he tried very hard to transform himself into the type of man Jasmine’s family would be willing to accept. No longer would Nick be seen attending the wild parties he was once a fixture. Instead, Nick was seen attending church every week. In addition, he was always present at every family occasion and showered Jasmine’s parents with lavish gifts. During the holidays, Nick would take everyone in her family on expensive trips to various exotic destinations. He had also returned to school to complete a degree in engineering, in hope of scoring points with Jasmine’s parents.

Although Jasmine’s family was still skeptical about Nick, her parents were impressed by his devotion to their daughter. Nick and Jasmine soon got engaged and their marriage was only weeks away. Unfortunately, the sudden return of Jasmine’s ex-boyfriend dealt a severe blow to the relationship. The man was quite a formidable competitor. He was one of the top brain surgeons in the country, having graduated with distinction from Harvard. If that were not impressive enough, his family pedigree was even more impressive; he came from a long line of distinguished doctors and lawyers.

It wasn’t long before Jasmine’s family took a strong liking of the new guy. In fact, the family became increasingly hostile to Nick. They persuaded Jasmine to break off the engagement and forbade Nick from coming to their house. Nick, however, did not really care much about what Jasmine’s family thought of him; Jasmine was all he really cared about. Sadly, she had also distanced herself from Nick. She would not answer his calls or meet him face to face. Jasmine’s sudden change of heart was like a pointed spear, piercing through Nick’s heart. He was depressed and confused.

Nick would ultimately find solace in alcohol and gambling. He gambled, gambled, and gambled some more. There were nights when he lost over $10,000 on a single hand. Debts were piling up. When one of Nick’s creditors contacted his boss at work, he was fired from his job. He would soon lose his house and car. In desperation, Nick would make contact with everyone he knew trying to “entice” them to invest in his supposedly new business start-up. Some fell for the scheme and gave him their hard-earned money.

After several hours of "intense" gambling, he had once again donated all the money to the casino. At this point, the news of his gambling addiction had become widespread. People began to distance themselves from Nick; many even shut their doors on him. Meanwhile, his creditors continued to be on his heels. When the news of his addiction reached Nick’s family, his parents tried desperately to contact him in hope of helping him overcome his addiction. Unfortunately, he did everything he could to avoid them. He did not want to be a burden to his retired parents.

~~~

On one autumn morning, Nick was found dead of drug overdose in a small motel room.

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