Our road trip to Vegas takes five hours and change. Once we got past San Bernardino and well into the desert I announced it was safe to drink and drive and ride. Therefore, we pulled over and had some cocktails. And smokes. Then we hit the road again. We stayed on Interstate 15. It’s a straight shot into Vegas. Lots of desert. Not much traffic as well, even though it was a Friday. For once, I had planned ahead and made a reservation at the Plaza Hotel and Casino, downtown: Glitter Gulch. I never much cared for ‘The Strip’ during my visits to Vegas, but as this was Shonnie’s first trip there, I promised me I would set aside some time to show her the Glitter-That-Was-Not-Glitter-Gulch.
“Are we there yet?” she asked, rather mockingly about an hour out of San Bernardino.
“You need to pee again?” I shot back over strains of Jimmy Buffett and wind coming from my half-open window.
“Yeah. Matter of fact, I do.”
“Wimmen!” I said, as I pulled off onto the breakdown lane.
“I ain’t gonna pee here!” She protested.
“Look Darlin’, See those big ol’ rocks over there? You can go pee behind one of those. Nobody will see you.”
“Snakes,” she said.
“Snakes. I don’t like snakes.”
“Okay, I will come with you. Just let me git my M60 outta the trunk.”
Ignoring my piercing wit, she said, “I won’t be able to piss if you’re watching me.”
“You’d prefer the rattlers watch instead?”
“Okay, but you turn your head at the last minute.”
“I never figured you for a prude Honey.”
“Fuck you. Les go. I gotta go.”
And off we went. There were no snakes that day, so mission accomplished; no apparent casualties, except for maybe some ants who could not scurry away fast enough.
Back on the road. The rest of the trip was pretty much uneventful. We arrived to Vegas about six in the evening. As we drove along The Strip I pointed out all the hotels / casinos which had been graced by my patronage (and my money) during past trips. She was impressed and I could see her eyes lighting up. Shame it was still daylight and she could not see the glory of the Neon City that is Las Vegas. Well, time enough for that later, I mused.
We finally arrived at the very end of Fremont Street and checked in to my old Nemesis: The Union Plaza. I have always had a love/hate relationship with The Plaza, but like a bad marriage, I just could never seem to break it off.
We found the way to our room, which for me was mediocre (I have been around the world, remember? And spent time in some fine, really fine hotels), but to Shonnie, who was not so much a world traveler—more of a life traveler—the room was amazing. She immediately did a thorough inventory of all the ‘accoutrements’ in the room.
“Hey Lance!” she exclaimed. “Come look at this shit! There are little tiny soap bars in the bathroom. And little tiny shampoo bottles. And some paper thingy on the toilet. How I’m supposed to pee with that paper there? And look at this!” she said, walking out of the head and back into the room, “There’s a coffee pot and Coffee! And Look at this here! A remote control for the TV!”
*heavy sigh* from me. “Shonnie, welcome to the First World.”
“Smart ass! Hey! Just look at that bed! Is that one of them water-beds?”
“I seriously do not think so. This ain’t Caesar’s Palace, Hun. We are in the part of Vegas known as the home of ‘The Sawdust Joints’.”
“Oh… Well, I like it.”
She walked over to the little desk beside the TV and picked up the room service menu. “This is my idea of Heaven”, she said.
“We can have room service! I’ve never had room service. What should I order? I’m hungry.”
“Honey, order anything you want.”
“No. I’ll tell you what I want and you order it. I don’t wanna talk to some stranger on the phone about food.”
“Very well,” I said. “Go ahead. Take your time. Then I will order us up some supper. Wanna drink while you ‘peruse’ the menu?”
“While I what?”
“Decide what you want to eat.”
“Yeah… reach me a beer and my cigs while I study this. So many choices!”
She was enjoying her stay so far. And I was loving her enjoying.
“Have you decided what you want for supper?” I asked after a bit.
“Yeah, but I caint make out what some of this stuff is, so I am shopping ‘price’”
“Baby, you don’t havta shop price. I have money. Order what you want.”
“No, I mean I am shopping price. Gonna order the most expensive thing on this menu and see what I get.”
Good Gawd! I am loving this woman! “You go right ahead Darlin’.”
She had picked out, what she called, a baby steak, based upon the photo in the menu (Filet mignon) and then said, “I love the picture of that steak but it looks kinda small. Can you add some taters or something with it?”
“Don’t worry Honey, I will take care of it. I am gonna go for ice first, then I will order.”
“The Seven Eleven is way far from here,” she protested. “Don’t you leave me alone.”
“You really are country, ain’t ya? And you called me ‘City Boy’. Baby, the ice is just down the hall. Be right back.”
Over her protestations, I went and fetched a bucket of ice. When I returned, she announced she wanted a shower:
“I’m gonna freshen up. You make sure that room service guy don’t come into my bathroom while I’m in there.”
“Shonnie, I will gallantly stand my post just outside your door. No worry.”
“Okay then. See ya in a bit.” And she disappeared into the bathroom.
The food arrived while she was still in the head, showering. I tipped the dude and laid out our supper table. Opened a bottle of red wine I had tacked onto the order along with my ‘steak’, a semi rare cheeseburger (I am a simple man: simple tastes). Anyhow, presentation is everything. I had also requested a single red rose for ornament and I placed that ‘just so’ too on the table.
She yelled at me from behind the bathroom door: “Is he gone?”
“Yes Babe. He is. Come on out.”
She opened the door, enveloped in a cloud of steam, like something out of film noir, wearing a hotel white cotton bath robe, and waltzed into the bedroom. I was impressed. She looked stunning and I felt one more brick in my emotional wall crumble.
“Let’s eat! I’m starving!” she announced gruffly in that coarse gravelly voice I had grown to love so well.
We had our meal to the strains of ‘Joni Mitchell’ singing from Hejira on my brought boom box. Neither one of us had any desire to watch TV, as we were too much into music. The TV with the remote was just a novelty for her; she had no desire to actually watch it. Nor did I.
After our meal, she asked me, “So, you gonna show me about this Fool’s Paradise Town of yours or what?”
“In due time. In due time. Now take off that robe and lie back and relax. I have something I want to do to you first. Then I am gonna teach you how to ‘count’ down the deck in Blackjack.”
We spent that Friday afternoon and most of Saturday enjoying the Bluegrass festival while swilling beers and smoking lots of cigarettes. During the late evenings we would share burgers, listen to all sorts of music on my little boom box, drink whiskey and have great sex. We also talked of many things, but nothing too heavy. We were enjoying ourselves.
Sunday noon we checked out of the motel and sadly headed west back to San Dog. It had been a perfect weekend and I truly regretted the ending of it. Shonnie impressed me more and more with her worldly wisdom, and in spite of no formal higher education, she seemed to know a lot about a lot. Mostly about the important shit: Life. She had not one ounce of pretentiousness in her small body. (Small, very sexy body) Both of us were inventive and creative in bed. Did I mention the sex was fantastic? I am certain I did.
Knowing my duty schedule on the USS Frederick, I knew it would be three weeks until I had another weekend completely devoid of any responsibilities as a sailor. I had already formulated a plan to ‘kidnap’ her when that free weekend came about.
During the ensuing days we kept up our regular rendezvous schedule. More and more I looked forward to seeing her and getting to know her even better. She was reluctant to tell me very much about her life, but bits and pieces did come out between slow dancing, drinking, smoking, and fucking. Her father had left her and her mother when she was still quite young. ‘He was an abusive type’, was about all the detail I got from her, but I could occasionally catch a glimpse of sorrow and pain in her eyes. I refrained from broaching the subject of her husband-the-biker. In fact, the fact that she was married at all, slipped away from my mind like so much quick silver…
One Saturday night she had me drive us to a Mall.
“Okay, what are we doing here?” I asked her. Malls ain’t my thing, you see.”
“I wanna buy you something,” she replied.
“Oh no you don’t. I have everything I need.”
“No. You need this, c’mon.”
She led me to a record shop and began searching the bins.
“What’re you looking for?” I asked.
“Gimme a sec. Oh here it is,” she announced happily pulling a cassette from the bin.
“You’ll love it. Trust me.”
“I’m already in-love….with you, you crazy bitch.”
She purchased Nighthawks at the Diner by Tom Waits, an artist I had never heard of….
We drove to Balboa Park, and opening some beers to go with our whiskey we listened to the cassette. I loved it from the very first minute. My Girl had me all figured out. It was just a little disconcerting, how she had so easily pegged me and yet to me she was still mostly an enigma.
After the sun set we started our make out session, then she did something unexpected. She unbuckled my jeans and started giving me head. This had never happened before and to say I was quite pleased would be an understatement bordering on the felonious. Just as I was really getting into it, she stopped suddenly, looked up at me with those piercing blue eyes and said solemnly, “If you come in my mouth, I will kill you.”
Well, that kind of ruined ‘My’ moment, but actually in a good way. It struck me so funny that I just could not help bursting out laughing. It was priceless. Make out session temporarily put on hold and my fondness for her intensified.
The next weekend (my ‘freedom’ one), we met at our usual rendezvous point. She, on instructions from me given over a pay phone, had brought along a bag with extra clothes and whatever other tricks of her trade she needed for a two-and-a-half day ‘excursion’, along with a pass from her mom relieving her of motherly duties for the weekend.
“So Cowboy, where are we going?”
“Vegas,” I said. “My turn to ‘educate’ you My Love.”
“Woolworth Rhinestone diamond earrings and a sideways glance”
So about six in the evening we walk on down to the El Cortez. Shonnie goes in and I hang back a few; Smoke a Marlboro on the street and 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 seated all alone at a two dollar minimum table decently close to the bar. She was next to ‘Third Base’, empty chair to her left, and five empty seats to her right, just as I had instructed her. “Good Girl,” I thought, “Now, let’s see what you can do.”
As I sat at the bar, lit a cigarette, and ordered a gin and tonic, I watched as Shonnie placed a two-dollar bet. Glancing about the casino, I saw it was a bit slow. A few of the Blackjack tables were completely devoid of players, but it was yet early.
This would certainly soon change. I hoped we would be out long before the crowds came. Shonnie had learned the basic count pretty fast, 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. If she could pull it off with just her 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. Prove a point, as it were.
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 diminutive ‘Ornamental’ Girl: Pretty much becoming the ‘Norm’ in Vegas at that time. Chinese or Korean, best guess.
I was on my second gin and tonic and my fifth Marlboro when some schmuck waltzed over and sat down to Shonnie’s left. Proper Third Base. He looked about fortyish and was wearing a fake cowboy hat, ruffled shirt, à la George Strait, and a stupid face. He began chatting her up. Now, I had not 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 flies. I only hoped this asshole did not distract her 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 smart, this one.)
Shonnie played through four 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 some. My drink arrived just as I saw Shonnie pull a cig out of her pack, hold it in her left hand and waited for George-The-Sycophant to light it.
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 hundred dollars. The dealer arranged them on the table for ‘The Eye in the Sky’, and said, “Changing six hundred.” She then passed me some big stacks of red and some green chips. I noted that Shonnie had placed two red chips immediately 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 shuffle her chips, as if she were nervous or bored, so that this act would not draw any attention.
“No Darlin’, gimme a few black,” I said to the dealer, pushing away the red chips. She took them back and pushed out three black chips to go with the twelve green. I placed two bets (two hands—one can 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 and whispered something in her ear.
All bets placed, ‘Ornamental Dealer Girl’ began to deal. (I estimated that 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 sideways glance. George caught a dead man’s hand: a thirteen. The dealer had her hole card, but with 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 rich in face cards, she just had to bust.
Of course I split my eights. 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 round. 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 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! But it all worked out…
The dealer flipped her hole card, revealing a ten, making her a fifteen. She hit the fifteen (as required) and caught a nine and busted.
The deck was still hot (plus to the plus) so I played another hand and won three hundred. Shonnie won another twenty-five. George lost another five. The dealer started to reshuffle. I was done here.
I pushed all my chips out in front and said, “Color me up Darling and keep this one,” as I tossed her a green. I saw Shonnie throw me yet another sideways glance, rolling her eyes.
I gathered my chips and headed over to the cashier. Got my money and split back to the Union Plaza to wait for Shonnie.
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.
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.
I could see a few banks of slots from my bar stool as well. In modern era casinos slots are dominating and they areeverywhere. 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.
(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?
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.
Never thought I would be waiting for that girl to fire up a smoke.
Sometimes life is just weird.
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.
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.
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 ‘GeorgeGame / 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!
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!
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.
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 suppressthe ‘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’)
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 some more.
“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.
I hope you were not arrested, dude, by anybody, really.
LAMarcom July 7, 2014 at 22:42 Edit
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)
LAMarcom July 7, 2014 at 22:39 Edit
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)
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).
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 *
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!
LAMarcom July 3, 2014 at 17:02 Edit
Thanks for the enthusiasm. 🙂
Appreciate your visit as always.
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
I am gonna end this one soon.
LAMarcom July 2, 2014 at 23:39 Edit
I truly, do, want, to, end this one.
But there is so very much more to tell.
Please be patient.
~ 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!
With nothing else to do and still somewhat pissed at Shonnie for putting us both in a bad situation, I walked over to The Las Vegas Club just across the street from the Union Plaza.
My intent was to pass some time playing a relaxing game of roulette. I have always enjoyed roulette. The pace is slow and generally the game draws a more serene clientele. A quiet casual game of roulette would afford me the opportunity to calm my Shonnie-Generated anger and pleasantly pass some time.
The minimum bet was one dollar, so I bought a hundred bucks worth of two-bit chips and began scattering them about the table. Never really scoring big at roulette, I did not expect anything but a hundred dollars’ worth of entertainment and some free bottom shelf booze.
I had a few wins but mostly losses and as my initial investment evaporated along with about an hour and a half of time, I cashed out the remainder of my stake (about ten bucks which I used to tip the Croupier), drained my glass, stubbed out my Marlboro and headed back to The Plaza.
I discovered Shonnie face down on the bed, hair a mess, legs splayed out all akimbo, a forsaken cigarette burning in the ashtray.
Somehow I saw myself in that cigarette.
I sat down beside her.
“You awake?” I whispered, gently pulling some strands of hair from her cheek.
“Owwwie… Is that you Honey?”
“Yes Dear.” (I was aiming for a sarcastic, pissed off tone—failed—I just loved her too much to sustain my displeasure) “Yeah. It’s me,” I repeated. “You were perhaps expecting someone else? George maybe?”
“Huhhh? Who’s George?
“Never mind. How’d you come out?”
“Won ‘bout four hundred an’ change. Proud of me?”
“No,” I said. “You nearly got me into trouble.”
“Always about you,” she said, turning on her side to face me with suddenly awake and angry blue eyes.
“We did have a plan, you know. What happened?”
“I couldn’t get shed of that moron.”
“You mean ‘George’, yes?”
She sat up abruptly. Sincerely pissed off now. “How th’ hell you know his fuckin’ name? I don’t even know his fuckin’ name and I had to sit next to the asshole for four hours. I tried to run him off! Goddamn it!”
“How hard is it to walk away from a blackjack table?”
She looked down at the bed and added quietly. “I was having fun.”
“You’re drunk,” I said.
“Yeah, I am. Be my hero and light me a smoke.”
“I already did my hero bit tonight when I showed up to rescue you from George and the El Cortez.”
“It would’ve been awkward to just get up and leave with you. The casino dudes might’ve gotten suspicious.”
“Shonnie, they had gone way beyond ‘suspicious’ by then. If you had just accepted my offer of a drink at the bar…”
“I know. I know! I was acting like a little bitch. I wanted to find out if you were willing to fight for me is all.”
“Damn it Shonnie! You know damn well I will fight for you, but only if it is warranted and necessary. You created thesituation. You could have ended it. Easily.”
She gave me a sorrowful, pouty look, then softly, sweetly said, “Cig?”
Whateverremained of my anger was melted away by her voice and her look.
I lit two Marlboros and handed her one. She took a long drag and asked for a cold beer. I fished two Bud longnecks out of the cooler, wiped them off on the bedspread and handed her one.
“You gonna be a gentleman an’ open this for me?” she said while aiming the longneck’s neck at my chest.
I took the bottle, twisted off the cap with one deft motion, tossed it at the television and handed her the beer.
She drained about half, belched loudly and said, “Cotton mouth.”
“Charmed, I’m sure.”
“Fuck you. I have a wicked-bad headache.”
She laid her head back on the pillow with a groan.
I kissed her lightly on the forehead and said, “We need to head outta here tomorrow by noon. I have to be back on my boat…”
“Okay! Okay! I got it. What time is it anyway?”
“It’s later than you think.”
She sat back up, drained the rest of her beer, threw her half-smoked cigarette into the ashtray, lay down, rolled over and went immediately to sleep. ‘Just perfect,’ I thought.
I took some minutes to finish my beer and my cigarette, then got undressed, curled up next to her and was soon fast asleep myself.
Next day we managed to check out of our room and hit the road by about twelve-thirty. I stopped for gas and a six-pack at Whiskey Pete’s, or as I prefer to call it,
“The Last Dance Texaco”
Fun Fact: Rickie Lee bears an eerily striking resemblance to Shonnie, though No Where near as beautiful as Shonnie, At least she can sing.Shonnie can’t sing. So there’s that.But, I’ll still take Shonnie any day. And every day. And in every way.
Whiskey Pete’s almost straddles the Nevada State Line. It’s the first, or last, depending upon one’s direction of travel, opportunity to make a charitable contribution to the Casino Industry’s Good Cause(s).
“Hey Baby, we got some time. Wanna see something really cool while we’re here?”
“I cannot look at another blackjack table for a while.”
“C’mon. This is different.”
I parked the car and led her into Whiskey Pete’s and straight to the Bonnie and Clyde car exhibit.
“Look at that! Isn’t that cool?”
“It’s just a car all shot fulla holes. I’ve seen a few already.”
“Baby, this ain’t just any car. This is thelegit ‘Bonnie and Clyde Death Car’.”
Sometimes even my very best efforts to impress my girl fall flat.
Other times, I don’t even have to try.
If I could just manage someday to find the key, my life would be so much easier.
And devoid of magic.
Nope, I’ll keep my mysterious, mystifying, disconcerting, and sometimes infuriating Shonnie over any predictable plastic boring version.
The Joni song below is about seventy-five percent perfect in illuminating the very complex relationship Shonnie and I shared.
“You know the times you impress me most
Are the times when you don’t try
When you don’t even try”
Credit for Video Montage: DJ Bayonic
We reverse-road-tripped westward toward San Diego, arriving about six in the evening. I dropped Shonnie at her mom’s and headed back to the Callaghan. I hit my rack and slept like the dead.
I had duty the next day, so I could not leave the ship. On Tuesday at sixteen hundred after liberty call I donned my civvies and hit the beach. Found a pay phone on the pier and called her up.
“Hiya Baby. How Y’all doin’?”
“Why didn’t you call me yesterday?” She sounded pissed.
“You know damn well I had ‘the duty’ yesterday,” I shot back.
“Oh… Yeah. Sorry. I forgot.”
“Where do you wanna meet up?” I asked.
“Seaport Village. In the back of the parking lot. In thirty minutes. And don’t make me wait.”
“Make you wait?! That’s rich Shonnie, very rich, given our recent ‘make me wait’ experience. Make it forty-five and we’ve got a bona-fide rendezvous.”
“Okay!” Loud click in my ear as she not-so-gently ‘placed’ her receiver back in the phone cradle.
I laughed out loud as I gently returned my receiver to the pay phone.
‘Lance can be a ‘button-pushing’ little bitch too.’
I pulled into the parking lot at Seaport Village around five p.m. No sign of Shonnie. I killed the Toranado but left the stereo playing (Tom Waits: “Warm Beer and Cold Women…I just don’t fit in.”)
Pulling from a pint of Jim Beam, I lit a cigarette and watched some seagulls diving on scraps in San Diego Bay.
A haze-gray-and-underway-piece-of-shit was heading out to sea, black-shoe-sailors were manning the rails wearing dress whites.
Young happy couples were walking hand-in-hand heading toward the boardwalk. I began allowing myself to entertain some second thoughts about my relationship with Shonnie:
Was it going anywhere?
Was it worth the risk? Was she fun? Was she great in the sack?
Was she not beautiful?
Didn’t I truly love her?
My mindless debate was abruptly and noisily ended as she pulled up alongside me, screeching tires and slinging gravel.
She exited her ‘La Bomba’ and walked toward my vehicle.
She looked absolutely California Texas Stunning.
She was sporting tight faded blue jeans with some holes in them, à la Dwight Yoakam ‘cowboy hip’ style, a halter top, cowgirl boots, cowgirl hat, and carrying a fifth of whiskey and an attitude. She ‘runway’ sashayed over to my window and inquired,
“Hey Sailor, New in town?”
Aiming for ‘laconic’ I said, “I’m the ’Only’ Sailor for you Little Cowgirl and I’m Fair to mid’lin’. You?”
“Finer-n-frog hair,” she said.
“Don’t be mockin’ a good ol’ Texas Boy,” I said back.
(Yes! I truly did love her of course but even worse, I was In-Love with her: Madly and Beyond Redemption. There never really was any doubt.)
“I have a surprise for you Lover.”
“I’m not particularly fond of surprises” I said.
“You’re gonna love this one, and it’s gonna save you some money too.”
“Okay, go on. What’s the surprise? And please don’t tell me I’ll know when we get there.”
Enthusiastically she announced, “I’m ‘house-sitting’ my aunt’s condo in La Jolla this week. It’s all ours!”
“Your ‘aunt?’ ‘Condo?’ In ‘La Jolla?’ No way!”
“Well, ya know, I’m kinda partial to parking lots and sleazy motel rooms,” I protested.
“Don’t be an asshole and don’t be ridiculous,” she said as she climbed into the shot-gun seat of my Toranado. “Drive. I’ll show you the way.”
So I drove.
(With some anticipation tempered with some trepidation)
“Shonnie The Biker’s Wife. Chapter XIII: La Jolla”
Update: Part XIII is Up.
If you are new here, or a long-lost returning Pilgrim, you may want to begin your Shonnie Journey Below
And then simply “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” i.e., The Lancelot Links:
Comments from the original post:
16 THOUGHTS ON “SHONNIE THE BIKER’S WIFE PART XII: BACK TO THE REAL WORLD”
LAMarcom October 8, 2020 at 04:22 Edit
Thank you John
johncoyote October 3, 2020 at 04:59 Edit
When Vegas, drink and road trip are together. Some hell raising days are coming. I liked the set-up of the story and Shonnie. Is a interesting lady. A very entertaining chapter my friend.
LAMarcom February 16, 2015 at 05:15 Edit
Reblogged this on Texan Tales & Hieroglyphics and commented:
Not sure why, but I thought I’d re-blog this. (Probably ’cause I like Tom Waits)
Oh! And I miss that woman: Shonnie
LAMarcom July 22, 2014 at 19:37 Edit
Yeah, from Day One with Shonnie, I had that same bad foreboding.
Tony Single July 22, 2014 at 18:53 Edit
Where on earth is this going? I’ve got a bad feeling about this…
LAMarcom July 14, 2014 at 16:03 Edit
Shonnie was the one who ‘introduced’ me to Tom Waits and for that, I am eternally in her debt.
Mélanie July 14, 2014 at 15:59 Edit
OMG! Tom Waits – a living legend… 🙂
lauramacky July 14, 2014 at 10:15 Edit
lauramacky July 14, 2014 at 09:42 Edit
LAMarcom July 14, 2014 at 09:22 Edit
I completely agree with you on Roulette. I have ‘experienced’ Roulette all over the world from Europe to Africa to the Far East (and of course Vegas). Love the game and the atmosphere of it.
Exile on Pain Street July 14, 2014 at 06:21 Edit
Roulette really is the most elegant game in the house. You don’t have to concentrate the way you do with craps. And I like the accouterments. The wheel. The ball. The clakity-clack sound.
Lots of smoking in these stories. I get cotton mouth just reading them.
LAMarcom July 13, 2014 at 23:26 Edit
Just a ‘Tale of Two Cities: San Dog and Vegas…’
LAMarcom July 13, 2014 at 16:17 Edit
‘Captivated’ readers are the best!
Thank you for the kind words.
LAMarcom July 13, 2014 at 16:11 Edit
~ Sadie ~ July 13, 2014 at 14:18 Edit
Can’t wait for the next chapter!!! I think this series would make a great short story, or possibly novella 🙂 You definitely have me captivated! 😉