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…”
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.
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.
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”
“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:
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
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.
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
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.
Teela Hart July 18, 2014 at 10:29 Edit
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. 🙂
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
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.”
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:
We were both married, but not to each other.
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.
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 closestto 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?”
“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 alreadysettled thatissue.”
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 exhilaratingwith Shonnie.
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.
(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.
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.
LAMarcom June 30, 2014 at 18:21 Edit
Laughing my ass off!
LAMarcom June 30, 2014 at 18:20 Edit
You could be right Mark.
Thanks for the read and your comment. I appreciate it.
LAMarcom June 30, 2014 at 18:19 Edit
Yeah, I think I know that guy.
Thanks My Friend.
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.”
Methinks the cat just landed amidst the pigeons!
~ 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!!
“I love Las Vegas! Jesus Christ do I love Vegas! I’ll make it, make it good and clear; it’s because my Girl’s Right HERE!”
“And MY Shonnie’s Right THERE!
Wearing Her ‘Come Hither’ Stare!”
Vid Cred: icamatrix
I took Shonnie by the hand and we waltzed over to a blackjack table.
‘One Dollar Minimum Bet’
This was to be a training session and a trial run. An ‘Introduction’, or ‘Baptism’, or ‘Enlightenment, if you will.
Then again, it could just as quicklyandeasily degrade into a ‘Fiasco’, a ‘Waste of Time‘, an ‘Exercise in Futility’, given Shonnie’s paucity of patience.
“Hey! You said something about teaching me ‘counting down the deck’ in Blackjack. Was that bullshit, or what? I have never played blackjack. What is that anyway, counting down the deck?What does it mean?” She demanded.
“Lower your voice to somewhere around a three on your dial. And never use the ‘C Word’.
“Huh? The ‘C’ word?”
“Counting” I whispered.
She lowered her voice almost to a whisper, a difficult accomplishment for her. “Oh, Okay ‘Mister Mystery-Man’, I won’t use any ‘C’ words, until I call you out for being a ‘cunt’.”
“I’m a ‘man’. I can’t be a ‘cunt’.”
“Oh yes you can. I have met lots of ‘man-cunts’ in my day.”She did not whisper that, drawing some looks from nearby innocent bystanders.
Trying to ignore her remark for now, I said, “Just try to aim for ‘discreet’. This is Blackjack, not Craps. Blackjack is more subtle, more subdued, more cerebral. Craps is for screamin’ and hollerin’ and gettin’ rowdy. Blackjack is diametrically opposed and polarity opposite.”
“Do you ever speak ‘honest’ fucking English? You know, without all the bullshit fancy words that no one gives a rat’s ass to hear. You’re not as smart as you think you are, Cowboy.”
“Ah now, come on Lil Miss, Ah jes tryin’ ta inject ah little bit ah refinery into yer head.”
“Stop right now, or I am gonna ‘inject’my fist into your head. Now, in English, tell me what is Blackjack. ‘Condensed’ ‘Abridged’ version if-you-please. See there Schmuck? I know a few ‘fancy six-bit words’ too.”
“Touché,” I said.
She smacked me hard on my ass.
I continued, “Surely you played ‘Twenty-One’ as a kid, right? Or was it all ‘Strip Poker’ or ‘Strip Her and Poke Her’ with The Boys-on-The-Block?”
“I’m warning you Asshole,” she said playfully, almost tenderly.
Shonnie is the only woman I have ever known who can successfully use ‘Asshole’ as a term of endearment.
“Okay. Okay. Seriously Shonnie, I just want you to get a feel for the game. Tomorrow, I will teach you how to count. You seem to have some ‘Rain Man’ in ya. No offense.”
“Never mind. I’ll tell you later. You just listen to me, and as we play, and I’ll teach you all about what are called the ‘Basic Strategy’ rules of the game and more important, the rules you never, ever break while playing. Not The Dealer, nor the other players will mind or care.”
“Besides,” I continued, “It’s common for neophyte players to show up at a ‘Dollar Minimum’ table and get verbal instructions, even from the Dealer, if the dealer has any class at all, that is. Tomorrow, we’ll hit The El Cortez, and we’ll be in disguise. They have one of the last double-deck games in town.”
El Cortez is Jumpin’! Hahaha!
Worth a read: One of my ‘El Cortez Moments’
“El Cortez? Double deck? Disguise? Get the fuck out! And, by the way, I don’t remember seeing any ‘El Cortez’ anywhere.”
“Not surprised you missed it. It’s a bit of a rundown joint… But in a good way, in the tradition of the old ‘Sawdust Joints’. Don’t worry. They used to know me there. Hopefully they have forgotten that they used to know me there. I’ll explain later. Please sit down and think about what you want to drink. The waitress will need to know.”
We sat at ‘Third Base.’ Well technically, ‘I’ sat at third base. Shonnie sat next to me.
“Card counters actually have an advantage when it comes to the seating. These players are recommended to sit in the third base position to give them more time to keep an eye on the table, as well as count, and of course bet last.”
Credit: Blackjack Australia
The dealer was a perky blond. Her name tag announced
“I’m Debbie-From-Des Moines”
“Live it Up!”
This Here’s Debbie. Kinda Cute an’ Innocent-Lookin’Ain’t She? Be Thee Not Deceived;
She’ll Take ALLYour Money Ere You Leave
(If You Grow Careless)
And as the hours passed by, I taught her Basic Strategy Blackjack. She was good with it. Grudgingly very good with it. (My gal ain’t stupid, just stubborn and impatient.)
We never bet much. This was just for training after all, (and we already had our stake from Shonnie’s earlier very profitable ‘Dice-Capades‘) and I distrusted the dealers at the Plaza anyhow, so we just chilled. Well, at least I chilled… and taught.
“This is boring.” she said rather abruptly.
“Honey, you’re learning the game. Relax.”
“I like craps better.”
“Darling, we all do, but Craps is all about luck and guts and gambling. Blackjack is all about skill, smarts, strategy, and patience. ‘Patience’, I realize, is not your strong suit, and I know from time to time I strain what little you have, but this game is gonna pay off for us tomorrow night. Trust me.”
We continued with the Blackjack Lessons for a few more hours.
Shonnie was growing weary and bitchy and mouthy so I called an end to the training session, satisfied enough by then with her understanding of the game.
We walked over to the coffee shop and I bought her a bagel with cream cheese (Her favorite food-of-the-moment, she claimed) Then I took her off to bed.
She was beyond ready, and fell asleep just as soon as blond hair hit white pillow. I gently pulled the blanket over her petite little, exhausted body.
I was left alone with my thoughts, my plans, and a hard on.
“Sleep Princess,” I whispered to her, “And I have something important to tell you tomorrow.”
She stirred a bit and moaned, but did not hear.
I lay down beside her, wrapped myself around her, and slept too.
Anddreamt happy dreams.
“Shonnie The Biker’s Wife, Part IX: Counting”
Update: Part IX is Up
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