Betting on a Sure Thing
"Hey, guys - Ellison and Hairboy are going camping next week!" Henri Brown was chuckling as he broke the news, confident in the knowledge that the two men were safely away from the station. He would - as he always did - start taking bets on what mishap might interfere with Jim and Blair's trip away from Cascade.
He didn't realize that the two men in question were well aware of his little habit of expecting them to meet with some untoward incident when they took one of their all-too-infrequent breaks. Simon kept them in the picture, and the three had enjoyed several quiet chuckles over some of the more imaginative (and unlikely) suggestions one or two of their co-workers had come up with.
And unbeknownst to Brown, sometimes the bet Simon made was on Jim or Blair's behalf.
On this occasion, Simon was placing a bet for Blair...
"Brown? I know that Blair is hoping to find some evidence of Salish occupation of the area where they're going. What odds will you give me that he will?" Simon asked.
"Mmm... Twenty to one that he does, okay?"
"Right, I'll put ten dollars on that. It's a bet?"
"It's a bet!" Brown agreed.
As Brown wrote the bet in his notebook, Simon smiled to himself. At those odds, Brown was clearly sure than Blair wouldn't find anything. Simon, however, was pretty sure that he would; his young friend had been reading up on the tribes that had lived in the Pacific north-west and had recently met up with a Salish shaman. Simon had a fair idea that Kele had given Blair a few clues about where there could be evidence of tribal occupation of the land, probably on the understanding that Blair would give that evidence to Kele if it was portable, and a positive site for it (in the form of a grid reference) if it was something like rock art.
Ten days later - after Jim and Blair's week camping - Blair bounced into the bullpen. "Simon! I found a cave with some Salish rock art! Look!" He thrust a photograph into Simon's hand. It showed Jim standing beside a selection of images carved into the rock.
"Did you do anything other than look for this stuff?" Simon asked.
"Of course we did!" Blair said. We fitted in some fishing, quite a lot of hiking... It was a great break! The weather really co-operated too." He retrieved the photo and crossed to join Jim, who had gone straight to his desk.
That evening Simon called at the loft, and handed Blair two hundred dollars.
Blair counted the money and looked at Simon, open-mouthed.
Simon chuckled. "Brown was so sure you wouldn't find anything that he gave me odds of twenty to one for if you did. I take it you enjoyed the search?"
"Kele's info on the area wasn't perfect, but it gave us a good start on where to look. And we've given him the co-ordinates and a selection of photos. It'll give him a good start to claiming the site for his tribe." He handed Simon a twenty-dollar bill. Thanks, Simon." He pocketed the remaining money.
"It gave us a purpose behind the break," Jim said. "And it's my turn to fleece H next time."
"Just give me a chance to make a bet for myself some time," Simon said.
"The time after that," Blair agreed, and they chucked over the way they were fooling Brown.