Swamp Rabbit’s parole officer Victor Cortez asked me if I wanted to bet against his bet that COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. would hit 100,000 by Memorial Day. (The death count as of today was about 95,000.)
“That’s tasteless,” I said. “You are the ultimate degenerate gambler.”
He shrugged. “All the ballgames have been canceled because of the lockdown, so I’m betting on the virus. What else is there?”
I told him to bet on the stock market, investors are doing well now that they know the big corporations are being bailed out. The more workers get laid off, the better the market does. At least it seems that way.
“The stock market is a roller coaster,” Victor said, laughing behind his face mask. “Better to bet on death, it’s a sure thing.”
I tried to tell him he wasn’t in his right mind, none of us were. Unemployment might soon be as high as it was in the Depression. An orange hog monster is in the White House, doing a disastrous job of leading the country out of its worst public health crisis in a hundred years.
“You’re like most of us,” I said. “You feel adrift in unsafe waters, hoping to be rescued before the sharks get to you.”
He rolled his eyes. “Very poetic, but where’s Swamp Rabbit? I dropped by his shack but there’s nothing there but empty liquor bottles. Drinking is a parole violation in his case. I’ll bet he’s not wearing his face mask either.”
“Can you blame him?” I said. “The hog monster doesn’t wear a mask, and he’s supposed to be setting an example for the whole country.”
I told Victor to leave Swamp Rabbit alone. Take the day off. Watch a rerun of an old Super Bowl on ESPN.
He pulled his mask down to his chin. “You can’t bet money on a game that’s already been played.”
Then he said, “Are you sure you don’t want to bet on Memorial Day?”
Footnote: Back in April, a pro gambler in Nevada bet 10K that COVID-19 would claim 100,000 victims by Sept. 1. It was his way of focusing the public’s attention on fighting the virus. Then he turned another 10K bet into a way to raise money for the homeless. Check it out.