Still In Vegas And Rememberance Mode! And Here, Find Here: A Final Throw-Back: “Lost Wages” I need a Sabbatical

“So, What Brings You to Las Vegas?”

“I Came Here To Drink Myself To Death.”

 

Thought I’d throw this back out, before I delete it and since I ‘swerved onto it’ and it made me laugh because I still cannot believe I am capable of writing such shit at this late date in my lifetime.)

And a fucking night moth just flew past my ear. This Moth don’t know my mind and who she is fucking with! Just saying. Just saying: Sleep is an option (for me). Gonna explore it. 

Catch Y’all Manana.

And… ya know… Rambling is my soul.

Laughter is the song of your Soul.

Hope you like it.

(be certain to watch the video of Sammy Davis and Dean and Frank and Johnny Carson: you will not be disappointed–classic Rat Trap, er…Pack.)

Cheers,

Lance

Shucks!

***********

Las Vegas

And pondering why I love the TV show, ‘Nashville’ so much.

Here goes:

Many a time while stationed in San Diego, I would make a spur of the moment decision to drive the five hours to Vegas.

Occasionally with a buddy or two after closing down a bar somewhere downtown San Dog. Once or twice with a female accomplice,  but usually alone.

“It’s OK. We (I) can sober up on the road. We’ll get to Vegas about sunrise.”

Would just show up, never having the wherewithal or forethought to reserve a room so I’d just nap in my Tornado if necessary.

But then, I never really slept while in Vegas anyhow. Why would I need a room?

One Saturday night after a not-too-lucky session at the craps table, I fell asleep in my car, which was always parked in the Union Plaza Parking Lot & Cow Pasture.

plaza

Union Plaza
Live it Up!

Well I woke up Sunday morning, (with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt) knowing full-well that I was due back in San Diego and on my “boat” before nightfall.

While attempting to drive out of the parking lot, the young uniformed schmuck informed me that I owed two dollars for the parking.

“Listen Asshole, I just dropped two grand in your casino last night.”

“Sorry Sir, but the parking is two dollars.”

“Let me say this one more time: I just ‘invested’ two large in your fucking casino.”

“Sir, I am just doing my job.”

“And me mine, for fuck’s sake. I’m protecting your way of life and your right to be an idiot.”

I then proceeded to drive through his little wooden gate, trailing splinters all over, never looking back except briefly to see the look on his face. (This behavior is not unprecedented in my past).

Got to San Diego with no gas, no cigs, no money, and no nada.

Had to ring up (collect) my girlfriend to meet me at a station and buy me some gas just to get to 32nd Street and back to my ship.

Ah! To be young, bullet-proof, and not worry about life’s consequences!

I love Las Vegas.

Was once almost thrown out of the El Cortez (Downtown Glitter Gulch) for card counting.

You see, I had read and studied Kenny Uston’s book

My Hero

My Hero

which I had purchased in a book store in Hong Kong. I spent many hours a day while at sea, practicing Uston’s card-counting methods.  I also read Ed Thorp’s (The guy who “invented” or rather “discovered” card-counting)

Actually, I got rather proficient at it hence my early and unceremonious exit from El Cortez.  I was too proud of my new-found skills and did not try to conceal my counting behavior.  I would place one or two-dollar bets when the deck was ‘cold’ and fifty-dollar bets when the deck went ‘hot’: breaking the cardinal rule, of never ever be obviously stupid. Technically card counting is not illegal, but the casinos will still throw you out if they suspect you have that skill.  And do not mistake: Black Jack is the only “game of skill” in Vegas, aside from poker, but who can afford that?

Slots? Oh Yeah. Once I was playing the “Big Quarter” ($25) machines at the Tropicana and won $5,000. (Proceeded to give it all back at the craps table, but not before I impressed the hell out of the management, betting black chips). They asked me “What do you do for a living?” I said, “I’m in the Navy.” They just shook their heads and asked me if I needed a girl. I said, “No. I just wanna roll a hard six; can you arrange that?”

Roulette? One time, after a particularly successful round of BJ, I was walking out of the Union Plaza (again), dropped a green ($25) chip on seventeen black: Bond, James Bond’s bet.

Bond; James Bond.

Bond; James Bond.

And WON! Took my winnings (approx. $800) and went to breakfast. Smartest, smoothest move I ever made in Vegas. Ah… those were the days My Friend; thought they’d never end….

Obviously I have some stories from Las Vegas.

Too bad I was born too late to experience “The Rat Pack.” Maybe if I accumulate enough good Karma, I can come back as Sammy Davis Jr. Or Frank Sinatra.  Stranger things have happened, in the night, eh?

Dean Martin, caught in a Gravity Storm.

Priceless.

***************

I guess that ‘bout sums it all up.

“Live it up, Y’all!”

“Lady Luck” or “Bewitched, Bothered, & Bewildered” You Choose. (WIP)

My Gawd! But He Was Great!

Great Frank!

Travis was three-quarter drunk.

This was not unusual.

For Travis.

He had staggered from the El Cortez to the Union Plaza,

Thinking he might ‘get well’ at the blackjack tables

(His ‘stake’ had dwindled somewhat)

First stop:

Le Bar.

History dictated he would not get far.

However, Travis was feeling blessed and lucky this night.

We would see.

He spied a primo blackjack table, with only three ‘patrons’ seated there.

Perfect for an underachiever count-down artist, which is what he was.

But of course he saw himself as so much more.

He took his drink and his still smoldering Marlboro and his over-blown cockiness over to the table.

Sat down and said to the pretty young Ornamental dealer,

“Red and green”

As he threw out his last three hundred bucks….

She just smiled in that smile that Travis had seen so many times from the bar girls in Olongapo.

“Charming and Endearing” does not even come close as description,

What little did he know….

As a long tall blond broad took a seat next to him.

How his world was about to change.

Forever

***

And some days.

To be continued…

I think I’ve seen this movie before… I didn’t like it”

Narrator said.

This is ‘obviously’ my first foray into ‘fiction’

For as my ‘faitfful’ readers know, I do not attempt fiction.

No good at it.

So…

Any resemblamce to Lance, the author, or his life experiences…. are purely coincendental and just a glitz in this mate-trix.

And of course

This story will be mostly about women

Never escaping that.

Just is impossible.

Truth

Nor fiction

Women

All Ways About Women

***

Free Bonus:

I Stall. Uhaul. Shonnie, The Truest Sentiment You May Find Here From Me She, Shonnie reallllllly fucked me up. 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. (Nailed it!)

More Shonnie Here:

2021 UPDATE

One  Two  Three  Four  Five  Six  Seven  Eight  Nine

I stall.

Why?

Because I am lazy.

And typing is hard.

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?)

Cheers, Lance

Vid Credit:

Colt28683

 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.

–Just sayin’…

“Caint you see?”

And Here, Find Here: A Final Throw-Back: “Lost Wages” I need a Sabbatical

Thought I’d throw this back out, before I delete it and since I ‘swerved onto it’ and it made me laugh because I still cannot believe I am capable of writing such shit at this late date in my lifetime.)

And a fucking night moth just flew past my ear. This Moth don’t know my mind and who she is fucking with! Just saying. Just saying: Sleep is an option (for me). Gonna explore it. 

Catch Y’all Manana.

And… ya know… Rambling is my soul.

Laughter is the song of your Soul.

Hope you like it.

(be certain to watch the video of Sammy Davis and Dean and Frank and Johnny Carson: you will not be disappointed–classic Rat Trap, er…Pack.)

Cheers,

Lance

Shucks!

***********

Las Vegas

And pondering why I love the TV show, ‘Nashville’ so much.

Here goes:

Many a time while stationed in San Diego, I would make a spur of the moment decision to drive the five hours to Vegas.

Occasionally with a buddy or two after closing down a bar somewhere downtown San Dog. Once or twice with a female accomplice,  but usually alone.

“It’s OK. We (I) can sober up on the road. We’ll get to Vegas about sunrise.”

Would just show up, never having the wherewithal or forethought to reserve a room so I’d just nap in my Tornado if necessary.

But then, I never really slept while in Vegas anyhow. Why would I need a room?

One Saturday night after a not-too-lucky session at the craps table, I fell asleep in my car, which was always parked in the Union Plaza Parking Lot & Cow Pasture.

plaza

Union Plaza
Live it Up!

Well I woke up Sunday morning, (with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt) knowing full-well that I was due back in San Diego and on my “boat” before nightfall.

While attempting to drive out of the parking lot, the young uniformed schmuck informed me that I owed two dollars for the parking.

“Listen Asshole, I just dropped two grand in your casino last night.”

“Sorry Sir, but the parking is two dollars.”

“Let me say this one more time: I just ‘invested’ two large in your fucking casino.”

“Sir, I am just doing my job.”

“And me mine, for fuck’s sake. I’m protecting your way of life and your right to be an idiot.”

I then proceeded to drive through his little wooden gate, trailing splinters all over, never looking back except briefly to see the look on his face. (This behavior is not unprecedented in my past).

Got to San Diego with no gas, no cigs, no money, and no nada.

Had to ring up (collect) my girlfriend to meet me at a station and buy me some gas just to get to 32nd Street and back to my ship.

Ah! To be young, bullet-proof, and not worry about life’s consequences!

I love Las Vegas.

Was once almost thrown out of the El Cortez (Downtown Glitter Gulch) for card counting.

You see, I had read and studied Kenny Uston’s book

My Hero

My Hero

which I had purchased in a book store in Hong Kong. I spent many hours a day while at sea, practicing Uston’s card-counting methods.  I also read Ed Thorp’s (The guy who “invented” or rather “discovered” card-counting)

Actually, I got rather proficient at it hence my early and unceremonious exit from El Cortez.  I was too proud of my new-found skills and did not try to conceal my counting behavior.  I would place one or two-dollar bets when the deck was ‘cold’ and fifty-dollar bets when the deck went ‘hot’: breaking the cardinal rule, of never ever be obviously stupid. Technically card counting is not illegal, but the casinos will still throw you out if they suspect you have that skill.  And do not mistake: Black Jack is the only “game of skill” in Vegas, aside from poker, but who can afford that?

Slots? Oh Yeah. Once I was playing the “Big Quarter” ($25) machines at the Tropicana and won $5,000. (Proceeded to give it all back at the craps table, but not before I impressed the hell out of the management, betting black chips). They asked me “What do you do for a living?” I said, “I’m in the Navy.” They just shook their heads and asked me if I needed a girl. I said, “No. I just wanna roll a hard six; can you arrange that?”

Roulette? One time, after a particularly successful round of BJ, I was walking out of the Union Plaza (again), dropped a green ($25) chip on seventeen black: Bond, James Bond’s bet.

Bond; James Bond.

Bond; James Bond.

And WON! Took my winnings (approx. $800) and went to breakfast. Smartest, smoothest move I ever made in Vegas. Ah… those were the days My Friend; thought they’d never end….

Obviously I have some stories from Las Vegas.

Too bad I was born too late to experience “The Rat Pack.” Maybe if I accumulate enough good Karma, I can come back as Sammy Davis Jr. Or Frank Sinatra.  Stranger things have happened, in the night, eh?

Dean Martin, caught in a Gravity Storm.

Priceless.

***************

I guess that ‘bout sums it all up.

“Live it up, Y’all!”

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 X: “Money For Nothin’ And That Chick Ain’t Free”

Music Credit: Steely Dan – (‘Blackjack’) Do It Again

Video Edit Credit: Eduardo Montenegro

Bastardized Title Credit: Lance Marcom

***

So about six in the evening we walked down to the El Cortez. Shonnie goes in and I hang back a few. Smoke a Marlboro on the street then head on in. Making my way through the slot machine triple canopy jungle I head to the back, the bar, and the blackjack tables while looking for Shonnie.

I spot her all alone at a two-dollar-minimum table decently close to the bar. She was sitting next to ‘Third Base’ on her left, and five empty seats to her right, just as I had instructed.

“Good Girl,” I thought, “Now, let’s see what you can do.”

‘Blond Bombshell Blackjack Babe’s Back

I sat down at the bar, lit a cigarette and ordered a gin and tonic while watching Shonnie. She placed a two-dollar bet then defiantly tossed her hair back. I cannot prove this, but she must have sensed my stare and was showing out for my benefit. Glancing about the casino, I observed it to be a mite slow.

Almost dead, in fact.

From my look-out perch I could spot only one or two others playing blackjack. Sitting at the closest table to me was an old geezer with long gray hair and a long brown cigar. He had a modest stack of red chips in front of him. He didn’t appear to be drunk, just a little ‘un-steady’. There were some bored dealers manning the other, mostly empty tables, struggling to stay awake, would be my ‘astute’ observation.

Dead or not, the casino noises are forever a constant. Most of the sound emanates from the banks and banks and banks of slot machines.

Slot machines never shut up, busy or not.

The slot machine cacophonous chorus resembles that cicada sound, but the cicada sound comes once every seventeen years.  The slot sound is ubiquitous, loud and intrusive, even somewhat abusive.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the ‘Casino Sounds’–When I have money–Hate them when I don’t. But with or without funding the earworms are always there, unavoidable as a matter of fact and as a matter of course. No escaping ‘them’. I can still hear their noise as I type these words, and it has been more than some few years since I have been treated to a ‘live’ performance.

Yep, they’re the only ‘Ear Worms’ that don’t fuck around. Once they bore deep inside of you, you’re done.

Forever.

Deal (pun intended) with it.

True Casino Junkies must live with them forever. One gets used to it though. There are definitely worse afflictions to be had.

Trust me.

I could see a few banks of slots from my bar stool as well. In modern era casinos slots are dominating and they are everywhere. Some joints even have them in the head.

Allow me to go even further: you cannot throw a dead cat across a casino floor without hitting a slot machine.

Impossible.

(Never actually try this Y’all; just take my word.)

But I used to have this fantasy whereby I was allowed to try—for science, of course. This fantasy only appeared if I had lost my stake and was forced to go home to my ship, empty-pocketed, empty-headed, physically and emotionally spent and depressed.

There is nothing on Earth more disconsolate than finding oneself in a lively casino with no money.

***

A few blue-haired ladies were feeding the beasts. There is something rather charming, heart-warming and endearing about ‘Grandma’ gleefully tossing away the social security or the pension or ‘Daddy’s’ money. Not their ‘Actual Daddy’, but their husband, if they happen to be from Dallas, or Fort Worth, or Waco, or Atlanta, or Little Rock or Baton Rouge or… Y’all catching my drift here?

Good

The ‘Erstwhile Southern Belles’ are always a delight to hear and to watch.

As much as I love to ‘Casino-People-Watch’, I could not indulge. Had to keep my attention on Shonnie and wait for her to light a cigarette in her left hand.

‘The Signal.’

Never thought I would be waiting for that girl to fire up a smoke.

Sometimes life is just weird.

Ghost Town’

The barren emptiness of the El Cortez would not last long. It was a Saturday Evening, soon to be a Saturday Night and the place would fill up soon enough.

Allow me a word or two about the El Cortez. It has been my experience that this particular joint has always been frequented more by the locals than by the tourists, at least in the modern era. The place has a long and rich history. First constructed in 1941, remodeled many times, but still manages to maintain what I like to call ‘The Cheers Effect’.  

‘Where everybody knows your name.’

Not quite, but it is a pleasant fiction.

***

1941: THE EL CORTEZ IS BORN

John Kell Houssels partnered with John Grayson from California, and Marion Hicks, a Los Angeles Architect and developer, to build and operate the El Cortez Hotel-Casino on East Fremont Street. Constructed for $245,000, it was Downtown Las Vegas’ first major resort with 59 rooms and designed in a Spanish Ranch theme.

© 2021 EL CORTEZ HOTEL & CASINO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

***

I love the El Cortez.

But I hoped we would not be here long and we would be long gone before the crowds arrived.

As recounted in a previous chapter of this series, for Craps, the louder and rowdier, and crazier the better.

None of that is needed, nor even desired for Blackjack. In truth, better off without it.

Shonnie had learned the basic count pretty quickly, but I did not think she would be able to sustain if there were a table full of other players and thus many more cards to count and many more distractions to distract.

If she could pull it off with just herself and the dealer, well that was good enough. We had already made a good score with the Craps game the night before and I really wasn’t looking to get rich. I just wanted to (truthfully) impress her with my ‘Gangsta’ ways.

Merely To Prove a Point, as it were. Whatever ‘Point’ I was trying to ‘prove’ escapes me now.

She was playing a double-deck game (again per my instruction), and I noted that the dealer dealt deep into the decks (a very good thing).

Between reshuffles, I could see Shonnie chatting it up just a little with the dealer, a very young, diminutive ‘Ornamental’ Girl wearing a bright perma-smile: Pretty much the ‘Norm’ in Vegas at that time. Chinese or Korean, best guess. Definitely not Southeast Asian; her face was too flat. The lovelier S.E. Asian girls mostly worked The Strip.

And yes, ladies and perhaps even some of you gents may be tempted to chastise me roundly for being a male sexist pig, but damn it! I am a Sailor!

It is genetic in me, like the salt water that runs through my veins. Nothing to be done. Believe me, many women have tried.

In vain.

I was on my second gin and tonic and my third Marlboro when some schmuck waltzed over and sat down to Shonnie’s left–Proper Third Base–My Seat!

He looked about fortyish and was wearing a fake cowboy hat, ruffled shirt à la George Strait, red, yes, red! cowboy boots, and a stupid face.

He began chatting her up. Now, I had not really planned on this, but I did realize a good-looker such as Shonnie, sitting all alone at a BJ table, would be bound to draw some varmints. I only hoped this asshole did not distract too much from her count.

We had practiced ‘distractions’ in the hotel room. As I played dealer and dealt way too fast, I would ask her questions and play with the remote on the TV.

She did just fine.

(She is sharp, this one. Very sharp. Sharp of mind, and being the faithful reader that you are, you also know she is sharp of wit and tongue and temper as well.)

Shonnie played through three reshuffles and was winning. I even saw her double-down a few times and in fact she was increasing her bets. ‘What the fuck?!’  I’m thinking. ‘How long does it take a double-deck to go hot?’

‘George’ remained and was beginning to piss me off. Obviously he was distracting her from her count. I ordered up another gin and tonic, lit a cigarette and stewed in my own juices some.

My drink arrived just as I saw Shonnie pull a cigarette out of her pack, hold it in her left hand and wait for George-The-Sycophant to light it. He ignited his lighter and Shonnie seductively put her hand on his and guided it to her cigarette!!

I WOULD be bringing THIS up with HER later in the evening.

Anyway, Game on! Blackjack Game. The ‘George Game / Situation’ would have to wait.

I gathered my drink and my pack of Marlboros and sauntered over to the table. Sat down at first base, threw out (drunkenly, for show), a few crumpled up hundred dollar bills. The dealer smoothed them out on the table for ‘The Eye in the Sky’ to peruse, then announced over her shoulder toward the Pit Boss, “Changing six hundred.”

She passed me some big stacks of red and some lesser stacks of green chips. I noted that Shonnie had slid two stacks of five chips just slightly to the right of her stack. If she was spot on, this meant the count had gone to ‘plus ten!’ I had coached her to constantly count and fiddle with her chips, as if she were nervous or bored, so that this act would not draw any undue attention.

“No Darlin’, gimme a few black,” I half-slurred to the dealer, pushing away the red chips. She took them back and pushed out three black chips to go with my twelve green. I placed two bets (two hands—one may play multiple hands if the table is basically empty) of one hundred dollars each.

Shonnie dropped a green chip (I had told her nothing fancy dammit!) George dropped a red and seemed more interested in Shonnie than his game as whispered something in her ear.

“All bets placed,” ‘Ornamental Dealer Girl’ said as she began the deal. I estimated only one-third of the two decks had been dealt, so this bode well for me.

A plus ten count!

Outrageous!

I caught a pair of eights on my first hand and a hard eighteen on my second. Shonnie caught a natural blackjack and sent me a smug sideways glance.

George caught a ‘dead man’s hand,’ a thirteen. Which seemed appropriate to me.

The dealer had her hole card concealed, but a five showing. Surely she would bust on that weak ass shit. She would have to take a hit, no matter what and with the decks so rich in face cards, she was bound to bust.

Of course I split my eights. (‘Always split Aces and Eights’—Never forget this ‘red-bird-cardinal rule’) Caught a three on the first eight and doubled down (now two hundred on that hand) Caught a jack!

Twenty one!

Caught a deuce on the second eight, doubled down again. Caught a king! Twenty on that hand.

Another two hundred. I am now five hundred into this deal. I stood pat on my other hand, the eighteen.

Shonnie had already been paid for her natural blackjack, so it was up to George. He hit his thirteen! (A stupid, stupid, should-be-illegal stupid rookie move: He should have stood on his thirteen against a dealer showing a five up card. Idiot!)

He caught another face and busted. A face card meant for ‘Miss Ornamental’. Again: Idiot! I have seen players get their ass kicked for being so stupid and screwing up a play such as George had just performed.

But it all worked out… Lucky for him.

Still, he had pissed away a face card!

The dealer flipped her hole card, revealing a ten, making her a fifteen. She hit the fifteen (as required), caught a nine and busted.

Pay Me!

The deck was still hot (plus to the plus) so I played another three hands and won eight or nine hundred or a grand more. Shonnie won another fifty or sixty or so. George lost another ten, or twenty. The dealer started to reshuffle. I was done here.

I pushed all my chips toward the dealer and said, “Color me up Darlin’ and keep this one,” as I tossed her a green. I saw Shonnie throw me yet another sideways glance, rolling her eyes.

I gave her and wink and a discreet nod in ‘George’s direction in an effort to make her understand I wanted her to leave earlier than we had originally planned. “Leave in ten, instead of twenty” was my silent communique. Not sure if the transmission arrived in-tact and un-garbled.

Shonnie ignored me and turned her attention back to her drink and her Marlboro.

George tried to whisper some more bullshit into her ear. She pulled away, but not quickly, nor forcefully enough to suppress the ‘Green-Eyed-Monster’ inside me.

The Green-Eyed-Monster who Torments Me Is Always Female, Feline-Like, and Redheaded.

Yours May Be Different.

O beware my lord of jealousy.

It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.

–Iago (From ‘Othello’)

Green-Eyed Lady

Sugarloaf – Green Eyed Lady

Cred for Vid: musicvideoswhd

***

I had to leave before I blew my cover by goin’ up-side this asshole’s head.

I gathered my chips and headed over to the cashier. Got my money and split back to the Union Plaza to wait for Shonnie.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

***

Previously:

***

Coming Soon:

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

Update: Now Published Below

***

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.

LAMarcom July 18, 2014 at 18:25 Edit

Memories!

Yeah ‘George’ pissed me off too.

Peace,

Lance

And thanks for visiting.

Teela Hart July 18, 2014 at 10:15 Edit

I’m with Mark.

“George” is pissin’ me off.

Love Steely Dan, takes me back a step.

T

markbialczak July 7, 2014 at 22:58 Edit

I hope you were not arrested, dude, by anybody, really.

Peace.

Mark

LAMarcom July 7, 2014 at 22:42 Edit

Exile,

You are correct: The vid did not look right to me either, but I have smoked a lot of shit in my time and … I was in a hurry to get the post ‘posted’, so I probably did not pick the best YouTube.

Point well taken: I shoulda know’d.

I will change it (when I have time)

Cheers,

Lance

LAMarcom July 7, 2014 at 22:39 Edit

Mark,

Thank you for reminding me of that song (one of the best Steely Dan) and it does fit.

Sorry for the tardy response. I was arrested by the NSA.

(Now…that was a joke–kinda)

Peace,

Lance

LAMarcom July 7, 2014 at 22:24 Edit

I alternate between black coffee and whiskey. Keeps the cocktail waitresses on their toes.

Thanks for your comment. I have been in jail for the past few days, so I do apologize for the tardy response.

(I was framed, by the way).

Cheers,

Lance

P.S. “All’s Well That Ends Well With The Protagonist Still Alive and Walking About.”

markbialczak July 4, 2014 at 22:29 Edit

It looks like Walter Becker to me, 1971 or so.

Exile on Pain Street July 4, 2014 at 21:39 Edit

WTF is up with that video? That’s not Donald Fagan singing, but that’s his voice. What’s going on there?

Exile on Pain Street July 4, 2014 at 21:32 Edit

I never drink and gamble. There’s a good reason why the casinos want to ply you with free hooch while you’re trying to do the odds math.

Things look good but why do I feel like it’s not going to end well? Where have I heard this song before. Oh, yeah…I’ve sung it myself a time or two.

markbialczak July 4, 2014 at 08:59 Edit

Just like with The Dan, with The Lance and Shonnie, I will wait patiently and enjoy the ride. “Aja, when all my night dancin’ is through, I run to you” … said the song “Deacon Blues.” And that’s the song that your Vegas tale is now reminding me of, Lance. “They got a name for the winners of the world, I want a name when I lose. They call Alabama the Crimson Tide. Call me Deacon Blues.” So, you see, I fear your winning streak is coming to an end here. Can’t wait to read more. I am already hating “George.”

LAMarcom July 3, 2014 at 18:49 Edit

evil grin *

🙂

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LVital7019 July 3, 2014 at 18:47 Edit

Well, I’m over 18 so… 😉

LAMarcom July 3, 2014 at 17:09 Edit

I still remember the street address of my house in Fremont California back in ’66, but I can’t remember what I had for supper two nights ago. Go figger. 😉

Thanks very much for your visit and I do hope you will read the entire series. It does get a little racy in parts though.

Cheers to you!

-Lance

LAMarcom July 3, 2014 at 17:02 Edit

Hi Annie,

Thanks for the enthusiasm. 🙂

Appreciate your visit as always.

Cheers,

-Lance

LVital7019 July 3, 2014 at 10:17 Edit

THAT was flipping fascinating! I’m listening to Steely Dan as I type this – cool song; great band! Seriously, you make me wanna sign up and take classes with you! I’ve always been fascinated with films about card-counting heists – they always have savant-like mathematical & memory skill. My only skill is REMEMBERING numbers; like phone numbers from 35 years ago…

Now I have to go back & start from the beginning of your Shonnie-tales. 🙂

Mad Annie, Bronwyn, Ann July 3, 2014 at 08:43 Edit

I am with Sadie and Heathen here…I GOTTA know what happened! LOL

LAMarcom July 2, 2014 at 23:40 Edit

My Friend,

I am gonna end this one soon.

I hope.

Cheers,

Lance

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LAMarcom July 2, 2014 at 23:39 Edit

Thanks Sadie.

I truly, do, want, to, end this one.

But there is so very much more to tell.

Please be patient.

Cheers,

Lance

~ Sadie ~ July 2, 2014 at 23:32 Edit

Damn – your killing me here Lance – can’t wait to see what happens – LOVE me some Steely Dan from way back . . . 😉

happierheathen July 2, 2014 at 23:31 Edit

I hate waiting. Especially on a woman who’s being chatted up by a dude in urban cowboy get-up. Especially with that song playing. Good choice or diversion?

Keep writing, man! I’m ready for the next installment already!