Monday, November 1, 2010

A Sunday at the Empress, Deux, Harlot

Earlier that Sunday that I wrote about awhile ago and never finished writing about out of laziness:

Me, Leeska, and her silent boyfriend (when boyfriends are silent, I don't know if it's because they truly do not speak often, or it's because I never shut up) arrived at the river casino an hour later than everyone else since we have to drive from Chicago instead of the suburbs. Also because we are just plain late.

As we stroll over to the tables (slots are for sallies) looking haughty as fuck, we see Yell and David doing shots out of mini snifters at the bar.

"You, madame," David declares, clinking and swilling his snifter, "are the source of all that is good in the world."

"Yes I am," Yell proudly agrees, "I am the best shooter this town's ever seen."

"Shots?" I snort, grinning. "It's fucking Sunday afternoon. Grampa's here, for crissake."

"Your sister just made me $300 at the craps table."

"What the fuck? In the past like half hour?" I punch her lightly in the shoulder and she feigns chuckled pain. "You couldn't wait for us? I got bills, you know. Shylocks and goons. You need to spread that love to yer effing sister."

"I can't help being awesome, okay?" Yell yells, and smacks her hand on the bartop. "BARKEEP. Gimme a water. Double."

"Water and--"

She winks, pointing a long white finger at him. "ICE." She swivels on her barstool to face us, opening and closing her fist with a cracking finger arpeggio. "I need to keep my mind clear and my reflexes speedy for the next round. And look!" She jams her fist into her pocket and retrieves a stack of chips. "There are so many black ones. Look at all the black ones! LOOK AT THEM."

"What's up with the black ones?" Leeska walks into it.

"Those are the hundreds."

"Holy fucking hell."


"I am awesome at everything!"

After greeting the rest of the family and properly expressing our jealousy at Yell's gambling prowess, we prowl.

Prowling drive-bys are the best way to feel the energy of a table. Integral to amateur gambling. Prowling jazzes and sponges up luck and energy, it gives you that confidence required to go and lay your car payments on the line, because you're a hunter and the chips are your prey. We watch some ruddy red man yell at a dealer about the Sox game while a woman waves her nails and cackles, "shuddup, Frank!" in his face.

We exchange silent nods and David slides onto a stool at the Blackjack table neighboring Angry Frank, followed by Leeska, her boyfriend, and me. Yell leaves to get herself a giant pretzel or something.

I'm awful at Blackjack because I believe in luck, but most importantly I believe I don't have it. Still, I got me a system: I play until I lose once. It's never, "Okay, one more time," because you can't beat that shit, and next thing you know you're out $400 and you're struggling down the strip clutching a forty of Old English at four in the afternoon, which happened to me before and that shit's rent. After two hands I tap out to whole mess of heckling from the gambling peers.

But I'm not that stupid.

I rejoin Yell, who is still prowling and clicking her chips in her pocket. "I'm ready."

She narrows her eyes and puts on her game face. "Let's do this."

People over at Angry Frank's table are cheering now, so we decide to slip in. The cackling woman welcomes Yell back into the game.

"Good shooter, good shooter," she approves, clapping Yell on the shoulder.

"Hi again."

"You back for more?"

"Of course."

I put five on the Pass Line just as Yell lays down twenty. As much shit as I talk about how I'm all awesome at craps and gambling, I can be a real wuss. Then again, she's playing with eight times as much money as me and I kick ass at math and percentages, so who's the fucking sally now?

It's a pleasant run, money's flowing back and forth. Angry Frank swells up in a rage about the Sox game and there's some good-natured mockery. Some dude at the table has his chips all bonky, haphazardly plopped in the groves of the table instead of neat, horizontal stacks like sliced cucumbers. Plus, they're all $1 chips. Who the hell only collects $1 chips, and chooses to prepare them so cluttery?

"I'm trying to decide how I feel about that guy's chips," I whisper to Leeska, who squeezes in between me and Yell.

"Oh, I don't trust that," she says. "No way."

"Dude, how much would that inflame Katsisch'seses OCD?" Snicker.

"His chips are in disarray! Cease your hasty lack of organization! I will react shrilly and violently in displeasure!" Yell does a perfect imitation of our missing sister.

"Why must you corrupt my vision with such asymmetry?" I add.

"What?" (This is the only word Leeska's boyfriend says all day.)

"Our sister talks like a villian," Yell explains.

"All the time."

"Plus she uses our parents' basement as an evil lair."

"That bitch crazy."

Boyfriend turns to Leeska for justification, who nods. "They aren't joking."

"THIS IS THE WORST DAY OF MY FUCKING LIFE." Seriously, someone shouts that shit from across the felt. Angry Frank. "Just turn it on! Your TV is fucking off! Turn it on."

"I'm sorry Frank, but I have no control over--"

"Just put the fucking Sox game on, God Almighty, this casino is full of retards."

"Frank, cap it or you're gone."

This continues for a while and the man with haphazard chippery excuses himself to go to the bathroom, asking a dealer to watch his winnings. The dealer pulls out a pale blue cloth and covers the freakshow arrangement just before David rolls up and Yell slides her chips to make room for him at the table, grazing the blue cloth.

It's Yell's turn to shoot, and Angry Frank's attention targets her dice. "Don't you let me down, little lady," he says. "I'm having the worst fucking day of my life."

"If this is the worst day of your life because you aren't watching that game, I'd say you're the one with the luck. Don't let me down. I want a free buffet." Yell laughs and tosses the dice down the tablestretch of felt.



Diary of Why said...


daisyfae said...

you seriously better not be planning to wait another month to finish this...

nursemyra said...

So what did you all end up with?

Sid said...

Seriously? Another "to be continued"??? Ugh. Also have I mentioned that I LOVE the way you write? I've never met anyone like you. K, I haven't actually met you either but you know what I mean, right?

formerly fun said...

silent boyfriends are the best kind:)

Logical Libby said...

People who don't stack their chips well don't deserve to have them.

That should be a rule.

Thanatos said...

I tried to play the silent boyfriend, but I get fuckin' wasted all the time. And I hate it that there are people in this world who have more than $10 to spend in casinos.

JMH said...

This story is fun. It's a family tale. Where is Grampa?

Kono said...

Roll the dice... i'm going to have a bowl of Boo-Berry.

renalfailure said...

To this day I still don't know how the game of Craps works. And I only know how poker works because of ESPN's World Series of Poker coverage.

Blues said...

I suck at gambling. But reading this makes me want to go to a casino and suck and gambling anyway.