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The pokies sing their songs behind me as I wait for my wine to slop into its glass. They whirr and whistle as each game is played and then thunk saddly into quiet. No one speaks, but there are sighs. Grimy metal coins meet shimmering metal slots to be swallowed by plastic esophagi, one after the other, gulp, gulp, gulp. Crisps are snacked, nuts are cudded, coins rustle again. Some with resigned clicks, some with angry snaps into the slot. My wine stops glugging into my glass. The till slides open with a soft whirr and closes with a click. The coins drop into my hand with a rustle. I notice that my change is in Australian dollar coins where a note would have done. I cram them into my pocket. Behind me there is the sound of a win paying out, like a series of gunshots, bang, bang, bang, it goes on for what seems like minutes. Each retort a tiny bullet of endorphins into one brain and the sound of cowardice and regret to the rest of us.

Someone is winning.

It's not you.

What are you going to do about it?

What are you going to do?

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