by Jerry Guarino
Farmer and amateur magician
Paul Ciccilini beamed with pride as he watched
the judge place a third-place ribbon on his entry,
a perfectly grown zucchini. Hardly anyone else
noticed the ten-inch green wonder; but this was
an accomplishment worth celebrating. Paul took
the vegetable and ribbon, along with a $100 cash
prize, out into the hot Las Vegas sun.
I should do something
crazy with the money. No one back home would have
expected me to win and I still have the ribbon to
So, Paul decided to bet the
money at a casino, have a little fun to mark the
occasion. He walked up to the cashier cage and
traded his cash for twenty, five-dollar chips,
colorful little pieces of plastic that he carried
with deliberate speed to one of the black jack
Paul sat down around the
semicircular table between three other players.
An old man, a college coed, and a woman in her
Place your bet son.
Its five dollars minimum.
Paul placed one of his
chips in front of him. The dealer distributed the
cards. Paul glanced at his hand, a king and a
jack. The dealer had a queen showing and another
card face down. One by one, he queried the
The coed said hit me
and drew a seven, giving her a total of twenty to
go with her face card and three. Hold.
The old man said Im
good and smiled with his two face cards,
also totaling twenty.
The woman said hit me
but busted with another face card; she had
started with thirteen. Damn.
Paul said stay
and felt good about his hand.
The dealer turned over his
cards, a nine and a seven. Sixteen, the dealer
had to draw another card. Another nine, busted
and Paul won. He thought that he would lose all
his chips in a few minutes but this was a
The larger surprise was
that Paul kept on winning. When he had
accumulated a few thousand dollars worth of
chips, one of the floor security men approached
him to see if Paul was counting cards.
Doing very well, sir.
Would you like a drink on the house?
Casinos liked it when players drank; it disrupted
Oh, no thank you.
Well, maybe a diet cola. A pretty waitress
overheard them and placed a non-alcoholic soda
next to Paul, giving him a smile.
went back to playing. The security man walked out
of his vision, but he signaled to the corner
ceiling where others watched the players with
video cameras. In a soft voice, he said keep
an eye on this one. And they did, as Paul
continued to win. As Pauls winnings climbed
to ten thousand dollars, the dealer announced
that his table was closed.
What do I do now?
You can move your
winnings to another table sir. Ill get a
security person to help you. They moved
Paul to a higher stakes table upstairs. One
hundred dollars a bet. His five-dollar chips had
been exchanged for one hundred-dollar chips, but
Paul had over a hundred of these now.
Paul noticed that the
players here looked more serious. Like real
gamblers. He sat down among them with his
winnings and placed a one-hundred-dollar chip in
front of him. They ignored Paul.
Paul continued to win, but
the money accelerated that much faster because of
the chip values. Before long he had close to
fifty thousand dollars in front of him and a new
friend. A sexy woman, in her twenties, had sidled
up to him and began giving him a light massage.
Hey lover. My name is
Desiree. Whats yours?
Paul looked over this woman,
about his age but way out of his league. Paul.
Nice to meet you.
very well Paul. Think you might like to take a
break and relax?
Paul had seen enough movies
to know that this attention was from a
professional, a fixture in the casino. But when
would he have another chance to bed anyone as
fine as her. He whispered to her.
Oh, I have a room
here. With champagne on ice. Just then,
Desiree noticed a bulge in Pauls pants and
whispered back. My, you seem to have a
stiffy. Do you like me?
Paul realized that she was
referring to the zucchini which Paul had stuffed
down his left front pocket. He pulled it out.
I do dear, but this is just a vegetable I
won at the farmer competition earlier.
You won a vegetable?,
No, I mean my
vegetable won an award. He showed her the
Oh, all right.
Desiree pretended this was normal.
Security exchanged his
chips for cash, fifty-one thousand dollars in
neat one hundred-dollar bills. Paul and Desiree
walked hand in hand to the elevator. Paul figured
he was in for the best time in his life but she
might also steal all his money when they were
Desirees room was
clean and romantic, with dozens of flowers, and
bowls of fruit.
Why dont you
open a bottle of champagne Paul, while I freshen
She glanced over her
shoulder and smiled as she headed to the bathroom.
Paul opened the bottle and poured out two glasses.
When she returned, Paul was confronted with a
woman who had earned her name. She wore a red
chemise with matching panties and her long, dark
hair was positioned over her breasts. Her
beautiful bare feet were skillfully polished in
red as well. Paul was still dressed.
Paul, lets make
you a little more comfortable. She
undressed him down to his boxer briefs.
They clinked their glasses
and drank. Then she sat on his lap and fed him
strawberries while massaging his neck and back.
I love fruit and champagne, dont you
Paul could only muster a
smile and nod. He was totally under her spell.
But what next? Was he supposed to ask her how
much or just put some cash in her direction. He
didnt want to ruin the best night of his
life with an amateur move now.
But Desiree noticed his
contemplation, realizing he was new at this. She
took a remote and put on some music, smooth jazz,
at just the right volume. Then she turned the
lights off and lit a few candles.
Would you like to
join me in bed, lover? Paul forgot all
about his dilemma.
They made love for an hour,
only pausing to drink and eat the berries.
Lets rest a bit
and start again. She cuddled her body on to
his and closed her eyes. Paul did the same. An
hour later, he awoke to find her on top of him,
continuing the passion. When they had finished,
his reservations returned. But he didnt
want to sound like some hick farmer who just fell
off the zucchini truck.
Guess we should call
it a night. Youre really great. He
already realized he had said too much.
But Paul, theres
a late Cirque show next door. We have time to
catch dinner and see it. What do you think?
An actual date with this
beauty was more than he expected.
Yes, Id like
that. They got dressed and had dinner next
to the show entrance. She never mentioned money
for her services and they went to see the Cirque
show, a romantic date night venue.
When the show was over,
Paul walked her back to her room. Still confused
about what to do next, he confessed.
Desiree, this has
been the best time of my life. You are the best
lover Ive ever been with, by far. But I dont
She interrupted him. What
this should cost?
Whatever you think is
fair lover. Paul took out his packet of
hundreds and peeled off five thousand dollars. He
handed it to her and gave her a quizzical look.
She smiled and took his
hand. Why dont you stay here tonight?
Apparently, he made a good
estimate of her worth and was in for more of her
In the morning, Desiree
told Paul she was going out for a run and to take
his time. I ordered breakfast for you lover.
Hope to see you again sometime.
Not wanting to overstay his
welcome, Paul got dressed and left. He noticed
that she didnt take any more of his money,
but the zucchini was gone. Well, he still had the
ribbon and if the vegetable pleased her, it was
well worth it.
He decided to try his luck
in the casino one more time before he went home.
Exchanging some money for chips, he sat down at
the hundred-dollar black jack table. But
something was wrong. He began to lose and before
long had exhausted most of the money he had left.
It had been an adventure and he had already
decided that the money was found anyway.
As he left the casino, he
saw Desiree at another table, with a large
collection of chips in front of her. She didnt
see him, but he noticed something next to her
The great zucchini!
Great Zucchini by Jerry Guarino
Copyright May, 2019 All Rights Reserved