My mother is a compulsive gambler. I recall being about three (or four, but definitely not yet five) years old on a family road trip through the desert. There were all these glittery signs and some were even animated. A waving cowboy sign seemed to beckon her from a mile away.
She lied and made my father pull over. She said that I had to use the bathroom, but I didn't. She led me through a dark, smoky room and took up at a black jack table. She leaned down and put her pointer finger to her mouth. I loved the smell of her breath.
"Shhh, be good, okay? Stay right here, I'll only be a minute."
As the car was running outside, I found myself under a black jack table staring at strangers legs. There was a dusty pair of snake skin cowboy boots, some thick tree trunks covered in nude pantyhose, and most exciting of all, a pair of red patent leather stilettos perched on rung of the stool.
I couldn't tell how long it had been, as children, like dogs, are not good at telling time. My trance was broken by the hand grasping for me signaling that time was up. I said goodbye to my new leg friends. We pranced back to the car where my father and grandparents waited. I reveled in this shared secret of ours and then suddenly, had to pee.