We freshened up, got dressed, and headed down to the Casino floor. Generally I don’t gamble in The Plaza, but this night I was freshly feeling full of myself and wanted to capitalize on that feeling before the fresh wore off.
Allow me to explain something: I do not believe in Santa, The Easter Bunny, Karma, Fate, Oklahoma, or God. But I do believe in Dama Fortuna, and I could sense her radiance shining down upon me that night.
The casino 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’, pulling out a crisp one dollar bill, I fed it into the machine. “Pull the lever and stand by,” I said to her.
“I’ve never gambled before,” she said.
“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.” “Pear who? Okay,” she said, “Here goes nothing,” while pulling the Bandit’s one arm.”
“I certainly hope not,” I said, as we watched the cylinders spin.
Double bar. Double Bar. Double Bar! Casino silver dollars poured into the tray, making that oh so magical sound of metal raining on metal. One hundred bucks! A propitious beginning!
“Oh My Fucking God!” she screamed.
“Baby, God had nothing to do with it. Thank Dame Fortuna, if you feel compelled to thank someone.”
“Wow! Look at all that shiny money!”
“It’s yours. Take that 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 and pulling at my collar, breathed into her ear, “Speak into the microphone My Dear.”
“Lance, you’re crazy!”
“Yeah. 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?”
“Ok then. We should be fine.”
Craps is the best game known to man. I love the high-energy. The camaraderie. The cacophony. The excitement. The electricity. The laughter. The tears. The suspense as the galloping dominoes bounce down the table.
And last but certainly not least, the ability to win (and sometimes lose) large amounts of money in a very short time. And yes, I am what some might call, a ‘Dice Degenerate’. Started when I was hustling crap games in Junior high. In the hall ways between classes. Only got busted once. 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.
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 be the shooter.
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 players: Players who are having fun. 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.
Savvy crap shooters recognize the early warning signs of ‘The Atmosphere of Doom’ and fly away like scalded rabbits just before, or 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 turning time.)
Looking down the side of the table, opposite the ‘Boss’ and the dealers and the stick men and all, I studied the players.
There was a young couple to the right of ‘Normal Guy’. Right out of “Honey Moon Ville,” I guessed. Next to them stood a 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 lane.
At the far end of the table there was a young bleach-blond hanging onto the arm of another elderly well-dressed business man. (‘A man and his Hooker’, I ungraciously thought). Next to them 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, craps players are infamously superstitious. And I was certainly no different.
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 after the present ‘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 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.
“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 said,
“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 $45 dollars, plus of course our pass line bets with the odd’s bets behind them.)
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 put my hand on her neck, pull her ear to me and say, “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 ‘ahead’.
Now the dice pass to Shonnie. I can see she has stage fright. One of the dealers sees this too.
“Don’t worry Little Lady! Newbies are always lucky!” He says.
The ‘table’ agrees and I see chips of all colors dropping to the ‘Pass Line’.
Shonnie and I both drop one each green chip onto the Pass Line. Yes. I was confident. All bets now placed, I watch as she picks up the dice. Picked them up as one might imagine someone picking up a rotten banana, or a dead rat.
“They won’t bite,” I assured her. Just toss them at the end of the table. Oh and shake ‘em a little. But you can only use one hand when tossing them.”
“One hand?” she protested. “I always throw a baseball with both hands.”
“Hun, this ain’t a league of your own. Use one hand or they will frown and be perverse.”
“Okay,” she said. Then after shaking the dice a bit, she wound up… and threw! Right over the heads of the players at the far end of the table on off into space.
Collective groan from the table. In craps, the absolute worst thing one can do is miss the fucking table. It is always bad Juju.
Ninety-Nine times out of a 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.
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 try.
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!
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 minutes: an eon in ‘Craps’ Time. We won almost a grand, (thanks to my recklessly wild betting and the favor of Dame Fortuna. And of course 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 like this.
“Color us up,” I said to the dealer as I pushed our chips toward him.
“But Sir,” He protested, “You’re up. Aren’t you gonna shoot?”
“Nope. We’re done here, but thanks.”
Shonnie and I gathered our (now mostly black–$100 chips—and I led her away)
“What now!” She demanded.
“Lance. You’re nuts! I have never had this much fun! I love you!”
With nothing else to do and still somewhat pissed at Shonnie for putting us both in a bad situation, I walked over to The Las Vegas Club just across the street from the Union Plaza.
My intent was to pass some time playing a relaxing game of roulette. I have always enjoyed roulette. The pace is slow and generally the game draws a more serene clientele. A quiet casual game of roulette would afford me the opportunity to calm my Shonnie-Generated anger and pleasantly pass some time.
The minimum bet was one dollar, so I bought a hundred bucks worth of two-bit chips and began scattering them about the table. Never really scoring big at roulette, I did not expect anything but a hundred dollars’ worth of entertainment and some free bottom shelf booze.
I had a few wins but mostly losses and as my initial investment evaporated along with about an hour and a half of time, I cashed out the remainder of my stake (about ten bucks which I used to tip the Croupier), drained my glass, stubbed out my Marlboro and headed back to The Plaza.
I discovered Shonnie face down on the bed, hair a mess, legs splayed out all akimbo, a forsaken cigarette burning in the ashtray.
Somehow I saw myself in that cigarette.
I sat down beside her.
“You awake?” I whispered, gently pulling some strands of hair from her cheek.
“Owwwie… Is that you Honey?”
“Yes Dear.” (I was aiming for a sarcastic, pissed off tone—failed—I just loved her too much to sustain my displeasure) “Yeah. It’s me,” I repeated. “You were perhaps expecting someone else? George maybe?”
“Huhhh? Who’s George?
“Never mind. How’d you come out?”
“Won ‘bout four hundred an’ change. Proud of me?”
“No,” I said. “You nearly got me into trouble.”
“Always about you,” she said, turning on her side to face me with suddenly awake and angry blue eyes.
“We did have a plan, you know. What happened?”
“I couldn’t get shed of that moron.”
“You mean ‘George’, yes?”
She sat up abruptly. Sincerely pissed off now. “How th’ hell you know his fuckin’ name? I don’t even know his fuckin’ name and I had to sit next to the asshole for four hours. I tried to run him off! Goddamn it!”
“How hard is it to walk away from a blackjack table?”
She looked down at the bed and added quietly. “I was having fun.”
“You’re drunk,” I said.
“Yeah, I am. Be my hero and light me a smoke.”
“I already did my hero bit tonight when I showed up to rescue you from George and the El Cortez.”
“It would’ve been awkward to just get up and leave with you. The casino dudes might’ve gotten suspicious.”
“Shonnie, they had gone way beyond ‘suspicious’ by then. If you had just accepted my offer of a drink at the bar…”
“I know. I know! I was acting like a little bitch. I wanted to find out if you were willing to fight for me is all.”
“Damn it Shonnie! You know damn well I will fight for you, but only if it is warranted and necessary. You created thesituation. You could have ended it. Easily.”
She gave me a sorrowful, pouty look, then softly, sweetly said, “Cig?”
Whateverremained of my anger was melted away by her voice and her look.
I lit two Marlboros and handed her one. She took a long drag and asked for a cold beer. I fished two Bud longnecks out of the cooler, wiped them off on the bedspread and handed her one.
“You gonna be a gentleman an’ open this for me?” she said while aiming the longneck’s neck at my chest.
I took the bottle, twisted off the cap with one deft motion, tossed it at the television and handed her the beer.
She drained about half, belched loudly and said, “Cotton mouth.”
“Charmed, I’m sure.”
“Fuck you. I have a wicked-bad headache.”
She laid her head back on the pillow with a groan.
I kissed her lightly on the forehead and said, “We need to head outta here tomorrow by noon. I have to be back on my boat…”
“Okay! Okay! I got it. What time is it anyway?”
“It’s later than you think.”
She sat back up, drained the rest of her beer, threw her half-smoked cigarette into the ashtray, lay down, rolled over and went immediately to sleep. ‘Just perfect,’ I thought.
I took some minutes to finish my beer and my cigarette, then got undressed, curled up next to her and was soon fast asleep myself.
Next day we managed to check out of our room and hit the road by about twelve-thirty. I stopped for gas and a six-pack at Whiskey Pete’s, or as I prefer to call it,
“The Last Dance Texaco”
Fun Fact: Rickie Lee bears an eerily striking resemblance to Shonnie, though No Where near as beautiful as Shonnie, At least she can sing.Shonnie can’t sing. So there’s that.But, I’ll still take Shonnie any day. And every day. And in every way.
Whiskey Pete’s almost straddles the Nevada State Line. It’s the first, or last, depending upon one’s direction of travel, opportunity to make a charitable contribution to the Casino Industry’s Good Cause(s).
“Hey Baby, we got some time. Wanna see something really cool while we’re here?”
“I cannot look at another blackjack table for a while.”
“C’mon. This is different.”
I parked the car and led her into Whiskey Pete’s and straight to the Bonnie and Clyde car exhibit.
“Look at that! Isn’t that cool?”
“It’s just a car all shot fulla holes. I’ve seen a few already.”
“Baby, this ain’t just any car. This is thelegit ‘Bonnie and Clyde Death Car’.”
Sometimes even my very best efforts to impress my girl fall flat.
Other times, I don’t even have to try.
If I could just manage someday to find the key, my life would be so much easier.
And devoid of magic.
Nope, I’ll keep my mysterious, mystifying, disconcerting, and sometimes infuriating Shonnie over any predictable plastic boring version.
The Joni song below is about seventy-five percent perfect in illuminating the very complex relationship Shonnie and I shared.
“You know the times you impress me most
Are the times when you don’t try
When you don’t even try”
Credit for Video Montage: DJ Bayonic
We reverse-road-tripped westward toward San Diego, arriving about six in the evening. I dropped Shonnie at her mom’s and headed back to the Callaghan. I hit my rack and slept like the dead.
I had duty the next day, so I could not leave the ship. On Tuesday at sixteen hundred after liberty call I donned my civvies and hit the beach. Found a pay phone on the pier and called her up.
“Hiya Baby. How Y’all doin’?”
“Why didn’t you call me yesterday?” She sounded pissed.
“You know damn well I had ‘the duty’ yesterday,” I shot back.
“Oh… Yeah. Sorry. I forgot.”
“Where do you wanna meet up?” I asked.
“Seaport Village. In the back of the parking lot. In thirty minutes. And don’t make me wait.”
“Make you wait?! That’s rich Shonnie, very rich, given our recent ‘make me wait’ experience. Make it forty-five and we’ve got a bona-fide rendezvous.”
“Okay!” Loud click in my ear as she not-so-gently ‘placed’ her receiver back in the phone cradle.
I laughed out loud as I gently returned my receiver to the pay phone.
‘Lance can be a ‘button-pushing’ little bitch too.’
I pulled into the parking lot at Seaport Village around five p.m. No sign of Shonnie. I killed the Toranado but left the stereo playing (Tom Waits: “Warm Beer and Cold Women…I just don’t fit in.”)
Pulling from a pint of Jim Beam, I lit a cigarette and watched some seagulls diving on scraps in San Diego Bay.
A haze-gray-and-underway-piece-of-shit was heading out to sea, black-shoe-sailors were manning the rails wearing dress whites.
Young happy couples were walking hand-in-hand heading toward the boardwalk. I began allowing myself to entertain some second thoughts about my relationship with Shonnie:
Was it going anywhere?
Was it worth the risk? Was she fun? Was she great in the sack?
Was she not beautiful?
Didn’t I truly love her?
My mindless debate was abruptly and noisily ended as she pulled up alongside me, screeching tires and slinging gravel.
She exited her ‘La Bomba’ and walked toward my vehicle.
She looked absolutely California Texas Stunning.
She was sporting tight faded blue jeans with some holes in them, à la Dwight Yoakam ‘cowboy hip’ style, a halter top, cowgirl boots, cowgirl hat, and carrying a fifth of whiskey and an attitude. She ‘runway’ sashayed over to my window and inquired,
“Hey Sailor, New in town?”
Aiming for ‘laconic’ I said, “I’m the ’Only’ Sailor for you Little Cowgirl and I’m Fair to mid’lin’. You?”
“Finer-n-frog hair,” she said.
“Don’t be mockin’ a good ol’ Texas Boy,” I said back.
(Yes! I truly did love her of course but even worse, I was In-Love with her: Madly and Beyond Redemption. There never really was any doubt.)
“I have a surprise for you Lover.”
“I’m not particularly fond of surprises” I said.
“You’re gonna love this one, and it’s gonna save you some money too.”
“Okay, go on. What’s the surprise? And please don’t tell me I’ll know when we get there.”
Enthusiastically she announced, “I’m ‘house-sitting’ my aunt’s condo in La Jolla this week. It’s all ours!”
“Your ‘aunt?’ ‘Condo?’ In ‘La Jolla?’ No way!”
“Well, ya know, I’m kinda partial to parking lots and sleazy motel rooms,” I protested.
“Don’t be an asshole and don’t be ridiculous,” she said as she climbed into the shot-gun seat of my Toranado. “Drive. I’ll show you the way.”
So I drove.
(With some anticipation tempered with some trepidation)
“Shonnie The Biker’s Wife. Chapter XIII: La Jolla”
Update: Part XIII 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:
Comments from the original post:
16 THOUGHTS ON “SHONNIE THE BIKER’S WIFE PART XII: BACK TO THE REAL WORLD”
LAMarcom October 8, 2020 at 04:22 Edit
Thank you John
johncoyote October 3, 2020 at 04:59 Edit
When Vegas, drink and road trip are together. Some hell raising days are coming. I liked the set-up of the story and Shonnie. Is a interesting lady. A very entertaining chapter my friend.
LAMarcom February 16, 2015 at 05:15 Edit
Reblogged this on Texan Tales & Hieroglyphics and commented:
Not sure why, but I thought I’d re-blog this. (Probably ’cause I like Tom Waits)
Oh! And I miss that woman: Shonnie
LAMarcom July 22, 2014 at 19:37 Edit
Yeah, from Day One with Shonnie, I had that same bad foreboding.
Tony Single July 22, 2014 at 18:53 Edit
Where on earth is this going? I’ve got a bad feeling about this…
LAMarcom July 14, 2014 at 16:03 Edit
Shonnie was the one who ‘introduced’ me to Tom Waits and for that, I am eternally in her debt.
Mélanie July 14, 2014 at 15:59 Edit
OMG! Tom Waits – a living legend… 🙂
lauramacky July 14, 2014 at 10:15 Edit
lauramacky July 14, 2014 at 09:42 Edit
LAMarcom July 14, 2014 at 09:22 Edit
I completely agree with you on Roulette. I have ‘experienced’ Roulette all over the world from Europe to Africa to the Far East (and of course Vegas). Love the game and the atmosphere of it.
Exile on Pain Street July 14, 2014 at 06:21 Edit
Roulette really is the most elegant game in the house. You don’t have to concentrate the way you do with craps. And I like the accouterments. The wheel. The ball. The clakity-clack sound.
Lots of smoking in these stories. I get cotton mouth just reading them.
LAMarcom July 13, 2014 at 23:26 Edit
Just a ‘Tale of Two Cities: San Dog and Vegas…’
LAMarcom July 13, 2014 at 16:17 Edit
‘Captivated’ readers are the best!
Thank you for the kind words.
LAMarcom July 13, 2014 at 16:11 Edit
~ Sadie ~ July 13, 2014 at 14:18 Edit
Can’t wait for the next chapter!!! I think this series would make a great short story, or possibly novella 🙂 You definitely have me captivated! 😉
I am still struggling to recover and get over her. (Listen to the MTB song) And know this Y’all, I have found a new Shonnie. Only Problem I have: She hates me. Just a hurdle I shall O’re, over… jump over… leap over.
Some of you may be waiting for the last few chapters of ‘Shonnie, The Biker’s Wife.” (I know, as I am awaiting them too). But that said, well what can I say? I tend to expose personal shit here. Sometimes it grows difficult, and I grow wary and weary. I have vowed to my Vizsla Dog
that I will finish this tale tomorrow and get past it. (My dog tends to humour me. What choice does he have? I control the ‘soup bones’)
So, with that ‘sate-ment’, I leave you just one more clue to the outcome, by way of a song (There is always ‘A Song’ isn’t there?)
Gonna Crawl Inside And Die!
P.S. This is an ever-building story. If ya don’t watch the vid, well, ya gonna miss the best half of the denouement.