Saturday, December 26, 2015

Throwing It Away Like It Grows On Trees

The day dawned dreary and late at the hour of 8:00 a.m. So much for getting an early start on gambling. Thevictorians enjoy sleeping in on their days off. We did, however, get out the door by 9:05. T-hoe was our transport, due to the forecast, and me not wanting people to think we had money. A 2008 Tahoe caked with mud and covered with cat footprints might just deter a would-be robber, you know. Because I'm sure the millionaires are driving 2016 Acadias to the casino.

Hick dropped off Genius and me at the front door. He's a good egg sometimes, when I pointedly request his compliance. We chose River City, the closest casino to our neck of the woods. It's not my favorite, because it's like a big box. Like a pole barn. One big rectangle. I much prefer Ameristar because of the two levels, or Hollywood back when it was Harrah's, because it's like two casinos in one. But River City will do when we don't want to spend extra time on the road. I told Genius as we waited for Hick that I had forgotten my phone in the car. It's always good to keep track of time, and text good fortune to one's gambling mates.

"Send him a text, Genius! In case he's not already on his way in." Genius, sensing the urgency, called Hick instead. We heard his phone ring. Hick is a bit hard of hearing, but not so much that we should hear his phone ring from the parking garage.

But there came Hick down the corridor, to meet us across from the big fake gingerbread house. And Hick was holding out his hand for me. How sweet! Oh. He was holding out my phone! Hick is a really good egg when you least expect it.

Let the record show that Val has been putting aside money throughout the year for Christmas, taxes, and various and sundry unexpected expenses. So when Christmas rolled around, the taxes were paid, and no major household appliances went kaput, Val had a little nest egg. Not so good as the rocks we're not yet harvesting for our retirement nest egg. But extra money not spoken for. Compiled from the leftovers of Val's weekly cash allowance all year. One less lottery ticket every few weeks, perhaps. One less gas station chicken breast. Val is as good a saver as Katie Nolan in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." Only she does not nail a tin can to the closet floor for her bank, but uses a pocket of her checkbook. So Val, Hick, and Genius each had an allotment of $200 at their disposal.

Let the record further show that the final tally was Hick with a win of $50, Genius with a loss of $100 (but he IS a novice), and Val with either a loss of $15.50, or a surplus of $10. The waters were muddied by the donation of an extra $60 to Genius from Val. What's a mother for, anyway?

When we arrived at 10:00 a.m., the service desk was not open. So no player's card for Hick, who had lost his previous one, who knows how, since he always stuck it in the crevice of the mirror on the bedroom dresser. And no player's card for Genius the novice. Not that it matters. This place has the worst comps in town. And you don't need a player's card to play. But Val had hers, by cracky! Stored in her gambling purse, with previous winnings (or not-losings). So Hick and Genius roamed the premises untracked, and Val has an alibi for any significant crimes that might have occurred during those hours. The security people did not give us a second look, but asked for Genius's ID at the entry gate.

Genius followed me to the first machine, to learn the ropes. He played momentarily beside me, then struck out on his own. A few times every hour, he would check back in with me and update his progress. He was having a blast, winning small jackpots, and trying out the video slots, which even he found confusing. We mostly stuck to the quarter reel slots.

"Mom. I got busted by Security while I was over on the other side!"

"What did you do?"

"Nothing. I was just sitting there playing. And he came over and asked for ID."

"Well. You ARE the baby here today, I'm sure."

"Yeah. He looked at it a long time. And shined his light on it."

"Did you say, 'Yes, sir. Here it is.' And be real polite? So you didn't end up with a carpet burn on your face? Or have to say, 'Don't tase me, bro!' and turn up on the news? Or YouTube?"

"Pretty much. After a while, he said, 'Oh. You JUST TURNED 21.'"

"Don't be mad at him. He had to save face. AND he had to make sure you were legal, or he could lose his job. Or worse. He works for the mafia, you know." (Val is a well-known soldier in the politically-incorrect army. She must have inherited it from her mother, the formerly "gypped" customer of Save A Lot.)

"I know. It was okay. I'm getting used to showing ID."

We took a half hour break to chow down a tasty burger, the first bite of which sent juices dripping onto Val's shirt. Let the record show that it doesn't pay to have a rack when eating a burger in the casino. Genius was quite philosophical about it. "Don't worry, Mom. People will think that stain was already on your shirt when you walked in."

We returned to the gaming floor and found our favorite machines. Genius and I played side by side at a machine I can't name because, hey, who cares about the name, anyway, enough to remember it? If you played three credits, it sometimes hit a bonus spin on the middle reel, worth 2x, 3x, 4x, or 5x. It was tremendous fun, though the one Genius took possession of was looser than mine. Still. At one time, I was up to $78 after putting in a ticket with 35 credits ($8.75). Here's where the controversy rears its ugly head.

Hick was ensconced on a game behind us, talking his fool head off to a woman in the next seat, not realizing that in a casino, people don't want to hear him blather. Genius looked over his shoulder a couple of times. "Dad is ahead. He's up to 400-something credits!" And later, "He's up to 550! We're never going to get him away from that machine." Hick is the one who declared we were leaving at 2:00. At 2:30, we saw that wasn't happening.

"Well. I'm out of money. I guess I'll go sit by Dad. I have these tickets I can cash out, though. And play some more. I was cashing out the big wins so I didn't play them all away."

"No. Don't cash them in. Here. I can give you a twenty." Let the record show that Val carries along some throw-down money. Money that is there if she runs out, but that she mostly uses to pay herself back. For instance, if she has a twenty in the machine, and wins jackpots totaling 80 credits, she takes a twenty from that stash and puts it in her WIN pocket. That way, she doesn't have to cash out the machine that she might have developed a rapport with, and can keep playing the credits, adding them in her head again, and still pockets that win. It sounds confusing, but it works for Val. Never a big loser, though rarely a winner.

Two more times, Val gave Genius another twenty. Here's where the controversy occurs. Some of that Genius money came from the WIN pocket, and some from the throw-down pocket. And then Val was out of throw-down money. So she couldn't pay herself back as per regular routine. She was up to 534 credits that she owed herself. That's $133.50. But Val kept playing, because she'll be darned if she gets a trip to the casino and sits idly by, watching Hick. She did, however, cash out at $40 left. And she had that $60 that she had given Genius. But was it gambling stake money, or throw-down money. My head hurt trying to figure that out. Genius refused to even try, pretending he didn't understand my system.

Bottom line, Val cashed in tickets of $40, $40, and $70. Giving her $150, plus all of her throw-down money accounted for. Then there was the $60 she had given Genius. So it seems as if Val came out ahead. But she gave the $60 back to Genius, because he played with it, and won some.

Don't you worry your pretty little head. Each Thevictorian retained a significant portion of their $200 gambling stake.

And had a blast.

Hick's winnings were burning a hole in his pocket, so he had to stop at Goodwill on the way home and spend some. It took only 10 minutes, but time was at a premium, what with the creeks rising higher by the moment. We drove though water on the county road, a shortcut Hick takes from work every evening. Then we had to cross two low water bridges within our gravel-roaded compound. I was against Hick's method of easing in and waiting for the current to take him away. He and Genius ganged up on Val and told her to shut her piehole, that this was the proper method of crossing an overflowing concrete bridge. Val still begs to differ. She unbuckled her seatbelt and got ready to swim. T-Hoe forded the crossings admirably. He should have been an option in that Oregon Trail game.

Anyhoo...Thevictorians are home and safe, none-the-richer overall, and certainly not any wiser. With a load of laundry to do, since Eau de Ashtray Bottom is not a preferred fragrance around the homestead.


  1. Going to a casino with your parents is an interesting event. I only did it once or twice but that was enough, and back then (I don't know about now) thee casinos reeked of cigarette smoke. Glad you all had such a good time.

    1. Hick and I took my parents to one right after it opened. My dad spent $20, and my mom sat on a bench watching people.

      Of course they reek of cigarette smoke. Casinos are equal-vice-opportunity enablers.

  2. You could have gone to Sauget... That would have been educational for your newly 21-year old son as well...

    1. Something tells me you are promoting the...erm...NIGHTLIFE...rather than the Casino Queen.

      We were fans of the Casino Queen way back when it still sailed the Mississippi every two hours. Always had good luck there. Which hopefully Genius will never experience at a club in Sauget...

  3. My head is spinning from your system. I think I have it figured out, you lost $60n that you won and win $20 that you lost so you ended pu winning $30 back from the money you lost in your left pocket which makes you ahead $12.75...Right?

    1. Pretty close. You might want to look into some kind of relief for that head-spinning. Alas, my proposed handbasket factory does not yet have an exorcist on call for such requests.

  4. I have no idea what you're talking about. I have learned that the best odds in a casino (for the player) are at the craps table but I guess they probably don't have them outside of Vegas and Atlantic City.

    1. Well, perhaps I should have taken the day after Christmas off, to lay around the shanty and re-oxygenate my lungs from the casino trip, rather than waste all that internet ink.

      I'm pretty sure there are craps tables in Missouri "riverboat" casinos. Because sometimes I heard people shout, "OH, CRAP!" That's what happens at craps tables, right?

  5. Well by golly, you have hooked the lad. I am certain when the creeks recede, we will rub elbows some day. FYI: Tuesdays, half price buffet for those fifty or over, not that you are, or that there is anything wrong with that. Just thought maybe since you are not working...

    1. Once I am really not working, I am sure Hick will schedule a vacation day to drive me to the casino. Genius had to go back to college town, due to his third job, which is working as an official photographer for the university. He has a meeting Monday at noon to discuss commencement pictures. In fact, he left this evening due to fear of not getting over the creek tomorrow morning.