Gambling was, at least in theory, illegal in Hopewell. But that had never stopped anyone, and the HPD as well as the SMU DPS had looked the other way for years, especially when the Fighting Grizzlies were on a hot streak. That hadn’t happened since the team had been the Potawatomi; some said the teams had been cursed when they gave Chief Kawgushkanic his walking papers and replaced him with Smitty the Grizzly.

But there was plenty of betting to be had regardless. Anna “Dayton” Gillespie saw to that.

Ostensibly a junior instructor at Southern Michigan University, Dayton taught a single one-credit remedial computer science course every other semester. But her true and abiding passion was social engineering expressed through the medium of gambling.

One of her cousins ran The Wigwam Bar & Grill downtown, and Dayton ran a betting parlor and a few slot machines in a back room. The slot machines only took and accepted bar tokens to skirt local ordinances, but the real attraction was the odds board where Dayton offered all sorts of esoteric bets. On a typical day, for example, there might be 1:300 odds that the SMU provost would get a parking ticket, or 1:20 odds that a key defensive player in the Fighting Grizzlies line would be caught in a tryst with a female escort. Bets were cheap, and many of the events so outlandish that many took the opportunity to bet against them.

That’s when Dayton went to work, using her extensive local connections and programming skills to try and bring those devastatingly unlikely events about. For the a football player to be caught in a compromising position, it was usually enough to alert a SMU Times reporter when the team went out for “hot wings” at Madame Bovary’s “restaurant.”

For more difficult tasks like the provost’s parking ticket, Dayton would spread rumors and lean on carefully selected individuals. Perhaps a major donor’s favored program was rumored to be facing cancellation, prompting an emergency visit that would require double parking. Perhaps there was a rumor that the provost’s daughter, a junior in Phi Qoppa Mu, was in the drunk tank and facing a 30-day sentence (everybody knew that the parking in front of the Hopewell jail was police-only). Or it might be as simple as altering the programming in the DPS’s absurdly unprotected computer system.

In any event, Dayton won most of her bets. And the thrill of the social engineering behind each victory vastly outweighed the small monetary gain.