Let the Vegas Games Begin
Opening Day, July, 2008
What better way to prime ourselves for a Vegas trip than to watch movies set in Vegas, like Casino and Vegas Vacation?
It’s not just idle entertainment either - I’ve learned. Like for example, when things are at their worst, and someone close to you is more upset than you thought possible, all you have to do is sound like a guy named Frankie or Vito and say, in a slightly commanding way, “Take it easy.” This happens eight times in Casino (and five in Goodfellas.)
We were on our way to take on Las Vegas again, high above the clouds, somewhere over the Midwest, but my heart wasn’t 100% in the trip - I was fretting because Duke the dog, our beloved black lab/Dane cross of ten years was ill. He’d been sick and losing weight for a couple of months and we feared the worst. We had had to leave on our long-booked vacation without yet finding the results of his biopsies.
I tried to focus on the trip and mulled over a few things.
“You know what I don’t understand? Why exactly you’re the quad queen. You really seem to get more quads than I do,” I said to my wife.
“That’s because I’m a better gambler than you are,” she replied.
“Maybe luckier than me…”
“No, better. And luckier.”
“Well, its not like it’s a competition,” I snapped. What I was thinking was, this is absolutely a competition.
“It oughta be. There should be gambling competitions.”
That’s when the light in my brain went on with the best idea I’d had since I thought of the unsinkable teabag.
I spent the rest of the flight skritch skritching on my tray table with pen and paper, deviously fleshing out my grand plans.
“What are you skritch skritching all the time?”, the Quad Queen asked. “I hope it isn’t some grand plan that’s gonna be really stupid.”
“You just wait, Mrs. Flusher. When we get to Vegas I have a surprise for you.”
The plane arrived around 11:00pm on a Friday, and the passengers, fortunately, also arrived around 11:00pm on the same Friday. It was late for us easterners, and rather than mess with the cab lineup we grabbed a limo downtown – destination, the Four Queens. We dumped the bags in our room, and hit the coffee shop for a bite. Mrs. F went for a club sandwich and I had the ham and eggs special. We looked out over the smoky casino below us as we chowed down, jittery with fatigue and excitement. What adventures lay before us?
“How’s the club sandwich?” I asked.
“Not bad. Bacon’s a little dodgy.”
“Why can’t they make fresh bacon? It would be sooo good. There’s nothing worse than dodgy bacon in a club sandwich.” It’s true. Can you imagine how good a club sandwich would be if they fried the bacon just beforehand?
Bill taken care of, we sauntered into the casino. We were exhausted, but the machines were calling their siren song, as if to say, “Gam-ble…Gammmm-ble.”
We slipped a couple of (lucky) twenties into a pair of side by side Bonus Deluxe video poker machines. Would the unthinkable happen? Would we have an incredible start-of-the-trip gambling event to kick off this part of the book? The Queen was dealt four to a Royal…
She held four, we held our breaths, she drew one, and…
THERE IT WASN’T.
What there was, was, was the 3 of clubs or some other turd card. Tired beyond belief (if I told you how tired we were, you wouldn’t believe me), we retired to our room, 528, luckily facing away from the noise of the Fremont Street Experience. I went to bed with no winnings, but I did have a warm little secret cuddled up in my warm little secret cuddling spot. I’m told that this spot is next to the conscience, just below common sense, and directly above self-restraint. It all faded into one sleek, smooth, black nothingness as I dropped off to sleep, with fully still 99.83% of our latest Vegas adventure before us, the initial 0.17% having been a complete and utter bust.
Failed four-to-a-Royal attempts: one
Club (with dodgy bacon) Sandwiches: one
Fantastic Winning Starts to a Winning Trip: zero