The room is always buzzing with the sound of laughter, ringing bells, and loud music at the local Dave and Busters. This place is like the Chuck E. Cheese for adults-food, alcohol, and games- what more can a person ask for? The room was filled with the smell of food being cooked up in the kitchen, it was smoky, and the lighting was low so that the lights of the games would shine brighter-enticing those passing by to play and win tickets.
There were men and women running around with tickets overflowing out of their pockets and wrapped around their necks with smiles that stretched from ear to ear. Their D&B ticket cups filled to the brim with yellow paper tickets. “Do you think we have enough tickets for the Family Guy Monopoly game?” asked one of the guys as him and his friend ran to the prize desk to count their tickets. ” I don’t know, but if we don’t I do not want to waste my tickets on some stupid prize, I want to wait till I have enough for the game.I have been waiting to get this game forever! It has taken me more than three times coming here to get enough tickets,” said his friend. A prize that would normally cost $20 at your local Walmart can cost hundreds of dollars here, but no one pays attention to the price when they are having so much fun.
There was a big crowd around the Jeopardy game. Four people sat on stools in front of a big screen, competing against each other to see who could answer the questions correctly and get the most tickets. The game is set up just like the show you can watch at home, whoever buzzes in first with correct answer gets the most tickets. The people around them were shouting out answers left and right trying to help the four that were playing; the music being as loud as it was, made it hard for the players to hear what everyone was telling them. One girl with long flowing blonde hair started yelling, “OMG I don’t know the answer! Is it George Clooney or Brad Pitt?!” To her dismay the answer to the question was Brad Pitt. She lost the game and lost out on the ticket jackpot; the most tickets went to a tall man with chestnut color hair and dark brown eyes.
This man with the dark brown eyes and chestnut hair is the center of which our story revolves around. His name is Derek Foster. Derek does not look like your typical arcade junkie but I can assure you that he is. He looked like he walked right out of GQ magazine’s southern men edition and into the bar tonight. His hair is slicked back, he has a little stubble on his face, and he is wearing wrangler jeans and a plaid button down shirt. He has tan work boots on and a John Deer belt wrapped around his waist. With every correct answer he gets on the Jeopardy game, he lets out a “Yea!” His voice is deep and has the smallest hint of a southern drawl.
“I am addicted to Dave and Busters,” Derek said as he took a quick sip of beer. “I am here every week… sometimes two or three times. It is a good and quick escape from reality. After I get out of work at the lumber yard I like to come here and blow some steam off- ya know play whack-a-mole and try my hand at Jeopardy.”
The game floor is crowded with people playing their games. While I follow Derek to his next game, I can’t help but smell the mixture of alcohol, sweat, and food that is circulating throughout the entire place. The smell of the alcohol is strong; mainly because of how many people has spilt their cup of boos on the floor while being shoved around the game floor.
We make it to one of Derek’s favorite games, the wheel of tickets. “This is how the game works,” he said with intense looking eyes. “First you push the lever on the right all the way down, now you must make sure that you push it hard or else the wheel will not spin. After you push the lever down all you have to do is wait and see what number the arrow lands on. This is the easiest game and you get the most tickets from it.” Derek put his hand on the lever and pushed down as hard as he could, the wheel must have gone around at least six times before finally stopping on the number 50. Tickets began filing out of the machine, but Derek did not take his tickets, instead he played again and again until he had over 500 tickets. He then folded up all of the tickets neatly and put them in his Dave &Busters cup.
“My goal is to get that giant purple and black stuffed gorilla for my little sister… it is 10,000 tickets. I am almost half way there! Hopefully I will have enough tickets before her birthday which is in four weeks,” Derek said as he stared up at the gigantic monkey.
It is just about midnight and people begin to file out of the building one by one. The room becomes more and more quiet with every person that leaves. Some are rushing to the prize counter to cash in their tickets and getting their prizes before having to go home while others are saving their tickets so they can get a better prize the next time they come in. Derek is one of these people. He makes sure all of his tickets are tucked tightly away in his D&B cup, slips his jacket on, and walks to his car in the brisk cold night. “Maybe next time I’ll have enough for that gorilla, but not today.”