Double or Nothing
by Dennis Foon
Kip is a typical teenager, trying to catch the Buzz. It is not drugs or alcohol that are going to get him there, but the pure adrenaline rush that hits when you are playing for high stakes: the risks, the thrill - throw in some money and the fun really begins.
Double or Nothing follows Kip's ride as he gets more and more involved in high-stakes gambling. Although he is a good kid, does well in school and works at his uncle's restaurant to save for college, his rush comes from betting. What begins as ten-dollar wagers with his buddy quickly escalates. Kip constantly makes bets with himself - what wine will his next customer order? Will it be a glass or a bottle? He has the attitude, knows the odds and has done his research. The thrill comes only when money is laid down. To increase the thrill just raise the stakes. If smell is the strongest sense, imagine the smell of victory, the smell of money. Who could resist?
When Kip meets the enticing and wonderful Joey, things couldn't be better. She is unlike any girl he has known. They begin hanging out and then Kip meets Joey's father, King Hewitt, Master Illusionist. Nothing could be cooler. A magician plays the margins like no other. Unfortunately, King turns out to be a compulsive gambler, and takes his young charge to places he has never been before: the races to bet on horses and casinos to play the slots. After winning their first big race on a tip, Kip thinks King is a genius. Despite the spectacle of King losing fifty bucks in less than four minutes on the slots, Kip only becomes more hooked. Can he really feel the energy emanating from the machine?
Kip starts skipping school, missing work, diving into his college fund. The buzz is still increasing, but so are his debts. He knows he needs just one more big win to get it all back. Then King hits a losing streak and disappears. Joey's home is crashing down around her and the repo men are turning up. Can Kip keep lying to her and his mom? Can he beat the odds and turn things around before he hits bottom?