A Gambler Enters The Twilight Zone

A Gambler Enters The Twilight Zone

A man becomes addicted to playing a one-armed bandit slot machine with unexpected results.

Rod Serling wrote one of his first Twilight Zones after an experience with a slot machine in Las Vegas. The story goes like this:

A Man and his wife win a trip to Las Vegas. The Man is a prude and detests gambling, his wife loves the place. The Man is given a coin (silver dollar) by a drunken man in the casino who coerces him to use it in a Slot Machine.

The Man wins - on his very first try - and decides to keep his savings.

Upstairs, the man believes he hears the slot machine calling his name. In a fevered dream he imagines he is on a winning streak. He wakes up goes to the casino to put the "tainted money" back the slot machine.

Later the wife goes to the casino and finds him obsessively playing the machine. And, he's lost a great deal of money. She cannot get him to stop because he claims that he has lost "so much" that he must win it back, that the machine is "inhuman," that it "teases you, sucks you in." 

He begins attacking the machine yelling for it to give him back his "last dollar" and is taken out of the casino, screaming like a madman.

Later that night the Man tells his wife that the machine was about to pay off, but deliberately broke down so that it wouldn't have to.

Now the Man hears the machine outside the room - calling his name! Then he claims he sees it coming towards him, but his wife cannot see it and believes that he has flipped out. The machine continues to follow him repeating his name over and over. Totally terrified, he backs away from the machine and falls out a window, landing on a busy Las Vegas street - he's dead.

Guarding his body, a policeman notes that he's "seen a lot of 'em get hooked before, but never like him."

The final scene shows the Man's last dollar rolling toward his lifeless, upturned hand. The camera then pans over to the direction where the coin came from and there sits the slot machine, it's blinking, shining lights giving the impression that it is smiling at him.

Moral of the story: If you ever hear a voice echoing in your head insisting you place a bet, perhaps you should first go splash some cold water on your face.

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