Dropping off the hill in Henderson Nevada, I gaze upon Las Vegas down below in the valley, shimmering in the night heat, she twinkled like a jewel in the desert. I think I read somewhere that Las Vegas is an Indian term for spring or spring water. Next time I run into the gunner I will ask him? (A friend who lives out there in that part of the country.) My throat is parched and dry, it has been a long haul from Oklahoma. Some 18 hours or so, now but just another log in the firebox of time.
Arriving at the Barbary Coast out on the strip, I go to the parking garage and find a spot for the truck. Sitting there in the cab, I split up my funds, and then stash “my get me home money” under the hood and go into the casino.
After settling into the room, it is time to head downstairs for some much-needed grub, I am hungry, even tho it is 2:15 A.M. in the morning. Wolfed down a couple of BLT’s, fries and decided I might try my hand at some craps.
The boys in the pit seemed like a congenial lot (certainly had no problems taking my money, big surprise huh?). Found them to be quite friendly, pit boss seemed better than most. Shot some craps, dice were good to me, won enough money in 35 minutes to almost buy a new pickup.
Yeah, no joke, surprised me too.
Tipped the boys, went to the window to cash in, and headed for my room. Slept like a baby, which means “had to get up every two hours and go to the bathroom” which is a sign of a tired prostrate I suppose. Laid around most of the day, and just hung out, did not gamble.
That night I showered and then opened up my suit bag and got out the “good duds.” Nice western cut suit, boots, vest. Threw some jewelry on my fingers, pulled out my Mr. T. Starter-set Gold Chain necklace and hung it on my neck.
Dressed to the nines, and out and about on the strip, turn me loose, turn me loose.
The night before, I had rolled in wearing a somewhat wrinkled western shirt, straw cowboy hat and Levi’s. Nothing Gentleman’s Quarterly noteworthy, tonight I am shining, bring on my fifteen minutes of fame.
“Yes Barbara, you can refer to me as the Oklahoma Whale, I don’t mind at all.”
Came back to the casino about 3 A.M. This night had been not so good to me. Or in other words, “Never say things cannot get worse … ‘cause worse will follow you across the street.”
Noticed the boys are back in the pit, same crowd, same pit boss. Walking up to them I fish out my wad, my money roll, and say to no one in particular, “You boys want to shoot some craps?”
The pit boss looks up, see’s me standing there all decked out in my Sunday Best and says, “Hey lookie here, the Okie went out and bought some NEW clothes with all that money he won last night.”
Man-man, some people really know how to hurt a guy.
Didn’t do so hot this time, up and down all night long, win some, then they take it all away. Not much fun either come to think of it. Later on, I am in the bathroom, counting up as most gamblers are prone to do. The old pit boss comes in, walks to a urinal to do his thing. Turns around and while zipping up his fly he says ….. “Well Sport, how’d you do?”
“Up eighty dollars as best I can figure it?” was my reply.
He walks over, washes his hands in the bowl, looks up at me in the mirror, smiles a big smile and then says …. “Tough way to make a living huh kid?”
“You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, no when to walk away … My ___.”