Thursday, August 25, 2011
I’ve never really been a gambling man, but things went a little south, if you know what I mean, this past weekend, and I’m here to tell you the tale.
It was a morning like any other. I woke up early next to my lady. Damn she looked beautiful, even after a long night of counting them sheep. She opened her eyes and told me good morning, as though my day couldn’t have begun without that, and maybe she was right.
I was brushed my teeth and went downstairs. Funny how things like getting dressed and showering get overlooked when retelling a story, but I did those things as well. The boys had a plan, you see, to go “out on the town,” they said. I’ve never been one for this kind of thing, but even my lady said that it was a good idea and was convincing me, using her charms. If I didn’t know that she loved me, I woulda thought that she had reasons to get me out of the house.
The day was like any other. I work in an office, you see, and it’s nothing fancy, but it’s mine. I work hard and enjoy the time I’m there, but when that clock hits five, you can bet that I am outta there just like a young boy leaving Sunday school.
I met up with the guys at 7:15 at the gas station on Montgomery. The stars were out. We all got into one car and drove off into the night.
Atlantic City. Las Vegas’ little sister. Not as crazy, but you’re still just as likely to lose it all. We started at Caesar’s Palace; something about them Roman columns pulled me in, made me feel as though I was royalty.
Night started off like any other at the casino. I played some slots and the boys convinced me to play some blackjack.
It had been a long time since I had played the game. I had convinced my wife that I’d never touch those cards again, but I thought, I’ll only play for a while. Boy was I mistaken. Once I was sitting at that table, I lost my control. I was back. I was winning more money than I knew what I would do with. A crowd formed around me; I was feeling lucky. Maybe just a little too lucky.
A guy appeared over my shoulder and whispered in my ear that he thought I should go. I should have listened, but I thought I was invincible. I didn’t even see the pill that was dropped into my drink.
I woke up outside. The rain was hitting me in the face and I felt cold. I notice I was only wearing my boxers and knew I had gone to far. The last two hours were a blur. I knew the time by looking at the moon. All those years as a boy scout finally were paying off. I looked around and didn’t recognize where I was. I was on a beach somewhere, I figured still by Atlantic City, but the horizon was dark. I was no where near the shining lights.
I walked to the street and saw the blood on my hands. How it had gotten there was beyond me, and the cold, cold rain wasn’t washing it clean. I checked myself, but I was without a scratch. This wasn’t my own blood.
I went back to the beach and rinsed myself off in the surf. It was colder than I thought it would be for a night in July. Too cold, I thought.
I wandered for twenty minutes before the cops caught up with me. They didn’t ask me any questions before they ruffed me up a bit and threw me in the back of their car.
By midnight I was sitting in the interrogation room at the station. Those coppers hadn’t even done me the favor of giving me some fresh duds to wear. The metal chair stung like ice on the backs of my semi-bare thighs.
Sergeant came in and started asking a lot of questions; questions that didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Questions that I didn’t want to know the answers to.
It became clear to me that someone had been offed and I was quickly becoming a patsy. They told me I had killed a guy called Jimmy. Jimmy had been known for stealing large amounts of money from Caesar’s, and they had seen me with him during the night.
I told them I knew nothing of the guy, but they shocked me by holding up my rags. They were coated in a fresh layer of blood that I assumed was the same blood that had been on me when I woke up on that beach.
They told me that they knew it was Jimmy’s, and they told me that they had found the body and I was going away for a long time. I wasn’t about to go down this way.
My buddy Cliff came to bust me out a little past one. Said he was my lawyer, crazy son of a bitch. Convinced those Jersey rent-a-cops and before I knew it, he had found a way to sneak me out of the station and into his car. Said he had been following me since the police first picked me up.
Cliff drove like he knew where we were going. He told me some new rags were in the back seat as he took a turn quicker than I would have though his car would take. Before I knew it, we were back at the scene of the crime; Caesar’s.
We barged into the casino like we owned the place. The gamblers look at me in horror as I walked past them. Cliff walked me straight to the blackjack table where he introduced me to his friend, the man who had asked me to leave earlier. The man didn’t look shocked, but I noticed him reach for something on his belt.
Cliff reached towards his and told the man to “be cool.” Cliff went on to explain the situation as he saw it. He informed the man that he was going to set things right for me or he was gonna spill what he knew. What Cliff knew must have been good, because the look the guy gave him sent chills down my spine. He pulled a number up on his phone and said to the person on the other side, “Plan B.”
Cliff nodded in my direction and threw me the keys. Told me the guys were safe and would be brought back to their homes. Told me to “scram,” and walked the other way, out of sight.
I nodded to Cliff’s friend at the table and he glared something fierce before returning to the game.
I never did see that money I won that night, probably got lost in my other pants. But that’s how things are down at AC; close your eyes for a moment, and you don’t know what’ll go down.