Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Sunday at the Empress, Part the First

"Sure," I hear my sister answer a muffled question, and she calls up the escalator, "I'll catch up in a minute."

"What?" I am totally distracted and counting a wad of cash.

"She'll catch up in a minute," my cousin answers on behalf of Yellavitch.

"Whatever." I lost track of the bills on purpose and smiled as I started counting again, tripping off the escalator with my cousins in tow. David and Leeska. Not real names. We're standing there in the lobby of the Empress Casino, and I am awesome at craps again.

My Uncle Dave is in town from Vegas. He's a Pit Boss at the Stratosphere. Logically, when he comes to Chicago the whole clan goes to the casino as if he doesn't spend enough time at the tables already. Although I don't think he knows how to do anything but gamble. And watch people gamble. He can probably shoot things too, since he's some level of sergeant, which covers a broad spectrum of enlisted ranks, I understand, but I can never remember his official rank. He's a runner, very slim, soft-spoken, patient, gay. His house has only white walls and metal shelves housing four different sets of encyclopedias, with no other ornaments except a family photo above his desk and fridgeful of postcards. I would say he's the black sheep since he's quiet and blends into backgrounds, but I kind of feel like that side of my family consists of only black sheep.

So we're waiting in the lobby.

"Fuck is taking so long?" I glance down the escalator after a minute or two of waiting. Yellavich is speaking, folded arms, combative and sure, while the head of casino security scribbles on a yellow notebook.

"No idea," David says. "I'm having a cigarette. Be right back."

He ambles off and Leeska crosses her arms, sighing. "How long do you think this is going to take?"

"Don't know. Do they think she's not twenty-one or something?" Yellavitch, as I've mentioned before, looks like a pretty little fourteen-year old boy.

"Probably," she answers. "No, no fucking way, they scanned our IDs like seventeen times. They know she's legal."

"Hope so." I shift my weight and stretch, rubbing my stomach. I am hungry. "I'm getting hungry."

"Me too. Fucking hurry up, Yell."

"Screw it. I'm going down there." I pound my way down the stairs and stroll up to my sister and the security lady, who is very round.

I smile up at her. "Hi," I interrupt, and stick out my hand. The security guards stares at it for a second before gripping it, and I hold on. "I'm Rassles. Yell is my younger sister. Is there a problem or anything I can help you with?"

"We're just investigating something."

"What are you investigating? We actually have somewhere to be."

"It'll be just a minute," she nods, a little condescending, and yanks her hand away. Bitch. I'm braver around my siblings compared to the company of everyone else; more confrontational and self-assured, with a greater capacity to threaten.

"Are you afraid she's underage?" I duck my chin and crack my jaw, narrowing my eyes on the woman's face. "Because I'll verify everything in her damn wallet."

"I really can't say."

"Well, if I can help, let me know."

"I will, thanks. Yell, could you come with me please?"

"Sure," the Yellavitch sneers, arms crossed like a coat of bloody daggers, and the waddling Head of Security escorts my little sister through those key-coded doors that lead into the stark hallways behind the glittery casino floor.



daisyfae said...

she witnessed a murder, didn't she? if she didn't? you still need to write that as an alternate ending...

Erin said...

Why am I not surprised you have a Vegas pit boss uncle?

Can't wait for Part The Second!

Chamuca said...

My guess . . .hey think she was counting cards, Rainman-style.

Sid said...

What you can't just stop the story like that! What happened next?

Pit boss ... Does he break ppls' legs?

grumpy said...

ooh - I like a mystery!

Here In Franklin said...

Time's up.

Mia Watts said...

and???? then what?

Thanatos said...

< puts on Peter G's voice >Go on.

M. said...



Kono said...

What are you doing here at the Empress? Lil Sis: Counting cards, just counting cards, Aramis Ramirez hits .279 with RISP, counting cards, Rassles says don't say we're counting cards.

Mahjong said...

It's really a mystery...

Nikki B. said...

no shit? did they break her ankles? like in misery? is she a made woman now?

Blues said...

Cheating?! Was she cheating?! Does she have like super crazy powers of counting?