Wittier Word Weavers

Writers' Club of Whittier

The Bet

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For a short period of time, my mother lived in what was called “older adult” housing. That is, apartments for “mature” people, aged 55 and older. In her ‘70′s, my mom certainly fit the requirement.

Basically, folks who lived there were independent. If they required special assistance as time went on they would be given whatever they needed; meals prepared, apartment cleaned, that sort of thing. The ages of the residents ranged from relatively young and active 55 year olds to a few 100 year old spry citizens.

Every once in awhile, someone wouldn’t be seen for a few days and it would come to pass that the person had died in their apartment. This was taken very matter of factly by the residents, who didn’t seem too fazed by it.

I didn’t realize HOW not fazed they were by it until one day when I was visiting my mom. We were talking in the communal dining room. An older gentleman approached us and asked my mom if she wanted in on this month’s “action”. My mom shook her head no and he said “It’s gettin’ up there pretty good, you should think about it.”

After he walked away, I asked my mom “What’s the ‘action’?”

“Oh, these idiots are collecting money for a bet.”

“What bet?”

“They’re betting on who is going to croak next.”

“WHAT?!” I was horrified.

“Shh!! Do you have to be SO loud? Every month you’re supposed to put into the pot ‘x’ number of dollars. And then whoever dies next, if you guessed it, you get all the money. People haven’t been guessing very well, because I heard they have collected over one thousand dollars. Someone is going to make a killing.”

“MOM!”

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