|DECEMBER - 1979. YES THE FREMONT HAD SHRIMP-COLORED DEALER SHIRTS BUT AFTER GROSSING $150.00/WEEK AT THE SLOTS-A-FUN CASINO, $185.00 AT THE WESTERN AND $215.00 AT THE HOLIDAY INTERNATIONAL, THE COLOR OF MY SHIRT WAS THE LAST THING ON MY MIND.|
A pimple on the ass of mankind, BOB's lack of looks, personality and intelligence, contributed to making him a friendless bachelor. What made BOB stand out among ordinary losers, was that he was a hater too. Fortunately, because he was such a milquetoast, he rarely had the confidence to speak up while he put down people he considered inferior.
Whether BOB (around forty) was a member of a white supremacist group or not, I do not know. But I'm positive that this Aryan's short, skinny and bald body was NOT the prototype for the master race.
The little hair that this nebbish had, (reddish blond with flecks of gray) was always crew-cut length. His black, horn-rimmed glasses were out-of-style and he had crooked, yellow, baby-sized teeth. Plus, BOB's goofy appearance was highlighted by a brownish, chipped, front tooth. To make matters worse, he was also cheap. So whenever the idea of fixing his teeth and getting braces was mentioned, he said it was too expensive, (ironically, the Fremont's dental insurance covered such work so all that was really stopping him was...vanity).
At work, BOB alternated between a slate-colored, western-cut business suit and a puke-green leisure suit. He augmented his ensembles with a string tie and two-tone (brown-on-brown) cowboy boots. The boots looked plastic but he swore they were rattlesnake hides.
BOB's glasses made him look like a bookworm but he was incompetent at his boxman job and generally dopey, (a boxman is the immediate supervisor who sits between the dealers and regulates a craps game).
BOB's countrified accent and (poorly timed) rural witticisms made him came off like a Southerner but he was actually from Pocatello Idaho. So in the rare instance that he caught a dealer error, he was likely to crack; this here boy has more moves than a can of worms or; son, you look busier than a one-legged man at an ass kicking contest.
The Fremont was a better than average downtown casino. Which meant in the overall Las Vegas scheme of things...it was a toilet.
|IN MY DAY, THE FREMONT, (MINNIE PEARL ON MARQUEE), BINION'S HORSESHOE AND GOLDEN NUGGET WERE THE ONLY THREE DOWNTOWN CLUBS THAT A CRAPS DEALER HAD A CHANCE TO CONSISTENTLY GROSS $275.00 A WEEK.|
My coworkers were annoyed when BOB aligned himself with classless drunks especially when he joined them in ethnic slurs or teasing weaker individuals, like gays, senior citizens, the handicapped or hobos (especially bag ladies). Therefore, the staff felt justified to "jackpot" BOB, by antagonizing him into making politically incorrect statements that might get him fired. The strongest I ever got was calling him BOB Chanukah, (the Jewish festival of lights) but he wasn't bright enough to see the similar sound of Honiker and the holiday.
A dealer on my crew who outwardly tangled with BOB was JB. Moralistic BOB frequently referred to himself as a "good Christian" so he had no qualms about criticizing JB for stepping out on his wife. Once, these two knuckleheads were at each other's throat after JB went into intricate details of his sexual escapades with a player, the night before.
The next day, JB bragged about his second all-night session with her. JB said that this school teacher from a small town in western Canada had tuckered him out, (I guess she was way ahead of her time and the phrase; what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas). Later JB lamented to me that he hoped that she wouldn't show up again after work...but an hour before we got off, she did.
The woman (35-ish) was a blond, Plain Jane. She was wearing a short, summery cotton dress that exposed her ample cleavage. When JB refused her latest proposition, she got upset. JB pointed to a different dealer going on break and said, "Take him." To make JB jealous, she accepted. This dealer had a buddy in valet parking and took her there.
Then in some poor schnook's car, she "took care of him." And then she took care of a couple of other car jockeys as payment for their hospitality and facilities. When that other dealer returned to the craps pit, he spread the word of Plain Jane's talented exploits.
When Jane returned to our craps game, BOB was still our boxman. In a sexy combination of moaning and whining, she let JB (and everyone else) know how badly she wanted him. He did his best to ignore her as the action of our craps game heated up. Soon the dice were hotter than she was as the table became flooded by golden, twenty-five cent chips and white dollars. A second boxman (an old-timer named Kelly) was brought over to split this voluminous but petty responsibility.
To lure JB into a third night of debauchery, Jane sat on a slot machine stool behind his players. When the customers separated, she parted her legs to fully expose herself to him. JB, the ultimate parasite, wasn't turned on, he was embarrassed. "Tony the Pirate" our pit boss heard the valet parking gossip. So, to check Jane out, under the guise of further overseeing the wild game, he stood between the two boxmen.
Soon, Jane opened her legs for JB and Tony got an eyeful. He called out to her, "Hey honey, I hear you suck!" She stood up from the stool and blasted, "What did you say?" Our pit boss adjusted the sleeve of his cranberry, pin-striped suit and said in a lower tone, "I hear you're stuck, you want a meal ticket?" She pried her way between two players and shouted, "I heard what you said...and I do suck, I'll suck all you..." The pit boss patted the shoulder of seventy-year old Kelly and jibed, "How about my father?" She said, "Yeah! I'd do him" When the old timer said, "No Tony, please no..." The boss pointed at BOB and said, "How about my son?" Just as she said, "Yup," BOB was getting relieved. When he got into the aisle, she grabbed his butt and led him towards valet parking.
I guess as a good Christian, BOB didn't see the hypocrisy in using Jane because the next day and for the next few months, (ala JB) he managed to squeeze into every conversation, "That Canuck could suck the porcelain off a urinal...hell, if she wasn't Catholic, I would have married the bitch."
Around that time (March 1980), Tony took me aside and solicited a bribe, "Hey kid, you wanna get transferred to the Stardust?" In addition to the prestige of working on the strip, the Stardust would quadruple my tip income. I said, "Definitely!" Tony added his signature statement, "My '69 maroon Riviera is parked next to the time office. I'll crack my window open...just enough to slide in an envelope...then we'll see how much you want to go."
In the next ten minutes, I ran to the hotel's front desk to get an envelope, stopped at the cashier where I converted chump change into a fifty-dollar bill and hustled outside, through the time office. Apparently, I wanted the promotion enough. The next day someone from Fremont personnel called me and said my transfer papers were ready to be picked up and brought to the Stardust.
|MARCH - 1980. I WAS SO PROUD TO WORK THERE, I WORE MY STARDUST SHIRT LIKE A TROPHY.|
|IF THE STARDUST MADE US WEAR CIRCUS, CIRCUS CLOWN SHIRTS LIKE THEY DID IN 1969, I KNOW I WOULD'VE BEEN PROUD TO DO SO.|
I had done the nearly impossible, I was about to start dealing on the fabulous Las Vegas strip at twenty-four, with a mere thirteen months experience and no connections.
|THE STARDUST (1958-2006) WAS AN OUTER SPACE-THEMED CASINO. MORE THAN THE BIG BUCKS AND STATUS, I FEEL THAT I SHED MY CHILDHOOD AND BECAME A MAN, IN MY TWO YEARS THERE.|
The idea that Tony would take graft from anyone was proven a month later when BOB Honiker was promoted to the Stardust. Somebody must have explained to BOB that a twelve-dollar a day pay raise might not sound like much but it was 15%...which translates to three grand a year.
The first time I saw BOB in a Stardust powder blue, boxman's uniform (sports jacket), he was already in an argument with a female dealer for calling women; a minority group. Unfortunately for BOB, the new job attracted a more sophisticated clientele as well as, a more savvy veteran staff. Almost immediately, he was correctly labeled as a jack-off (on the east coast, we say jerk-off) and a lump, (an inadequate bungler).
In addition to his inability to keep up with the faster paced Stardust, every time BOB thought out loud, he pissed someone off as he put himself on a collision course with getting fired...or worse.
BOB's openly negative attitude towards black and Hispanic dealers spotlighted his ignorance. But he didn't stop there. BOB insulted nearly everyone and became a universally marked man by referring to all Asians as "Japs," purposely littering in front of the American Indian porters (sweepers) and calling the Holocaust, "an exaggeration dreamed-up by the Jew-controlled media." He was so offensive that our flower-child, employee waiter (the ultimate pacifist) challenged him to a fight when BOB joked, "You know the only difference between a hippie and a Commie?...A hippie moves the dirty dishes before he pees in the sink."
BOB was so buried, I doubt he noticed that few people spoke to him, nobody invited him out for drinks and the craps crews didn't include him in their layoff rotation.
Shockingly, BOB was still there four months later when the Stardust generated a strange memo. It required all dealer shirts and supervisor jackets be embroidered with the employee's first name, in cursive lettering with navy, cable-knit thread. The notice also mandated that all the sewing work was to be done at the Andiamo Dry Cleaners, on Industrial Road...at the cost of four-dollars per garment. In bold letters, the last line specified a one month window of opportunity for total compliance or risk termination.
|OOPS! JUST IN CASE YOU DID THE MATH, I DOUBT ANY OF ANDREW'S FRIENDS HAVE PARENTS YOUNGER THAN MY THIRTY-THREE YEAR OLD STARDUST SHIRT...BUT TO BE TRUE TO MY STATEMENT, I DO HAVE OTHER SHIRTS THAT SHOULD BE OLDER THAN SOME OF THEM...THE MIDDLE ONE (above) IS 43 YEARS OLD. THE ONE ON THE LEFT IS 42 AND THE OTHER, IS 41.|
The boss calmly walked away. Several minutes later, a posse of gun-toting uniformed guards, led 8-0-8 to seldom used door behind the security podium...where they took the hard-cases.
|DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE IN THE MOVIES BUT IN "CASINO" THEY MADE A STRONG POINT AT HOW BIG THE DESERT IS AND HOW EASILY THINGS CAN GET LOST...FOREVER OUT THERE.|