Spielbank Hamburg

SHOT 2018/My tales of adventure in Las Vegas

So, you wanna go to SHOT show? You think it's all fun and games? Get to play with guns? See Jesse James and R. Lee Ermey? SHOT show is the annual pilgrimage of the unwashed masses to Las Vegas to rub elbows with youtube celebrities, bloggers and overseas businessmen copying US made equipment and share infectious disease.
If you love guns, gambling and gonorrhea - SHOT show is for you! It is not my typical idea of a good time. I am not a big fan of Las Vegas.
However: I do attend for a few reasons. First, I do enjoy travel and I'm platinum on AA so I can usually score an upgrade. Second, industry people are in there that I do hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars with business with so it's nice to put a face with the name and see what deals are out there. SHOT for me has been a bust for the past few years. Being a value guy, I want to buy at $1000 and sell at $3000 and as of recently the gun business is more like buy for $1 and sell for $1.10 if you get what I mean.
We used to do business at SHOT and now it's just checking in on foursquare, instagram and rubbing elbows with bloggers and the like. I want to make money, not spend money so this is very annoying to me.
Anyways, onto the play by play.
Monday, January 22nd. One day before SHOT show.
The TSA line is a shitshow thanks to, well TSA. I have pre check and breeze right through.
I slog my way to the lounge, as shitty as it is to wait for my winged chariot to DFW. I have gone from being in an abusive relationship with Delta to being in an abusive relationship with AA. Although if you really want to experience the battered spouse feeling, UA is a few gates over.
I board my flight to Dallas/FW and my Renton assembled chariot is having a problem with one of the ring laser gyros, the hate agent tells us we are delayed for an indeterminate amount of time. Even as an AA Plat, I have no cleared upgrades. I am number 4 on the list with one seat open to Dallas/FW. I am 39/61 for Dallas/FW to LAX.
Fuck my life.
I gate check my bags to make life easier for me and the rest of the folks slumming it. If I don't have to worry about being short on time, I like to gate check to free up bins for those who are not as fortunate. Eventually I board and ask the FA to say hi to the captain and get a ride report. Light chop all over north texas today and we're going to take the long way around the field due to wind.
Me: I guess it's true. Dallas always does seem to blow a little harder in the postseason...
CA: Hahhahaha
FO: You got that right! Go eagles!
Having brightened the day of the flight crew, I head back to my MCE seat in Y and kick back and relax by listening to my Rumours, my favorite fleetwood mac album on my ipod.
We land at Dallas an hour and a half late eating into my 4 hour spa layover I had planned. I hightail it to the Centurion lounge in terminal D, my home away from home. Thankfully I don't need a massage since I brought my friend Laura some homemade chocolate rice crispy squares and she gave me a one hour massage and gave me a happy ending.
I grab a plate and help myself to some of the excellent chicken and some mashed red potatoes and bacon It is cheesy and DELICIOUS. Between that and the poblano rice, I can feel it going straight to my thighs. No, I do not care. NOM NOM NOM
https://imgur.com/a/WBcyd
The lounge is packed. The bar is full and I grab a quick single malt as I have my meal since American's not going to feed me. They begin boarding to LAX as I walk out of the lounge. I make it to the gate and the entire plane has boarded because the screens say they are boarding group 9.
Giving the FA a friendly nod, I ask to say hi to the captain and I stride through J and say hello to the two gentlemen flying today. Aviation nerd protip: CHECK YOUR ROUTING!
I didn't, but I had a hunch since arriving from the east we'd get the ANJLL 1 or the HLYWD 1 arrival. I got a 50/50 shot. Let's see how good I am.
Drop my bags at the threshold, poke my head in.
Me: Howdy guys, we still looking good for the Hollywood 1 tonight?
CA: Man, you did your homework yes we are! GABBL transition as a matter of fact!
Damn I'm good.
FC: Nice! I know you guys take a rash of crap from drunk Parker so I like to say hello to the folks who do the heavy lifting and I'm a total airplane dork so it's cool to check the place out.
CA: I'm an airplane dork too! I'm Jeff Rowland, nice to meet ya!
SUPER nice guy. He gave me a tour of the airplane, even took a picture of me in the left seat.
https://imgur.com/a/xVIy6
Here he is showing me some stuff around the airplane. He gives me the grand tour of the 787-9 including this neat feature that actually measures how many G's they have on landing so they know whether or not they need an overweight landing inspection or not. AMAZING airplane. I'm shown all the bells and whistles and they tell me how fun the plane is to fly. Jeff takes a few pics of me in the best seat of the house. I tell the guys I'll see them at the in and out burger on Sepuldeva and I hike back to my seat in W.
The FA's were wondering where I was, and they gave away my assigned seat. I take an empty center aisle seat and make life easier for everyone. W in the 787-9 is a solid hard product. The BE Aerospace MI-Q seat is a good ride whether in it for 3 hours to LAX or 13 to CDG like I was in a few months ago. https://imgur.com/a/iPHVh
The boarding door closes for an on time departure and I watch another airplane movie - American Made with Tom Cruise. He's so dreamy. Jeff's PA's were really lame and had a whole bunch of people laughing in the back on the way to LA. The flight was not long enough. The landing is a perfect grease job on 24L and we await a tug to get towed into gate 41 at LAX. I say thanks again to the flight crew - worthy of note, http://andystravelblog.boardingarea.com/2018/01/29/pilots-lette
My next hop via a 737 to LAS is uneventful. I stop at the Centurion lounge for some freshly squeezed OJ. It is DELICIOUS as AA's app tells me my bags are being unloaded.
I grab my things and hop in the last car Hertz has in the gold section - a 2016 Toyota Corolla. Times are rough. I'm at Circus Circus again. I check in and tell the lady about the last time I was there with the neighbors and the extremely loud sex. Full story: tail end of this - https://www.reddit.com/guns/comments/5podeq/shot_2017my_tales_of_adventure_in_las_vegas/
She damn near busts a gut laughing and upgrades me to a skyrise room and gives me a line pass and complimentary buffet.
I arrive to my room where housekeeping has not cleaned it to my exacting specifications. Specifically, there are like three hairballs from a cat in the chair next to the desk. I ask for another room and they set it up for me. It's now 1AM. In and out burger is closed.
Fuck.
Tuesday, January 23rd SHOT Show Day One
You gotta get into the palazzo garage before 8AM or you are not getting a spot. I get in at 8:01 and miraculously find a spot. They are doing so much construction at the resort that I don't recognize it. I grab my pass and check in with some other industry associates. My first day is semi-eventful as I check out the sig 365, a very promising concealed carry product as well as a few other really neat things and many many useless items.
I run into u/chugbleach in the basement and we trade stories. He shows me some neat stuff he's been working on. We plan to dine later in the week and I continue walking the show when I see the most amazing booth ever.
Backstory: https://www.reddit.com/guns/comments/7ag6oj/gsg_stg_44/dp9u9hw/
I let fluff buy the hook, he posts $120 to win $100 if he gets his HMG gun by the end of Q1. If gun arrives on time, he gets $100 from me. If no, I get $120 from him.
I walk back to chug.
FC: DUDE DUDE DUDE YOU GOTTA SEE THIS COME QUICK
CB: Okay lets go
We walk briskly not 100 feet. I stop quickly. Chug looks confused.
I gesticulate wildly to our right.
This is what we see.
I crack up laughing and can barely contain myself. This is the greatest thing I have seen in weeks.
On that note it is time to take a break for lunch. I head up to one of my vendors who has a hospitality suite for the show and they are serving jambalaya for lunch every day. As a Louisiana boy, we do love jambalaya. There's a reason I spend lots of money with them. I eat and have a coke as I trade gun jokes with other gun dealers. I wander around the show and nothing else jumps at me.
I walk the footbridge over to the Wynn to see how the house is doing. The poker room is full. I draw $2500 from my credit line and head down to the craps table to throw some dice. I have some mixed success as it's getting late and I want to hit the in and out burger so as I'm getting ready to leave, Laura sends me a bunch of filthy text messages about what she wants to do to me when I get back. My chips and raging boner leave the tables quickly as I duck into the bathroom to tell her that if she wants to treat me like a prisoner on a conjugal visit - I went to 8 years of catholic school, she's entering a world of pain. She says game on.
After a quick trip to the cage to cash out, I'm up or down something like $100. I swing by in and out burger for a double double. It is delicious. Sleepy time.
Wednesday, January 24th. Day 2 of SHOT show.
Alarm goes off at 7:45 AM. I wash up, eat and get breakfast. In the garage by 8:15. Still manage to find a spot! Attendance is down this year. I get in line at Larue. They run out of dillo dust at 8:39. This is the line at 8:35 https://imgur.com/a/KLHrg
The show opens at 8:30. Fuck my life. I grab a dillo and some stickers for some friends and a few HK calendars. I wander around and talk to the guys over at Franklin Armory and their new SBR that isn't an SBR, SBS that isn't an SBS and rifle that isn't really a rifle BUT IS STILL A FIREARM. The projectiles they want to sell have fin stabilization and it's like a 55 grain flying Lombardi trophy. It's an interesting idea but I'm not 100% certain I would buy one personally. I trade war stories with a few other friends I meet up with at the show. I head down to the basement and I'm looking at a few accessories from Tactical Walls.
Just as I'm ready to leave - Joe Mantegna shows up and says hi to the reps.
FC: Mr Mantegna! I love your work! Can I get a picture?
JM: Sure.
Someone grabs my phone and snaps a pic
FC: You are great in the simpsons as Fat Tony. Just the best!
JM: (in fat tony voice) I don't get mad. I get stabby.
FC: That's awesome! Thanks! Enjoy the show!
I send the pics to some friends who enjoy snappy Mamet plays and they are all jealous. I head down to the basement. The ATF booth is vacant due to the government shutdown. So is the FBI booth. Oh well. I head upstairs to the manufacturer supplier section and I find out that Olympic Arms is still in business making things. I do a lap and get some business cards from some precision machine companies that can make some elaborate parts. Jambalaya again for lunch. Nom nom nom.
I head down to FN to talk shop with the guys down there and give them shit. FN's new innovation is a two tone FDE/Black gun. So now 50% of the gun does not have to match. I trade barbs with Mike Hoffman and we debate the age old question, is it really gay if you can suck your own cock? Just as I mention this, Steve Bannon shows up at the booth. That's my stop. I say hello to the director of commercial sales on my way out and go to the Knights booth where I find they're making 6.5 Creed stuff now. Interesting how quickly that cartridge has caught on. I talk shop with a few of the KAC guys and then I steal some more HK Kalendars for friends back home.
I hit the Circus Circus buffet with my free pass for the unpleasantness and it is not that great at all. They ran out of roast beef. I mean, really? SHOT SHOW IS IN TOWN! We are beef eating gun owners, and you're gonna run out of roast beef? This would never happen at the Wynn, an amazing property. I make a mental note to sell my MGM Mirage stock and buy some Wynn in the morning. I head back to the craps table and lose a shitload of money. I witness a heater happen after I color up and watch people go nuts. My luck at MGM properties has not been good. Ugh. I don't feel like doing gunnit live and head to sleep early.
Thursday, January 25th. Day 3 of SHOT show.
I message Chug and let him know that it's gotta be tonight if we're gonna hang since I fly out Friday night for Boston. We plan to make plans for dinner. I head to the show and get there at 3 minutes to 8. One of my best customers calls me wanting an XM2010. I head over to Remington and through some finagling they manage to say YES WE CAN SELL IT EVEN THOUGH WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO SELL IT. I work up a quote and get the customer the info and tell him what's what. I visit the nighthawk custom booth where they have a new gun chambered in .45 APC.
https://imgur.com/a/9bNe7
I kid with a few FBI guys about their attention to detail. I saunter about the show. Leatherman Tool Group always has some nice things to play with. Tim Leatherman is engraving tools for people with his autograph. I'm happy with all of his products I own and I stop by to shake his hand and tell him that my wave has saved my ass on a hundred different occasions and I once resurrected a Ford off the side of the road. He says he loves hearing the stories and he's a pretty nice guy.
I wander about a little more and I find myself over at the Emerson Knife Company booth looking around.
For those not in the know, Emerson has a bunch of specwar types as customers. Damn good knives and operator customers. One of them is behind the table wearing a badge that says JOHN SMITH - JOHN SMITH INC. He's got arms that are as thick as my legs and he looks like a Navy Seal. He bolts upright from his seat and looks at my wrist.
"Is that a 1675?"
FC: Sure is! Damn good eye! My dad won it in an underground poker game in Hong Kong in 1968 from a couple of navy guys on shore leave that flew F4's off Dixie Station.
"Holy crap, that's fucking awesome!"
We talk watches and guns and killing people for a while. He says he's in the navy and the budweiser insignia necklace he is wearing tells me everything I need to know. Nice guy. I wonder what his real name is as the show closes down and as I walk out the magpul booth gives me a laugh. A paper sign on the door says "DOOR IS LOUD AF CLOSE GENTLY"
I'm not kidding - https://imgur.com/a/GgSkU
I head over to Chug's hotel and he gives me the grand tour. It's way nicer than my hotel. We go out and have dinner. I'm asked if I like Thai.
FC: Tie good, you like shirt?
Nobody gets my simpsons jokes. We go to dinner where a good time is had by all. Chug gets a call and needs to drop off a SHOT show pass to a co-worker of his flying in. As opposed to all the mechanics of a dead drop at the palazzo etc I tell him fuck it, just give it to me and I'll pick him up from the airport. In exchange, I tell him I want all the leftover chicken wings from the Thai place.
It's a deal. I grab the wings and head to McCarran. There's a guy in a BRZ hauling ass and I decide to see what this shitbox can do. I get the Corolla up to 115 MPH on the highway before backing down to a more sensible speed. After 5 minutes of MARCO / POLO I find the fellow and give him his shot show pass and a ride to his hotel. I find it funny that last year I ran an unapproved uber substitute and here we are again and the same thing is happening. I'm offered gas money or a beer after the show and I tell him hey, it's your first time at SHOT - enjoy the show, don't sweat it.
I hightail it up the strip to the Palazzo where I play a bit and eventually see a heater in progress. I split the 6/8 for $120 each and they hit. I press it and they hit again. Maybe this won't be a bad trip after all. Table craps out and I cash out still down a few bucks but better than when I started.
By the time I make it back to the room, it's 4AM. I eat the chicken wings. They're delicious.
Friday, January 26th. Day 4 of SHOT show.
I've gotten most of what I want to get done, done. I ordered some Firearm Instructor body armor from one of my guys since lots of people want me dead first thing in the AM and things were going good. I sleep in and debate what I want for breakfast when I realize things are going a little too good. Nothing really bad has happened this trip yet. I pack up and get ready to leave the hotel when I get a push notification.
MOTHERFUCKER
My flight to Boston has been canceled.
My confirmed first class seats on one of the hardest to upgrade legs in the entire AA route network - LAX to BOS, gone. AA proactively books me on the flight leaving LA a few hours later IN COACH. A middle seat, even. No, just no. I call American and they tell me the plane is broken. Damnit. I look on the app for acceptable reroutings and there is nothing available in first. I say fuck it, I'll deal with this shit later. I have the rental car until midnight, lots of time to make a new plan. I check out of the hotel, throw my bags in the car and head down to the show and it's a freaking ghost town. Parking spaces everywhere. I say bye to a few folks as my phone sends me a notification. WSJ: STEVE WYNN ACCUSED OF DECADES OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
Oh FUCK MY LIFE. I bought the stock back on Wednesday. GODDAMNIT STEVE WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS BULLSHIT
I skip lunch and walk across the street to the Wynn and their corporate office.
You see, I have a simple theory. If the allegations are false, they should have no problem sending someone out to listen to my concerns and say the allegations are false and here's everything we're doing to fight it. If the allegations are true, they'll send down hired goons to throw me out the door.
It's sorta like spousal infidelity. If A finds evidence of B cheating, credit card statements, sexts, racy pictures, etc - and A confronts B and B admits it and says I want a divorce, B is guilty. If B says A is cheating on them what the fuck are you doing looking at my credit card statements and phone you're the one that's wrong and invading my privacy get the fuck out of my house - B is really guilty.
That's the theory. If they go full retard and bounce me off the property, the stock is probably going to go down some more. If they address the concerns, things should not be as bad.
Since I walked through the property the last time I was in town, I knew where the corporate office was. The name on my broker statement says WYNN RESPORTS and so did the sign on the doors. I walk through the doors and to the end of the hallway where there's another electronically locked door that is unlocked.
There's a security guard who is nonplussed sitting at a desk wondering if I'm lost. I explain to him that I'm a shareholder and I want to know what this company is doing about this catastrophe. He says he can't say/do anything and I'm instructed to leave. I ask him if he can take a message. He says yes, and I'm like you just said you can't do anything. So what's that supposed to mean?
I argue with him about what he supposedly can and cannot do as I eat raspberry macrons that have been plated at the reception area of the corporate office. THESE BETTER BE THE BEST FUCKING MACARONS I HAVE EVER EATEN GODDAMNIT. They are. Fuck.
He tells me that my best bet is to talk to someone else at the resort, not him. Fine.
I leave and head to the concierge desk - because from one concierge to another, we can solve problems. I explain the situation and instead of routing me to the press office or investor relations - they give me a phone and tell me to speak to guest services. AKA the people that help you with your stay as a guest of the hotel. I give the lady taking the message about 15 minutes worth of comments and she's assured me that they'll be passed along to management.
Given the circumstances I think that's the best I'm going to do today. Now, there's the issue of me being stuck in vegas for another night. I look down at my phone and AA has offered three itineraries flying out of McCarran tomorrow IN FIRST CLASS that gets me to Boston in a timely fashion. I jump on the 625AM flight to Charlotte. This means I need to be at the car rental by 525AM and out the door around 0430. Fuck my life. And I have nowhere to sleep/showeshit/shave.
As I'm walking back to the esplanade to cross back over to the Palazzo where my car is, I notice the registration desk. I get in line and a lovely lady asks what she can do for me.
I tell her that I'm a shareholder and I'm pretty mad about the way the company is handling their sex offender in chief. And given the $18 haircut I took on the stock today, if there's an angry shareholder discount on a room tonight I think that would be more than fair given the circumstances. She agrees and gets me a bottle of water and the manager. The manager asks me if I've stayed at the hotel before, the answer is yes and asks to see my ID so she can see if she can plug me in at a repeat guest rate.
A few minutes go by and I wait patiently at the desk when I'm tapped on the shoulder.
There's two former NFL linebackers, one with his back towards me and the other introducing himself as the director of security.
Hmmm. Lets see. For those not in the know, there's only one exit in and out of the wynn registration desk.
If there's two bodies on me, there's gotta be at least two more at each side of the wall behind it that I can't see, I figure 4 sets of eyes running the eye in the sky all with their eyes glued to the monitors, the director of security is holding my ID which means he's already got my play, my comps, my markers, run me through central credit, my red card, he's got metro running me for wants/warrants and there's probably an unmarked metro ford next to a service exit with an open door and a seat reserved for me in the back.
I look down at my watch. The market is closed. I can't sell. Fuck. Because there is no way in hell this stock is holding $180 monday morning.
Quickly, I bang out a message to my brother letting him know I am about to be arrested at the Wynn and to start googling Las Vegas bail bonds.
The two security guys tell me to step away from the front desk and they want to know what the hell I'm doing. I tell them I want answers from the management of this company about how they're handling this disaster. They say I can't just walk into a casino corporate office and ask to speak to someone.
Well, I just did. Why can't I?
They said it represents a major security risk and a breach of their perimeter. After all, Mr. Wynn takes his security at the hotel very seriously.
Me: I suppose if I were a sex offender with hired goons, I'd take my security seriously too. And if you really didn't want people going back there - last time I checked, this is a casino. The doors have locks. Perhaps you should have oh I don't know, locked them?
Wynn Security: What makes you think you can just walk in here and talk to us like that?
Me: I'm a stockholder. Technically you work for me.
Wynn Security: You honestly expect that a big company like us is going to send someone out of the corporate office to talk to a guy like you about a thing like this? That never happens in corporate america.
Me: That's strange. Michael Moore did exactly that and that's what made him famous. What's your point?
We bantered in the registration area of the Wynn for something like an hour and 45 minutes as the director of security wandered back and forth. They never backed down with the questions and I never backed down from the answers. A lot of casino security is former law enforcement so they're looking for that time you change your story like on an episode of cops. For instance, if it was cops it would go like
Cop: who's drugs are these?
1: Never seen em before
fast forward 2 min
1: I mean my friend smokes pot, maybe it's his
Cop: I thought you said you never seen em before?
fast forward 2 min
1: So I smoke a little pot okay
Cop: I thought you said it might be your friends pot?
fast forward 2 min
1: yeah it's my pot
They were looking for a reason to throw me out and as far as I can tell, they probably still are. I'm sorta expecting a registered letter in the mail barring me from the property in a week. If I start yelling, it's disorderly conduct and they have a case. If start pushing someone around, same thing. But if I speak candidly and gesticulate wildly and raise cogent points about how every single hotel employee I've dealt with thus far owns a combined total of zero shares in the company - they have no skin in the game and I do. So, they can't really criticize my opinion as wrong because I'm the stockholder not them. At least, that's my opinion. I could be wrong.
Well, the goons disagreed with me and said I was wrong. They also said that this could have been accomplished with a phone call. I said no, because you wouldn't take a phone call seriously. And now you're taking this seriously. So, match point: FC.
They didn't like that. It would not surprise me in the least if Steve Wynn was in the security booth with a radio telling his guys to find some reason to arrest me and have me sent to Clark County booking. This guy just feels guilty as sin. I can't prove it but my gut has usually been right about this sort of thing.
As I'm waiting for my inevitable arrest and booking, I wonder if American Airlines will allow me another flight change due to temporary incarceration. Because there's no way I'll be able to leave the state with an ROR or a signature bond out. I look over at Mean Joe Greene Jr and tell him I was too angry to eat lunch and I'd like to have a seat before my blood sugar crashes and my head hits the floor and Steve sends me a bill for the shattered italian marble.
He gestures towards a chair in the reception area and I have a sit. He offers to bring me another water. I decline. He brings me a water anyways. I consume both the waters as compliments of the house as a sign of untoward cooperation.
Out of the corner of my eye I see the director of security talking to two metro PD guys with handcuffs out. I hear over the radio they're asking for a rover to take me down to the security office for fingerprinting and photographs. He is gesticulating wildly.
The director of security comes back over and he tries to get me to crack on my story. I tell him I'm here as a shareholder as a private citizen demanding accountability of the management. I will not apologize for walking through an unlocked door to the corporate office asking to speak to someone to hear out my concerns, I will not apologize for going to the concierge since the previous person was very unhelpful and I will not apologize for expecting the highest standards of a fortune 1000 company chairman and CEO. And until you pony up and buy some stock, I'm not about to take a lecture about what is and isn't acceptable behavior from people who don't have skin in the game protecting what should be by all accounts a registered sex offender.
He looks back at Metro PD.
They shrug.
They've got nothing chargeable on me.
Hell, I'm not even counting cards this time.
Next thing I know he quickly walks away and returns with a late 20's hispanic fellow who introduces himself as the hotel manager. He says that he's gotten a report from security and that Mr. Wynn's private life he cannot comment on but the concerns I have will be sent up towards management.
FC: So you're the hotel manager? So you report to Matt Maddox. You tell him that this is a mess. Nobody comes back from this sort of thing. Not Harvey Weinstein. Not Louis CK. Not Matt Lauer. Not Bill O'Reilly. Not Bill Cosby. Not Kevin Spacey. Not Charlie Rose. Not Al Franken. And the LAST time this happened at Mirage, a shareholder revolt wound up sending the company into the hands of MGM. What's to stop Sheldon from across the street from doing the same thing? You tell them that.
The manager nods and offers me a room at a rate, inclusive of resort fee and taxes of $335/night. I take out my phone, look at the Hotel Tonight app and realize that I'm being charged more money than if I were to book the room from a consolidator.
Now, I don't mind the lie about understanding where I'm coming from. I do mind the insult to my intelligence. I am handed back my ID and the hotel manager offers his business card. I take his business card and go over to the cage. I close my credit line and take my deposit out of the cage. I'm down for the trip. Fuck this shit, I'll deal with it later. I call my brother and tell him that I've been released. We look at some flights and to get back to Boston will require another night in Las Vegas. Everything leaving tonight is full due to the conventions closing up.
AA has some seats open in first via Charlotte and Philly, I take the Charlotte flight leaving at 6:30 AM from McCarran and they confirm me seats in first all the way to Logan. This is the only thing to go right today. I purchase some clean clothes since I will not have time to do laundry in Boston anymore due to the delay and head over to the palace station oyster bar. The wait is about 2 hours but I make some friends in line while I'm there. I am torn between the alaskan chowder and the bouillabaisse. I ask Steve behind the bar what he thinks is best. He says do the bouillabaisse. I tell him that sounds excellent, and to add extra lobster. I ask him how long, he says could be 30 minutes but check back in 20. I tell him I'm gonna go hit the tables and I'll be back in 20. The timer on my phone begins counting down.
I belly up to the nearest craps table and I drop my cash down. I tell them I want it in black and red and the croupier complies. I bet the 6/8 split with mixed success and the pass line with odds. The shooter misses the point. I look down at my dwindling stack of chips and there's 15 minutes left.
Fuck it. Go big or go home. Lets get this shit over with. The point comes off. I drop $100 on the pass line. New shooter gets the dice and the come out roll hits a 10.
I look at the gal with the whip. I throw her a stack of chips.
FC: Full odds on the ten, $200 hard way, give me all the numbers and a nickel c and e.
New shooter proceeds to hit every number on the board, midnight, yo and a speed limit. Pass line pays even money. Pass odds pays 2-1. I'm looking down at a big stack of chips. What the fuck just happened?
I drop $100 on the pass line again, the point comes out for an 8. I take full odds and all the numbers. New shooter hits every number on the board, midnight, yo, except the 8. The guy next to me has the all or nothing at all working so the only thing left to hit is the 8 and it's gonna pay 175:1. The 8 does not hit. Everyone is chasing the 8'er from Decatur.
I look down at my stack and the table limit and the boxman.
FC: hey Joe, what's the juice on laying the 8?
Joe: 5 points!
I take down my pass line odds.
FC: I want everything off and I'll lay the 8 for a dime.
Everyone at the table looks at me like I'm a lunatic. I slide over two purple chips and two green for the vig.
Time remaining until bouillabaisse: 8 minutes.
Lets see what happens. The dice bang around a bunch of more times. I'm ahead for this trip. Way ahead. Next thing I know, the gal with the whip calls no roll. One of the dies have left the table.
Time remaining until bouillabaisse: 4 minutes.
This is my stop.
FC: Take down my lay, and I'll color up.
The boxman colors me up, I leave a nice tip for the crew and start to walk over to the cage to cash in. I hear screaming and profanity, I turn around and I see the dealers stacking chips. The shooter has 7'd out.
Time remaining until bouillabaisse: 2 minutes.
There's a long line at the cage. I walk back to the oyster bar and I see a big bowl with a plate covering it. Steve behind the bar has thought of everything.
I turn the plate over and look down at my stack of chips. Maybe today won't be so bad after all.
https://imgur.com/a/bjK7R
The bouillabaisse is delicious. The win is even more delicious. I nom my way to the bottom of the bowl and settle up the bill. I leave Steve a nice tip as I head over to the Palazzo to say hi to some friends. I find myself at a craps table you can hang meat upon. This is not good. It's getting late and I head over to my room at the Mandalay Bay.
Now, here's the fucked up part. This girl I've been hooking up with didn't hook up with me before I left for SHOT. She's been messing with my brain for a whole week. I check in to the Mandalay Bay where there's a goddamn pornstar convention going on.
FML.
I find myself down at a craps table at 11PM and bringing a frontier flight attendant named Amber back to my room. The lucky streak continues. My flight leaves in a few hours. I kick her out of my room and pass out.
Flight leaves at 625 for CLT. Need to be at McCarran at 525. Out the door of the hotel by 5AM at the latest. I set my alarm.
*Saturday, January 27th. *
I wake up to see the sun shining through my hotel room. I look down at the alarm clock. 8:01AM.
My long standing joke is that I sleep like a dead prostitute. The evening of ravenous illegal in 48 states sex has taken its toll. Fuck. I grab the phone and press the button for guest services. I turn on the speaker as I open my bag wide and just stuff everything in as fast as I can. I throw my boots on as I tell them to check me out over the phone. I haul ass downstairs to the garage and I get to McCarran and board the shuttle to Terminal 1. I walk up to the AA desk knowing I am 11 different kinds of fucked. Nancy the gate agent starts working on my departure. AA's rule is 2 hours from departure on a flat tire. That's 8:25 AM. It's a few minutes before 9. Nancy the great agent cannot get anything to work. She has to put me in the special services line. By the time I get there, they tell me I'm flying standby and I'm on the flight to Philly leaving at 1PM in the afternoon. There is no way in hell they can get me on the 10AM to Phoenix.
My cousin is getting married in Boston and she is going to fucking kill me. I told her I'd be there around 6PM on the rebooking. And now I'm going to be leaving for Philly in 4 hours. Granted, the Amex Centurion Lounge has freshly squeezed OJ but that's not going to be enough today. I run to TSA and get cleared. I run past the Centurion to head straight for the Phoenix gate. Hopefully other folks have had an irish layover. The gate agent there starts working me and she says that they have two open seats and that they're gonna get me on. Just sit tight. I step to the side to let her help a few other folks gate check bags. The clock is ticking and her colleague closes the boarding door as I'm standing next to the gate looking fucked. I take a deep breath and try to keep it together.
A tap on the shoulder.
"Sir, your boarding pass. Exit row window. I've taken the liberty and called back to make sure there's space in the overhead for my bags so you don't have to gate check. You are good to go."
I look up at the three ladies working the podium.
FC: Can I hug any of you?
Gate Agent 1: No
Gate Agent 2: I'm sick
Gate Agent 3: Sure, why not?
I head behind the counter and give her a hug. She seems pleased.
I hightail it to the door. Gate agent 2 opens it up for me. I run down the jetway like a charging rhino, Chris Christie like. The flight attendants greet me by name and they realize that my nose is bleeding from the 8 ball I shared with Amber a few hours back. The FA points at my nose and asks me if I'd like to step into the lav. I realize it's probably pretty bad. I leave my bags in the galley and duck in and I stuff a bunch of paper in my nose as an ersatz tampon. I walk back out, grab my bags and I declare to the entire plane it's the dry air not a cocaine problem.
Nobody believes me.
I take my seat and there's an empty seat between me and an in uniform FA on the way home. We chat a bit and Cathy thinks my story is hilarious. She even gets on AA's PALL list for the flight to Boston and checks and says I'm number one on standby R4. A nice lady, I offer her one of my extra LaRue Dillo's. She thinks they're cute.
The working FA walks back and looks down at the traveling FA and says very discreetly there's a 40 minute ground hold due to PHX losing a runway. This is gonna be really really tight. My connecting flight to Boston is not looking good. We wait the 40 minutes for the hold and make it to PHX about 15 minutes behind schedule. I bolt to the Boston gate. I ask if they've cleared all the standby passengers. They say yes. I say I should be number one and they hand me a ticket in coach.
FC: Any way I can talk you into a seat in the front of the plane?
The hate agent just looks at me funny. He does not seem to think that's happening. He asks me if I have status on the airline. Sure do. He says no promises.
I tell him no sweat, I'm gonna go take a leak and come back around in 5.
I walk back up and he hands me my new boarding pass.
https://imgur.com/a/IJuPe
I call my cousin and tell her that I'm gonna be a few hours late. Great ride all the way into Boston. I sleep like a dead prostitute.
https://imgur.com/a/RKMSu
Just as we cruise past the city of big shoulders, the FA wakes me up.
"Mr Hayden, would you like some ice cream?"
I look at my neighbor who is a middle age female executive and she is plowing through hers like Sherman through Atlanta.
FC: You know what, Chuck? I've always wanted to say this. I'll have what she's having.
https://imgur.com/a/our5R
Ice cream on the ground, delicious.
Ice cream on a plane, FUCKING FANTASTIC.
FC out.
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