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.