We headed into
It should be noted here the reason why only L was driving. It’s quite simple, really: neither J nor I had our licenses. Even if we did, L wouldn’t have let anyone else drive anyway- “It’ll just be faster if I do it” as he claimed early on in the trip. It’s best not to argue with such stubbornness. It gets you nowhere.
Crossed the bridge over
Little do we know, our excitement is about to fade pretty quickly.
Our first mission: get to a casino and have some fun! Harrah’s loomed invitingly in the distance. Found a place to park, changed our clothes-surely we couldn’t go in with what we were wearing. I change into the ‘Valentine’s Day dress’, a little number that left both L. and J. breathless. I’ll admit, I took some satisfaction in that. In the midst of our excitement and miscommunication, the doors were slammed shut, about to take off, when the realization came: the keys are locked in the car. Ah, to hell with it, we’ll deal with that later. We had primo gambling at our fingertips!!
Off to the casino we go all smiles and feeling a bit euphoric. Flashing lights, valets- the air conditioning hit us like an arctic breeze. Step up to the security counter, the smile immediately fell from my face: I don’t have my I.D. I decided to try anyway. Put on my sweetest face, talked my sweetest talk. It didn’t work.
“You don’t look 21, darlin, ’” the security man says.
I was 22 at the time, but you would never have guessed it.
End up going back to the car with a collective sigh. First, we thought we’ll go to the cops and see what they can do for us. What a joke!! Cops? In
Security: “I.D.’s please.” A little soured in the voice.
There is a woman sitting at her podium in a red shirt and black pants, the standard attire for the casino worker. She is on the more plump side and looks as if she has worked here too long: The disgruntled employee? J. walks up and hands her his ID.
“Mm-uh. I cain’t take this.” Lips pursed and shaking her head disgustedly. “Not
She hands it back without even cracking a smile, eyes flat and shiny as a snake’s.
“ ID, please.” She sticks her hand out for L’s id and runs it through the machine. It issues a little beep as she hands it back.
“Cain’t take this.”
I am already starting to get irritated at this woman’s attitude (not that mine is something to be praised) and the fact that she wasn’t even looking at the damn ID in her hand. I ask her to run it through again.
“Says it eckspyered.”
“It is not possible that his ID is expired,” I say. “He just got it last month.”
Again, she ran it through. What do you know, it went through. She actually looked at it this time, though dismissively. Hands it back to L. with a thoroughly disgusted look on her face, as if she had eaten maggots for breakfast. Finally, it is my turn. She just glances at the card and announces:
“I needs to get secur’ty for da bot o’ you.” her head bobbling back and forth with eyebrows raised just as her fingers did the accusations.
I’m about ready to go; I’ve had enough of this. I don’t know why we just didn’t leave in the first place.
It takes awhile to get security and all we can do is wait. I see this huge black man come waddling out of some doorway, chest puffed out, hitching up his pants as only an overweight man can do, one hand on his ‘secur’ty’ baton.
Obviously, a man who takes his job a bit too seriously.
“What’s tha prob’m heyar?” huffs and puffs, glasses, which are too big for his face, sliding down his nose.
The podium woman kind of waves her hand dismissively at J. and I: “I.D.s ain’t in tha book,” she says.
THE MAN takes my I.D. in hand first and just stares at it (seemingly with great importance, as if it were some great document) under a light for longer than necessary; examining it back and forth, his head tilted back to get a better view. Isn’t there a book of state ID’s that you could easily look at, I think to myself? Doesn’t just about every business have them? I suddenly wonder, judging from the experiences encountered in
Me: Supremely irritated now, pacing back and forth, and not saying anything yet. I could see the others getting antsy, possibly ready to do something that could get us banned for life, or worse. There was one thing for certain: I did not want to end up in a
Southern hospitality was nowhere to be found in this great city of
Whatever was said, it was unanimous: Ain’t never comin back here…
We were not deterred from finding another casino, however. The search went on. We wandered around the Business District a bit more, sure that there is another one in this part of town. This was
We finally find Bally’s of our own accord (a billboard on the side of I-10), but this was a couple hours later-like 1 a.m. On our quest for Bally’s (we were determined), we got lost in the ghetto of
We finally see a way out: the exit for I-10. On the bend, there is a car burnt and shot out, completely, in the very literal sense. I, and the rest of the crew, was just glad to get out of there. A big sigh of relief throughout as we see the sign for Bally’s. All right!! We make it there, we know it’s late. Ooooh, it looks as if it’s closed. We walk in, doesn’t seem as if anyone is around, but they must be open: we are in. Ah, here comes someone: a security guard. It turns out this lobby was closed, but the riverboat is still open. He leads us there, one of the nicer people we have met so far. Even the ID process went off without any problems. The woman at the podium actually looked at the ID book this time. So, they were a bit smarter than the ones before. (Or was that something else, a slight racial hit?)
J had a small problem with his, however.
Oh, gee, thanks so much, I couldn’t help but think, sarcasm getting the best of me. I got the feeling The manager only did this because J put on such a show.
So. We are in!! On the riverboat. We sit down at the bar and immediately order drinks. We pay with a $50 bill. The bartender gave us extra change and a free roll of quarters (for the slot machines). Was this intentional? I don’t know. Didn’t really care. I saw this as our just right after all that bullshit of before. At the bar, there are electronic gambling games: card games such as poker and gin. I became seriously addicted to these. The best thing about it was in playing the games at the bar, the drinks were free!!! Yeah!!! Needless to say, I stayed at the bar most of the night. I was even amazed at how much I won. At my first try, I won $50.L wondered how I did it. Beginners luck? I don’t know, maybe. He’d come over to the bar periodically to see how I was doing-every time he did, I’d lose that game, then winning every other one that he didn’t oversee. Should I go so far as to say he was a bit of ‘bad luck’? J was over at the slot machines doing his own thing. He came over to the bar and told me to pick one for him. He won on nearly every one I picked out. I jokingly said: “You know I require a fee. I expect a percentage of that.” Actually, I wasn’t really joking…
After the initial excitement of winning so many, your luck tends to run out. I found I was immensely tired-it was something like three in the morning; time to round up the kiddies and head out. I came out with about 20 bucks. Not too sure about J, but I know he acquired a fair amount. It suddenly occurs to us: Where are we going to sleep tonight? We sure as hell were not going to push our way to
Out of the Wal-Mart parking lot. We decide to go back into the heart of
We stop in Krystal (fast food at its finest!) to use the bathroom, and find out that you have to buy something just to use the bathroom. Ridiculous. I have never thought much of this style of thinking. J ended up quite sick to his stomach after eating that tasty burger.
Through the media, people have romanticized the city, made it into something so fantastic and mystical that you are either severely disappointed by it- having had the image built up to near idolatry, then seeing the absolute reality of it- or you aren’t and are living in that fantasy as well.
Next Stop: TEXAS