|THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING, BRIAN WILLIAMS MIGHT REPORT THAT HE WAS SITTING BETWEEN THE KENNEDYS IN DEALEY PLAZA (above), OR ON THE MOON WITH NEIL ARMSTRONG OR RIDING SHOTGUN FOR O.J. IN THE SLOW SPEED CHASE OR THAT HE'S NOW NEW JERSEY'S FIRST POPE.|
I base many of my articles on the truth, but the reality is, I am NOT reporting the news. So I take full advantage of that flexibility to use an estimated 15% embellishment factor, to further insure that my material is interesting. However, this statement is NOT a disclaimer. It is a reminder that the story below is barely sensationalized and 99% true.
Today is Friday the thirteenth. This morning in South Jersey, the temperature is twelve degrees and the wind chill factor is negative one. So with that double-whammy of bad luck and Arctic weather in mind, I hereby take on the responsibility to warm the cockles of your heart...and hopefully steam up your glasses...with some good old fashion smut.
For this week's MGTP entry, I was playing around with the idea of a movie theme because the Oscars are around the corner...plus tomorrow is Valentine's Day. I was still struggling for the definitive way to combine the two when a radio talk show got on the topic of, "FIFTY SHADES OF GREY."
The radio show host caught my attention by quoting an item in the newspaper. The piece suggested that in preparation for the strong possibility of the audience engaging in their own sex acts while watching, "FIFTY SHADES OF GREY," that many theater owners were covering their seats with protective plastic. I can't imagine that being true but as a clever marketing gimmick, it's genius.
Whether or not you see, "FIFTY SHADES OF GREY," or not, is secondary. What is important is, I have a Valentine's Day story about someone whose sexual exploits are really worthy of a movie...and it's NOT a fantasy.
I was twenty-four when I got hired to deal craps in Las Vegas' Stardust Casino.
Considering my youth and lack of connections, it was a minor miracle that I got such a great job.. At first, I was overwhelmed by the veteran presence there, (that's a nice way of saying, I dealt with a bunch of old men...almost everyone was at least in their forties).
Casino personnel, primarily craps dealers, are weary of newcomers. The Stardust was no exception. So I had to prove my meddle before I gained acceptance. I was still in this feeling-out period when one man stepped forward and made me feel at home. His name was Robert E. Lee, (he wasn't related to the Confederate general but was named after him).
Lee was (and still is) the most universally loved craps dealer I ever met. He was so nice to the players (and everyone else) that he was nicknamed Courtesy Bob.
A couple of weeks after I started at the Stardust, management changed the four-man crap dealer teams. Bob would become one of my new crew mates. Prior to our first shift, Bob's magnetic personality poured out as he introduced himself. In his heavy southern drawl, (with key points punctuated with his ancestral Scottish accent), he was charming, cordial, funny and enthusiastic as he welcomed me.
Bob Lee (to me) was an old man. So I was surprised he was only forty-eight. His sagging, leathery face was dominated by deep, thick wrinkles. He dyed his short-cropped Afro chestnut brown, but the kinky hair around his temples were left, fifty shades of gray.
Oddly, our first conversation had nothing to do with shop-talk. To Bob, I was just a kid. So he thought I could relate better to his son Louis. Later, it turned out that he didn't know much about his son. So it was natural that he wanted my prospective in suggesting gifts for Louis' all-important, sixteenth birthday. Little did I know that this seemingly innocent chat would be a prelude to a man obsessed with sex.
Once I got to know Bob, I found out that he was an incredible babe-hound. In addition to his age, Bob did not possess the physical traits associated with a a ladies man. He was five-seven, scrawny and not especially good-looking. It sounds like a fairy tale but Bob's genuine niceness must have given off a scent that women couldn't resist. I witnessed this and was amazed. Then when you add on a confident demeanor that was more friendly than a predatory swagger, he picked-up customers at work regularly.
Bob did not discriminate due to age, looks or ethnic groups. When there was more than one girl, he had a pecking order of horny supervisors that gladly volunteered to act as his wing man. Sometimes these men were afraid of getting stuck with an inferior choice and Bob as if insulted would say, "Hey, the ugly one's mine."
To prove he had a Svengali-like hold on women Bob would seal the deal by saying, "Be back at four o'clock. And between then and now, make sure you take a shower and brush your teeth." If I didn't see these ladies coming back after our shift and saying something about showering and brushing their teeth, I'd never believe it. That catchphrase earned him another nickname, "Be-Back-Bob." He even bought "B-BACK," vanity license plates In an industry with countless skirt-chasers, NOBODY in my thirty-six years of casino experience compared to him.
Bob had a lot of practice. Hardly a night would go by that something sexual didn't happen to him. If it didn't, he talked about it. Our first conversation about his son's birthday gift was in reality, him feeling me out about...hiring a prostitute to de-flower his son.
That same night an average-looking woman with an exposed cleavage stopped at our game and said to Bob, "Will the south rise again?" He was sincere as he said, "Not tonight honey, definitely next time." I still had no idea how vast his erotica empire was when I said, "What was that all about?" He said, "It's our code. You know that movie, 'MARATHON MAN,' it's about me. She 's a librarian in Phoenix and comes around when she's looking for some action. She uses the code because it means, I won't take long before the 'south' rises again and again and again."
Bob went on to explain his code system of getting paged over the public address system by various girlfriends. That way, while he's at work, to reduce the chance of a scheduling conflict, he could identify the caller and be prepared to accept or reject the offer.
A short time later, the PBX operator announced, "Telephone call for Mr. Million, Mr. Duane Million telephone." Bob smiled, "Duane Million, that's my West Covina girl calling." I said, "Really?" He said, "I'll call her on my next break. If she leaves around eleven, she'll be here at four." He saw I was confused and added, "If you hear a page for Matt Lapper, that's my San Bernadino lady...but I'd have to drive out to Victorville for some of that...but it's always worth it." I was nodding as Bob continued, "When you hear Dick Marathon, that's my nurse here in town...and I don't have to tell you the true value of a good enema..."
We were interrupted by the busyness of our craps game but Bob managed to add, "If you hear Phil Dole get paged that don't count...it's my wife."
Bob and I took on a mentor/protege relationship. In addition to teaching me the fine art of buttering up craps players to solicit tips from them, he also taught me about the stock market, real estate, gardening, health foods, travel and so much more.
On one of my breaks, I bragged how great Bob was. A bible thumping dealer disagreed and said some derogatory things about Bob. I defended my friend. The man politely said, "Go ask your buddy how he lost his virginity. Trust me, he'll tell you. Then we'll see how much you admire him."
Later I got Bob on the subject of this son 'losing his cherry" with a prostitute. Bob bragged, "Do you know Dennis the bell captain?" I shrugged. He said, "'Good ol' Den can get you anything, any time...for a price. He hooked me up with a whore that's perfect for what I need. Her name is Candee Cotton. Geez, the names they come with. Let's face it, where's the fantasy if her went by Margaret Waslewsky. Candee is twenty-two and fits the bill because looks fifteen. For two-fifty, I arranged it that my kid is gonna think she's a daughter of one of our high-rollers. He'll take her out on the town in taxis, have a bite, go to the movies and whatever the hell kids do these days. After, she'll take him up to her room at the Dunes. Nature will take it's course. She'll be gentle and he'll think he just got lucky."
In addition to all his quirkiness, Bob was also extremely cheap. So after going on and on how cute, sweet and innocent Ms. Cotton could be he added, "But if the little bastard gets scared off or can't get it up, there's no refunds and I'm stuck two-hundred and fifty bucks."
Bob's candor made it easy for me to transition into asking, "How did you lose your virginity?" Bob's smiling face lit up like a Christmas tree as he said, "Anna, my sister." My jaw dropped as without hesitation he detailed how his sixteen year-old sister (Bob was thirteen), extorted him into having sex with her, (my short story "A TALE OF THREE CITIES," deeply describes those circumstances).
It was difficult to comprehend whether Bob was boasting or just reporting the news as he went on, "We did it every other Saturday night, for three years." With a sly grin he added, "I pretended hating it...but I loved it." Apparently, Anna was mentally skewed. Perhaps a psychologist could trace assaulting her brother back to loneliness and perceiving herself to be big, awkward, unattractive and socially inept.
I believed Bob. I believed everything perverted thing he ever said. In the 1970's, way before "Fifty Shades of Grey," Bob realized that women are conditioned to protect their virtue and reputation. But in a foreign environment...like Vegas even the most conservative women can let their hair down. When you consider the current tagline used by the Las Vegas, Better Business Bureau (BBB), "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," I'm confident my Robert E. Lee was a genius and way ahead of his time. Of course, the "Fifty Shades," movie depicts the extreme of letting yourself go.
|THE PHRASE IMPLIES, "IT HAPPENED. IT ONLY HAPPENED THERE. AND IT HAPPENED FAR ENOUGH AWAY TO NEVER HAVE A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON THE HERE AND NOW."|
On the night of the 1981 Super Bowl, my crew did well in tips. We were walking out when Bob asked us for fifteen dollars each. One of the other dealers asked, "Why? You at least a buck and a half in your pocket. " Bob avoided the question and said, "It's for a good cause." The dealer said, "You gotta do better than that, I ain't givin' up squat without a reason." Bob blithered all kinds of nonsense and repeatedly said, "Trust me." Bob was notorious for being cheap. If he asked you to loan him money, he paid the next day. But if you asked him for money, he wouldn't give you a dime. Unless you really begged...then he'd do it but ask for collateral...like your watch.
We knew Bob wasn't a sports fan so he didn't need the cash to cover a losing a Super Bowl debt. So we stood at an impasse outside the time office until Bob gave in, "Look you cheap bastards. When you work with me, you get fringe benefits. I'm connected with Dennis the bell captain, so I get inside information. In two weeks, Mr. C., one of my best players is coming in for Valentine's Day. For sixty measly bucks, Dennis will go into their suite and have a box of his stinky-ass stogies and a dozen roses for his wife on the bed when they walk in. PLUS, a note from me, inviting them to our craps table. So the fifteen bucks that your so afraid of investing with me, is just about guaranteed to return a hundred...EVEN ON A BAD NIGHT!"
We paid up. Then as we went our separate ways Bob called,back to us, "My West Covina girl is waiting for me...and she loves anal."
Two hours into our Valentine's Day shift, the much ballyhooed Mr. C. was yet to make his grand entrance. It was unlike Bob to be nervous but he "casino-gazed" every chance he got in the hope of spotting his target. That's when I saw a well-dressed couple both around fifty rush towards Bob. The stocky gangster-like man was Mr. C. He crowed, "Big Bob-A-Lou, how are you?" Mr. C. paused for a second, blew a huge plume of nauseating cigar smoke across the table and whispered to Bob, "Thanks for the heaters, how'd you remember I only smoke Berings."
Ever so cocksure Bob broadcast, "The best deserves the best...and you got me. Now, who's this vision of loveliness?" I was expecting it to be Mr. C's wife but he said, "Oh, this Therese, my mother-in-law." Therese said, "My daughter, wherever the hell she is, liked the flowers."
Mr. C. and Therese swilled scotch and stayed on our game for four hours. He regularly gave us ten-dollar tips (sometimes more) and she gave us fives. At 2:00AM, a drunken Mrs. C., decadently dragging a narrow gray fur behind her, finally arrived. Around thirty years-old, this plainly pretty, petite brunette was carrying a pair of black stiletto heels. She was wearing a bright red silk blouse, a tight black skirt hemmed above her knees and black hose. To accent her outfit, a gold fleur-de-lis stickpin adorned the lapel of her matching black jacket.
In loud whispers, Therese and Mrs. C. started bickering. Suddenly Therese announced, "It's late, I'm taking Francine upstairs." Mr. C. remained generous until we were ready to go home. He tipped us his last twenty-two dollars in small chips and tossed in a fifty-dollar bill." We made $345.00 a man that night (mostly from Mr. C. and Therese).
Outside the employee entrance Bob crowed, "It's a good thing I'm not an I told you so kind of guy...but the next time I tell you to bet fifteen dollars on a sure thing, you shouldn't think twice."
Bob called out sick the next night. An Asian kid on his first night took his place. We didn't do well until Mr. C. showed up at 1:00AM. He asked, "Is Bobby on break?" Our supervisor said, "No, he called out." Mr. C. lit the nub of his cigar and said, "We're flying back to Chicago tomorrow, be sure to tell him Tom Cabroni came by to thank him again for everything."
Mr. C. then shrugged, "What the hell," and bought in for there-hundred dollars. We didn't do as well this time but Mr. C. still made our night. While playing and chugging double Johnny Walker Black he told me, "We ate at Caesar's Bacchanal Room and saw Rodney Dangerfield. After, the girls started playing slots, I got bored, left them there and came here."
Two weeks after Valentine's Day, Bob came by my condo. It was the first time I saw his mint condition 1963, split window coupe Corvette...with the "B-BACK," vanity tags. He said, "Don't look at this baby as a car...it's an investment." I said, "Looks more like mental masturbation to me." He laughed, "Hey, I'm gonna use that line."
Inside I said, "How did you explain the B-BACK plates to your wife?" "Easy, I told her that's what I say to my favorite players." He nudged his elbow into my ribs and grinned, "She doesn't have to know all my favorites are female."
In my backyard, I showed him the vegetables I grew under his tutelage. He grabbed one of my long zucchinis, toyed with it and made a crude dido joke. I interrupted, "How did it go with Candee Cotton?" He said, "Forget about that. Check this out!" He took a wallet-sized photo from his billfold. I got a quick glimpse and thought it was a woman in a bikini. Bob carefully placed his thumb over the face, showed me the picture and gushed, "What do you think?" I said, "She's okay..." "OKAY! " he squawked. "What are you, fucking blind?"
I took a second look at the spread-eagled woman posed with her hands clasped above her head. I focused on the frilly, black satin, crotch-less panties and matching brassiere with cut-outs at the nipples. I sighed, "It's just a picture. You could've clipped it from a magazine. Without the face, it's meaningless." Bob warned me, "Swear you won't tell anyone." I was nodding as he exposed the familiar face. It was Francine Cabroni, Mr. C's wife.
Bob said, "I call out once a year for her and she bankrolls everything. This time after we got wasted, she wanted to see pornos. The first flick was called, "DOUBLE PENETRATION NATION." I had to stop him because he was telling me highlights of the movie.
He got back on topic and said, "When her Quaalude hit home, she was all over me. I had to fight her off till we got to the Crest Motel." He strayed again from his story to brag how Dennis the bell captain gets him a cut-rate at that dump. Bob said, "Frannie is a minx. She's one of the few who can keep up with me. Man, she does it all!"
|THE CREST STILL OPERATES UNDER A DIFFERENT NAME IN DOWNTOWN VEGAS. THIRTY YEARS AGO, THE MOTEL CATERED TO BUDGET-MINDED DAY-TRIPPERS FROM CALIFORNIA AND GUYS LIKE BOB WHO PAID A HOURLY RATE.|
I said, "Wow." Bob said, "You think that's great? After, I phoned a taxi for her. When it came, I lifted up her skirt, slapped her bare ass and called her, "A dirty two-bit tramp." She loved it and the cabbie got a rise out of it too. My pay-off is, I keep what's left of the three-hundred she fronted." While I struggled to add up all the information he added, "It beats going to work...plus, I still have her pantyhose."
I didn't want him to think I was impressed so I said, "You were going to tell me about Louis' birthday with Candee Cotton." He said, "Ah, it was nothing." I said, "C'mon, its been killing me. What happened?" Bob sighed, "An hour before he was going to leave, I was jumpy, breaking his balls on what to wear, how to act and other shit. I guess he figured out whats what. Louis said, 'You know I have girlfriend? We do 'it' all the time."
I said, "You must've been shocked. So what happened?" Bob said, "So I ask him, in that case Louis, what do you want for your birthday?" My kid said, "A bike." The ever-thrifty Bob said, "A bike! Sure, you can have any bike you want." Louis smiled. Bob realized how devious a person he was and feared his son might be just like him. Bob continued, "You can have any bike that is...without a motor."
I said, "Well at least you got out of that one cheaply after losing your $250.00 with Candee Cotton." Bob said, "Hell I didn't lose shit. I made Candee Cotton my early birthday present...I went in his place...and I got my three hours worth...and then some!"
I shook my head, "You are amazing, you always come out on top."
Bob furrowed his brow and blasted, "WRONG! I should have known that little prick was flimflamming me. How was I supposed to know Louis is a competitive cyclist? He picked out a seventeen-hundred and eighty-nine dollar bike!" And could you believe it...for that kind of money...it had no motor."
For a long time, after I left the Stardust, I kicked myself for not keeping in contact with Bob. He was flipped housing before that term was invented and had his hand on the pulse of every money earning trick in the book.
About five years ago, my wife Sue name-dropped Courtesy Bob, to a former Stardust coworker of his. This man said, "Bob and I closed the place back in 2006. He was seventy-five years old and still dealing dice." That probably means Robert E. Lee never struck it rich. Too bad, I pictured Bob retired, on his own private Pacific island and getting pampered and sexually pleasured by native girls. Now with that picture in my mind ruined, I'll have to photo-shop Bob out...and replace it Brian Williams.