Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Up For 32, Down For 5

Five hours of sleep--that's all I could manage last night. And that's after being up for 32 hours straight. I still kinda feel like a zombie with insomnia, and I woke up at 8:00 this morning for no damn reason at all, and well, here we are.

Yesterday felt like a marathon--after working all night, playing poker for a couple of hours, going out to breakfast, doing housework, and then spending over an hour at the truck-detailing place, I got back just in time to get ready to go out to dinner with Linda Lou.

She'd never been to Grimaldi's before, and good pizza and beer brings her much joy, so I decided to introduce her to her soon-to-be favorite pizza joint. I got to her place at six, and she gave me the grand tour of her swingin' bachelorette pad. She's got a cool place and I think she has the same view of the Strip from her guest room and kitchen that I have from my balcony. Actually, I think her view is a little better, as she's a little further up the hill than I am.

But we didn't linger--we were hungry, so we hopped in the sparkly-clean truck and headed back over towards suburbia at it's finest, Silverado Ranch. The restaurant was packed, but we managed to get what seemed to be the last open table in the place. Wine list? We don't need no stinking wine list--bring us the tap list! Alaskan Amber for her, Peroni for me, and no salads, thank you very much.

We ordered two pies--a 'small' mushroom and cheese, and another with pepperoni and mushrooms. Y'all can probably figure out the whole his-n-hers breakdown. While we were waiting, we had a wonderful conversation about writing and websites and getting published and all kinds of interesting topics. You see, Linda is a much more accomplished writer than I am, and she's kicking my ass to get up off the proverbial couch and do some 'real' work at the keyboard. I'd really like to, but as you all know, my main problem isn't lack of ability as much as lack of motivation. So she's on me like an English teacher with a whip, and with her local contacts, I *may* be doing the occasional paid gig fairly soon. I'll be sure to let everyone know the details as soon as there are any. But honestly, it's looking like a decent opportunity.

Anyhow, dinner was excellent, and the conversation was wonderful. We sat and ate, drank, and told stories for a couple of hours, lingering over an extra round or two long after the leftovers were boxed up. We had a great time, but those wooden chairs were putting our asses to sleep. There was talk of staying up late and doing some more drinking, and even the I should just call in sick tomorrow suggestion made an appearance. Yep, that's me, the bad-decision enabler! But being old fogas, we can't rage like we used to, and that wall I was about to hit was getting closer and closer. So we decided to call it a night and leave the Vegas nightlife to the kids in the trendy clothes.

We were about a mile away from her place when that old familiar ringtone interrupted us with it's familiar depressing song. Yep, it was the poker room, requiring my services. I answered and told 'em I'd be there in an hour. We got to her place and said goodbye, and she took a box of leftovers with her to enjoy for breakfast this morning, while I drove back home to change clothes and get ready for work. Man, the thought of going back in was just a killer. I was so tired, and I wanted to go to bed so badly right then--work was the last thing in the world I wanted to do.

So I got home a few minutes later, changed clothes, and laid down on the bed. I set my alarm for a ten-minute cat-nap, and it seemed like about thirty seconds. On the way in, I stopped at the Circle K and got one of those 5-hour energy shots and a Starbucks double-shot of esspresso. I pounded them both right there in the parking garage at the casino, and shuffled in to meet my destiny.

There were four packed games going on at the time, and three dealers scheduled to go home within the next two hours. It was not lookin' good for Mikey.

I told the floorman that I hoped there was a 1:00 am dealer scheduled, because there was NO way I'd be able to make it all night. But luck was on my side or something (I know what you're thinking), and there was another guy coming in a couple hours later.

My first table was a not-so-juicy no-limit game, and it was fairly obvious that the players weren't really there to play poker so much as to kill time getting free drinks waiting for the bad beat jackpot to hit. I mean, yeah, the money was decent for me, but there wasn't much action. As soon as anyone raised, it was like Everybody out of the water! The pots were a bit sparse, to say the least. I was bored on top of being exhausted.

Around 11:00 or so, the 1:00 am dealer came shuffling in, hoping to pick up a couple of early hours. But he looked like there was something wrong--he didn't look drunk or stoned, but certainly unable to function properly. I was up doing the brush duties at the time, so I was at the desk when he came in, glazed like a Krispy Kreme donut. The floorman sent him to go get some coffee and then looked at me and said--There aint' no f*cking way he's working tonight!

Damn. I could see my evening unfolding before my droopy eyes, and it didn't look good. There were a handful of players at the 4-8 tables who we could count on to play all night long, so somebody would have to stay until 7:00 in the morning. And since I was the last one in, it looked like it would fall to me. I begged him to call in one of the other Extra Board guys, and he said he would, but prepared me for the worst in case he couldn't get hold of anyone. Due to the schedule and the overtime rules, there were only a couple of guys available, and if they didn't answer, well, it looked like I'd end up dealing all night with my eyes taped open.

I went to my next round of tables and tried not to think about it. After midnight, the games started to slowly break up, and once we got down to two tables, I saw another dealer come strolling in. Oh thank you dear lord baby Jesus!

But by then, there were only three of us, so nobody could go home. Even though I really didn't want to be there, the money was good, so I gutted it up and ground it out. Around 1:30, the other extra board dealer, apparently not wanting to really be there either, came over to my game and asked if I'd be willing to stay late. I had two words for him-- F*CK and NO.

Luckily my game broke about ten minutes before the top of the hour, so I hurried to get it closed, thinking I could clock out at two, leaving the one extra-board dealer, and the one full-time dealer to split up the last table. Thinking I was gonna go home, my buddy the floorman, trying to be cute, said Go ahead and take a break and come back at the bottom of the hour.

I guess he got his jollies by seeing the look on my face, because it was the most depressing set of instructions that I'd ever been given. I just stared at him for a split second with the You've got to be effin' kiddin' me look on my face, and he let it hang there for a second before he started laughing and told me to beat it.

In the history of all of mankind's endeavors, nobody was happier to punch that timeclock than I was at that very moment.

Knowing that I still had two pieces of leftover Grimaldi's sitting in the box out in my truck, I stopped by Fatburger to get a fountain Coke on my way out the door. I peeled a fiver off of my pimp-roll and attempted to pay for my drink, but the gal behind the counter kinda wants my stuff, so she gave it to me for free. I gave her a wink and a thank you, filled up my cup, and headed for the door.

I ran into Kimmy sitting at a video poker machine on my way to the garage, but I was too tired to make the effort. I just said Hey and kept walking. Like it would've done any good, anyways. So I headed back towards the house, probably driving slower than I ever have after getting cut loose, and ate my leftovers and sipped on my Coke.

I didn't make it five minutes once I hit the bed, and I'm pretty sure that I passed out before my socks hit the laundry basket in the corner.

But now, I'm awake, but still very tired. And as tasty as the idea of coffee sounds, it doesn't appeal to me just yet. Eventually I'll get up and get some breakfast, maybe even head over towards Boulder Hwy and go see Marcie, and then maybe do some shopping over at Target, but right now, I'd kinda just like to lay here and vedge.

I feel like I deserve it.


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