Anticipating the wanton need that you, faithful reader, will have for this next telling upon returning to work Monday morning, I made a special point to go to the package store and purchase a fifth of rye. I find that I'm funnier when I drink rye whiskey. Besides, the cries of those poor souls who busted their retirement fund as a result of Major V splitting a pair of jacks on the blackjack table are dimmed in the process. This life, this mortal coil, is indeed like that table, my friends. We are all being dealt something which hinges on the decisions of those who have drawn before us. We pray every time the deal comes around that there hasn't been someone to our right splitting tens, or hitting soft nineteen’s, thus getting winning cards that might have been ours in the normal course of human events. But this story ain't about that. It's about buncha guys doubling on a bust hand, pushing the envelope past the point of human endurance, and scraping the bottom of the barrel just to see what it tastes like,
Fear and Loathing in Bridgeport
Part Six: The Coast
1300 or so 15 March, The San Remo Hotel, Gomorrah
The above time is not as precise as I normally put down. I don't think there is one clock in this entire city that reads the correct fucking time. My alarm clock says 1300, but that can't be right. I hit the rack at 0615 this morning. If it were actually 1300, that would mean that I've had almost seven hours sleep. Bullshit. If I had almost seven, then I wouldn't still be drunk...
I stumbled into my room at 0610. The bed was still turned down, and unused except for the fact that Daryl and Bobbie had evidently let the kids watch TV last night before bed. I cleared away all the stuffed animals and half-eaten cookies before I poked my head into the bathroom to check everything out. Daryl looked up and asked how I made out. I gave him a brief synopsis of all that had happened, retrieved "Biggum" the stuffed bear for one of the kids, and hit the rack. I giggled myself into oblivion as I recalled Kirk threatening that fag with asphyxiation. Fuckin' Kirk... Jesus...
I broached the surface of sleep on the third ring of the telephone. It was Major V asking if I planned on staying there at $149 a night, or if I planned on checking out anytime soon. I explained that I was still in the rack and to give me a few to unass my head and get down there. I rolled into the bathroom to find Daryl y la Familia gone. A note informed me that they had gone back to Lubbock, tired of waking to drunks pounding down the door at all hours. Shrugging, I took a shower, the first since I left Bossier City, and I repaired to the gaming room to join my companions.
1400 (whatever) 15 March, The San Remo Hotel, Gomorrah
The normal chaos greeted me as I walked through the casino. Some other dumbass managed to ask Guns whether he was in the Coast Guard before being launched into a slot machine head first. Quarters were everywhere. It was like throwing a fucking handful of pocket change into a street in Mexico: a mad scramble. People fighting, clawing. Old ladies smashing empties and slashing at folks with the stem. Old men breaking chairs over the bent backs of teenagers scraping change into their fucking baseball caps. Chaos. I spotted Chief sitting at a machine, uneffected by the mad scramble. It took me one look to figure out why. He was at a dollar machine with four-hundred credits on it. Like I said, the fuckin’ sun rose this morning...
I greeted Chief warmly, happy that I hadn't been left in the aftermath of Gunny's latest episode. I noted the four empty beer bottles next to him, but thought nothing of it until his slurred patois in response to my greeting. Apparently, Chief was in it up to his eyeballs. Like some sort of bizarre Palmolive commercial, Chief had been soaking in it. Maj V came in, skidding twice on the heels of his hundred dollar loafers. "We gotta gidoutta here before the cops show," he said. Chief cashed out quickly and we left in the midst of bedlam.
Some time around 1500 (God knows when) 15 March, The Coast, Gomorrah
Having escaped the Remo in advance of the local cops, we have begun our search for a hotel room that is cheap enough for us to stage our gear in with something left over to gamble on. Chief is fucking adamant that we must have water. Nobody can get him to explain why. He just says, over and over and fucking over, that water is a critical need right about now. Between pleas for water, he's back there singing Little Joe tunes and cursing at anyone who tells him to shut up. So far, we've been to three places with no luck.
It's a standard thing, living on per diem, not unlike my practice of clearing bar space for my drinking buddy to have a seat: Major V goes into the lobby with Kirk, who is walking with a pronounced limp, proclaiming their status as active duty members of the finest fighting force in the world who are just looking for a cheap room for the night, and wouldn't you please, in the name of patriotism, hook us up with something in the fifty dollar range? Well folks, the milk of human kindness, and the blood of patriots, at least so far, is running a might thin. Two hotel managers gave us a flat out "no", and the third actually laughed hard enough to project coffee through his nose. Finally, we gave up and got a suite at the Gold Coast and split the total six ways. I couldn't care less, my flight is at 0725, which makes my show time 0600, which means that I'd have to be in bed by 2200 to get any meaningful sleep. With six men in the same room, the likelihood of meaningful sleep is as likely as me being able to deal cards with my ass-cheeks. Nuh-uh. I'll just gamble all night, thank you just the same.
(An aside. My flight is at 0725. Those from battalion don't have to be at the airport until after 0900. After being told that sleeping gear was optional for that first night on the cum-soaked, fifty year-old mattresses of the MWTC squad bay, the revelation that Gunny and I are leaving at the crack of fucking dawn while battalion lolls around in the bag until mid morning seems to follow a pretty disturbing fucking pattern. I feel violated. As my Gunner in 2/3 used to say: "If it ain't one thing, it's another. If it ain't steak, it's that white shit in the boloney." Well, at that point, Gunny and I were up to our ass in the later. But back to my learned fucking discourse.)
So, we check into the Gold Coast and split this room six ways. Remember what I said about the mandantory male hotel room functions check? It happened in front of me. Six guys, myself included, walk into this place, grab the clicker, turn on the TV, flip through the channels, and then go check out the head before plopping down on the bed for five minutes. A-fucking-mazing. I should write a book. Well, after Kirk and I tried to open the tenth story window, for reasons unknown other than the fact that it had a latch and thus suggested that it might open, I attempted to call Laura using the phone that someone conveniently hooked up next to the shitter. It doesn't dial out, goddamnit. In denial, I call the front desk. Turns out the Major who serves him whom we shall not name, put a block on all outside calls. I refrain from printing what I was thinking.
Returning to the common area, I find the others attempting to figure out the TV and order some decent rent-a-porn. No dice, no movies. Apparently, there's a block on that too. At this point, I'm actually surprised that there ain't a block on sneezing, bowel movements, routine urination, and the occasional punching of the clown, for Christ's sake. That's right folks, the same guy who ordered Kirk to conduct Recon and Surveillance on a whorehouse has blocked all calls and tele-depravity for the evening. Irony is a cold fucking shower sometimes. Rather than get myself court-martialled, I call back to Bossier City and check in with Laura using the Major's cell phone, and hit the gambling tables in search of an honest game. I leave Chief as he launches couch cushions at anyone who happens by.
2100 15 March, The Coast, Gomorrah
I'm kinda liking this gambling thing. I turned twenty bucks into chips five hours ago and I'm still playing blackjack on that same twenty. I'm up a hundred and damned glad to be here. About 1800, Kirk came by telling me he was going on a beer run, I gave him fifteen bucks and requested the King of Beers.
An hour later, Major V rolled by and told me that Chief had drained a bottle of wine and had decided to take the City of Las Vegas as his personal fiefdom. Apparently, in the middle of fomenting revolution, the would-be Bolivar was taken prisoner by the evil, totalitarian casino security staff, who promptly asked Major V what the hell to do with the Sandinista motherfucker. Major V told 'em to stash Chief in room 1038 and thanked 'em for their discretion. When Major V went to check on the little insurgent thirty minutes later, he found that the little swing thingy on the door had been latched, and that he could see Chief through the two-inch crack between the door and the jamb; passed out on the couch with a beer in one hand and the clicker in the other.
About 2000, some dealer named Debbie from Lubbock (no shit) dealt me out three blackjacks in like ten hands, so rather than push my luck, I went upstairs to partake in the festivities with the drunken simians. I walk in the door to see Chief passed out length-wise on the couch, with Gunny and Kirk milling through their gear on the other side of the couch. As it was related to me, Kirk and Guns met the same latched door thing that the Major ran into earlier. They got in by going to the ice machine and throwing pieces of fucking ice through the crack in the door until Chief came to. Anyway, when I walk in, Kirk looks up at me, "hey sir, what the fuck happened to the head?" With visions of Chiefly puke running through my brain, I walked back to the bathroom and found my leather jacket soaking wet on a floor that was standing in an inch of water. I waded over to the shitter and took a leak before I realized that the Major's bag, with allllllll of his shit, was soaking wet sitting next to the tub. I also found my shaving gear spread all over the bottom of the shower.
A latched fucking room.
+Soaking wet fucking shit.
+Drunken fucking Chief.
+A Major ordering the cops to put him away in the hotel room, thus ending his quest at fucking nation-building.
+My shit, and the Major's shit sitting on the fucking bed, in plain view.
=Chief's fucking revenge on the fascist commissioned folk.
Personally, I could give two shits. Most guys pray for such an opportunity. I bought that jacket as a sophomore in college for like thirty bucks. I lived in Hawaii for three years, for Christ's sake. I've needed a heavy jacket like I've needed a monkey with four asses. The only reason I brought it out here is the promise of sub-zero temps up at B'port. So, with this in mind, I walk around the corner with my jacket, "Hey Chief, thanks for washing my jacket, it smells like ass and I was meaning to do something with it."
I get: "Pinchi huerto, bendejarra, cabron" and other such epithets from him as he lay on the couch. I holler at Kirk to walk with me for a minute as I leave.
"Look man", I say, "I ain't playing this little game, I'm going to find my table. But, I know the Major is going to be pissed, and he's been drinkin'. A drunk, pissed-off Chief and a drunk, pissed-off Major ain't good. Come find me when you need me." I get a "roger that" and I walked back downstairs with a hundred-twenty in my pocket. I can't hang in the room without a buncha bullshit happenin', so I may as well gamble.
0530 16 March, The Coast, Gomorrah
Six hours after having the Chief question the legitimacy of my lineage, my synapses are shooting off like a pack of Black Cats. I can't feel my fuckin’ tongue. Thank God this is a game that requires no actual verbal cues, ‘cause I couldn't speak if I wanted to. I spent from 2130 to midnight drinking whiskey, and from midnight till now drinking coffee. I have become what folks in the medical community call: Dead. I'm going into combat like this someday 'cause I could get shot in the heart twice without feeling it for at least half an hour. The resulting change in stimuli has created some sort of fucked-up shift in the time/space continuum. I can see what the dealer will turn up, but unfortunately, I lack the judgement to actually cash in on this little gift. It's like I've been given the gift of invisibilty, but that I can only use it in male locker rooms. God is laughing somewhere right now.
Besides that, at some point in the last hour, my salivary glands have gone to sleep without notifying me. My tongue is like a saddle blanket and my mouth tastes like a full ashtray. Drinking water does absolutely no good. At this point of dehydration, I wouldn't drown for at least a week. I'm like a piece of old wood, I'd float for days without sinking. I tried to put a dip of Copenhagen in just now, but the lack of saliva caused my mouth to actually soak the moisture out of the tobacco. I could roll a smoke out of what I just sneezed into my spitter. Someone gave me a mint earlier, I might just as well unwrapped it and layed it on the table. Stimulate saliva? Please.
Well, It's 0530. Time to cash in and go find Gunny. I'm about thirty-five to the good, and I can't find it in me to bitch about that. After all, it could've been much, much worse sitting on this table for something like sixteen hours. I think it's time to Hyaka the fuck outta this place before I spend my kids' college money. Can't wait to get back to Bossier and the river boats, though.
-Hopefully, I find it in me to write something funny
-Gunny finds solicitude in air travel
-Chief wins again (big fucking suprise, that)
Immundus saecula saeculorum,