I'm still in the pleasant afterglow of my Vegas/Grand Canyon vacation. Its funny to me that part of the anticipation of returning to Las Vegas, was unexpectedly running into people. In my last visit these occurrences happened frequently. But now 17 years later...it only happened twice.
The first was a friend from my dealer school. My blog from last year "THE MIGHTY MACS" featured him and his wonderful family. When I referred to him in my short stories, I changed his name to John Heaverlo. In retrospect, it was unnecessary because there was nothing about his character or actions that would be embarrassing.
The other person I bumped into was NOT a friend. He was a cold-hearted co-worker who was so conceited, self-centered and selfish that it was paramount to change his name...to Mike "Meat-Bone" Fleischbien...to prevent possible slander charges.
Coincidentally, this knucklehead grew up three blocks from me in Canarsie. He was six years older so even though there was such a foundation to bond from, he was too annoying to be around.
What makes Meat-Bone such an ugly character is that he hadn't changed a smidge. In an industry that has grown to depend on hospitality, Meat-Bone remains the personification of negativity.
When I spotted Meat-Bone back in June, he was standing dead...his craps table was open but had no players. I doubted that he'd recognize me, so I nestled next to him and said, "Hey buddy, how do I get to Bagel Street from here?" Meat-Bone noticed I wasn't holding cash or chips and tried his best to ignore me. I continued, "Is Bagel Street in walking distance?"
He finally looked at me and said, "Never heard of it. But the information booth on the other side of the casino IS in walking distance!"
I think the best thing about control-freaks, arrogant people and know-it-alls, is, that they are so stuck on them self that they have no idea how much they are disliked.
While this was happening, my family was with me. So I ended the charade by naming his cross-street from the old neighborhood, "Bagel Street is between Avenue L and Avenue K." He remembered me at that point. Our ensuing pleasantries were short and went nowhere.
So with the vast wonderment of lunar exploration and the celebration of great people's birthdays, I instead focus on poking fun of Meat-Bone, one of the all-time jerks.
In a landmark achievement for my blog, today I present para-phrased excerpts about him from my short story, "A GUMMY CONSPIRACY."
Mike "Meat-Bone" Fleischbien is introduced in the story as a lonely pest who tried to invade my clique of craps dealers at the Las Vegas Golden Nugget, (1982-1983). The story takes place during the casino's metamorphosis from a sawdust grind-joint to a renown worldwide destination. In the chaotic process of converting the "toilet" into a palace many good employees were fired to clear-out space for influence peddlers. One of my group got fired that way. Meat-Bone seized the opportunity. He harassed the scheduler into accepting his bribe and weaseled a permanent position on my crew.
Rather than appreciate his emergence onto our "A-List" by taking on a lower-profile, Meat-Bone, to make a "good" first-impression on us was an immediate nuisance. Aside from starting nearly every sentence with "I," it was important to him that we knew that he was God's gift to dealing. In so doing, between his sneezing and coughing fits, he explained the significance of his next body-builder competition.
Later, he was in the middle of telling us about his membership to a tanning spa, when he was politely told to, "Cool it," by Antony Francis our beloved floor supervisor.
Meat-Bone smiled and snarled in his heavy Brooklyn accent, "Shaddup."
Antony Francis was seething and nervously pacing as Meat-Bone started arguing with the few players we had. When he got bored of that, Meat-Bone lectured me on the finer points of standing-dead.
A half hour later, I was explaining the rules of craps to two young girls when his preaching became intense, "I gotta tell ya Sonny, this ain't no 'table-for-table' gig. I'm gonna make the same scratch whether I work or not...so, let's not."
Soon our game swelled to seven players. In the middle of admiring his manicure Meat-Bone loudly scoffed, "I'll have to teach you my move for 'looking-away' players."
A Hawaiian couple joined our game. Back in my day, Hawaiians gambling in Las Vegas, had the reputation (pleasant and generous) for being the best ethnic group to deal to. While another dealer was rolling out the red carpet to them, Meat-Bone was still antagonizing me. From his stickman position he proudly announced, "Kid, I'll explain what you did wrong after I 'thin-out the herd.'"
I was in the middle of setting-up this couple's bets when he tapped me with the stick and said, "Listen, I'm here to help, you understand...right? As soon as we're standing dead again, I'll finish explaining everything you need to know."
The Hawaiian woman read his name-tag and said, "Come on Mike, don't be such a downer. Smile, you only live once."
"On top of my deviated septum, I gotta bad cold," he rasped to intentionally embellish his symptoms, "I shudda stayed home."
"Then you should have stayed home. We came here to relax. This is no place to be miserable."
"I shudda stayed home home...you're right. But they have a strict attendance policy." He extended his hand and added, "But for two-hundred, I'll go home right now."
The woman was fuming as Meat-Bone stared me down and spat, "See what you started!"
When Meat-Bone was relieved from the stick, he was intercepted by Antony Francis and threatened with a "write-up."
Between his exaggerated coughing and sneezing Meat-Bone remained aloof to his players while putting-in a minimal effort. When the husband began a series of unusual place-bet presses, Meat-Bone in an intimidating manner growled at the man. In between the dice rolls, he then attacked me for allowing the game to open.
The wife came to my defense and said, "If you're sick, you're sick. But you don't have to be mean. Leave that guy alone."
The husband added, "Brudda, you need to chill out."
Meat -Bone scowled, "Chill out? I already told ya, I'm dying ova here."
The husband whispered, "Up in my room, I have some paco-lo-lo. That'll put a smile on your face."
"Look bub," Meat-Bone snapped, "I don't need no drugs to feel good."
While Antony Francis struggled to find the new, "Disciplinary Action Forms," Meat-Bone exploded with a thunderous sneeze. A two-foot long gob of mucus dangled from his nose. The meticulous Meat-Bone was mortified to look bad in front of a large group.
"Tap me out," he demanded. When no one came to his rescue, he was forced to gather his mess in his hand.
The Hawaiians were pointing at Meat-Bone and laughing the loudest, "Hana-budda, hana-budda!"
Craps procedure forced Meat-Bone to remain trapped at his base (station) so he cried out in desperation, "Francis, get me some goddamn Kleenex!"
Antony Francis hated being called by his surname. He bitterly grabbed the box. But he didn't hand them to Meat-Bone. Instead, he teasingly, he held the tissues just out of the impatient patient's grasp.
Our game came to a complete stop as Antony said, "Well."
"How were you brought-up? Don't you EVER say please or thanks or apologize or..."
Antony bled every second of humiliation and said, "Say please, now...and there better be a thank you too."
"PLEASE, thank you...thank you with a cherry on top."
Antony wasn't satisfied and remained frozen. He folded his arms and tucked the box under his left bicep.
Meat-Bone grimaced in defeat and said, "Yeah, I'm an ass-hole. Now, please...give me the fuckin' tissues."
When everything calmed down I asked the couple, "What does hana-budda mean?"
They started laughing again and the wife said, "In the Hawaiian language there is no real word for it because we don't catch colds."
She started to giggle and blushingly turned away so her husband added, "Hana is our word for nose and budda...is butter.."
The couple looked at each other and wailed, "Hana-budda, is snot."
THE "BLUE PLANET," PHOTOGRAPH BROUGHT BACK BY APOLLO 8, a. k. a. "EARTHRISE," HAS BECOME AN ICON FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS ON EARTH. MAYBE THERE SHOULD BE A PICTURE OF MEAT-BONE FROM OUTER SPACE TO SYMBOLIZE TO POWER-JUNKIES, JUST HOW INSIGNIFICANT THEY ARE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD.
My short story, "A GUMMY CONSPIRACY" is one of 20 I have written. If you'd like to read them, my 2 screenplays or novel...please contact me and I'll send them via E-Mail or lend you a hard copy.