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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Roomarooned with the Misused Safe Team

Day 10 - Monday

Memorial Day in the USA, the last pillar of my inept planning on this, the worst-planned trip ever. I managed to pick some of the busiest days in the calendar, oblivious to all of it until it was time to find a hotel room.

But there I am, ready to finish up at the Cal, and move on again to Tropicana. You have to love those offers that can be booked multiple times per period. Thanks Trop. I have to think, though, with my nickel play this time, I won't see those offers any more.

What is it I love about the counter at the California Market Street cafe? Maybe it's memories of visits to similar lunch counters as a boy - maybe at Gordy's where Mom would take me for a strawberry milkshake after shopping at Polo Park. Maybe those Kresge's and Woolworth's counters, where you'd have a cheeseburger or a blue plate special while watching the endless cascade of brilliant Honey Dew flowing down the inside of the glass rectangular tank on top of the dispenser. Maybe it's memories of places like the Bluebird cafe, sitting on a stool (that could spin!) drinking a huge Orange Crush float.

It actually causes me physical pain knowing that the Bay City Diner (which you might know as Du-Par's) has been ripped out, particularly the counter. All that history, and some of my history, gone, gone, gone for more gambling machines.

(Anyone know what happened to the glass dividers etched with scenes of San Francisco? Anyone else even notice these?)

Anyway, I love a counter.

So again, I have the (for me) perfect breakfast.

It's five times points today so I swipe my card at a kiosk in front of the slot club and play some video poker on Flashy. Flashy is in an alcove next to the ATM/Tito machine. Flashy's candle doesn't flash anymore (which I don't really miss) but to make up for it, Flashy sports a wicked reflection of a ceiling mounted white-hot-sun-strength stadium light in the ceiling on Flashy's chrome trim. It's bright enough to give you a George Hamilton fake tan in 3 minutes.

I get a quad and employ the Strict Rules of Parlay, and move up to 50 cents, whereupon my credits dwindle down to zero.

Like the kid said, more beans, please.

My second parlay run works nicely, and I get up to dollars, and cash out a good profit.

I'm playing savvily this morning, and protect my win with the cashout technique. Then I put $20 in but keep playing dollars. You know, just to see.

I run that up to $100 and cash that out.

Beeeffaaalooooo!!!!!!! is kind of weird to me. I do well on it, not super well, but well enough. The only bonus round I get pays $3.00. As in three fucking dollars.

But I hit two nice snouts-across screens and win money that way.

This won money is used wisely and carefully to fund more Beeefffaloooo!!!! play.

When the tumbleweeds have tumbled and the last Buffalo pie has been trampled, somehow I have $50 less than I did before. I repeat this performance on Ultra Bonus, sans turds.

I'm shipping out soon, so I give my good ole triple play deuces progressive a spin. Will it be nicer to me this time? Yes it will. In for $120 and out for $200.

I am still waiting to get dealt four deuces on that machine. I know it's going to happen (if the machine is still there) sooner or later.

My points bring $37 in cashback.

I buy a keno ticket for $39, adding two bucks of my own.

On my way to the room to shower and pack, I hear from Texas Steph - they are leaving MSS and heading down to Cosmo, and are offering me a ride, if we can make the timing work! I relay that I have a keno ticket on the go, but would skip my planned shower to be ready ASAP - if they could stand it.

It looks like a go, but to be a good passenger, I have to be ready when they are. I don't want to look a gift chauffeur in the mouth.

We keep a countdown going of how many keno games there are. With one left, I head downstairs, and get a text - they are on their way. I see a familiar face by the ATM before I turn left to go down the ramp to the lobby - it's Dave the security guard and limo driver - sort of (Driving with Dave).

He even remembers my name, and calls me Mr. Flusher. I return the favor, calling him Dave the Security Guard.

About a minute later the game finishes. I pick up my money - all of two bucks. (It's not enough to head back to town on, or even consider driving across the Waynesboro county line.)

By the time I get to the valet, they are just pulling in - perfect timing. We load up my stuff and off we go. Steph even lets me ride in the front.

It is a pleasant and easy ride to the Trop, and we are joking about how much I should tip the driver. I tell them all I have is my two bucks of keno winnings. Hubby hops out to get my luggage out of the trunk, and I slip the two bucks onto the steering wheel column, where I know he won't see it until I'm long gone. It's a pretty lousy tip, but on the other hand, I know that he didn't expect a cent.

You sure meet some nice people along the way and it is very thoughtful of those guys to get in touch and offer me a ride. Thank you!!! Next time I have a car I will pay it forward. (Minus a two dollar tip.)

At the Trop I catch the eye of the same front desk Sheila that checked me in last time. She smiles and waves, but is serving someone else, so I get a different front desk Sheila.

We go through all the rigamarole, explanations, computer tick tick tap tap mouse mouse, reading back all the stuff I already know.

Then she says, "We have a suite available - would you like a suite?"

Would I? Ummm YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"There's an additional charge of $50 a night."

Ummm NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So that was disappointing, but not as disappointing as when I get to my room, intent on showering, and there is no water, so I can't, and then I lock myself out of the room safe.

I can't leave the room because I can't put stuff I left out of the safe into the safe. And I can't shower.

I'm roomarooned.

The safe baffles me. I put in every single combination of  '1 2 3 4' I can think of. I try some variations, thinking I might have fat-fingered the keypad. Nothing works and after a bunch of tries - the safe locks me out.

It displays a jaunty little timer, telling me how long it will be until I can try again in a futile bid to open the fucking safe. Or maybe it's telling me how long to stand in the corner.

My time waiting for the safe to reset is spent wisely. One minute is for cursing. Two minutes are for texting the Quad Queen so she can 'make it better' somehow. She cannot. Ten minutes are for writing down in a methodical way all the variations of my combo I can think of. I think of what if I was one row lower than I thought when I punched it in. What if I missed one digit by a row. That kind of thing. Even if I can't get the safe open, I have one hell of a good set of keno numbers.

The final two minutes are for watching the stupid LED 'you're a dumb fucking ass' countdown. Finally it changes from 'you're a dumb fucking ass' mode to 'let's see if you can fuck it up again' mode.

I run down all the combinations I've got. They all fail, and before I'm through the list - the 'you're a dumb fucking ass' countdown starts and I'm locked out of the goddamned keypad again.

There's nothing else to do. I pick up the phone and punch a button helpfully labeled 'we'll do anything just press this button' button.

A cheery, bright, competent voice answers almost immediately.

"Hello Mr. Flusher, this is Sasha. How can I help you today?"

"Hello Sasha. My safe seems to have - err - malfunctioned."

"Is the safe open."

"Uhh, no the door is closed."

"Okay, Mr. Flusher. I can definitely help you. Is the safe locked or unlocked?"

"It's..." I swallow hard. "It's locked."

"Locked. Locked tight, hmm? OK, you do know the combination you entered don't you?"

(sounds of heavy breathing)

"Mr. Flusher?... Do you know the combination?"


"Uhhh... uhhhh... no?"

"Don't hang your head in shame Mr. Flusher."

(She knows?! Can she see me through the phone somehow?)

Sasha talks to me using the same tone of voice I use to talk to my dog Chippy when she has a sore paw, or is feeling a bit upset in her tum-tums, or when she's locked herself out of her very own safe using a combination that she doesn't know or can't remember.

"It's okay - this happens from time to time with our... less experienced travellers. We can handle this promptly and discreetly and your safe will be open in no time. I'll notify the Misused Safe Team to assemble in the lobby, and all 12 members, in full tactical gear with facemasks, shields, and seven flavors of pepper spray will be pounding at your door in no time."

"Thank you, Sasha."

"And don't be alarmed at the two members who you might see rappelling outside your window. Best to stand back in case they have to break some glass. You wouldn't want to draw any attention to yourself with a widdow ole cut on your widdow forey-forehead, now would you."

"No, Sasha. I wouldn't."

About five minutes later, the Misused Safe Team arrives, banging the door open and taking turns running by each other into the room while yelling "CLEAR!"

They stand ready, breathing hard, with seven flavors of pepper spray at the ready.

 I try to defuse the tension in the room.

"This safe hasn't been opened since I was here three months ago. I left a salmon in there, and I'd really like to have a snack."

The room is dead quiet, except for maybe a few crickets.

"ID, Mr. Flusher?"

Tough team - the salmon thing I always a laugh with has flopped like, well, a fish out of water.

It doesn't take long. They use some sort of metery thing and some sort of anal probe thing and cross circuit to B and in a jiff, the safe is open.

Inside the safe is my passport, my 'home' wallet, and two nutty fun treats for the plane.

The team commander looks at me, one eyebrow slightly raised.

"You're good to go sir. Anything else we can do for you?"

"No - thank you very much. I think I know what went wrong, I did know my combina -"

"Enjoy your... nutty fun treats, sir."

And with that, the twelve members of the Misused Safe Team stand down, and vacate. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a shadowy figure drop past the window on a rope.

When it's time to lock the safe again, I first spend five minutes practicing the combo on the phone. It's go time, and I do it for real. The safe locks. I take a deep breath, and punch in the combo and... the safe opens.

I've mastered the inputting of four digits of my choosing.


    1. Painting pictures with words Flushie!

    2. So did you leave salmon or crickets in the safe?

    3. Thanks for that, it wasn't really clear. Fortunately, I can always edit things, and also find a way to blame Jimmy Poon.

      ""This safe hasn't been opened since I was here three months ago. I left a salmon in there, and I'd really like to have a snack."

      The room is dead quiet, except for maybe a few crickets."


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