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A radio program about writing, as it is broadly Saturdays, 4-4:30 PM defined. KOOP Austin, 91.7 FM Streaming audio: www.koop.org WRITERS’ LEAGUE OF TEXAS 3601 S. Congress off E. Alpine Penn Field under the water tower check our site for monthly calendar Ruin Naga International Headquarters it Come Visit us for LUNCH! In addition to our organic coffee, pizzas, empanadas, pastries and pies, we now prepare made to order sandwiches, salads, and even black bean gazpacho. continued from page 11 go out and arrest a guy for running it,” explains Hamilton. “It doesn’t work that way. It requires a long and expensive investigation.” Sheriff Hamilton says that at some point in the futurehe can’t say precisely whenhe intends on sending a letter to the game-room owners offering them two weeks to shut down voluntarily or face seizure of their equipment and possible arrest. “What they’ll do then is just move to another county,” Hamilton predicts. So what’s the hold up? “I will not write that letter until I am prepared, after the two-week period, to fall in and start cracking down,” says the sheriff. “Don’t run a bluff unless you can back it up.” In the meantime, rumors continue to circulate that county officials have other reasons for dragging their feet. Hamilton says that neither he nor his deputies have received any payoff from the game-room owners. However, Hamilton believes that the game rooms might be giving money to other civic organizations such as the volunteer fire departments and the veterans associationsjust not to the police. “That’s what I’m hearing,” says Hamilton. “But of course, that doesn’t have anything to do with us.” ack at Dice’s, Betty Wright pol ishes off her remaining credits on lucky machine #25. It’s about 2:30 p.m., and Wright has to work tonight at the boot factory. She locates her purse, throws away her can of soda, and says goodbye. On her way out, Wright walks past another of Dice’s regulars, a woman whom everyone calls Ike. Ike is dressed in a turquoise top, shorts, and canvas sneakers with a funky floral print. She is sitting in the corner, playing video poker, smoking a cigarette, and drinking soda from a Styrofoam cup. “I like to play poker,” says Ike. “It’s more of a challenge. It takes more skill.” A few years ago, Ike moved with her husband to Nocona from San Francisco to be closer to her son. Ike says that lawmakers in Austin should make video poker legal across the stateespecially in places like Nocona. “What else do people have to do here?” she says. “Nothing. This is my entertainment. We don’t go out to dinner. There’s no movie theater. It’s my pastime.” Ike suggests that the game rooms offer an escape from the tedium of smalltown life and, perhaps, from something elseloneliness. Ike says that she misses San Francisco, and she misses her son. Not long after she moved to Nocona, he moved to Dallas to be closer to his job. “I never see him now anyway,” says Ike. Sometimes Ike comes to the game room with her husband, but he’s on oxygen and can’t stay for long. Since most of her friends live back in San Francisco, Ike usually arrives by herself, which is fine. Video slots are meant to be played alone. “People are nice in here,” says Ike. “You can forget about your problems and your stress. “Now they have hot dogs,” she adds, gesturing across the room at the all-youcan-eat snack buffet. “Even if you get hungry, you don’t have to leave.” Felix Gillette currently gambles with his livelihood as an Austin-based freelancer. 7/16/04THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19