Escape Velocity: “A Consummation Devoutly to be Wished”

Author’s Note July 11, 2021: This was a stream of consciousness from 2014, and being such, I will not edit it (overmuch). Here it is, in all of its naked, unpolished bullshit rawness.

“Uh, Mister God… Could you slow the world down just for a moment? I wanna get off. Thanks.”

–Lance

***

Now there is a good term from the Cold War, i.e., ‘Le Space Race.’
However, it still rings true today; rings true as something, almost… unattainable, yet so very much coveted.
“Escape Velocity”


Cal Gone! Take me away! (sic) Yeah: sick.


Point is, I have spent the better part of my life ‘playing’ computer games. Some might be tempted to label them ‘video’ games.
(“They are NOT video games Love: they are the ways I increase my mental, mental…”)


Old Story warning here:


That guy. That guy, who used to write about distance running, what was his name? Oh Yeah! Joe Henderson; I read all of his books… Oh yeah! He died of a heart-attack… Just details…
He wrote a bit.
His bit went something like this:


He was ‘runnin’ down a road. Some kid says, “Hey, Hi! Mister Jogger!”
He replied, “Hey Kid! I am not a jogger; I am a runner! A ‘Runner!’ Get it right!”
The kid replied, “Well then, why are you jogging?”


I had to laugh; been there, et etcetera…


This is the part where I get pissed. (And when I get pissed… well, you won’t like me)
The worst thing one (amongst the uninitiated) can say, proclaim:
“Are you still playin’ that damn stupid video game?!!”
Perfect retort:
“Yes Madame. I am.”
“Oh. Well, be a good boy and don’t go downtown, protesting’ and such…”
“Yessum. I won’t”
“Good boy there then…”
“Yes, Ma’am.” (“Now Fuck Off” This is what I did truly think)

But, SHE did have a point, but MY ‘point’ swerved into something else, which I really do not wanna talk about.

But I will.
My point it thus: Kids that played computer games in the Eighties are now in charge of our world.
And to loosely quote Forrest Gump:
“That is all I am gonna say about that.”

Some thoughts?

And P.S., Yes! I have, recently, been spending some quality time with some of my computer games. They know me there, and I don’t have to get too creative (actually, I do, but most…) Well, I don’t have to watch my language at least.

My blogging experience is failing me of late. Not to say that I do not appreciate The Community. Just to say… that I am between gigs and this is beginning to weigh upon me.

Certainly, I will be about, but please do not chastise me for not visiting your respective blogs on a respective basis. (My intent is to intentionally do so, albeit, tomorrow), yet… I am real tired.

And my health is no good.

I will catch up…

mañana,

I Promise.

“For Love or Money”

And yeah! In case you missed my ‘subliminal’ bullshit: (The Joni song) I still miss 

Shonnie

***

Tuesday Ed. Note: This Post Makes Absolutely NO SENSE

Hahahahaha

“The Biker, Bouncer, Bartender, Big-Boned Gal From Milwaukee” or “Bloody Mary Mourning–Baby Left Me Without Warning”

This is (sort of) a continuation of my “Shonnie Series.”

And since I like things to be linear,

We shall rejoin our “Hero” just after his ‘Denouement.’ 

Or perhaps just after his ‘Epiphany’.

Or perhaps just after… Oh! Who the hell knows?

Or cares?

***

SHE led me to a car and we all piled in. I say ‘we all’ simply because suddenly there were three of us. Me, HER, and a miniscule blonde. I’d seen this movie before, but this time it came with a plot twist, I guess.

I have to guess.

The rest of the evening (early morning?) lies deeply submerged somewhere in the nether regions of my addled murky-muddled-memory.

After about twenty minutes… I am once again, ‘guesstimating’ here.

Could’ve been an hour or more.

Or less.

After about ‘twenty’ minutes we arrived at a ‘house’.

Could have been an apartment. Could have been a barn. Could have been The Ritz-Carlton. Could have been a flying fucking saucer.

Hell! I do not remember; is what I’m saying.

My torturously painful thoughts of losing Shonnie combined with copious quantities of consumed alcohol had done a seriously ‘detrimental-mental’ on my ability to exhibit fully functional, lucid behavior.

The wheel was turning, but the hamster was dead. My alligator did not go all the way to the top. There was a spammer in my works. Elvis had left the building with my mind.

In other words, I was a mess.

***

SHE took me inside and led me straight-away to a bed, in a room… A bedroom. Best guess. If memory serves, a rather liberal and generous assumption, we had sex. Violent sex. (Not ‘violent’ violent. Let’s just call it ‘intense.’)

SHE was no less than six foot and change and as I did report earlier, ‘Big-Boned.” I swear, I saw my life’s movie flash in front of me as she covered me and had her way. (And of course, me mine)

As we lay there ‘after’ in someone else’s bed, she remarked, “Well, that should keep your self-winding watch going for a few days.”

I had to laugh, right before I drifted off.  Passed out.

Completely whacked out and totally done in.

Used.

Abused.

Helpless.

Conquered.

It was an immensely satisfying sweet sense of surrender.

***

The next morning I awoke with the sun singeing my eyes through a casually, carelessly placed shadeless window (What’s wrong with these people?)

I could smell bacon. I rolled over and looked at my watch: 0630. I had a sudden start. Then realized it was Sunday, not a work day, and I did not have ‘duty’ on my ship. I could go back to sleep, un-worried.

But oh no! SHE was up and about. So who was cooking bacon?

(I’d forgotten about Tiny Blondie.)

“Oh. You’re awake?” She said.

“Uh, yeah. Kinda,” was all I could muster. “Where am I? Who are you?”

Not an intelligent question, probably a dangerous, stupid, perilous one, but then, I was hung over and still groggy, and surely she wouldn’t take advantage of a mentally incapacitated, defenseless sailor.

Would she?

“I am the woman to be named later,” she laughed while poking me in the ribs. (Which hurt for some reason)

I rolled over to face her. She was indeed, Beautiful. Very Beautiful. Stunningly Beautiful. Makes one’s eyes water Beautiful.

She was right out of a fantasy, with gloriously long, luscious, dark brown hair. Hair so long, so ‘deep’ so thick that a hapless sailor could go missing in it for days on end.

Long, bronze-tanned perfectly symmetrical legs that seemed to go on for days, shapely firm breasts that simply defy description, sultry dark, dark eyes channeling mystery–too much mystery.

Raw, unfiltered sexuality poured from every fiber of her.

It was unnerving.

Not necessarily in a bad way,

But I was all ‘myster-ied’ out and the only fantasy I was holding was ‘getting back that girl I had before.’ That little short, pale, half-ginger one with the electric blue eyes and the volatile attitude.

I was spent.

Running on empty.

I was exhausted, emotionally, mentally, physically.

Send my saddle home.

Please!

I needed comfort. I needed soft. I needed tender. I needed sweet. I needed to be held and caressed.

Not fucked to within an inch of my life.

I needed Gidget. I needed Gilligan’s Island Mary Ann, I needed Samantha Stevens, I needed Amy Adams, or even Mary Poppins.

As lucky and grateful as I was to have found myself sharing, if only briefly, a bed with this goddess of a woman, I was not certain nor confident I was capable of surviving yet another encounter with such an intimidating representative of the ‘fairer’ sex.

Not yet, anyhow.

Not just yet.

My world seemed to be teeming with ‘Snakes and Ladders’.

“It Breaks Your Heart Just Looking At Her.”

–Joni:  Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm 1988

***

“You don’t remember my name?” She asked after lighting a cigarette.

“To be stupidly and painfully honest, no I don’t.”

“No matter. I am called ‘Layla’. Ring any bells?” (I wish I were making this up)

See this below if you’re puzzled by my ‘Layla PTSD.’

Thinking I had just fallen ass-over-tit into Dante’s Inferno it occurred to me that I needed to change my Sailor–Ways.

First Contrition, then Absolution, then Redemption, then…

Oh! Screw that! What I really needed was a Bloody Mary. A Super-Sized Bloody Mary. And soon! As in five minutes soon, if not sooner.

My mind had wandered off somewhere.

Layla repeated her question,

“Ring any bells?”

“Uh. No. Should bells be ringing? I don’t like bells. Every time I hear bells ringing, something bad happens.”

Rolling her eyes, à la ‘Shonnie’, she said, “So… You’re a Sailor? Yes?”

“Yes. And what are you? And are you from around here?”

“Not from around here. I’m just visiting my cousin. She is the one cooking breakfast.”

“Yeah. I can smell bacon.”

“Good nose. I like that in a man. Have you an appetite?”

“From some memory of last night, I’d have to say ‘affirmative’.”

“Hahahahah! Yep. You do, Sailor Man. Yep, you sure do.”

“So, if you’re not from here. Where are you ‘from’, and what do you do?”

“I’m from Wisconsin. I work as a bartender. I’m also a bouncer, when the need is needed. Oh, and I love to ride Harleys.”

***

“Perfection, I thought. Now what Cowboy? Shit. Here I am again…”

I had ‘some leave-days-on-the-books’ and seriously considered at that moment that I should take them and head home to Texas to get a re-start on my psyche saki… get a ‘refresh’ on my Texan Accent, recharge my Ni-Cad batteries, take a break.

Well, spelling and lucid, rational thinking ain’t never been my thing, but you know what I mean here.

Don’t you?

No matter.

Keep reading.

Sooner or later, it will all make perfect, logical sense.

Or not.

I mean, I was still ‘re-bounding’ for glory and quite honestly, still heart-sick over my loss of Shonnie. But I did have some time, eh? Didn’t I? Meaning I was still relatively young and deep at heart, a perpetual cock-eyed-optimist.

And I was a good and decent man.

Most of the time.

But Shonnie had set me back.

Set me back and set me down.

Hard.

Something must be done.

Something had to give.

My mind was in a very bad place.

“Hey Sailor! You want breakfast and some blood mary, or what?” came her voice from some foggy-in-my-head place below.

Apparently, while lost in thought, I hadn’t noticed She’d left me all alone.

“Uh… Yeah! I mean yes! I’ll be right down!”

“The pitfalls of the city are extremely real.”

Credit: AustinCityLimitsTV—October, 1974

***

Previously:

***

Coming Soon:

“The Biker-Bartender-Bouncer Chick, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Part Two”

***

Commentary Below From Original Version of this Post

Please Read From Bottom Up for Continuity

18 THOUGHTS ON “THE BIKER, BOUNCER, BARTENDER, BIG-BONED GAL FROM MILWAUKEE”

johncoyote March 7, 2021 at 05:42 Edit

I enjoyed this story. I was station in Texas for almost seven years. I loved the Texas gals. They asked you to dance and they were fast and fearless. I liked the girl that cooked a meal in the morning. And we talk some after. Thank you for sharing the entertaining tale.

LAMarcom August 13, 2015 at 01:45 Edit

Reblogged this on Texan Tales & Hieroglyphics and commented:

How can one go wrong with Willie?

LAMarcom July 28, 2014 at 18:34 Edit

🙂

LVital7019 July 28, 2014 at 18:27 Edit

Well, don’t go changin’! I like your stories!

LAMarcom July 28, 2014 at 17:33 Edit

Hahahah!

It has been said before!

Cheers!

LVital7019 July 28, 2014 at 14:14 Edit

Dare I say – You TRAMP, you! LOL 😉

LAMarcom July 25, 2014 at 22:28 Edit

Mark,

You are too kind my friend.

I do thank you though.

Marvelous much.

Cheers,

Lance

markbialczak July 25, 2014 at 21:26 Edit

With Shonnie, your adventures were better than Tom Sawyer’s. With Layla, now you’re going after the legend of Huck Finn. You were something else, my friend Lance.

LAMarcom July 23, 2014 at 23:31 Edit

🙂

~ Sadie ~ July 23, 2014 at 23:02 Edit

You know I will!! 😉

LAMarcom July 23, 2014 at 22:55 Edit

Thank you Sadie.

My mood(s) currently won’t let me continue this one for the next few days.

But… Never Fear!

The words will come, by an’ by…

And I hope you will read.

Cheers,

Lance

~ Sadie ~ July 23, 2014 at 22:32 Edit

Can’t wait to read more, Lance!! 🙂 You know I love your stories!!

LAMarcom July 22, 2014 at 19:29 Edit

It only hurt when I laughed.

Thanks for stopping by T. ‘Preciate it.

🙂

Teela Hart July 22, 2014 at 16:38 Edit

I’m with Nancytex.

Rib pain?

You definitely need a Samantha.

Can’t wait to read the next installment.

T

LAMarcom July 22, 2014 at 10:36 Edit

If you could have seen Layla, you’d understand. I quickly recovered. (I was young and bulletproof back then ya know?)

😉

Thanks for reading. There will be more to this story….

NancyTex July 22, 2014 at 10:33 Edit

My mind is bouncing all around trying to figure out why your ribs would be hurting. That’s some aggressive sexy, my friend.

LAMarcom July 22, 2014 at 08:10 Edit

I read Willie’s autobiography many, many years ago. I suspect if he knew how long he was to live (and may he outlive me), he would have waited some more decades before he penned that ‘biopic.’

At any rate, I do concur: Willie is a fascinating character and a fascinating character study and also a Texas Treasure.

As for me… well, to me marriage was never much more binding than a handshake. This is why after four, I have now sworn off marriages. Just call me Hamlet: “There will be no more marriages!” Get this boy to a nunnery!

Thanks Pain for reading and commenting. Always thought provoking and a pleasure to read.

Cheers My Friend,

–Lance

Exile on Pain Street July 22, 2014 at 06:29 Edit

I was never able to pull of instantaneous, anonymous sex with a stranger when I was younger. I wish I could have because you sure make it sound fun. But I was so wracked with a crippling case of low self-esteem that I never tried. And now that I’m married, it’s too late. THERE’S a lesson for you.

I’ve been listening to Willie Nelson be interviewed on Howard Stern all morning. What an amazing life that guy had! Willie, that is. Not Stern.

Shonnie The Biker’s Wife Part XI: “Un-Graceful Exit”

After an hour or so of waiting (Three Jim Beams and a half-dozen Marlboros, for those of you who measure time based upon consumption of such items), I decided to go looking for Shonnie. The walk to the El Cortez was not long geographically, but too long emotionally.

Glitter Gulch was teaming with all the usual suspects: tourists, vagrants, weekend warriors, a few ‘normal’ looking locals, refugees from that ‘City of Lost Angels’ and on and on et cetera.

Walking down Fremont I passed the Pioneer Club with its fake ‘Big Tex’ (State Fair of Texas) neon Cowboy, which given my mood, just pissed me off even more.

If that were possible.

Trust me. It was.

Ordinarily I would enjoy casually strolling down Fremont Street. This particular night, not.

“What the fuck was she doing? She was supposed to wait ten or fifteen minutes, cash out, and meet me back at the Plaza,” I grumbled almost out loud.

Adding even more insult to my already sustained injuries, the route took me past a sexy neon cowgirl, reminding me none-to-subtly of My Missing-in-Action real cowgirl.

“Vaguely she floats and lacelike
Blown in like a curtain on the night wind
She’s nebulous and naked
He wonders where she’s been
He grabs at the air because there’s nothing there
Her evasiveness stings him…”

Joni

***

As I approached the El Cortez I noticed an old and gray grizzled geezer digging through a dumpster ‘parked’ at the entrance to an alleyway. Unable to resist (There but for the grace of God go I),

I approached him and dug a green chip out of my pocket and handed it over, theorizing he was a former dice-degenerate as I must inevitably someday become.

“God bless you young man,’ he said to my back as I turned and continued on my journey to El Cortez. Giving the man twenty-five dollars was not some random, selfless act of kindness on my part. I was using him in an effort to lighten my mood. Bestowing a kindness is a solid antidote for anger. At least for me anyhow.

Usually…

It was getting late and I had neither intention nor desire to return to the Cortez. But I had been summarily compelled.

Some months earlier I had almost been tossed out for the very same act I had so recently performed, albeit that time without a partner to fret over.

Damn you Shonnie!

I made my apprehensive way to the entrance of El Cortez.

Once inside and after successfully navigating my way past the slots, now packed two-deep with mostly ‘Blue-Haired Ladies’, I headed back to the bar. As I sat down I saw Shonnie still sitting next to ‘George’, laughing it up and with a surprisingly decent stack of chips in front of her.

George was lighting her cigarette. She did not notice me at the bar. I ordered a draft Stout, lit a Marlboro, and contemplated my next move.

I had to get her away from the table and away from George, who had obviously fallen to her charms. There were two other players at the table, but the seat next to Shonnie was empty. Once my beer arrived I took a drag from my cigarette and walked over to the table.

The dealer was yet another cute young ‘Ornamental’ sweetie. Before I sat down I withdrew five hundred from my wallet and placed it on the table.

“Green” I said.

The dealer stacked my chips and pushed them toward me. “Good luck, Sir.”

Shonnie looked up and betrayed some surprise. She could see I was pissed. This is an assumption. Not sure if she truly realized just how pissed I really was.

I nodded at her, probably not discreetly enough.

I had checked my ‘drunken cowboy’ façade at the door. All I wanted was to get her (and me) the hell out of there. The dealer was about to shuffle the two decks as I placed four green chips. Before she finished her shuffle, another dealer came up from behind and tapped her on the shoulder.

The new dealer was No Chick. He was more of a ‘Guido’.

My ‘Danger-Will-Robinson’ radar was now fully operational. She dropped the deck and clapped her hands in the air for the Eye-in-the-Sky and moved off.

Guido picked up the decks, smiled at me and parroted the ‘Good Luck’ catch phrase as he offered me the cut. I cut the decks low, knowing that would piss him off.

I cast a sideways glance at Shonnie. She ignored me. Good for her then.

“Sir,” the new dealer said, “Please cut closer to the middle.”

“Uhhh. Sure,” I said, somewhat condescendingly as I recut the decks.

I caught the pit boss looking at me. Or was I just being paranoid? Shonnie was still apparently oblivious or at least feigning indifference.

The cards came out. I caught a deuce and a jack, fucking Dead Man’s Hand. Shonnie caught a pair of queens. Shit! Maybe this game is all about luck after all. Señor Shit-for-Brains George had a fifteen. The dealer had an ace showing.

“Insurance?” he asked. Insurance is generally a sucker’s bet, so naturally ‘George’ took the offer. ‘Guido’ made a show of peeking at his hole card, and by his not flipping it over revealed he had no blackjack. He collected George’s insurance bet and stacked the chips in the rack.

Then he dealt.

The two to my right busted. I don’t even recall what they had. I was not counting cards at this point. I just wanted out. I had to hit my twelve. Caught a seven and stood at nineteen. Shonnie stood pat with her twenty. George hit his fifteen, caught an eight and busted.

The dealer flipped his hole card, revealing a six for a ‘soft’ seventeen. He had to hit and caught a deuce for a nineteen and a ‘push’ for me—a tie.  

A win for Shonnie.

As the dealer was paying off Shonnie’s win and gathering up the cards, I nudged her with my knee. She looked at me in mock surprise and I knew instinctively that she intended to have herself a little fun with this situation.

And at my expense.

“Okay,” I thought. “Wanna play games?”

Lighting a cigarette and taking a slow and deliberate drink from my beer, I said, “Looks like you’re doin’ okay here tonight. You always this lucky? What’s your secret?”

She giggled, “I have a blackjack mentor.”

“Ah… I see. Where is he now?”

“Dunno. He tole me to fly solo this evening.”

“Sure you ready for that?” I asked.

Gruffly she said, “Yeah. I am. What’s it to you Cowboy?”

Taking a slow drag off my cig, I said, “Uh, nothin’ to me. Just thought you might wanna take a break… while you’re ahead of course, and join me at the bar for a drink.”

“I got free drinks right here. Why would I wanna join you?’

(Obviously Shonnie was pushing my buttons and beginning to get on my last nerve. And I could tell she knew so and was enjoying it.)

At this point, ‘George’ slurred in: “Hey Pal,” he said, “She’s g-a-m-b-l-i-n-g, git it?”

“Yeah, I ‘git’ it Sir. And who are you, if I may ask?”

“I’m a sailor, for your inform-a-shun.”

Fuckin’ perfect, I thought. Another drunken sailor—a small fish in a big pond—this was gonna require some surgical delicacy. Goddamn you Shonnie! What’s your ‘game’?

I ended the conversation and focused on the hands I had been dealt, card-wise and otherwise. The card part was easy: I had drawn an eighteen. No decision time there. Shonnie had drawn yet another natural Blackjack (fuck!) and the dealer had a four showing.

Shonnie was paid her wages for her natural. I stood on my eighteen. George sucked on his fifteen and this time wisely stood pat, maybe knowing the dealer should bust, but more likely he was too drunk / stupid by then to even know or care what he had in front of him. 

The dealer did in fact, bust.

As he paid off the bets, I felt a presence at my elbow. I turned and was greeted by an ‘Official’ from the ‘Management’.

“Hello Sir. Are you a guest here at the hotel?”

“Nope. Why do you ask?”

(Here it comes… I had been asked this question before)

“Well Sir, we see that you are betting respectable amounts… and we like to accommodate our best customers. Is there anything you require, or want? A room? A meal? A girl?”

(A girl?? Shit! I had one just a few hours ago.)

“Not really. In fact, I was just about to leave and call it a night.”

“That’s a shame. Here at the El Cortez we pride ourselves in our ‘hospitality’. By the way, you look familiar. Weren’t you in here earlier this evening, seated at this same table?”

“Yeah, that would have been me.”

“You really didn’t play for long, even though you appeared to be having some very good luck.”

“Well, sir, since you seem so interested in this sailor’s life…”

“You’re in the Navy?”

“Most sailors are.” (This asshole was beginning to ignite my ire.)

“Since you seem so interested in your customers,” I repeated, “I had to leave early because I had a date all lined up with a beautiful blond.” I raised my voice a little for Shonnie’s benefit and added “But she stood me up. So here I am, back at your fine Blackjack table. But now I really must be on my way.” Then to ‘Guido’, “Color me up, will ya pal?”

Management Man said, “As you wish Sir, and good luck to you.”

***

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck me! Time to GO!

I nudged Shonnie harder with my knee as I studied the progress of ‘Management Man’ away from the table. I collected my colored-up chips. The cacophony of the casino and the smells and the lights… all were getting to me! I just wanted to leave.

Right Now.

Shonnie ignored me and my knee.

Fine! If she were intent to continue her ‘game’, she could do it without me. I had come for her. That is all I could’ve done. And all I intended to do. She should have known that.

Wouldn’t she have known that?

***

As I left, under my breathe I said, “Next time Shonnie Dear, this table will turn on you.”

***

“Waiting for my Sugar to Show”

–Joni

Previously:

***

Coming Soon:

“Shonnie The Biker’s Wife Part XII: Back to the Real World”

Update: Part XII is Up

***

If you are new here, or a long-lost returning Pilgrim, you may want to begin your Shonnie Journey Below

And then simply “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” i.e., The Lancelot Links:

***

Below You Will Find Most Of The Original Posts. Once / If You Arrive At Thirteen There Are Links To The Final Few Chapters. Please keep in mind however, that each and every one of them is in the process of being rewritten: first to last. This will probably take at least two or three weeks.

But if you can’t wait… Here ya go!

Parts One  Two  Three  Four  Five  Six  Seven  Eight  Nine  Ten  Eleven  Twelve  Thirteen

***

Commentary Section from Original Post.

For continuity, please read from the bottom up.

22 THOUGHTS ON “SHONNIE THE BIKER’S WIFE PART XI: UN-GRACEFUL EXIT”

LAMarcom July 21, 2014 at 17:48 Edit

Hi Nancy,

Thanks for clearing that up. When I read that from Exile I couldn’t believe it. I mean, honestly!

😉

Thanks so much for all your visits here.

-Lance

NancyTex July 21, 2014 at 08:40 Edit

I have a home in Vegas, and you can rest assured that you can still smoke at the tables there. I think Exile on Pain St was referring to Atlantic City, where smoking is banned.

LAMarcom July 18, 2014 at 18:26 Edit

🙂

Thank you!

LAMarcom July 18, 2014 at 18:24 Edit

Ah, Shonnie was just fine; she just always did what she wanted at whatever time she wanted.

Cheers,

-Lance

Teela Hart July 18, 2014 at 10:29 Edit

Ouch!

Shonnie wasn’t playing nice.

I was pulling for her.

I guess I have a little advantage from being away for a time.

I can move on to the next chapter immediately. 🙂

T

LVital7019 July 18, 2014 at 08:25 Edit

Uh… dude, you make it really easy! 😉

LAMarcom July 18, 2014 at 01:59 Edit

Thank you for reading.

Thank you a lot.

LVital7019 July 16, 2014 at 12:45 Edit

Oh, the intrigue! 😉 On to the next…

LAMarcom July 14, 2014 at 08:19 Edit

Whaaat?! No smoking at the tables?! I have not been to Vegas since ’07. When did this happen? I do recall that then there were a few ‘non-smoking’ tables (usually empty), but all the tables now?

This pisses me off even though I no longer smoke (I dip snuff. Hahahaha).

What’s next? No booze? (Naw! Casinos love drunk customers) I wonder if they still douse the folks with pure oxygen to keep ’em awake and gambling.

Hope you’re gonna blog about your upcoming casino experience.

Thanks for the read and for your comments.

Cheers my Friend.

Exile on Pain Street July 14, 2014 at 06:16 Edit

These stories take me right back into a casino. Remember when you could smoke at the tables? They cleaned that up. I never liked when the casino tried to be friends with me. They don’t want to be my friend. They want to empty the contents of my wallet. The quicker the better. I’ll be in a casino in just three short weeks. I can’t wait.

LAMarcom July 13, 2014 at 16:39 Edit

Thank you Sadie.

You are very kind and your comments always lift my spirits.

🙂

~ Sadie ~ July 13, 2014 at 14:01 Edit

Damn – wasn’t expecting Shonnie to shine your ass like that . . .

Though sounds a bit selfish – glad you are able to work through the pain & finish the story . . . you know I can’t wait for the next chapter. This story has been of the few things I have looked forward to this summer . . . yeah it’s been that kind of a summer! So thanks for sharing your life & taking my mind off of mine for a few brief moments 🙂 Smiles & hugs to ya, Lance!!

artourway July 11, 2014 at 20:32 Edit

Je vais sortir … be back later. (;

LAMarcom July 11, 2014 at 20:27 Edit

Bien sûr.

🙂

LAMarcom July 11, 2014 at 20:26 Edit

Shame about the El Cortez. It really was my favorite sawdust joint. Lots of Vegas history there. I’d like to think I contributed in my small way, to some of it.

Thanks Mark for your continued support here at TT&H. Your time is always appreciated.

–Lance

LAMarcom July 11, 2014 at 20:23 Edit

Yes, the title is a little unwieldy (reasons I don’t ‘tweet’–could never be limited to 140 characters).

The title may be unwieldy, but nothing compared to the bizarre story. If-I-decide-to-write-it.

Hahhaah

Cheers My Friend.

artourway July 11, 2014 at 20:20 Edit

Thank you Lance . . vous parler soon (;

happierheathen July 11, 2014 at 14:49 Edit

That seems a moderately unwieldy working title.

It seemed for a time that I was the only male between the Mexico border and San Louis Obispo with good sense enough not to sleep with my second wife. Other than the next door neighbor who was afraid of me, anyway. He avoided me for weeks after she knocked on his door and propositioned him.

markbialczak July 11, 2014 at 08:57 Edit

Thanks for battling through the clouds and bringing us back, Lance.

I can tell it was not an easy return.

Cortez management does not like you, sir.

LAMarcom July 11, 2014 at 02:38 Edit

Hahahaha!

My Friend, I am anxious to put Shonnie to bed, so that I may write the next true story (they are all true, by the way)… the next true Navy Daze: “Two Sisters, a Mother, a Father, Rehab, a Grandma, A bottle of Gin, and Navy SEAL Training…all in La Mesa, San Dog County, California.”

(Working title)

Peace,

Lance

P.S. I never slept with your ex. This, I can (almost) promise… memory fails…

😉

happierheathen July 11, 2014 at 02:31 Edit

Damn, it’s sounding again like you were hooked up with my second wife.

Shonnie The Biker’s Wife Part IX: “Counting Down the Deck” or “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways”

Early the next morning, I ordered coffee and then waited outside to catch the room service dude/dudette before they could knock on the door and awaken Sleeping Beauty.

(Yes, we had that coffee maker in our room but I wanted ‘real-brewed, bona-fide coffee’ for us and not some Taster’s Choice shit.)

Presently the coffee arrived and I laced mine with Jim Beam, poured lots of sugar and lots of cream into hers.

Very gently, I woke her.

“Ahhh, what time is it?” She said while yawning and reaching for the ceiling, stretching her slightly freckled arms, splaying her fingers, undulating her hips and moving her head round and round as if she were performing some exotic aboriginal dance to summon up a God or maybe a lessor Daemon.

I sat down on the bed close to her, preparing my aim to land a kiss on her lips.

“I smell ‘real’ coffee. You got us some real coffee!” she said, quickly sitting up as my aimed kiss landed on the pillow where her head had been just a moment before.

“You didn’t have to do that.”

“I was hoping to get at the very least, a kiss out of the deal.”

“I need to pee. Be right back,” she said, jumping up from the bed. “And while you wait, lots of cream, lots of sugar, ‘Sugar,’” laughing at her own joke all the way to the head.

“I Already Did That!” But she didn’t hear as she entered the bathroom and slammed the door shut.

Shonnie, in case you haven’t noticed by now, never, ever does anything delicately, daintily, half-way, or without lusto-gusto.

After what seemed at least an hour, but was more like six minutes, she marched out of the head. The sleepy look had vanished from her eyes, her body language was all energy now. She planted herself in the chair by the bed next to the night stand.

“Here ya go Darlin’,” I said as I handed her, carefully prepared by me, the cup of real, bona-fide coffee.

“Thanks Lover. Now, if you’d be so…”

“Yes yes, I know,” I said, as I lit two ‘Cowboy Killers,’ passing one to her.

“Much obliged,” she giggled, laying it on really thick.

Nervous apprehension descended upon me as I got up and dropped some already queued up, soft and low music into ‘lil boom box’:

The first few notes of Kris and Rita‘s ‘Help me make it through the night’ began. Satisfied it was still queued properly, I immediately shut it off.

“Name that tune Shonnie Girl.”

She took a sip of java, a slow, deliberate drag off her Marlboro, levelled her eyes at me, and said while exhaling, “Uh… ‘Goodtime Charley’s Rag-Tag Band with Tacos and Tamales on the horns section’. Song is called ‘He’s just another dead fish goin’ with the flow’.”

“That’s not even a ‘real’ song. You just pulled that outta your ass,” I protested.

“Of course I did. You wanna a ‘real’ woman in your life or you want one who wastes her time getting ready to be on lame-ass TV game shows?”

“Perfect Segway into something we need to discuss.”

“Perfect…’sledge’…what?!”

My so well-rehearsed plan was coming apart at the seams. I had not meant to push the Red Shonnie Button. I had meant to push the Blue Shonnie Button.

Obviously, I had missed.

Trying to recover lost ground, aiming at some humility and some seriousness, I broached,

“Shonnie, I’m sorry. But I want you to indulge me for a few minutes. Can we shelve our little ‘word trysts’… sorry, our little ‘romantic word battles’ for a moment. I want to talk to you serious. Have a seat on the bed please.”

Suspiciously, she moved her props (ashtray and coffee cup) to the side of the night stand closer to the bed. Then she lay down stretching out and crossing her legs, seductively opening her bath robe as she did so.

“Ok, you have my attention. Do I have yours?”

*This Woman! ¡Ay, caramba!!*

“Shonnie, Baby, I want you to listen to this entire song without saying one word. It is a song I am sure you have heard many, many times, even several times while with me. Pretty certain you know it by heart, but this time, try to listen as if this is the very first time you have ever heard it. And then allow me to say something before you say anything. Will you do this for me?”

With a raised eyebrow, she said, “Uh, sure. Light it up.”

I got up from the other chair in the room, walked over to lil boom box and pressed ‘play’. Then I got into bed, lying close to Shonnie, reached out and grabbed her left hand, entwining my fingers with hers.

The beginning piano chords… as I lay there, using my fingers to tenderly stroke hers.

Kris began the duet:

Take that ribbon from your hair

Shake it loose and let it fall

Layin’ soft against my skin

Like the shadows on the wall…

As the ‘duet’ part of the duet began I stole a glance at her eyes…

 I don’t care what’s right or wrong

I won’t try to understand

Let the devil take tomorrow

But tonight I need a friend

And discerned some tears welling up in them.

Shonnie knew where this ship was sailing.

Sailing headlong into dangerous unchartered waters.

And it’s sad to be alone

Help me make it through the night

I don’t want to be alone

Help me make it through the night

The song ended. Shonnie was weeping.

And so was I.

***

I sat up and pulled her into an upright posture. I faced her and took both of her hands in mine, looked straight into those intensely blue eyes,

“My Darling, I don’t want you to help me make it through a night. I want you to help me make it through a life. Our life. Together.”

“I love you Shonnie.”

Through blinked back tears she said, “Yes yes, I know. Have known. Just did not know how you were gonna deal with it. Were you gonna run away scared? Or were you gonna stay not scared?” She tried to produce a laugh as she said, “I gave the ‘stay part’ forty-sixty.”

I drew her close and kissed her very lightly on her neck, then deeply on her mouth.

She continued as I kept her locked in my embrace, “Lance, you know I love you too. Have loved you ever since…”

“Ever since our first night?” I interrupted. “Me too. I loved you from that night.”

***

Joni was well into the next song on my homemade cassette,

Help me, I think I’m fallin’ in love too fast

It’s got me hopin’ for the future and worryin’ about the past

‘Cause I’ve seen some hot, hot blazes come down to smoke and ash

We love our lovin’ (lovin’)

But not like we love our freedom

Neither Shonnie nor I suffered fools lightly, but we knew we were both fools whenever we were together.

How could we even dare to hope for a happy ending to our story? Both of us so headstrong and so independent. She of course not quite as subtle in showing her traits as was I with mine.

And not to mention the two other salient realities:

  1. We were both married, but not to each other.
  2. I was a sailor, and would be compelled to leave her for recurring lengthy deployments at sea.

Liberally and loosely stealing from Shakespeare, we were ‘Star-Struck’, ‘Love-Struck’, ‘Star-Crossed Lovers’ living in a stolen season.

But at that moment, we didn’t care.

We made the most tender, yet passionate, slow passionate, if there is such a thing, love we ever had.

It was, to tritely yet accurately describe it, ‘Heaven on Earth.’

***

We lay there in the warmth of each other, knowing full well our relationship had been forever changed. And I am certain she, as did I, hoped it had changed for the better.

It was already perfect, but now it had the potential to become ever ‘more’ perfect, which I suppose is impossible grammatically, kind of like being ‘more unique’ or some such nonsense, but damn it all!

If we could form a ‘More Perfect Union’ then by God we would! Come Hell or Rapture!

Just hoping we hadn’t fucked up what we already had.

***

After lying there for half an hour, wrapped around each other and not saying even one word, just listening to Joni, we got up silently and sat down in our respective chairs.

Shonnie lit a cigarette and took a big sip of what had to be by now, horrible-tasting cold coffee.

I took a sip of mine, but it had been perma-warmed with Beam.

We exchanged loving, lustful, provocative looks.

But…

Not being able to stand the silence or the exchanged and corny goo-goo eyes any longer, she blurted out, “You gonna teach me that Goddamn card-counting shit or what?!” Then she laughed loudly and hysterically.

And so did I.

Our previous rapport had been spared from our love confessional and thankfully remained fully in-tact.

“Drag your ass and your chair over here while I drag the coffee table between us,” I said.

“Fix me a drink while you’re at it will ya? This coffee tastes like shit which hasn’t even been warmed over.”

“You got it, Darlin.’”

“And stop callin’ me ‘Darlin’ all the damn time. Come up with something new, will ya? You’re wearing me out with that Texas Darlin’ shit!

I had to laugh. See why I loved her so? What the Hell is not to love about a woman such as she?

However. I think she was trying just a little too hard to make sure that I knew and she knew that our previous tête-à-tête way of banging our respective relationship heads together remained firmly grounded and fully preserved. In other words, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

***

I began teaching her how to count down the deck.

“Shonnie,” I said. “Aces count as zero. Two through nine count as plus one. Tens and the rest (face cards) count as minus one.”

You’re gonna sit there and keep a running count in your head while you place two-dollar bets. Don’t get fancy. Just use the basic strategy I taught you.”

“When the count goes hot, I mean, when the count goes real positive, anything over plus five, you light a cig in your left hand. I’ll be at the bar and come on over, playing a drunk with a lot of money. Should just be a bit-part for me. No acting required. I can do ‘drunk’ slicker than owl shit.”

“Wait a minute!” She said. “You’re gonna ‘play’ a drunk?”

“Yeah. So what?”

“Never mind. But you probably might need to ‘rehearse’ a little bit.”

“Funny. Anyhow, we’ll go to the El Cortez this evening and you’ll go in first. Take a seat at the blackjack table closest to the bar. I’ll come a few minutes later and park my butt, watching you from the bar.”

When you signal, I’ll stumble on over and start throwing black chips around. You hand off the count to me by stacking some chips to your right. Five six, seven… Whatever it is. I’ll pretend not to know you while I pick up your count.”

If all works well, I’ll score a grand or two or three, then feign needing to move on, color my chips and bug. You stay for another twenty minutes or so and then meet me back at The Plaza. Got it?”

“Got it.”

“Great Girl,” I said.

“Oh Yeah? Fuck you! If we get into trouble, it’s on your ass.

“Honey, nothing illegal ‘bout countin’, but they do frown on it. We’ll be fine. Just lay off the sauce a bit.”

“Double Fuck You!” she said.

“There’s that Girl I love.”

Love? I thought we had already settled that issue.”

***

For the rest of the morning and slightly into the afternoon we practiced her ‘counting.’ She was surprisingly adept and dare I admit, picked it up much quicker than I had back when I was floating around in the Northern Indian Ocean trying to teach myself.

I pronounced her ‘Ready for Prime Time.’

“Ready? I was ‘ready’ two fuckin’ hours ago. I’ve just been humoring you. Can we have some food now?”

Love is a Many-‘Splintered’ Thing… and a Double-Edged Sword of Damocles.

And absolutely extraordinarily exhilarating with Shonnie.

***

Previously:

Part X: “Shonnie The Biker’s Wife, Chapter X: Dalliance (and loyalty in Las Vegas)”

Coming Very Soon

Update: Part X is UP

***

If you are new here, or a long-lost returning Pilgrim, you may want to begin your Shonnie Journey Below

And then simply “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” i.e., The Lancelot Links:

***

Below You Will Find Most Of The Original Posts. Once / If You Arrive At Thirteen There Are Links To The Final Few Chapters. Please keep in mind however, that each and every one of them is in the process of being rewritten: first to last. This will probably take at least two or three weeks.

But if you can’t wait… Here ya go!

Parts One  Two  Three  Four  Five  Six  Seven  Eight  Nine  Ten  Eleven  Twelve  Thirteen

***

Commentary Section from Original Post.

For continuity, please read from the bottom up.

12 THOUGHTS ON “SHONNIE THE BIKER’S WIFE, PART IX: COUNTING”

LAMarcom July 18, 2014 at 10:05 Edit

Pretty sure you could. Just takes practice.

Thanks for reading Teela!

Teela Hart July 18, 2014 at 09:59 Edit

I couldn’t count cards if I wanted to.

Looking forward to reading the rest.

T

LAMarcom July 1, 2014 at 21:01 Edit

Problem with me being ‘Lance Corporal’ is that I am a Sailor, not a Marine. 😉

There are many different levels of skill in card counting. I had honed my skills on a six month Western Pacific deployment. I also read Thorpe’s book and Kenny Uston’s.

http://www.amazon.com/Million-Dollar-Blackjack-Ken-Uston/dp/0897460685

(This book must be a later edition. The one I worn out reading, I purchased from a book store in Hong Kong. Same title, but published in the late Seventies if memory serves. Was not aware of any later editions. Might be the same book, just a reprint.)

I taught Shonnie just the basic count. Not as powerful as the more sophisticated ones (for example keeping a side count on Aces). The thing I learned from Uston was the concept of the ‘Big Player.’

The easiest way to get spotted as a card counter is to be betting small, then suddenly when the deck goes ‘hot’, start betting large. Sure tip off. Having someone else counting, then walking up and immediately placing big bets is safer. Usually.

Thanks for your comments and for the visit. You are correct. I need to finish this up. I aim to.

Cheers,

Lance

Exile on Pain Street July 1, 2014 at 06:24 Edit

You make counting sound so easy! If you don’t have a brain for numbers or, like myself, a functioning brain at all, you get pretty tripped-up in the pluses and minuses. But that’s a pretty concise explanation.

I know my way around a craps table but don’t know nuthin’ ’bout no stinkin’ cards. I’ve sat at black jack tables and fucked it up for everyone. Boy, do they give you dirty looks!

I think it’d be cool if your last name was Corporal. You’d be Lance Corporal. See what I did there? Finish this up. Did you get busted?

LAMarcom June 30, 2014 at 18:22 Edit

It’s a grind if ya do it right Sadie. More and more difficult these days. Most of the Joints deal from a six-deck shoe and reshuffle halfway into it. Tough to get a real advantage.

Thanks very much for reading and commenting.

Peace,

Lance

LAMarcom June 30, 2014 at 18:21 Edit

Laughing my ass off!

Thanks Annie.

Cheers

LAMarcom June 30, 2014 at 18:20 Edit

You could be right Mark.

Thanks for the read and your comment. I appreciate it.

Cheers

LAMarcom June 30, 2014 at 18:19 Edit

Yeah, I think I know that guy.

Hahaha.

Thanks My Friend.

Cheers

happierheathen June 29, 2014 at 22:26 Edit

One of my cousins is a nice guy who dresses well and speaks softly, and if you aren’t careful about counting cards in certain Vegas “properties” he’ll drop by and invite you to take a walk with him. Good thing you didn’t get to meet him.

markbialczak June 29, 2014 at 19:14 Edit

Somebody’s gonna end up either beat to a pulp in the back room of the casino or bloody face down on the pavement in front of the joint, and I sure hope it ain’t Shonnie. You know how to build the tension, Lance-a-rooney.

Mad Annie, Bronwyn, Ann June 29, 2014 at 19:12 Edit

“There’s that Girl I love.”

“Love?”

Methinks the cat just landed amidst the pigeons!

Loading…

~ Sadie ~ June 29, 2014 at 18:42 EditDamn – you can get an education anywhere 😉 I want to try that card counting shit, now!!! Thanks Lance for teaching me something new & the continued saga . . . great writing & storytelling!!

Shonnie The Biker’s Wife Part VII: “The Birth of a Star, A Craps’ Star!”

We freshened up, got dressed, and prepared to head down to the Casino Floor. Generally, and as a semi-hardened and made-fast rule, I do not gamble at The Plaza.

But on this night I was feeling freshly full of myself (No small thanks to Shonnie) and wanted to capitalize on that feeling before the ‘fresh’ had time to wear off.

Please allow me to clarify something:

I do not believe in Santa, The Easter Bunny, Cracks-in-Sidewalks, Broken Mirrors, Feet Belonging to Dead Rabbits, Karma, Fate, Oklahoma, or God.

But I do believe in Dama Fortuna, AKA ‘Lady Luck’.

In fact, before we left our Blue Hotel Room Love Nest, and while Shonnie was taking her second shower of the day, I offered up my Burnt Offering to La Dama Fortuna:

I carefully picked up a small bowl left behind by Room Service and ceremoniously set it down on the night stand. Then I retrieved a crisp five-dollar bill from my wallet. (I ain’t cheap ya know).

While holding ‘Honest Abe’ over the bowl, I splashed a little Jim Beam onto him.

Then carefully placing Mister President Lincoln into said bowl, I took my Zippo and set him and the fiver ablaze as my lil boomer box belted out this song, hoping Lady Dama would enjoy the music and smile down upon me and bless me with favorable favors:

Y’all may be thinking that I’m making this shit up.

Allow me to assure you.

I ain’t. I’m just really weird is all.

Gamblers, real true-blue-dyed-in-the-wool Gamblers, are a funny lot, funny as in half-crazy-funny at a bare minimum.

Your humble author is certainly no exception and registers a solid ‘three-quarter nuts‘ on the ‘Crazy O’Meter.

Shonnie emerged from her shower just as Frank was finishing up his song and Mister Lincoln had finished curling up and turning into semi-green ash.

“What the hell you been listening to? Some old-timey shit? And why are there ashes in that little bowl you’re all hunched over? And why does it smell funny in here?”

“Good God Woman! Must I explain everything to you? We’re In-Las-Fucking-Vegas! Normal behavior don’t work here. Trust me.”

She produced something resembling a petite pout, half-real at best, but I sensed I had slightly wounded her. Naw, probably just winged her a little.

I abandoned my tiny Dama Fortuna Altar and rushed over to Shonnie, embracing her little body and kissing her deep and tender.

“I’m so, so sorry Baby, (I genuinely was sorry for my un-called-for outburst) sometimes I get a case of the ‘pre-game’ jitters. Forgive me?”

She saw she had me at a remorseful disadvantage now and quickly capitalized,

“Okaaay, but you better be nice to me Cowboy,” she said softly while lowering her head and trying to look all ‘hang-dog’. Then she quickly looked up piercing me eyeball-to-eyeball and added not-so-softly, “Because you won’t like me when I’m angry.”

“Smart Ass! C’mere!” We kissed again. Then we laughed in unison.

All Good Now.

The very LAST thing a gambler wants to take to the ‘Gamble’ is ‘Bad Juju’.

An Ill or even slightly awkward feeling between a gambler and his woman is the absolute worst Juju of all, even worse than betting with scared money, which is damn near as bad.

If you’re carrying either of these situations to The Arena you may as well save yourself the bother, mail them a check, and call it a night.

You want Good Juju and Fearless Money is what I’m sayin’.

Good Juju Being Administered by Dama Fortuna

***

As we entered the Plaza Casino proper, it was all flashing lights, laughter, musical sounds from the slot-machines—basically your typical Las Vegas Scene.

I led Shonnie over to a bank of ‘dollar slots’.  I pulled out a crisp one-dollar bill and fed it to the hungry machine.

“Pull the lever and stand by,” I said to her.

“I’ve never gambled before,” she protested. “You do it.”

“Honey, if my instincts are right, this ain’t gambling. Go ahead. It’s my dollar anyhow, so you really ain’t gambling, Per se.”

Joni’s Tribute to all the Slot Machine Junkies of the World

“The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines”

Vid Share Cred: Renato Spallucci

“Pear who? Okay,” she said, “Here goes nothin’!” while pulling the Bandit’s one arm, using both her arms to do so.

“I certainly hope not,” I said.

I’d never seen anything like that shit before: Both Arms to pull a one-armed bandits’ arm?!

I love this woman!

We watched the cylinders spin.

Then stop.

Bells sounded and lights flashed from the machine.

Double bar. Double Bar. Double Bar! 

Casino silver dollars rained down into the tray, making that magic music of metal clanging on metal.

One hundred bucks! A propitious beginning!

(And damn good Juju!)

“Oh My Fucking God!” she screamed.

“Baby, God had nothing to do with it. Thank Dama Fortuna, if you feel compelled to thank someone.”

“Drama…who?? Shit! Wow! Look at all that shiny money!”

“It’s all yours. Take that plastic bucket and fill it up.”

“Should we go again?” She asked breathlessly.

“Absolutely not,” I said. “Come on. I’m gonna show you the ‘real’ games.”

“You’re the Boss,” she giggled.

I leaned very close to her, pulled my collar to her lips as I breathed into her ear,

“Speak into the microphone, My Dear.”

“Lance, you’re crazy!”

“Yeah. I am. C’mon.”
I led her to a craps table.

“Oh! This looks complicated,” she said.

“Well, yeah. It is and it isn’t. Don’t worry. I will walk you through it. One question though, do you throw a baseball like a girl?”

“Screw you!”

“Ok then. We should be fine.”

Craps is the best game ever invented by Man.

I love the high-energy!

The Craps Crowds

The cacophony.

The excitement.

The electricity.

The camaraderie.

The laughter.

The tears.

I love the suspense as the galloping dominoes bounce down the table.

And last but certainly not least, I love the possibility of winning (and sometimes even losing) very large amounts of money in a very short amount of time.

“It’s all-in-the-game Yo!”

And yes, I am what some might call, a

‘Dice Degenerate’.

Started when I was hustling crap games at Honey Grove Junior High in the school hallways between classes.

Only got busted once.

Rather Proud of my Record.

***

Shonnie and I shouldered our way in at one of the far ends of the table. We sandwiched ourselves between a middle-aged, gray-haired man (on our left) in a business suit (I immediately pegged him as a ‘Corporation Man’ on Convention) grasping what looked like a scotch and water and there was a cigar in a tiny ashtray set on the rail in front of him. It was obviously neglected, as there was an inch and a half of ash hanging from it.

On the right side of us, a ‘normal’ looking guy, about thirty-something, sporting a too loud red t-shirt and a gimme cap. Baseball. I forget the team.

Normal Guy had control of the dice, so that meant once his roll ended it would be Shonnie’s turn to ‘step up to the plate’.

The table was just about at ‘capacity’. I glanced around, looking at the contestants. You see, in Craps the idea is to find the table with the highest energy level. You want the most up-beat, loudest, rowdiest players at your chosen table:

Players who were having FUN–Again, Good Juju.

Sad to say, but one can never (in my experience) win any money at an empty table or one with an atmosphere of doom, which does sometimes come rolling in like a blue norther on a bad Texas Autumn afternoon.

Savvy crap shooters recognize the early warning signs of ‘The Atmosphere of Doom’ and fly away like scalded rabbits just before, or just as it descends.

This table was on the upswing and I intended to make quick work of it before the worm turned. (The worm always turns, but sometimes, thankfully, it takes some long time in the turning.)

Looking up and down the side of the table, opposite the ‘Boss’ and the dealers and the stick men and all, I studied the other contestants. There was a young couple to the right of ‘Normal Guy’. Right out of “Honey Moon Ville,” I guessed.

Next to them stood a nervous-acting, fidgety Middle-Eastern type wearing a white starched shirt and lots of bling. Next to him, a dude with a crew cut, tight shirt, bulging biceps, who may have been suffering from ‘Roid Rage’, given his overly passionate ramblings at the dice as they bounced down the green felt.

At the far end of the table there was a young big-bosomed bleach-blond hanging onto the arm of another elderly well-dressed business man. (‘A man and his Hooker’, I ungraciously thought).

Next to them there was a diminutive oriental man. I was thinking ‘China’, but could not be certain. I had a wonderful experience once at a craps table at The Golden Nugget following the streak of another China Man. Won almost two grand while he was in control of the dice.

You see, all craps players are infamously superstitious and from that night forward every time I encountered an ‘Ornamental’ man shootin’ crap the needle on my Juju Meter pushed slightly more into the green end of the spectrum.

There were several other players mixed in and even some standing behind, perhaps waiting for some space to open up.  I was happy with the crowd and the level of ‘Good Juju’.

After the current ‘roll’ had ended (wins all around) I pulled out four Benjamins and put them on the table in front of one of the dealers.

“Give me two hundred green ($25), and two hundred red ($5),” I announced. The dealer spread out my four bills so ‘The Eye in the Sky’ could get a look. He then stacked my chips and slid them toward me.

“Good luck Sir,” he said, as I split the chips (‘Checks’ in the Vegas’ vernacular.) with Shonnie.

With all the bets paid, Normal Guy was ready to go at it again. I instructed Shonnie to take a red chip and place it in front of her on the “Pass-line” (If you don’t know how Craps works, you may be at some loss here—I will try to make it as easy to understand as possible.) I placed a red chip in front of me on the Pass-line as well.

All bets placed, Normal Guy tossed the dice toward the far end of the table. He rolled a four. (Meaning he had to roll another four before he rolled a seven, thus crapping out.)

“Put two red chips behind your bet,” I told Shonnie.

“Why?”

“We’re taking the odds,” I said.

“I don’t understand.”

“Just do it. Smartly.”

She stacked up the chips behind her original bet and I did the same.

On a hunch, I tossed a red chip onto the middle of the table and yelled, “Hard Four!” (Betting that the shooter will make his ‘four’—called his ‘point’, but that he will do it ‘the hard way,’ i.e., two deuces and not an ace and a three.

This is really a sucker bet, but I had Dama Fortuna in my corner. The bet pays ten for one, which if won, would net me forty-five dollars, plus of course our pass line bets with the odds placed behind them would win as well.

Normal guy tosses… wait for it… Double Deuces! Pandemonium from the players. Everybody wins!

“How did you know to do that?” Shonnie asks, as some decent stacks of red chips came our way.

I gently curled my fingers around Shonnie’s tiny neck, pulled her ear to my lips and whispered, “Stick close Baby. Gonna be a bumpy night.”

Winners paid, Shonnie and I put another two red chips on the pass-line. Normal guy rolls an eight. We back up our bets with two each red chips. Normal guy then rolls a seven. Aw Shit! Crapped out! No worries. We are still way ‘up’.

Now the dice pass to Shonnie. I can see she has stage fright. One of the dealers senses this too.

“Don’t worry Little Lady! Newbies are always lucky!” He says.

The ‘table’ agrees and I see chips of all colors dropping unto the ‘Pass-line’.

Shonnie and I both place one each twenty-five dollar green. Yes. I was confident. All bets now placed, I watch as she picked up the dice. Picked them up as one might imagine someone picking up a rotten banana, or a dead rat, or a used condom.

“They won’t bite,” I assured her. Just toss them at the end of the table. Oh and shake ‘em a little. And here, let me blow on ‘em.

“Blow on ‘em?” she said incredulously.

“Old Indian Tradition. Remember I am part Comanche.”

She rolled her eyes.

“Baby,” I said, “You can roll your eyes at me all you want, but right now I want you to roll those bones, er… dice toward the end of the table and don’t forget you can only use one hand to do so.”

 “One hand?” she protested. “I always throw a baseball with both hands.” I hoped she were joking.

“Baby, this ain’t little league. Use only one hand or they will frown and act perverse.”

“Okay,” she said. Then after shaking the dice a bit, she wound up… and threw the dice…

…Right over the heads of the players at the far end of the table and off into space, most likely reaching escape velocity somewhere in the vicinity of Caesar’s Palace.

Collective groans from the table.

In craps, the absolute worst thing one can do is miss-the-fucking-table!

That, THAT! Is Extremely BAD Juju.

Dice are like the American or the Texan Flag. Never, ever let them touch the ground. Ever!

 It always, always forecasts a negative outcome. Ninety-Nine times out of one hundred, the next roll will produce a crap out. In Shonnie’s case, the anticipated next roll would be snake-eyes, Box cars, or ace-deuce.

All instant losers.

I watched as most of the table players pulled chips back from their original bets. Not me. As someone went searching for the errant dice, I told Shonnie to put two more green chips on her pass line. I did the same.

We now had one hundred-fifty-dollars bet, even though I was not certain she would find green felt upon her second attempt.

She was offered two more dice by the dealer (stick man, just another word for him). I whispered in her ear, “Just relax Honey. Use a little less passion and a little more finesse this time. You’ll do great.”

She shook the dice, wound up, and pitched ‘em down the lane. When they came to rest: Natural Eleven! Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

I grabbed her and kissed her hard on the mouth.

“Now, Do that again Little Dynamo Darlin'” I said.

Well… Now! Suddenly the table went nuts! Large bets were placed all around (after some applause).

Shonnie kept ‘control’ of the dice for the next fifteen or twenty minutes: an eon in ‘Craps Time’.

We won well over a grand, some thanks to my recklessly wild betting and some thanks to the favor of Dame Fortuna.

But of course, most of the thanks went to Shonnie’s curve ball.

When she finally crapped out, there was more applause. Everyone had ‘gotten well’ with her streak. And there are no more appreciative gamblers than craps’ shooters when it comes to situations such as these.

“Color us up,” I said to the dealer as I pushed our stacks and stacks of chips toward him.

“But Sir,” He protested, “You’re up. Aren’t you going to shoot?”

“Nope. We’re done here, but thanks.”

Shonnie and I gathered our (now mostly black–$100 chips.

I double-tapped a black chip on the table and tossed it to the Pit Boss. “For the Boys” I said.

“Thank you Sir,” he said back.

“What now?!” Shonnie demanded gruffly, but wearing all smiles.

“Blackjack Baby. Blackjack.”

“Lance. You’re nuts! I have never had so much fun! I love ythis!”

“Yeah, I know.”

(On both accounts)

***

Previously:

Part VIII Coming Soon:

“Shonnie The Biker’s Wife: Part VIII: Black Jack Preamble”

***

If you are new here, or a long-lost returning Pilgrim, you may want to begin your Shonnie Journey Below

And then simply “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”

i.e., The Lancelot Links:

***

Below You Will Find Most Of The Original Posts. Once / If You Arrive At Thirteen There Are Links To The Final Few Chapters. Please keep in mind however, that each and every one of them is in the process of being rewritten: first to last. This will probably take at least two or three weeks.

But if you can’t wait… Here ya go!

Parts OneTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenElevenTwelveThirteen

***

Commentary Section From The Original Post:

LAMarcom June 26, 2014 at 16:45

Maybe ‘distrust’ is too strong a word. It is just that I have had some major losing streaks at the Plaza BJ tables. And of course I cannot blame my poor money management skills for that! Haha!

Thanks for your visits here and for your comments.

Cheers,

Lance

LAMarcom June 26, 2014 at 16:44 Edit

Thank you Sadie. Gonna try to get another chapter up tonight.

I appreciate your visits very much. And your comments Too!

Cheers,

Lance

~ Sadie ~ June 26, 2014 at 14:08 Edit

Can’t wait for more, Lance! Great story, great storytelling!! I have loved looking forward to each new chapter 🙂

Exile on Pain Street June 26, 2014 at 06:31 Edit

Why did you distrust the dealers at The Plaza? They’re as honest as the day is long. Seriously…what’s not to trust? Shonnie’s right. BJ is boring. Craps rules.

I’m going to catch up on on these chapters sooner or later. I love a good casino tale. Maybe I’ll get fired or laid off. That’ll give me loads of free time.

“Sometimes There Just Aren’t Enuff Crud Eaters” Redux–Major Expanded–New & Improved!

No Darlin’ I wanna go to that new fish store and buy me a coupla crud-eaters for my ‘quarium.”

After having accumulated a little money during my three years’ working in the Sinai Desert

(Sinai Field Mission)

I decided to come home to Texas.

My wife (the first one) and I settled in Nacogdoches resolved to open a tropical fish store. A dream I’d had since I was a kid.

I had never been to Nacogdoches, but according to U.S. News & World Report, it was one of “The Ten Best Places to Live in the United States” and the city fathers had even erected a billboard on the main road into town proclaiming this quote from the magazine, just in case some folks missed reading that issue.

Nacogdoches, for any non-Texans who may be reading this, is Ass-Deep in the heart of the Deep East Texas Piney Woods—gorgeous country, simply breathtaking. ‘Paradise On Texas’.

We leased a small building on South Street, which was the southern part of the main drag through town, just off the square.

Wanting everything to be perfect, I spent the better part of the summer of 1980 fitting out the inside of my shop. I built all the fixtures, assembled all the equipment, and even built the office desk my wife would be using to ‘Cook the Books’.

I built floor-to-ceiling rustic cabinets to display the sixty aquariums which would hold our retail stock. All that could be seen were the fronts of the tanks; no filters, hoses, wires or anything to wreck the ambiance.

The overhead lights were dimmed, keeping the atmosphere what one would expect in a fine Public Aquarium, most of the light coming only from the aquariums themselves.

At the very back of the store, I built a nine-foot by three-foot display tank, roughly 600 gallons—it was built into the wall, again so as not to ruin the effect.

This was my dream aquarium, showcasing all the skills I had honed over a lifetime of fish-keeping. It was decorated with huge driftwood, rocky multi-leveled terraces, and no less than two dozen different varieties of live plants.

The effect was that of looking into a cross section of the Amazon River. Beautiful Blue Discus, shoals of Cardinal Tetras, various South American catfish, and many other exotic South American species were all stocked in this display. It was the perfect closed ecosystem.

(Not My Tank, but very similar)

***

The retail stock tanks were also painstakingly decorated to provide examples of how fish should be kept in a home aquarium. No burping clams, no rotating ship’s wheels, no deep sea divers with bubbles coming out of their butt, no ‘Creatures from the Black Lagoon’, no ‘No Fishin’ signs—none of this dime-store shit in MY Shoppe. Oh Hell No. Every display reflected my fundamental conviction that tropical fish deserved to be represented in natural surroundings. Period.

Our store was beautiful. I set up a large octagon display tank in the entrance area, so that the first thing our customers would see was an aquarium as it should be: All Natural: Live plants, Real Driftwood, wonderfully terraced natural gravel substrate, and of course exotic tropical fish.

No goldfish, no guppies, no ‘trash fish’—for those they could go to Wal*Mart or Ben Franklin’s.

My stock tanks were filled with all the species I had always sought when I was in the hobby. There were knife fish, freshwater fire eels, black veil angelfish, gold veil angelfish, marble veil angelfish, discus, Clown Loaches, many colorful varieties of Tetras, Barbs, Gourami’s, African leaf fish…

I had about a dozen different species of African Cichlids. There were Oscars, Arawanas, freshwater crustaceans, rare amphibians, and on and on. I even had a freshwater stingray from the Amazon River and an electric catfish from Africa, both truly rare specimens, and I was sure they would be snatched up within a week of my grand opening.

Everything a hobbyist would need to set up a perfectly natural and beautiful aquarium was available for purchase: Driftwood, live plants, natural gravel, a variety of river rocks, and of course all the hardware, to include all sizes of aquariums; all manner of pumps, filters, heaters, lights, etc. I even had Books! Hardbound Full-Color Aquarium Books for sale. Can you imagine? Books!

GRAND OPENING!
Aquarium World

Eagerly, I counted the minutes until we opened the doors to ‘The Public’ for the first time. I was twenty-two years old and In Business! The Tropical Fish Business! I knew my shit. There was nothing anyone could possibly tell ME about Tropical Fish. No Ma’am. No Sir.

A few minutes before opening, Janet came over to me and said with not a little trepidation in her voice, “Uh, Lance, the parking lot is full.” (We had done quite a lot of advertising)

“Well great! Let’s let ‘em in.”

As she went to open up I was very excited. I would be talking to My People, The True Hobbyists. People who loved Tropical Fish Keeping as did I.

Door opened and here they came.

I greeted my first customer, a fortyish lady with big hair and perhaps a little too much make-up, “Good morning Ma’am and welcome to Aquarium World. How may I help you?”

“I need a crud-eater for my tank.”

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah, I need a crud-eater to clean up that crud that gets all over the bottom.”

“You mean ‘detritus’?

“Ditra…who? I mean the fish poop. I want a crud eater to clean that up. In fac’ I’ll take two of ‘em.”

(I felt my hobbyist heart sinking with every word out of this woman’s mouth)

“Ma’am, there is not a fish on Earth that eats excrement.”

“Son, I didn’t say…er’cra…wha’d you say? I want a crud eater to eat all that fish crud off’n the bottom of my tank.”

“Ma’am, I can sell you a Plecostomus. They are very adept at cleaning up the algae and will also clean up any uneaten food that your other fish allow to fall to the substrate.

Plecostomus AKA: Crud-Eater

“You ain’t from aroun’ here, are ya Son? I don’t want no plebotta-musk damnit. I want a crud eater.

“Ma’am, there is no such fish as the one you are describing. I am very sorry.”

“You mean they don’t make crud eaters no more?”

“No Ma’am; I am sorry to say, ‘they’ don’t.”

“Well, I’m gonna go down ta Walmart; my cousin said that’s where she done got hers.”

****

Hoping that my first customer was some kind of anomaly, I approached my next, a fiftyish woman with chubby red cheeks and a pleasant look about her.

“Good morning Ma’am and welcome to Aquarium World. How may I help you?”

“I’m lookin’ for the guppies, but I ain’t seein’ none.”

Guppies

“I’m sorry Ma’am, but we don’t sell guppies. We have some lovely Neon Tetras over here and some very colorful Cardinal Tetras as well: Very beautiful and rather low-maintenance.”

“They have babies?” she asked.

“Well, uh… yes; they can be bred in captivity, but it is rather involved and labor intensive on the part of the hobbyist. You will need an extra aquarium and some infusoria to feed the fry. I have a wonderfully well-illustrated book in the front room which describes how to breed many species of egg layers. I would be happy to show it to …”

“They don’t have no babies?”

“No ma’am, they are not live-bearers like your guppies, platys, mollies and the like. They lay eggs, and if you provide the proper…”

“My Gran-baby, she likes to see them babies pop outta the mama.”

“I’m sorry Ma’am, I just don’t sell those species here. Are you sure I can’t interest you in some more interesting varieties of tropical fish?”

“What the hell could be more int’restin’ than God’s miracle of life happenin’ in front of my gran’baby’s eyes right there in my own fish bowl? You ain’t from aroun’ here, are ya Boy? You one of them ath’ists or sumthin’?”

“Ma’am, perhaps you should try Walmart.”

I looked at Janet, standing behind the counter waiting to ring up our first sale. She just gave me that “Don’t look at me,” look.

There were seven or eight other customers in the shop perusing all the aquariums. None seemed to require my assistance. Looking around for someone who might be needing my expertise, I spied an elderly man, tall and lean and rough-looking and right out of a Marlboro ad.

He was standing in front of my fish food display, which could be compared to the colorful displays of herbal tea one might find at some high-end New York tea house. I was very proud of that display, but the choices were myriad and probably for him, I surmised, somewhat overwhelming.

“Good Morning Sir. Welcome to Aquarium World. May I help you with the fish food selection?”

“Mornin’ back atcha, Young Man. I’m lookin’ for some fish food for my pet catfish. Been feedin’ ‘im cornbread and bits of fried chicken, but he don’t seem to like that much.”

“Uh…yes. I suppose he wouldn’t. May I ask what kind of catfish you have? Pimelodella pictus, Corydoras, Plecostomus?”

“Mudcat”

“Oh, I see… I have some pellets here specially formulated for bottom feeders. These should do nicely and they won’t cloud up your aquarium as I’m certain the cornbread is.

“Aquarium? Hell Son. I keep him in a big ole mason jar. Don’t need no ‘quarium.”

“Did you need anything else today Sir?”

“Nope. This here’ll do me. Much obliged.”

Mudcat

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mb-man.jpg

Marlboro-Mudcat Man

I Suspect This Was Mudcat Before He Was ‘Adopted’:

Street Cred: joecartoondotcom

“Very well. My wife can ring you up over at the counter. Thank you for shopping at Aquarium World.”

Why was I suddenly feeling as if I had died and gone to Dante’s Hell and was stuck in the movie ‘Deliverance‘?

I walked around a bit, observing my exotic fish and eavesdropping on my customers.

“Hey Marlene! Come looky here at this one!”

“What is’t Nathan?”

This fish is NOT to be sold to minors, idiots, alcoholics or Yankees

“Says ‘Lectric Catfish’ right there. You ever heard a such?”

“It looks so real! Caint even see where the batteries go.”

Input Output: Electricity

Video Credit: JoniJourney

****

I moved on.

There was a young couple giggling in front of my Fire Newt tank. They looked like college students, probably from Stephen F. Austin, the local university. I eased closer to eavesdrop. I was curious as to what was so damn funny about my Fire Newts.

“Hey Mark,” the girl whispered to her boyfriend, “Those two are doing ‘sixty-nine.’’

More quiet giggling. Then ‘Mark’ said, “She turn’d me into a newt… I got bettah.” More giggling.

I had to smile.

“Hey Honey.” Janet was calling to me. “Could you come here for a sec?”

She was still with The Marlboro Man.

“Is there a problem Sir?” I asked.

“Son, I just got one question.”

“Yes Sir?”

“What is so Goddamn special ‘bout this here rock that it costs nine dollars?”

“Well, you see Sir, this rock is perfect for use in closed aquarium systems, as it has no iron ore, unlike most of the rocks you may pick up around here in east Texas. It will not rust in your aquarium and kill your fish. It is imported from Colorado. It is a river rock, washed clean by nature.”

“Bullshit! I guess I’m in the wrong business. I s’pose I should just sell all my cattle and go to harvestin’ rocks off my ranch. Hell. I got plenty rocks, I could retire in a year. By th’ way, y’all ain’t from ‘round here, are y’all?”

Things did not improve much from there. As soon as we closed I called my wholesale sales rep in Bossier City and told him to rush me some guppies, platys, mollies and a few score crud eaters. Oh, and throw in some burping clams and some neon-colored plastic plants. And yes, I will pay the extra charge for next-day delivery.

***

I probably forgot to mention this, but we were so poor at first that we had to live in the shop, (Which was against a City Ordinance Local Law) no longer able to afford the apartment we lived in after spending all of our savings on getting the shop ready to open. We slept on army cots procured from my

maternal grandfather

*****

And That Was Just My First Day.

Where were the True Hobbyists?

******

Continuation of this Old Fish Tale:

Approximately six or seven months after our “Illustrious Grand Opening” we had built up some decent clientele who appreciated exotic (read “expensive”) specimens, hence we were turning tidy profits.

I decided to expand into the flip-side of the coin that is the ‘Tropical Fish Business’:

‘Salt Water Exotics’—even more expensive and greater profit margin to boot.

“My Dream” That Kept Me Up Most Nights

Once I Had Made My Decision

***

There was a calculated risk in this, as keeping reef fish in closed systems during the Eighties was not nearly as sophisticated nor as easy as it is today.

The equipment was just freshwater still, but clever manufacturers started packaging and labeling the same equipment “For Salt Water Aquariums” and jacked the price about ten percent.

Being the ‘Professional’ that I was; I spotted this ruse instantly.

There was one decent product that did come on the market and it definitely was ‘strictly’ for marine aquariums: ‘Instant Ocean.’

Just add water and you’re good to go.

The little front section of Aquarium World had one octagon display tank and a shelf with all those expensive books that nobody ever bought, so I had ample room to set up my marine tanks there.

I purchased a one hundred gallon aquarium and two fifties to go on either side.

The set-up satisfied me technically and pleased me aesthetically.

****

Over the course of a few weeks I accumulated all the equipment (and boxes of ‘Instant Ocean’) I needed.

Suitable substrate required some searching though. All the available literature recommended crushed coral.

“Hello? I live in The Piney Woods of East Texas.”

Not a lot of coral here, crushed or otherwise.

Then I discovered in one book that crushed oyster shell would work almost equally well, with the caveat that it can be hard on bottom feeders, due to the semi-sharp nature of it.

We all must make trade-offs in our lives, even bottom feeders. (I have known a few—mostly of the ’two-legged’ variety, but that is a ‘different’ post.

Turns out, I could purchase all the crushed oyster shell I would ever need right there in Nacogdoches. I did not know it at the time, but it is used in gardening. I guess it does something magical when mixed in with the soil.

Who knew?

***

So with that last little hurdle hurdled over, I assembled my Marine Aquariums.

Janet and I had driven to our primary wholesaler, Fritz Pet Products in Dallas the previous Saturday. They delivered every week, but I needed to purchase décor for my tanks and needed to pick it out myself, not trusting some buck-tooth stock puller to pick the most suitable (to me) pieces of coral, alkaline rocks, et cetera.

We did not have a car at the time, our last one having given up the ghost. But, happily one of the car dealerships had a side-business: “Rex’s Rent-A-Wreck.” For just ten bucks a day we could have vehicular transportation, with just one stipulation: “Do not take it out-of-town—local use only,”

Well, screw that!

We drove it to Dallas (And later to Houston and Galveston)

Guess Ol’ Rex never bothered to check the odometer.

***

After getting the tanks decorated to my satisfaction, filling them with Instantly made ocean, checking that the filters and other equipment was working properly, there was yet one thing to do before I could put reef fish in the aquariums.

‘Season’ the tanks.

Without getting too technical, this means getting the ‘nitrogen cycle’ started.

Since I am lazy, I stole this rather abbreviated explanation from the internet:

Nitrogen Cycle:

The natural Nitrogen Cycle is a full-cycle where Nitrogen goes from air to plant to animal to bacteria and back to air; such a system needs no human intervention. In an aquarium though, the Nitrogen process is less a cycle and more a biochemical cascade that involves the continual chemical degradation of nitrogenous compounds from ammonia to nitrite to nitrate. The final nitrates are then taken up by aquarium plants or removed from the water by other means.

“Le Cycle”

***

Now knowing that black mollies are naturally brackish water fish in the wild (But always marketed as ‘fresh-water’ and popular like guppies, because they are cheap and, like guppies, are live-bearers), I knew they could thrive in pure sea water as well.

I needed them in my marine tanks to jump-start the cycle, thus ‘seasoning’ the tanks.

So I threw a dozen each into my fifty gallons, and two dozen into my one hundred gallon.

They did just fine and were soon popping out baby black mollies like rabbits pop out baby rabbits.

Pretty soon I was up to my ass in black mollies (so I started selling the off-spring down the river, so to speak.

After a few weeks of this, and using my water testing kits, monitoring the ammonia and nitrite levels, I announced to Janet,

“It’s time to go to Houston via Galveston. Please call up Rex and tell him we need to rent his wreck for a few days.”

“Why do I always have to call him?” she demanded.

“Because he has a crush on you and he don’t much care for me. That’s why.”

“I know we are going to “Salt-Water Marine” wholesaler in Houston so you can buy some damn fish, but why Galveston?”

“Because you need a tan,” I said.

“Lance, you’re an asshole. Have I ever mentioned that?”

“Hermit crabs.”

“Whaaat??”

“I need hermit crabs for my tanks and they come for free on the beach at Galveston. Just have to search ‘em out, pick ‘em up and and bag ‘em up.”

“I’ll be damned if I’m gonna even touch, let alone pick up a hermit crab,” she said.

“Don’t fret. You’ll be lying on a beach towel getting that tan you so desperately need while I am combing the beach, hermit hunting. When night falls, we’ll check into The Flagship Hotel, order room service with a bottle of wine and make love. You could use a little mini-vacation and some pampering. God knows you’ve earned it. And… we get to sleep in a real bed, instead of an army cot. Sound good?”

The Glorious Flagship

“What about the crabs? They gonna get room service too?”

“Naw, they’re gonna sleep in a bucket in the car. We’ll have the whole room to ourselves.”

Bright and early next morning, in high spirits and so happy to be getting out of Nacogdoches, we were south-bound and down, Destination: Galveston.

Video Credit: WarmerMusicVideos
It’s a great vid. Would not you concur?

To be continued...