Jack Barnes was standing by the rail of the 72,000 ton cruise ship along with many of the two thousand plus passengers watching it pull away from the pier and head down the channel to the open sea. Jack wondered if taking this seven day Caribbean cruise was going to be all that it had been touted to him to be. Some of his friends at work had recommended a cruise as a great vacation to take during the summer months. At that time of the year they said there was an abundance of single female school teachers aboard. They said this was a great vacation for a bachelor to take to meet some single women.
"I will see if these stories are true and I hope they are," thought Jack.
Keith Reed was suppose to be Jack's roommate but two days ago Keith tripped over his sister's dog and suffered a sever fracture of his leg. Keith was still in the hospital so he had to cancel out on this cruise. Because he had purchased trip insurance, canceling out on the cruise did not cause him to lose any money. The end result however was that Jack would not have a roommate on this cruise which could avoid some complications he met a woman. How ironic was it Jack thought that the insurance Keith had purchased was called 'trip insurance.'
A voice over the loudspeaker system asked all passengers to go to their assigned life boat stations for the required ship evacuation drill. The drill was conducted rather efficiently but Jack could only wonder how the passengers and crew would act if in fact it was required that the ship be actually evacuated. As soon as this drill was over, the cruise ship cast off all lines and soon was underway pulling away from the pier.
Once clear of the port and into the open water most of the passengers had left the ship's railing. Dinner would be in an hour and a half which gave Jack time to wash up and go up to the Sky Lounge for a pre-meal cocktail.
In the lounge Jack observed a number of guests who also had the same idea as him of a before dinner cocktail. This group in the lounge was lively and seemed intent on having a good time which could make for a fun cruise. Most of the people there appeared to be couples but there were some attractive women who were sitting at tables without men. Maybe they were waiting for someone but for now they appeared to be single and on the hunt.
There were two somewhat attractive ladies sitting in the lounge that would periodically glance at Jack which to him showed they had an interest in him. He noticed their gazes but thought he would look around the ship before he would try to put a move on any woman. The cruise was just starting so there was no need to be in a hurry to find a woman. Jack was hoping that on this cruise he would find someone that interested him and hoped that she would be agreeable to a cruise romance.
It was assigned seating for the first night's dinner but after that it was any time dinning. Jack found himself sitting at a table for eight. There were three elderly couples and Jack sitting at this table which left one seat open. While they were nice and pleasant people, Jack didn't really want to spend time with people that were at least thirty years older than him. Jack was thirty-nine years old and he was attracted to women that were around his age. He didn't however have anything against women that were only a few years older than him but thirty years was asking too much. He had already noticed a number of good looking women on board but how to meet them without giving the impression of him being a skirt chaser was going to be a little bit of a challenge.
One of Jack's friends had told him that there were four or five single women to a single man on these cruises. If that was true or false Jack didn't know. His friend further stated that if Jack would just bide his time, with his good looks, he would be hit on more times than he could count. Jack was further told that women now-a-days on a cruise were not the shy and retiring types they once were because of the sexual revolution and the pill. Based on that advice Jack thought he would take a wait and see attitude.
Dinner was good with the quality of the food excellent. After dinner Jack went to the main theater along with what appeared to be approximately one half of the passengers to receive a briefing from the cruise director.
The director was funny and the passengers enjoyed his jokes. He explained what would be happening during the week, the ports of call and where to get information on the many shore excursions that were available. He also gave out some advice on do's and don'ts and what the passengers could expect in the ports that were going to be visited. The director also nicely indicated what was expected of the passengers as to the do's and don'ts.
After the orientation Jack wandered up two decks to the casino to see what action was there. While it wasn't Las Vegas, there was a good sized casino area with a number of slot machines, card tables and a craps table. There was a version of blackjack that Jack had never seen before so he watched the action at that table for a while. What was unique about this blackjack game was that both of the dealer's cards were turned face up so the players knew what the dealer's cards were. In return for doing this, payoff rules were modified in that the dealer won on ties and the payoff on black jack was reduced to matching what was the bet. After watching the action for about twenty minutes, Jack concluded that the odds of the dealer winning this form of blackjack actually increased over the standard version of blackjack even though the dealer's cards were all face up.
He thought he would make his monetary gambling donation tonight by playing the video poker slot machines. He walked around and looked at the payoffs for the video poker slot machines. The payoffs on the video poker machines varied but he found a bank of three video poker machines that had a 9-6 payoff ratio which were the highest of the video poker machines that he saw. Those were the slot machines he wanted to play. All three of these machines however were occupied by three older ladies. Since Jack was in no hurry he thought he would wait till one of these machines became available. Eventually one of the ladies left and before anyone else could sit at the machine, Jack claimed the seat.
Jack was playing the machine and while he had hit on some small payoffs, the slot machine was winning. He had about one half of the quarters he started with when he heard the lady at the machine on his left say to her friend, "I have never had such a long losing streak. This machine must be rigged. That's it for me, I am done for the night." She rose and left the machine.
Jack was thinking if he should keep the pair of queens that was showing on his video poker slot machine or do a two card draw and try for a straight flush when he heard, "Excuse me, is anyone playing this machine?"
Without looking up he replied, "No, it's all yours. The lady who just left was not saying nice things about the manufacturer or the generosity of that machine."
Failing to hit on the straight flush, Jack pushed back a little from the machine and looked at the lady who now was occupying the seat next to him. First glance indicated a woman who appeared to be a few years younger than Jack.
When Jack looks at a woman he is initially struck by a certain feature; face, breast size, eyes, ass, figure, legs or hair. His first look at this woman was no exception to this but the thing that struck him in looking at this lady was not any of those things. It was her posture as she sat which was perfect and did show the nice curve of her buttocks. Jack also noticed her other features which were all pluses; shoulder length dark hair, ample breasts, a slim frame, nice legs and an attractive face.
"I hope you have better luck than the lady who just left. She was not a happy camper."
"I hope so too. I do have a limit and once I hit that it will be time to go. How are you doing?"
"Probably in another ten minutes I will have completed making my donation and then it will be time for me to hit the road."
It was around her tenth pull of the handle when a few bells and whistles started going off on the machine to his left. It wasn't the big jackpot but it was a thousand quarters. Jack laughed and congratulated her. She thanked Jack and was smiling ear to ear. Jack already had noticed she had a very attractive face and for some reason had an impression that she seemed to be a nice person. He also noticed looking at her hands that she wasn't wearing a wedding ring and he thought she was someone he would like to know better.
She continued to play the machine and it seemed like it was only ten pulls later that she had the same payoff again. Now she was really smiling and clapping her hands.
"I hope some of your luck rubs off on me. I am down to my last six quarters."
She reached over and rubbed Jack's shoulder. On his next pull he hit a payoff of four hundred quarters.
"That's amazing. You touch me and I hit a small jackpot. I do know when it's time to quit and now is the time. If you aren't going to be playing much longer I would like to thank you for giving me some good luck and buy you a drink."
"I think it's time to quit as well. In the long run you can't beat the machines and when you are ahead it's time to quit. Yes I would like to have a drink. This has been a fun and profitable time."
.... There is more of this story ...