After sharing my tasteless casino burger with you (I'm a giver like that), and revealing how I got smoked by a little old lady at QuickHits, in Part 1 of this adventure...it's time to get to the HOT portion.
Before you get all excited, let the record show that the meaning of HOT we're dealing with in Part 2 is the HOT under the collar type. It could refer to Hick, a well-known (as revealed here!) hot-head, or Val herself, who, contrary to the opinion of her best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel's mom, is NOT actually a regular Mother Teresa. Today, it refers to both.
You may recall that this casino visit happened as a dual mission with finding Hick a Santa beard and wig. He already has them, but wants a different version, because the kids pull the others away from his face.
"Well! I'd slap their hands, tell them to stop it, and say, 'Ho Ho! Now you're on the naughty list!'"
"Val. Some of them are babies."
"Never to young to learn manners!"
Anyhoo...Hick had forgotten the name of the store he'd seen a one-piece wig/beard combo in a few years back. And he also forgot what that style of wig/beard was called. He couldn't find it online. So I spent 90 minutes trying to look up "one piece Santa wig beard." As you might imagine, I had limited success. I printed out three versions, and found the address of a party supply store in the city where he said he found one earlier.
Let the record further show that Hick, in a last-minute conversation about auctions, on a call from a buddy a few minutes before we left, blurted out the name of that store he'd been trying to remember for several days. "We're headed to the city to look for a beard at Carnival Supply." So my hard work was negated, as he did not even stop at the store I'd found an address for.
It was not a big deal to me at the time, because Hick was dropping me off at the casino before he continued on his Santa-wig-beard mission. When he returned to the casino, over a lunch of sawdust burger (me) and palatable human food (him), Hick revealed that he had not found a wig/beard in either of the two stores he looked. We discussed the leaving time, which had originally been
2:30, to avoid rush hour traffic. Hick's wig/beard shopping had taken
longer than expected, so he said 3:00 would be fine.
"It's not like I'm going to take the highway. I got stuck in three accidents on my way back here from the costume shop."
"Well. It IS raining. You know what that does to traffic." Indeed. Hick spent a lifetime of worktime traveling those highways, and I did a three-year stint of it as well.
Flash forward to casino-leaving time. We always meet up front by the door, and walk to the car together. It's not a short walk. About 1/3 mile, proclaims my Garmin You're-Not-Fit Bit.
I timed my bathrooming and ticket-cashing to put me at the door exactly at 3:00. Hick was there, sitting on a stool that had been removed from a slot, and parked at the end of a slot row, facing the main aisle and some vacant gaming tables. I have no idea if Hick did this himself, or became a squatter on a stool already there. He was looking at his phone. Barely looked up at me when I told him I was ready. Meaning that I had already cashed out, and prepared my bladder for his two-hour drive home on back roads, stopping at Goodwills.
"Okay. I'm ready."
"Ya. Just a minute." Hick continued tapping at his phone.
"Pam called Santa."
Huh. That certainly cleared things up. NOT. Hick continued tapping.
"What's that mean?"
No answer. Val is not a good stander. In fact, she can't stand standing! She'd rather walk 1/3 mile alone out of casino rather than stand for 60 seconds. Standing is not knee-friendly. With Hick ensconced on his purloined stool, I didn't know how long this mystery texting might take. So I crossed the main aisle, a space of about 10 feet, and leaned on a stool-back from a gaming table. They were high stools, so I couldn't sit down. Hick was on a low stool from the slots.
I was just leaning there, not really in any kind of mood, just wishing he would hurry so we could get walking. Then Hick came to my stool. His demeanor went south faster than us in A-Cad. "Let's go."
"Okay. What was all that about?"
"I told you. Pam called Santa."
"What does that even mean?" Had Hick talked to a clerk named Pam about ordering a Santa wig beard? Had she found one in the store? Were we going back to get it? I was clueless.
"PAM CALLED SANTA! I don't know what you want me to tell you!"
"Maybe a little more than just yelling the same words louder. I have no idea what you're talking about."
That put Hick in a huff. He can't stand it when somebody can't read his mind, no matter how many times he repeats the same words over and over. He yelled at me for walking off while he was texting, even though I was in plain sight, 10 feet away, waiting. He refused to talk for the entire walk to A-Cad. And the drive off the casino lot. And through several stoplights. I don't know a lot about directions in the city, but I was pretty sure Hick missed his turn onto the road he usually takes to the first Goodwill.
Even though I was by now in a huff myself, I didn't want Hick to miss his Goodwills.
"Aren't you going to Goodwill?"
"That was the plan. Goodwills. You were going to take the back roads, to Goodwills."
"I'm taking the highway."
"But you didn't want to take the highway. Because of rush hour. And the rain. And accidents."
"It's 3:00. Rush hour will be at 3:30."
"Well, I don't want you to take the highway. It's a mess. Because of the rain."
Silence. A passive-aggressive silence. I'm sure you know what I mean. Hick was punishing me by denying himself several Goodwills.
"Okay. Go ahead and pout. But when you kill me in a wreck, you're going to feel pretty bad."
As luck would have it, we came upon a wreck, just as we turned off the double-numbered highway onto our odd-numbered highway. We had to sit and wait until we could merge into the single lane, with a highway patrolman directing traffic around a car-hauling truck that had crashed off the right side of the road, and was sitting all tilted, front-end mangled, with its double-decker load of new cars still on the trailer.
I guess my joy at being validated by a wreck was dashed by the fact that we were not actually involved. So I couldn't pound that nail into Hick's pouty coffin.
After that incident, Hick loosened up a little bit, and after more grilling, revealed that Pam was the lady in charge of his annual breakfast with Santa for pre-schoolers, and had called to confirm the date. Like I would know that. Since her name used to be Caroline, until she retired.