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Sunday, August 5, 2012

My warm and jingly nickels


So far, the members of the public we’d explained the Olympics to had responded in one of two ways – either with feigned interest, or unreserved skepticism tinged with a sort of bored disgust, as if we were slightly crazy and they should get away from us as soon as possible or they’d call security.

And so it was with some trepidation that I enlisted the help of Marion, the tough as leather security guard in the front of Binion’s to present the medal. I explained the situation and he looked at me quizzically. I showed him the ‘medal’ – a yellow reflective polyester key keeper meant to be worn around the neck, emblazoned with the storied Olympic motto “I (heart) MEXICO”. Cost: $1.00. At least it had an international flavor.

Marion glanced around us to see if we were some sort of diversion in a plot to knock over the joint.

Meekly I held forth the incredibly cheesy I (heart) MEXICO medal. I was kicking myself. Surely we were about to be 86’d from Binions forever more for such silliness. But to my surprise, Marion chuckled and made a big show of placing it over The Fabulous Fource’s head and kissing her on the cheek in congratulations.

The Vegas Olympics felt more official than ever! Now all I had to do was win the rest of the events somehow.

Our morning session yielded some quads, including my first $100 quad of the trip. Taking a break, we fueled up on steak and eggs at the Golden Gate – well, actually, QQ fueled up on steak and eggs. I ordered the exotic sounding Spanish Omelette which turned out to be eggs with some Old El Paso salsa dumped over them. It was barely edible, especially since my loving wife kept asking me how my ‘spanish vomelette’ was.

We walked down to the Fitz to squander some free slot play we’d been mailed. That business was no sooner done (without anything of note happening), when a bank of machines caught my eye. Video Poker. Slant tops. Old school. Our favorite game and you win a free steak dinner with any four of a kind. We never even thought twice, sitting down and having at it.

“This is an awesome promotion. Where else can you win a slab of meat playing video poker?”

I held three tens. “Look I’ve got three to a t-bone already!”

“Get a Royal and they bring you the whole cow!”

Before long, QQ nailed four Aces for $100 and a coupon for a free steak dinner. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Next we headed down the (Fabulous) Las Vegas Strip in (Fabulous) Las Vegas on the (not-so-Fabulous) Deuce double decker bus. One of the two hamsters that powers the thing must have been off sick, ‘cause it took an hour to roll the four miles to Luxor. I’m sure on my deathbed I will cherish this exchange of my irretrievable vacation time for the savings of eleven dollars in cab fare.

The next competition was the classy Keno Dressage event. We thought it would be cool to do this in the Keno lounge at the MGM Grand, which was featured in the now-classic major motion picture ‘Vegas Vacation’. If, by now, you have made me for a fool, you have made me right.

We stopped off at Luxor, playing a bit in our old haunt, and having what was probably our last meal (lunch) in the Pyramid CafĂ© which, at this writing, seems doomed to become a trendy, cool-vibe, upscale, ultra-lounge hot spot, like the 15 other trendy, cool-vibe, upscale, ultra-lounge hot spots they’ve gutted the old pointy girl to make way for.

We worked our way back through Excalibur (where the missus nailed a $100 quad, and I lost), across Las Vegas Boulevard to the now very tired looking Tropicana. My general losing trend continued as I dumped a quick hundy on craps. But it seemed that I could bring luck to others. Like the nice honeymooning couple next to me, playing VP one quarter at a time. He held four to a Royal and took forever to push the draw button. Sure enough, he got the fifth card for the Royal Flush (worth $62.50 with one quarter in, instead of $1000 when you play five).

I felt so good about this young naive husband and and his pretty wife that I took time out from my daily regimen of having my ass handed to me to point out that he had just enjoyed an event that happens about every 43,000 hands. I can be incredibly thoughtful, its true.

Actually, it reminded us of... us, more than 15 years ago and that very first royal I ever got, with only one coin in. It set us on an adventure that spanned many hundreds of wasted dollars and too much buffet food. This wonderful, bittersweet feeling rushed through me and warmed my heart for what must have been five to ten seconds. The buffet food heartburn would last much, much longer.

We took the elevated walkway to the MGM Grand, that big green behemoth. We strolled past the Lion exhibit (with recorded lion sounds piped in that seemed to scare the real lions held captive there), through the casino, past the endless BJ pits, past the large open empty space sparsely filled with slots where the Keno Lounge used to be, past the bars and slot club, and to the lobby at the far end of the casino, some 3 miles from where we had first entered the maw of the ‘MGM Green’.

Keno Lounge. Used to be.

Say it loud, say it proud, El Stupido had forgotten that MGM-Mirage-Behemoth-Co had removed all Keno from its properties because it didn’t fleece the suckers efficiently enough.

We confirmed this at the slot club. Putting my suckiest, whiniest voice to use, I employed my Sonyc-Vysion Secret Comp™ wiles to obtain some free play from the boothling - $5 for Mrs. F, $10 for me. I think the ‘my dog is sick’ story was the decider.

Free play, and some bar shots did not do much to help my mood. I’d thoroughly screwed up this day and I was feeling pretty sad after recounting the story of our sick pooch. Still there was no news on his prognosis.

Fortunately, we had show tickets for Zumanity – maybe seeing some naked boobies would cheer me up and change my luck. We trucked over to New York New York where half the casino was hidden, inaccessible, behind a giant wall. It was in the process of being gutted to put in, no doubt 19 trendy, cool-vibe, upscale ultra-lounge hot spots.

We grabbed some fast food for dinner and went in to the show. I was not disappointed in the boobie department. My nickels were getting warm and jingly, was my luck changing for the better? Was the buzz in my pants excitement or just my cell phone on vibrate?

The taxi whipped us back downtown in no time flat and as a last gasp on the evening we tried some 50 cent Jacks at the Boar’s Head Bar, Mrs. F putting in $20 and taking out $50 and me putting in $20 and taking out dick all. It was all so familiar.

The Queen retired to bed and I stupidly decided to play on throwing good money after bad. The trip was really kicking my ass so far. I tried some quarter deuces and hardly got a paying hand. ‘Okay,’ I said to myself, ‘try to at least get a $100 quad on bonus deluxe’. I started plunking away.

It’s amazing how a video poker player can stay hopeful and optimistic with hours of non-eventful play decimating his bankroll. I suppose its because of the faint hope that each hand you play can potentially be a big one. I was dealt three to a Royal and automatically held the high cards and as always tried to think positively and imagine the needed cards plopping into place.

What happened, was the needed cards plopped into place. I knew I had it before the machine even responded. Finally, finally, finally a ROYAL FLUSH in spades, for $1000 and I was alive, alive, alive. I ordered a drink and the attendant locked up my machine. I got on the house phone to the Queen.

“Hi, just wondering if you were coming down to the casino again.”

“Is there a reason I should?”

“Yes, if you want to see my Royal Fucking Flush, there is!!! By the way, you owe me another Gold Medal…”

Queenus Camerus arrived just after my cool grand in cash did and took some pictures. Just to show off, I’d gotten a $5 scratch card. We savored the moment for a while and let the wonderful cards burn their way into our memories for a minute. Finally, I played it off and started the long journey again, on to the next Royal, who knew how far off in the future.

We headed up to the room and I checked for messages. Dr. Jack’s recorded voice rattled at me across the long miles. I swallowed hard and braced myself for the news. Negative. The tests had all come back negative – no cancer found at all! If we could get Duke’s stomach inflammation under control he had an excellent chance at full recovery. I could barely burble the news to Mrs. F through my tears of joy.

As I lay in bed counting semi-trailers to drift off to sleep, I reveled in my good fortune – in Vegas, loving wife beside me, big win, back to even on the trip, and best of all Duke would be with us to see the summer and hopefully for a few more years. The smile on my face would stay all through the night until dawn, and beyond.

The Score

Non-Cancerous Dogs: ONE
Spanish Vomelettes: 1
Quads of various flavors: 12
Royal Fucking Flushes!: RF 1
Free Meat: QQ 1
Dodgy Las Vegas Boobie Shows: 1
Club Sandwiches: 2
Postponed Keno Dressage Olympic Events: 1
Winning Days: RF 1

Clean and Jerk Standings (no change) QQ ($2 Big wheel): $10 RF ($2 Big wheel): $0

    1 comment:

    1. Great news about your dog! Losing mere money means nothing after that!


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