Basement Regulars

In response to the Divine prompt at WritingThe200

The stained glass windows of Our Sisters of Mercy glow in the setting sun like neon pulling in regulars for another night of bingo.

It’s a varied crowd and it isn’t. Different skin tones, ages, native tongues all riding a tired wave of desperation to turn an investment of a few hours and 20 bucks a card into the chance to be labeled a winner.

Father Bettigan blesses the gathering and apparatus before ceremoniously dropping hollow balls. Sisters navigate the aisles crowded with wheelchairs, walkers and rolling carts of must have belongings, carrying trays of three dollar instant play pull tabs.

There’s a section unofficially reserved for hard core players working 6 cards each, lucky dabbers in ambidextrous hands. The Sisters pass these tables often, between games, while the LED ticker sign blinks the last position called and Father verifies the winning card. Shaky palms pass over the trays to silently divine which ticket may hold fortune.

On nights when the church basement isn’t functioning as a bingo hall, it hosts meals for the indigent and meetings for addicts anonymous.

When the session ends, Father bids each participant a blessed evening, knows he’ll see them next week if not before.

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