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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Out of the Blinding White Heat into the Rhubarb

Day 10 - Saturday July 26, 2014

Saturday was a big day. I had only a few bucks on me, had to get packed and checked out of Mandalay Bay, had to get Kenny to the airport for his flight home, if I could even find Kenny, and then, I was facing the goal of $8K coin-in at Four Queens on dollar Jacks - with basically no bankroll at all.

To my delight, I heard from Kenny via text. He wanted to meet for coffee by the lobby. So that’s what we did. I ordered some wheat toast and grabbed 2 or 3 peanut butters to go one it, and a latte, and settled in. Kenny joined me pretty much on time and he looked like shit warmed over.
Has to be a spoof band right?
“You look like shit warmed over,” I said. “Are you sure you’re up to flying out of here? Maybe you should see somebody. You could ask the concierge or something...”

“I had a rough night,” said the haggard-looking Kenny. “I got up at two in the morning and tried to see a doctor. I got directions to a clinic.”

“Oh! And what did the doctor say?”

“I never made it to the doctor.”

Kenny took a hit of coffee.

“The concierge gave me the address of a clinic to go to. I got in the cab and the Mexican cab driver didn’t understand the address I was giving him. I couldn’t explain it and I finally said fuck it, and jumped out of the cab and went back to bed.”

Kenny thought he would be okay to get to the plane and get home again. And all of a sudden, after talking for 10 minutes, he said he had to go upstairs. He didn’t feel good.

We agreed on a time that we’d meet to get him to the airport and off he went.

“Let me know if you need anything!” I shouted after him. Kenny half-heartedly lifted an arm in response as he walked away.

With the last and only $100 I had on me, I decided to give it one last try - but without my card in.  I didn’t anticipate playing long (knowing my luck) and didn’t want to screw my average. I hit for $100 on Double Double.

Great start. I moved over to triple play jacks one last try.

I pondered all these things about Kenny's state as I played and wouldn’t you know it, I got on a run and was able to pound triple play, and then five play for about 45 minutes. That’s okay, I’d rather have a good run than get points out of it.

I was just gunning for that Royal which I needed so badly. Just for fun, I got four Aces with kicker on Jacks, not on Double Double. Because luck.

In the end, I did lose and I did get tapped out. Busted.

Back up in the suite, I packed and checked out on the TV. I was pleased to see that someone, somewhere, had picked up the cost of my third night, and all meal charges, without my even having to ask. Not sure how that happened, but I was pleased. Thank goodness for small mercies.

I met Kenny down in the lobby and he was packed, ready, and right on time, and looked like shit warmed over, cooled down, warmed over again, and spread thinly on stale Melba toast.

By comparison, his hotel bill was around 600 beans, so I soaked in that information and inwardly, felt a smug sense of satisfaction that 600 of the dollars I’d lost in the last three days had come back in the form of comps. It’s really smart to spend $1120 to get back $600 in freebies, but I am too good a friend to Kenny to every point this out to him.

Now, let me set the scene for the ensuing de rigeur Airport Debacle.

Air Canada flies out of the new Terminal 3 at McCarran. And usually, we land and depart from there. But both Kenny’s and my flights had actually docked at Terminal 1. We’d had to take the tram over to T3 to get our luggages.

So, both Kenny his electronic notifications from Air Fuck You Canada to just confirm - and it gave a gate number at Terminal 1.

The question was… which terminal should I go to now, Terminal 1, or Terminal 3? We reasoned it out and went for Terminal 1, where we knew the plane would actually leave from.

I parked as close to the Terminal as I could, to take it easy on Kenny. We traipsed across the walkways, into the terminal, along the overhead walkways, and almost to security. But Kenny hadn’t checked in yet.

So we traipsed our asses back across the bridge thingy and down the escalators to where the check-in desks were. That’s when Kenny started breathing a bit weird and that’s when we found no Air Canada presence there whatsoever.

“Sorry man, I let you down,” I said.

“Now what? How do I get to the tram to T3?”

“You can’t get there from here. It’s inside the security zone. There’s a shuttle though, and I know exactly where to catch it. Do you want to do that, or go back to the car?”

“Let’s do that. There’s time.”

So we walked out of the terminal, straight out the nearest doorway, into the blinding white heat of the Vegas summer.

“I don’t feel good. I think I’m losing my periphery vision,” said Kenny as we surveyed where we had to go.

“Perineum…” I corrected. "Perineum vision."

And yet, he refused to let me take care of his luggage. Kenny still had a shred of dignity left, which made me proud of him, for a time, anyway.

As you pick your way through unfamiliar surroundings and get lost, there’s always that moment when you realized you’ve gone off the success path and into the rhubarb. That moment when you are all of a sudden committed to getting somewhere from somewhere that you were never meant to be and even as you move further into disaster, for some reason, you don't turn back.

Less than a minute later we were at that moment. We’d gotten off the walkways and were crossing lane after lane of high-speed thoroughfare, trying to reach the other side in one piece. Next, we were clambering over a waist-high fence, designed to keep pedestrians out of where we’d already found ourselves.

But the real ‘in the rhubarb’ moment was when we found ourselves clambering over a field of fist sized landscaping rocks, poor Kenny dragging his battered Samsonite behind him like an ‘about to be caught’ Berlin wall refugee.

I think the ‘in the rhubarb’ moment comes at the same time the ‘we are in too deep to back out’ moment comes.

We kept going. Across some more lanes of traffic, Frogger style. Across a couple more fences, Kenny expending wasted energy that he didn’t have in this Olympian pursuit of the Level Zero Intra-Terminal Shuttle gold medal - 1600 meter hurdles event.

We got to the last of the traffic lanes and we had to continue our quest by walking upstream against the traffic, in the traffic lanes, Kenny having decided the remaining fences and obstacles were too much to negotiate.

Finally, we got to Pedestrian Land, and made our way to the shuttle stop, which, thankfully, sported a shiny, hot, diesel-sucking, throbbing, idling, roasting shuttle. Which we boarded.

We got off at Terminal 3 and headed toward the Air Fuck You Canada check-in counter.

“I feel short of breath,” said Kenny.

We slowed a bit.

“I really think I’m losing my periphery vision,” said Kenny.

“Really? Maybe you’re fainting… Kenny, don’t collapse on me!”

He slowed down but he didn’t stop and I was really starting to have second thoughts about putting my pal on an aeroplane. What if something was seriously wrong and he got stuck, you know, up there?

But we made it to the check-in. Kenny wanted to see if he could get an upgrade to Business Class.

He explained how sick he was feeling and about the failed clinic visit and was there anything Air Canada could do for him?

“Well, you could use your AeroFuckyouPlan points to upgrade,” said the helpful boothling.

“Okay, do that.”

“You have to do it yourself online. Just go to a fuckyou kiosk and log in to your fuckyou account blah blah blah or log in on a phone or other fuckyou device blah blah blah…”

Kenny grabbed the edge of the counter for balance and held on.

“I feel too bad to do anything like that… can’t you just help me out?”

“You could purchase the upgrade.”

Of course that is all they would do, and that is what Kenny did. An extra $450 to upgrade to Business Class. He flashed the plastic and they did the deed.

I got the poor guy to security, asked him one last time if he really thought flying now was the best thing, gave him a manhug, and watched him like a hawk going through security until I couldn’t see him anymore. I felt like I’d just dropped my kid off for the first day at school. My kid who had failing ‘periphery’ vision and shortness of breath.

Had I done the right thing by shepherding him onto an airplane with no medical facilities? I’d know in about five and a half hours.


    1. It is "perineal" vision. It happens mostly to us doctors during a >500 lb gynecologic exam when all you can see is the labia majora, profunda, and gigantica. It's deadly I tell ya.

    2. Drat! Now I feel bad telling you to ditch Kenny. Hope he's okay. Any way, turn around three times, (a slot attendant told me this works so bear with me. ) , and think positive. You MUST get a royal, Royal.

    3. LOL @ bnugget. Reminds me of my younger ER nursing days. A young intern/resident told me 3+ times how great a nurse I was and how much he enjoyed working with me. At first I thought there was sincerity in the comment. Then I knew. I asked what the f** he wanted from me. I had to chaperon/assist on one of those gynecological exams. He still owes me to this day.


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