“I’m addicted to Dave and Busters,” Derek said as he took a quick sip of beer. “I’m here every week … sometimes two or three times. It’s a good, quick escape from reality. After getting off work at the lumberyard, I like to come here and blow off steam, you know, play whack – a-mole and try your luck with Jeopardy. “
The game room is full of people playing. As I follow Derek to his next game, I can’t help but smell the mix of alcohol, sweat, and food circulating all over the place. The smell of alcohol is strong; mainly because of the number of people who have spilled their cup of boos on the ground while being pushed around the playing field.
We hit one of Derek’s favorite games, the ticket wheel. “This is how the game works,” he said with intense eyes. “First push the lever on the right all the way down, now you need to make sure you push it hard or else the wheel won’t turn. After pushing the lever down, all you have to do is wait and see what number the arrow land. This is the easiest game and you get the most tickets. ” Derek put his hand on the lever and pushed down as hard as he could, the wheel must have turned at least six times before finally coming to a stop at number 50. Tickets started coming out of the machine, but Derek didn’t take his tickets. instead, he played over and over again until he had over 500 tickets. Then he folded all the tickets neatly and put them in his Dave & Busters mug.
“My goal is to get that giant purple and black stuffed gorilla for my little sister … that’s 10,000 tickets. I’m almost halfway there! I hope I have enough tickets before her birthday, which is in four weeks,” he said. Derek. while looking at the gigantic monkey.
It is almost midnight and people begin to leave the building one by one. The room grows quieter and quieter with each person who leaves. Some rush to the prize counter to collect their tickets and get their prizes before they have to go home, while others save their tickets so they can get a better prize the next time they enter. Derek is one of these people. He makes sure all his tickets are safely tucked away in his D&B cup, puts on his jacket, and walks to his car on the cool, chilly night. “Maybe next time I’ll have enough for that gorilla, but not today.”