And if you are new here, ya might wanna start here:Shonnie.
So there I was in a foreign bed with a foreign woman who called herself “Layla”, smelling bacon and no way to escape, save for a walk-about or a taxi, which I suspected were too damn hard to find in IB (or wherever I was) at such an early hour.
“So,” I said. “Shall we head on to the breakfast nook?”
“Sure Cowboy,” she said.
“I really wish you’d stop calling me that.”
“‘Cowboy.’ Cowboy, I ain’t. ‘Sailor’ is more to the point. And it suits me now.”
“OK, ‘Sailor.’ No worries.”
“Fine. And thank you.” (I was approaching ‘pissy’ at this moment, the booze having worn off. And hung-over kicking in.)
We went to the ‘breakfast table’ and I discovered that there were two children in the house.
“Who’s kids?” I asked. (I just had to)
“Mine!” said the breakfast launcher.
“Cute, they are,” I said stupidly.
“Yeah,” said Mother.
“Please pass me a bloody Mary,” I said back, not wanting to converse.
“There ya go, Sailor-Man,” she (momma) said.
(A kindred spirit?)
“Thanks, I have a bit of a headache”
“Of course,” she said, passing me the pitcher of Bloody Mary’s.
What am I in for? I remember asking me. (Maybe out – loud)
“We are going to the San Diego Zoo.” You wanna tag along?”
“Why not?” I rhetorically answered. “Why not? The kids coming? Of course they are….”
And off we went. (After breakfast)
And good, I thought: Y’all can park me at the petting zoo…
I like things to be linear. So we rejoin our “hero” just after his Denouement… Or perhaps, ‘Epiphany’.
So she led me to a car and we all piled in. I say ‘we all’ simply because there were suddenly three of us. Me, HER, and a smallish blonde. I remember thinking I had seen this movie before, but this time it came with a twist, I guess. I have to guess, as the rest of the evening (early morning?) is fuzzy in my memory.
After about twenty minutes. (I am once again, estimating here; could’ve been an hour or more. Or less.) After about ‘twenty’ minutes we arrived at a house (could have been an apartment). SHE took me inside and led me straight-away to a bed… room. If memory serves, we had sex. Violent sex. (Not ‘violent’ violent. Let’s just call it ‘intense.’) SHE was at least six foot and change and, as I did report earlier, ‘Big-Boned.” I swear, I saw my life’s movie flash as she covered me and had her way. (And of course, me mine)
As we lay there ‘after’ in someone else’s bed, she remarked, “Well, that should keep your self-winding watch going for a few days.”
I had to laugh, just as I drifted off.
The next morning I awoke with the sun singeing my eyes from a casually placed window (What’s wrong with these people?). I could smell bacon. I rolled over and looked at my watch: 0630. I had a start; then realized it was Saturday and I did not have ‘duty’ on my ship. I could go back to sleep, un-worried. But, oh no! SHE was stirring. (So, who was cooking bacon? I remember thinking)
“Oh. You’re awake?” She said.
“Uh, yeah. Kinda,” was all I could muster. Where am I? Who are you? (Not a proper question, I realize, but then, I was hung over and still groggy)
“I am the woman to be named later,” she said, poking me in the ribs. (Which hurt for some reason).
“I see. I rolled over to face her.” She was, indeed: Beautiful. Long dark brown hair, dark eyes, and mystery, too much mystery in fact. I was at this point, all ‘mystery-ied’ out. I was tired. I needed Gidget. Or perhaps Mary Poppins, or even Samantha Stevens…
You don’t remember my name?” She asked after lighting a cigarette.
“To be stupidly honest, no I don’t.”
“No matter. I am called ‘Layla’. Ring any bells?” (I wish I were making this up)
I’m thinking now that I had just fallen into Dante’s Inferno.
“Uh. No. Should bells be ringing?”
“So… You’re a Sailor? Yes?”
“Yes. And what are you? And are you from around here?”
“Not from around here. I’m just visiting my cousin. She is the one cooking breakfast.”
“Yeah. I can smell bacon.”
“Good nose. I like that in a man. Have you an appetite?”
“From some memory of last night, I’d have to say ‘yes’.”
“Hahahahah! Yep. You do, Sailor Man. Yep, you do.”
“So, if you’re not from here. Where are you ‘from’, and what do you do?”
“I’m from Wisconsin. I work as a bartender. I’m also a bouncer, when the need is needed. Oh, and I love to ride Harleys.”
Perfection, I thought. Now what Cowboy? Shit. Here I am again…
I had ‘some leave-days-on-the-books’ and seriously considered at that moment that I needed to take them and head home to Texas to get a re-start on my physic saki… (Well, spelling ain’t never been my thing, but you know what I mean here.)
I mean, I was still re-‘bound’ for glory. But I did have some time, eh? Didn’t I?
The three Harleys were gaining on me as I sped southbound down Interstate 5. It was still dark and the traffic was light. I floored the pedal on the Toronado, but I knew they would eventually catch up to me. As my speedometer redlined at one hundred I took another furtive glance in the rearview: still gaining fast. Where the hell were the famous CHiPs? For the absolute first time in my life, I wanted to get busted. One biker managed to pull up alongside me on the passenger side. I swerved to the right just a bit to try to spook him. No dice! He easily dodged my quarter panel and I caught a brief glimpse of his grinning face, mocking me. (bikers never wore helmets) The two remaining bikes pulled up behind him. I was running out of options. Should I just continue on until I ran out of freeway or gas? Hope a highway patrol finally spotted us? Surrender? I stole another glance in my side mirror and could just barely make out the third biker taking aim at my car with a handgun, rather unsteadily given our speed, but I braced for the worst, then BAM!
I awoke with a start and sat bolt upright in bed. The alarm was wailing away. Shonnie stirred and moaned, “What time is it?”
Reaching over to kill the alarm, I knocked the clock off the nightstand. “Shit!” I reached over the side of the bed, grabbed it and managed to turn the damn thing off. “It’s five-thirty,” I said.
“Ohhh too early,” she moaned again, pulling the covers over her head.
“Go back to sleep,” I said.
“No. I’ll make you some coffee,” she said, sitting up, stretching her arms upward yawning
“Got no time for that. I gotta get back to my ship. Muster is at zero-seven.”
“It’ll just take a minute,” she said as she extracted her naked body from the covers.
“Okay, but a minute is about all I have.”
I got out of bed and put on my jeans. Shonnie threw on her robe and disappeared downstairs. I went into the head and splashed some cold water on my face, trying to shock the dream out of my mind. Just as I finished struggling to get into my too-tight boots, I heard the kettle whistling downstairs. Making sure I had my wallet and military ID, I descended to the kitchen to join Shonnie. She handed me a cup and I took a quick sip.
“Good coffee,” I said.
“You’re welcome Cowboy.”
“You sleep alright? I asked.
“Yeah, sorta, but you were snoring and moaning till all hours.”
“Sorry ‘bout that. Look, I gotta split. I wanna beat the traffic. My Master Chief don’t have a sense of humor about being late for muster.” I handed her the still mostly full cup of coffee.
She set it on the counter, threw her arms around my neck clinging tight, pulling me down and kissing me passionately. She withdrew her lips but kept my neck locked tight. “Oh Rhett! When will Ah evah see you again?”
I reached up and gently pulled her hands free and said, “Very funny Scarlett. I’ll call you this evening, but now I gotta go.”
“Okay, Darlin’, lemme walk you out.”
We walked over to the front door holding hands. I opened it. Shonnie let out a gasp. “Oh no,” she said.
“What is it?”
“Look there,” she said pointing down at the deck.
There was a white sack about a yard from the front door. It had the unmistakable mark of McDonald’s on it. I took a step outside, picked it up, turned to Shonnie and said, “What the fuc…”
“Come back inside quickly,” she almost whispered.
I went back in and she shut the door, locking it with a loud click. “It’s Billy.”
“My husband, you idiot.”
“Sorry. You never did tell me his name.”
“You never asked.”
Still clutching the sack in my hand, I opened it up and discovered two large coffees and two pastries.
“Give me that!” she said, almost shouting as she grabbed the sack out of my hand. “Look, this coffee is still hot. He must have just been here.” She was visibly shaking.
“Quite the gentleman to deliver breakfast, doncha think?”
“Goddamn Lance! This shit ain’t funny!”
“Well, what the hell do you expect from a smartass?”
“You can’t leave now,” she said as she walked over and slumped down into an overstuffed chair, dropping the bag on the floor almost tipping over the coffees inside.
“Seriously? Will he try to hurt you if I go?”
“No… not right away anyhow. It’s you… You! He’ll be after you! Dammit to Fuck!”
“Baby, I got no choice. I’d rather face ‘Billy’ than try to explain to Master Chief why I’m UA.”
She stared at me blankly for an instant as if I had just said something in a language she did not understand. “Whaaat?”
“Uh UA; unauthorized absence. AWOL. You know.”
“Fuck that! If you leave here now, you might be ‘AWOL’ permanent.”
“Well, I doubt that, but anyway I gotta go.” I turned and walked back toward the door. “I’ll call you this evening. Lock the door behind me.”
“Okay,” she sighed, getting up. As I was about to open the door she spun me around and hugged me, burying her face in my chest. “Be safe Lance.”
“You too Baby.”
I opened the door and walked out. Shonnie shut it behind me and I heard the click as she turned the deadbolt.
My car was parked almost a block away from the house. It was still an hour before sunrise but the streetlights, though not bright, afforded enough light for me to make my way without any difficulty. As I slowly walked toward the Toronado, I was glancing left and right, trying to see into the shadows, hoping I would see no one. My shoulders were tight as I wondered if they would suddenly be pierced by a round from a hand gun. I keep walking. Almost there now. The Toronado was parked directly under a street light. Shit! I would have preferred a darker venue for getting into my car. Oh well. I fumbled around for my keys, unlocked the door and slid behind the wheel. Turning the key in the ignition, the engine turned over a few times more than normal, but finally caught hold. The cassette player was still cranked up and in the early morning quiet seemed extremely loud. I quickly reached over and shut down Jim Morrison in the middle of his song.
The car was facing the opposite direction I needed to be going, so I had to pull forward into an empty driveway, back up and get turned about. Back in the street and facing the right direction, I dropped the car into drive.
Then I heard the unmistakable sound of a Harley cranking up and someone revving the throttle.
With nothing else to do and 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 that game draws a more serene clientele. A casual game of roulette would afford me the opportunity to calm my 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 more losses and as my initial investment faded away along with about an hour and a half, I cashed out the remainder of my stake (about twenty-five bucks), drained my glass, stubbed out my Marlboro and headed back to the Plaza.
Upon entering our room, I discovered Shonnie face down on the bed, a cig still burning in the ashtray.
I sad upon the bed next to her.
“You awake?” I whispered.
“Owwwie… Is that you Honey?”
“Yes, Dear. It’s me. How’d you come out?”
“Won three hundred. Proud of me?”
“Nope,” I said. “You nearly got me in trouble.”
“Always about you,” she said, turning on her side to face me with piercing blue eyes.
“We did have a plan, you know. What happened?”
“I couldn’t get shed of that moron.”
She sat up abruptly. “I tried, Goddamn it!”
“How hard is it to walk away from a blackjack table?”
“I was having fun too.”
“You’re drunk,” I said.
“Yeah. Be a dear and light me a smoke.”
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 we had brought along and handed her one. She drained about half of hers, belched, and said, “Cotton mouth.”
“Charmed, I’m sure.”
“Fuck you. I have a major headache.”
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 drained the rest of her beer, threw her half-smoked cigarette in the ashtray, 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 and curled up next to her and was soon 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 and we reverse-road-tripped on into San Diego, arriving about six in the evening. I dropped Shonnie at her mom’s and headed back to the Frederick. 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 got in 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 duty yesterday,” I shot back.
“Oh… Yeah. Sorry. I forgot.”
“Wanna hook up?” I asked.
“Yeah. Meet me at Seaport Village. In the parking lot. In an hour.”
“Make it an hour and a half.”
I pulled into the parking lot at Seaport Village around six p.m. No sign of Shonnie. I killed the Toronado but left the stereo playing (Tom Waits: “Warm Beer and Cold Women…”) Pulling from a pint of Jim Beam, I lit a cigarette and watched some seagulls diving on scraps in the bay. I saw a haze-gray-and-underway-piece-of-shit heading out to sea, black-shoe-sailors manning the rails. I saw couples walking hand-in-hand on the boardwalk. I was allowing myself to have 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?
Did I love her?
My mindless contemplations were brusquely interrupted as she pulled up alongside me screeching tires and slinging gravel. Grand entrance! She exited her ‘La Bomba’ and walked toward my vehicle. She looked California stunning: wearing tight faded blue jeans, a halter top, cowgirl boots, and carrying a fifth of whiskey and obviously an attitude. She ‘runway’ sauntered over to the driver’s side of my car, opened the door, plopped herself down and inquired, “How’s my favorite Sailor-Boy?”
Aiming for ‘nonchalant’ I said, “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 did love her after all)
“I have a surprise for you Lover.”
“Do tell,” I said.
“I am ‘house-sitting’ my aunt’s condo in La Jolla all this week. It’s all ours.”
“I’m partial to parking lots and sleazy motel rooms,” I protested.
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.
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.”