Jimmy lay comfortably in the king sized bed, his consciousness somewhere in that nether realm between being awake and asleep. He currently viewed his world from within a numb alcohol induced euphoria.
And what a world it was, Jimmy thought. Everywhere he looked in this luxurious hotel room he saw nothing but class and beauty. From the lovely dark polished wood of the maple cabinet that housed the High Definition TV to the expensive paintings hanging on the walls the accommodations for this high roller were nothing short of first class. And the best part was the Jacuzzi right there in the bedroom. No, on second thought, the best part was the beautiful blond lying beside him. Jimmy chuckled quietly to himself as he tried to remember her name. One thing for sure, he would never forget yesterday’s delight, Beatrice. Yes, memories of Bea would be with him for many years to come. And who knows, maybe he could get Ross to appropriate her services on his behalf again tomorrow.
Jimmy had to admit that he loved living like a king and he loved having Ross, a Casino Guest Host, at his beck and call and acting as his personal Genie fulfilling his every desire. But that’s the way it works in this town he thought. It’s a city of prostitutes. Not only the girls that work for the escort services or hang around the Slot Online casino lounges, or even those that openly ply their trade on the streets, but the casinos themselves were run by and served by people of the same mind set. They will do anything this side of committing a felony for the reward of having someone with an ample supply of currency play at their casino. Every service they render, every compliment they pay, every time they smile and call you sir and ask what they can do to help, has absolutely nothing to do with you or any special good will they have for you, it is all about your money. Just like the prostitute calls you “baby” and “honey” until the deed is done and she has her pay, then is off to find the next trick who is willing to purchase her fantasy love; likewise the casino goes through the motions of treating you like someone really special as long as you will play at their casino and dutifully lose your money. But in reality, you as an individual mean nothing more to them than the last trick meant to the crack whore on the street.
Jimmy’s philosophizing was abruptly interrupted as the sound of the phone beside his bed pierced through his alcohol stupor and jolted him to full consciousness. Jimmy fumbled for the receiver knocking it off the hook before finally grasping it and getting it to his ear. A voice on the other end was already speaking in a curt, angry tone.
“Jimmy. Answer the phone damn it.”
“Oh, hellooo their Cap’n,” Jimmy drawled trying not to sound too drunk.
“You were supposed to have been at Sam’s Town 45 minutes ago. What are you doing?!”
“Well, Cap’n, just been relaxin’ a little and gettin’ ready to win a lotta money tonight.”
“Shut up Jimmy, this makes twice this has happened.”
“Well, every batter gets three strikes don’t he Captain?” The anger in Steve’s voice was beginning to have a sobering effect upon Jimmy.
“Usually yes,” Steve replied, “But if I were you I wouldn’t count on it. Meet me in the coffee shop downstairs in 10 minutes,” Steve demanded and hung up.
Steve hung up the house phone and walked down the corridor to the coffee shop. He chose a seat at a table in the corner furthest from the door. When the waitress appeared he ordered a cup of black coffee then leaned back in his chair and tried to calm himself.
Jimmy was out of control. He had become a problem, perhaps more of a liability than an asset. Steve mentally chastised himself for putting someone so young and so obviously lacking in maturity and self discipline into such a responsible position. Yet, even now as he considered his options, it still seemed like the logical choice and indeed it seemed as if he really had no other choice. If they wanted to continue to work Vegas, he and Mack and Lisa had to continue to keep a low profile since they had already been banned from one casino.
Steve had considered making Sam Ruck the anchor man, but although Sam was a good card player, he could neither look nor act the part of a high roller without arousing suspicion. He was a tall thin man in his early 60’s who had run a Mom and Pop Grocery Store in a Chicago suburb for 35 years. He was unrefined in thought, action, and speech. Sam was also one of the most negative individuals Steve had ever encountered. It seemed he had permanently adopted the philosophy that if anything could go wrong it would.
Steve, on the other hand, always liked to think positively and believed that if he put enough effort into any endeavor, things would always work out in the end. As Steve sat there he tried to convince himself to continue to embrace that belief.
But once again, the burning question of the moment was insisting upon an immediate answer. What was he going to do with Jimmy? If the boy didn’t straighten up he would have no choice but to put him on a plane back to Chicago. Not only had his high roller persona gone to his head, but he wasn’t playing very well either. Sam had complained three different times about Jimmy muffing plays. Sam said Jimmy had just played Basic Strategy when it was obvious that a departure was called for. Sam may have been a little upset because Jimmy got the nod as anchor man instead of him, but Steve had also noted a couple of occasions when Jimmy’s play had been questionable. However, both plays had been close calls either way and he actually won one of the hands so Steve let it go.
But Sam had also insisted, while speaking privately to Steve, that Jimmy was genuinely intoxicated while playing and not just acting. At the time Steve took the accusation with a grain of salt preferring to give Jimmy the benefit of the doubt and thinking that perhaps he was just that good in his role. But in light of Jimmy’s recent conduct, Sam’s accusations had taken on a lot more validity.
As Steve weighed his options the only conclusion he could come to was that if Jimmy couldn’t straighten up and do the job, the team would have to leave Vegas and they would also have to go on without Jimmy.
Just then Steve looked up and saw Jimmy standing in the doorway of the coffee shop. He waved to him to get his attention then braced himself for the encounter as Jimmy made his way over to the table. This is it, Steve thought. I’m going to lay down the law to the young man and the rest is up to him. But what the hell am I going to do if he doesn’t come through? Then Steve couldn’t suppress a little shiver as another unsettling after thought crossed his mind: “And what am I going to tell Mr. Ciau?”