The courtroom was packed. You would have thought that the trial of the century was taking place, a serial mass-murderer or something. Certainly anything other than a couple of college aged kids who had enjoyed a good time. Well, maybe I should say a really, really good time.
The faces in the audience were all grim and serious. That is all except for a jovial young man wearing the blue "I LOVE VEGAS" baseball cap who was sitting a few rows behind us in the gallery. He smiled as I briefly looked at him. The rest of the gallery was filled with news reporters, cameras, and more than one or two casino owners with their attorneys.
I turned and saw the court reporter taking her seat along with the court clerk, and finally rested my gaze on the bailiff.
He was a mousy little man, wearing a gray tweed suit that had been worn once too often, frayed in the back, worn thin at the elbows. He might have once been 5 foot tall, but with age I doubt that he made 4'-11'', even stretching. He had a nervous quality about him, eyes darting to and fro in anticipation of trouble yet to come.
"All rise," he squeaked, "This hearing for the State of Nevada versus Raymond Little and Marcy Allan is now in session, standing for his honor, Judge Louis Garfield.
I turned my attention to the door that entered from the judges' chambers and in contrast to the mouse, a tall man entered. Though I have been wrong in the past with first impressions, my initial glance told me that this was not a man to anger. This was a powerful man who was used to making uncomfortable decisions, a man with a resolve for justice.
"Be seated," he began.
Deep baritone I noted ... it went well with his image.
"Mr. Little, I remind you that this is not a court of law, but simply an investigative hearing brought by the State of Nevada at the request of the Nevada Gaming Commission concerning unusual occurrences that took place on June first this year. You have chosen to represent yourself, however, at any time should you desire, you may stop testifying and may request an attorney. The hearing will be placed in suspension until such time as you have obtained legal counsel. I also remind you that testimony will be under sworn statement and as such, subject to the laws of perjury and that you may be held accountable for them in the future should this issue go to trial. Do you understand?"
"Yes your honor," I replied.
"Very well," he said, "Will you please take the stand? Bailiff, swear in the witness."
The mouse walked to witness box awaiting me. When I entered the box, he ordered me to place my hand on the bible. I complied and promised not to lie.
"I so affirm," I said.
Judge Garfield continued, "I have read the summary report from the Gambling Commission and in all fairness, must agree that it is somewhat suspect for an individual to display the fortunes of luck as you seem to have had on June the first this year. I have been told that mathematically the odds against your winning as you did are astronomical, in the area of billions to one at a single establishment, yet you are recorded as frequenting as many as six gambling establishments that day. May I ask you what you attribute your good fortune to?"
"Well your honor, I guess it all began about two years ago when I was finishing up my freshman year at college." And that really was when it began I thought back to myself...
... Spring semester had just ended and I had several months off until the fall term restarted, time in which to look for work and earn some much needed money. As a partial academic scholarship student, my classes were paid, but like most gifts of money, it wasn't enough. Books, dorm fees, food, coupled with the normal run of expenses had pretty much eaten up my savings and I was down to Cheerio's seven days a week. My plan that summer day had been to beat a path to the bulletin board. I had learned from the upper classmen to check the board early-on to find employment offerings and had been doing so for over a week. The routine run-of-the-mill cafeteria jobs were posted, but growing up the son of a roofer, well I had hoped for a better paying job in construction, such as a framer for a building contractor. On this particular day I noticed a new advertisement immediately. "WANTED" it read, "STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN A STUDY OF ESP, CONTACT LAURA ALLAN AT THE SCOTT FIELD HOUSE - EARN MONEY FOR ONE HOUR OF WORK". I doubted you would earn much money for only an hour of work, but I had nothing else to do. And I figured that even an hour of work would be enough to buy a 6-pack. So I walked up Perimeter Road and headed for Scott Field House.
As I rounded the corner, you can imagine my surprise, when I saw a line of other students, at least 100 long, waiting to just get inside the door. After questioning I found that they had all seen the advertisement and were here for the same reason as I ... the cash. Let it be known that I don't much like standing in lines, even when I have to, but on this particular day I really had nothing planned.
"What the hell," I said to myself as much as anybody, "I got nothing to do."
Nothing is what I did for the next hour or so. About every four to five minutes the line would shift and someone else would enter the door. Once inside, the line there was as long as it was on the outside. Listening to my fellow fortune hunters, I heard that even once you were in the inner auditorium, you had a questionnaire to fill out and then more waiting.
Eventually I got my turn and did enter and sure enough there was a table alongside the line with a form asking my name, age, sex, and some vague questions which I don't really remember. After filling out the form, you placed it in a basket and continued to wait. A runner would then come and pick up the forms and disappear. Later a name was called, always the person at the head of the line, who would then enter one of several temporary makeshift booths. Finally my name was called.
"Mr. Little," the girl called, "I am Marcy Allan." "Would you come with me?"
Marcy was a babe, about my age or within a year or two of it. She was a true blue eyed blonde beauty who immediately took my breath away. Leading me to the booth she indicated a chair that I was to sit in and she sat on the other side of a small table.
"Thank you for coming," she said, "Today we are going to perform a simple test to see if you have any ESP abilities. You know what ESP is, don't you?"
"Extra-sensory perception," I replied, "mind reading, clairvoyance, that sort of thing."
"Yes, that is pretty much it. We will be testing sub- and pre-cognitive abilities. I'm sure you've seen this test before. This is a deck of cards with 4 designs on them. One is a triangle, one is a circle, another is a set of wavy lines, and the last is a square."
She showed each card as she described them.
"I am going to look at a card, and then ask you to guess what is on that card. You will be scored on the number correct from the number shown for a maximum of 100 points. Do you have any questions?"
"Yeah," I said, "Are you related to the Laura Allan on the advertisement, and may I call you Marcy?"
She smiled, "Yes, she is my older sister working on her doctorate on paranormal studies. I'm just here helping out while visiting her for the summer and Marcy will be fine."
"Okay, Marcy, let's get started."
Marcy then set up a small desk blind between us and shuffled a deck of cards. She stopped, held the first card up to me and asked me what it was. I had no idea, so I guessed it was a circle. She wrote something down and then picked the next and asked me the same.
Again I guessed circle and asked her, "Aren't you going to let me know how I'm doing?"
"Not until after we complete all hundred of the cards," she said, "then we'll tabulate your score."
I didn't know why I was wasting my time, I knew I didn't have ESP, never did have, never would have, but I went along with her, guessing the cards. As time went on I figured I wasn't doing so well as her smile slowly changed from bright to a frown, and eventually to an unhappy grimace. Finally she showed me the last card.
"An Ace of Spades" I said jokingly knowing that it was not one of the possible choices. But I was tired and the torturous ordeal was finally at an end. While the actual time was only about ten minutes we had been testing, it seemed like hours. I was worn out and really getting hungry.
"How did I do Marcy?" "Am I ready for mind reading training or should I avoid the poker tables."
"Very funny Mr. Little," she said dryly, "as if you don't know. If I knew you were going to play a trick on me you could have told me up front. Take this form to the cashier sitting over by the ticket booth; she'll pay you for your time."
"Wait a minute," I said getting defensive, "I told you I didn't have any ESP ability, so don't get mad at me."
"Mr. Little, I've been giving these tests all morning, and all last month at different universities. I know what a proper score is, some people have some ability, other very little, but you ... you are obviously playing some sort of trick on me."
"What do you mean?" I started, "Honestly, I am not playing any trick on anyone. Please Marcy, give me the benefit of the doubt, I'd really like to get to know you."
"Benefit of the doubt ... please," she replied rolling her eyes, "How do you explain this?"
Marcy picked up the score sheet and held it clenched in her hand in front of my nose. The score sheet had numbers 1-100 on them with two boxes after each number marked either correct or not correct. After each number was a bright red ink mark, and each ink mark was in the "correct" box.
.... There is more of this story ...