Escape Velocity: “A Consummation Devoutly to be Wished”

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

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

–Lance

***

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


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


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


Old Story warning here:


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


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


I had to laugh; been there, et etcetera…


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

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

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

Some thoughts?

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

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

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

And my health is no good.

I will catch up…

mañana,

I Promise.

“For Love or Money”

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

Shonnie

***

Tuesday Ed. Note: This Post Makes Absolutely NO SENSE

Hahahahaha

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. Chapter XIII: La Jolla

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

It’s a pretty good drive from Seaport Village to La Jolla. We stopped along the way for cigarettes, sandwich stuff and beer and arrived at “Auntie’s House” about seven-thirty. This isn’t it, but a reasonable facsimile:

La Jolla

“Your aunt rich?” I asked stupidly.

“Yeah. What was your first clue?”

“Lucky guess, I suppose.”

“Come on. It’s even better inside.”

She led me into the condo.

“First class joint,” I said. “Really classy.”

“Let me give you the nickel tour.”

She led me through the living room, past the dining room and into the kitchen. It was all stainless steel and wood. Very nice. We put the sandwich stuff and the beer in the fridge. Shonnie produced two tumblers and threw some ice into each. I took the bottle of Jim Beam, splashed some into each glass, and handed one to her.

“A toast!” I said. “To us!”

We clinked tumblers, took a swig and fell into each other’s arms. Lips to lips. “You make me happy my dear,” I whispered into her ear as we broke our lip lock.

“I had a great fucking time in Vegas. Won’t be forgetting that soon.”

“Yeah, but next time. Please. Please listen to me.”

“Hahaha! Sure Cowboy. I promise to be good… ‘Next time’. Come on. I wanna show you the rest of this ‘joint’.”

We took the stairs and she led me into what I surmised was the master bedroom. It was large as condo bedrooms go, but then, I was no expert on anything ‘condo’. In fact, this was probably my first. There were double French doors opening up to a small patio overlooking the Pacific. The bed was huge. I pushed down on it with my hand and watched as it rippled. Waterbed. Last time I had seen a waterbed was back in the Seventies. I wondered silently if this one leaked… There were Asian paintings on the walls and shag beige carpet on the floor. Some African wooden statues were on the dresser. I recognized them from my eight days spent in Kenya. The bathroom had an old-timey tub, green towels, and a shower stall… and a bidet! Wow! Mishmash of so many cultures. Well, California. What could one say?

“Why don’t you rinse off in the shower while I fetch some ice and build our bar?”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll do that.”

After my ‘rinse off’, I wrapped a green beach towel about me, lay on the bed with my drink and my Marlboro. (Figured it permissible to smoke, as there were about five ashtrays strategically placed about the room.)

Shonnie reappeared with the whiskey, two sandwiches, a small bucket of ice, and two beers. Quite the juggler, she was.

“It’s okay. Don’t get up,” she said with some small sarcasm, as she deposited her items on one of the nightstands next to the waterbed.”

“Hungry?” I asked.

“Yeah. Lose that towel.”

I did and she ‘lost’ her jeans et al.

We made slow love for some thirty minutes. Deep kisses, lots of teasing, and finally came together…

As we lay back in the bed, silently smoking, she said, “You’re quite the catch, ain’t ya Cowboy?”

“Not sure your meaning, Little Lady.”

“Just sayin’. You’re quite the catch.”

“Not really. Just another lonely sailor far from home.”

“Yeah with fireplace eyes and the gift of bullshit, and any port in a storm.”

“True enough, I suppose.” (‘Fireplace eyes?’ I’d only heard this once before. From… my wife. Somewhat unnerving to hear it again after so many years.)

“Eat your sandwich,” she said. “Then we can watch a movie. The night is still young.” She got up and I watched her walk to the bathroom. Her perfect petite body and (purposely?) twitching little ass tantalizing me still–although I was quite sated at that moment.

I reached for the sandwich even though I was not hungry. Suddenly becoming self-conscious about my nakedness and feeling vulnerable, I got up and put my pants on. I lay back on the bed, picked up the sandwich, took one bite and put it down. There was a large television opposite the bed. I picked up the remote from the night stand and switched it on. CNN appeared. Some talking head, info babe, was blathering on and on about something that had just happened in Iraq: ‘Breaking News’. I muted the volume.

“You’re watching the News?” She said, suddenly appearing in front of me wearing a white terry-cloth robe and a frown.

“I think it’s watching me.”

“How depressing. I never watch the news.”

“Current events are important,” I said.

“Not to me.”

“Well, here’s a news’ flash for ya: You are drop-dead gorgeous.”

“Careful there, Cowboy…”

She walked over to the ‘Entertainment Center’ which was part of the whole TV thing and began perusing some VHS tapes. “What kind of movies do you like?” she asked.

“Historical, hysterical drama.” I said.

“Well, that does narrow it down a bit.” She selected a tape; put it in, and then picking up two remotes began pushing buttons. “Top Gun” appeared on the screen as if by technological magic.

“I was thinking of maybe something a little less contemporary,” I said as Kenny Loggins began his bit.

Video Credit:

KennyLogginsVEVO

“Nonsense!” she said. “This is perfect for you. You’re a sailor, eh?”

“Yeah I am, but not a fighter jock. And I hate Tom Cruise.”

“Relax. Have you seen this movie?”

“’Fraid I have, but okay. Kelly McGillis is never a waste of my time.”

“Asshole!”

“C’est moi.”

With that she jumped on the bed causing me to spill some amber onto the sheets and almost drop my cigarette. She grabbed my head and planted a deep kiss, sticking her tongue down my throat.

“Madame! I am aghast!” I said as I was freed from her embrace.

“Shut up and watch the movie.”

Kenny was just finishing up ‘Danger Zone’, and proving once again that I needed to pay closer attention to my life’s soundtrack, especially when it is foreshadowing and trying to connect. We got through the horrible movie thanks to several glasses of Beam and a few beers and not a small number of cigarettes. It was, I have to admit looking back, the best screening of one of the worst movies of all time. I kept Shonnie in laughter as I picked apart the utter bullshit and un-factual parts of the movie. Yes, sometimes I can do sarcasm with the best.

As the final credits were rolling, Shonnie snuggled up to me and asked, “Lance, do you love me?”

“Probably,” I said.

“I’m a little hard to love.”

“Not for a schmuck like me.”

“I’m serious here. I have issues.”

“Yeah, don’t we all?”

“Goddamn it! I am serious.”

“’Serious’ is not something I’m good at.”

“You are EXASPERATING!”

“That’s a pretty good four-bit word,” I said with a mocking grin.

“Actually, it’s five bits, you bastard.”

“True enough,” I said, as I counted off the syllables in my head.

“You know my estranged husband is one mean son-of-a-bitch, right?”

“Never met the stud.  Do tell.”

“Trust me. And he called me up at Mama’s the other day and asked me who was my new boyfriend.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I think he’s been following me.”

“I’m not much into ‘threesomes’.”

“Listen asshole. I’m getting scared.”

“Wanna end it?”

She paused and I saw some sorrow creep into her eyes. “Might be a good idea,” she said. Then quickly added, “But just for a little while. I don’t want to lose us.”

“Let’s sleep on it. I have to leave here at zero-five-thirty so I can make morning muster on my ship.”

She buried her head under my arm and we fell asleep under the blue TV screen light.

To Be Continued…  HERE

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

Chapter Eleven of Shonnie

Parts One  Two  Three  Four  Five  Six  Seven  Eight  Nine  Ten  

***

After an hour of waiting (and three Jim Beams), I decided to go looking for Shonnie. The walk to the El Cortez was not long, but too long, as I did not feel the need to walk it. What the fuck was she doing? She was supposed to wait ten or fifteen minutes, cash out, and meet me back at the Plaza. It was now getting late and I’d had no intention of returning to the Cortez. Some months earlier I had almost been thrown out for the very thing I had done this eve, albeit without a partner. Damn it! Fremont Street was packed with all the usual suspects: tourists, vagrants, weekend warriors, refugees from L.A.

I made my way to the El Cortez.

Once past the slots I headed back to the bar. As I sat down I saw Shonnie still seated next to ‘George’, laughing it up and surprisingly with a 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 slightly pissed. This is an assumption. I nodded at her, but 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 behind her, tapping on her shoulder. The new dealer was No Chick. He was more of a ‘Guido’. My radar now was operational. She dropped the deck and clapped her hands 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 in the middle and took a sideways glance at Shonnie. She ignored me. Good for her.

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

“Uh sure,” I said, somewhat nervously as I recut the decks.

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

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. The dealer had an ace showing.

“Insurance?” he asked. No takers. Insurance is generally a sucker’s bet. Dealer made a show of peeking at his hole card, and not flipping it over revealed he had no blackjack. 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. He did and caught a deuce for a nineteen and a ‘push’.  A tie for me. 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 somewhat startled and I knew instantly that she was going to have her some fun with this.

Okay, I thought. Wanna play games?

Lighting a cigarette and taking a draw 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.

“Yeah. I am. What’s it to you cowboy?”

Taking another slow drag off my cig, I said, “Uh, nothing to me. Just thought you might wanna take a break… while you’re ahead of course, and join me 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)

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

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

“I am a sailor, for your information.”

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 at that point and pretended to focus on the hands I had been dealt: The cards and the situation. The card’s part was easy: I had drawn an eighteen. No decision time there. Shonnie had drawn another natural Blackjack (fuck!) and the dealer had a four showing. Shonnie was paid her wages for her BJ. I stood on my eighteen. George sucked on his fifteen and this time wisely stood pat, knowing the dealer should bust (If he even knew how to play the game).  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… and we like to accommodate our best customers. Is there anything you require, or need? A room? A meal? A girl?”

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

“That’s a shame. We here at the El Cortez pride ourselves in our hospitality.”

“Certain you do, and I appreciate that, but I really must be on my way.”

“As you wish Sir. Good luck.”

Fuck! Fuck! I nudged Shonnie slightly harder with my knee and gathered my chips. The cacophony of the casino and the smells and the lights… were all getting to me! I just wanted to leave.

If she were intent to continue her game, she could do it without me. I came for her. That is all I could do. She should have known that.

Wouldn’t she have known that?

“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…”

Video Credit: 

1Bluesboy1

To Be Continued…  HERE