Doing a Favor for Billy Walters

I don’t play golf at all, and the only miniature golf experience I’ve had in the past ten years was playing a few 9-hole rounds on a cruise ship with Bonnie. The putters had steel blades covered in brightly colored plastic. I used a blue one because those were the longest and I’m pretty tall. Bonnie used an orange one. I did okay. I did better than Bonnie did, but this was hardly a real test. 

For some reason, though, I recently had a dream about playing miniature golf for high stakes with some guy. I never learned his name. But I was making fancy shots right and left and ended up with a check from him for about $10,000. Pretty sweet.

I then woke up and went to the bathroom. I’m 74 years old. This happens regularly.

Settling back to sleep, I was hoping to resume my dream. This would be a longshot. Usually once I have woken, whatever dream I have been having is finished. And frequently forgotten. But this time, I got a continuance. Sort of.

In my next dream, I received a phone call from Billy Walters. Billy might be the best sports bettor of all time. He is also a golfer. And somebody we’ve been trying to get on our Gambling with an Edge podcast for ten years. He was convicted of insider trading and sentenced to five years in Federal prison beginning in 2017, but I think his sentence was commuted in the last days of Trump’s presidency.

But, still, he and I have never met. Although he’s on top of my list of preferred interviewees, I’m likely nowhere on any list of his. 

Billy starts out by telling me that after that guy lost $10,000 in miniature golf to me, he lost quite a bit more than that to Billy in regular golf. I’m being asked to sit on the check for a few days while everything gets straightened out. Billy assures me that we both will be paid in full.

“Well, sure. I can do that. It’s a pleasure to talk to you Mr. Walters.” I am star struck. Billy Walters is a hero of mine. Kind of on the level of Edward Thorp, the man whose book, Beat the Dealer, introduced the world to the concept of counting cards at blackjack. 

“And while I have you on the phone,” Billy continues, “can you give me a wake-up call for 4 a.m. tomorrow? I’m in San Diego and can’t seem to find an alarm clock that works.”

This is even more amazing. Billy is quite wealthy. He probably has hired assistants. And nobody has a smart phone with a wake-up alarm feature? He’s probably calling me on such a device now. But who am I to argue with Billy Walters?

“Of course,” I respond. “I’ll be happy to do so. Should I call the number you just called me on?”

“That will be fine. Thank you very much.” And he hung up.

I must admit I was pretty full of myself. After I do him this favor, surely he will be a guest on our show. After all, we’re practically besties now! Richard Munchkin is my cohost on the podcast. Won’t he be impressed!

Bonnie and I use a communal iPad for an alarm clock. As we go to bed the next night, she asks me if I have any particular time I need to be up by.

“Yes. 3:45 a.m.,” was my response.

“Going out to gamble then?” she asks. This is a reasonable guess on her part. I frequently gamble during graveyard hours, especially during the pandemic. Fewer people around, less smoky, better chance of finding the machine I want available. But this time, that’s not where I was going.

“I’m going to call Billy Walters.”

Bonnie, of course, had never heard of Billy Walters. When I told her he called me earlier and asked me to hold on to a check for a few days and to call to wake him up, Bonnie wants to know what check? And when exactly did Billy call?

I go to my wallet and there is no check for $10,000. I check my phone log, and I’ve received no call from Billy Walters in the past 24 hours. Or ever, for that matter. 

Bonnie asks if I’m taking any new medication? Using marijuana or something stronger? Or, perhaps have I been drinking a lot more than she knows? 

“No, no, and no!”

I finally conclude that it was just a realistic pair of dreams. There was no miniature golf game. Billy Walters didn’t call. And undoubtedly the man has figured out how to wake himself up. I haven’t had such believable dreams for years. I have no idea what brought them on.

Now instead of Richard Munchkin being impressed with me, I suspect he just might be worried about me once he hears about this. Perhaps I just won’t tell him.


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