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More Tales from Vegas ( read ‘Tales from Vegas’ for the first installment)

#Vegas

After a few drinks with my friend we plan to meet for breakfast and we head back to our respective hotels. We  were doing this on the cheap, although his hotel was more respectable than mine the quality of his room made up for it . Mine had no inkling of respectability and it didn’t seem to apologize for it.

When I  had checked into my room earlier I noticed the clientele seemed to be a little more grittier than  the last time I was in Vegas. That was a different hotel and evidently had higher standards.

This hotel claimed it was owned by Bugsy back in the day. I though , well it had something going for it , back in the day.  How do I know it’s the same Bugsy that started this whole thing. How did they know it was the same Bugsy.

I walk to my hotel, enter the room and get ready for bed. I notice the marbled tile in the bathroom contained a pattern of brownish red swirls . Perfect for hiding blood stains across the ages. Convenient for covering up the past transgressions of a guy named  Bugsy, I thought.

I take one last glimpse of Vegas from my room before hitting the sack. Gazing out my window I noticed a check cashing business across the street.  It was not immediately recognizable as such. It took me a few moments to make out the business sign. It had been installed upside down.  I wonder what the story behind that is, I thought.

I go to bed excited for tomorrow. Dawn does not come until all of my thoughts have escaped my brain and have been reinterpreted into dreams.

I awake outside my window and interestingly enough I am able to read the check cashing sign with no difficulty.  I am clueless however as to what the signs on the surrounding businesses spell out. The need for me to grab my glasses before they fall off my face is a big clue as to my predicament.

Two men of New York persuasion wearing fedoras are holding on to my ankles as I dangle outside my hotel room. They are either performing an experiment with gravity or they need something from me. I am concluding the latter. They don’t seem to be the scientist type.

“Bugsy, we know yous got the dough. Your joint seems to be quite, um, what’s the word I’m looking for?”

“Prosperous, “ I offer. Definitely not scientists.

“Yea , that’s it prosperous.”

“Dough, what dough? “I managed to croak out as the blood rushes to my head.

“Don’t kid us. The dough you borrowed from Mr Lansky.  He is starting to believe that perhaps your not paying your entire tribute towards your debt.”

Mr. Lansky? Tribute? what in the name of J Edgar Hoover were they talking about?

“Listen, um,  Gentlemen. I have no idea what you are talking about?  Are you sure you have the right guy?

“Is you Bugsy and do you own a casino?”

“Well yea but the whole Bugsy thing is fairly new. I thought it would be a swell nickname . You know something the dames would like.”

“Cute story but Mr Lansky wants his money.  You seem to share two important ,um , qualities, yea thats it, with the man who owes it to him.  Your name is Bugsy and you own a Casino. That’s good enough for us.”

“Yea , I can see where you’re going with this. How much does this Bugsy character owe?,” I ask with the hope it is not too much cash to scrounge up in a minutes notice.

“A cool twenty grand would get you on the right side of Mr. Lansky for a while.”

Twenty grand, what a coincidence, I thought. I had a cheque for just that amount  that was destined for the bank . It covered the receipts for the week.

“ I don’t suppose you would take a cheque for that amount would you?”

The fit of laughter the two mooks had just about caused them to drop me. I made a mental note not to bring it up again.

With the blood pooling in my head it was really tough to see let alone concentrate but I managed to remember the check cashing joint across the street. The one with the sign easy to read by persons in my particular predicament. Convenient, I thought.

I convince the mooks I have the dough but need to cash a cheque across the street. The location gives them a warm and fuzzy, however fuzzy a mook can get, that I won’t be able to get away with anything.

At the cheque cashing joint I give the dough to the mooks. One of them smacks me on the back , smiles, and apologizes for interrupting my sleep. They both exit to the street and  leave me at the counter to collect my wits and allow my blood to resume it’s normal route.

“I gather those gentlemen just collected on debt you owe?” asked the proprietor.

“Yes I say, I guess the color of my blood filled face gave me away.”

“Yea, that and I have seen a lot of that kind of thing running this place. “

“Yes, well I owe my life to your flawed sign hanging skills”

“Flawed? I did that on purpose. That sign can be read my many a man  in the same situation you found yourself in.  It has directed a lot of business my way. I am glad  I could help but I can’t say that I will miss it. “

“Miss it?”

“Yes I am retiring”.

I woke up in a cold sweat in fear of mooks from New York. It took me a few moments to calm down and realize it was just a dream.  Before meeting my friend for breakfast my curiosity caused a detour in my route and I stopped by the cheque cashing  business.

An old man at the counter greeted me and introduced himself as Lawrence, “but you can call me Larry.” I asked him about a guy name Bugsy that used to own the casino across the street.

“Well I have heard things,” he replied with a twinkle in his eyes.  “I heard that he almost met a tragic ending due to a nickname mix up. He gave up the business and the nickname .”

“You don’t say,” I replied. “What was the man’s real name?”

“I believe it was Lawrence,” he replied.

I smiled, “You don’t say.”

The Thin Yellow Line

It was one twenty in the morning and I was staring at a band of yellow police tape across the closed-door of my hotel room. “Thats funny” I thought, ”I don’t recall committing a crime before going to work. I would remember that”. Glancing at several other doors down the hall it appeared like the crime was part of a wave that  hit several other neighbors. The security guard parked unceremoniously on a chair outside my door eyed me with suspicion.

Taking the risk of raising the ire of a retired cop with hemorrhoids , I think I saw his posterior resting on a donut (no sprinkles), I smiled and said good morning (part of my killing with kindness persona) and pointed out that one of the taped rooms was mine.

“No it is not sir”. Now I was extremely tired and in that state I have been known to search the wrong side of the airport parking lot for my car but I was looking at my little hotel envelope , the one that accompanies your card key  you when you check in, and the room number on it definitely matched one of the  taped ones.  Proceeding with caution I  showed him the envelope and my key and uttered “Um I am sorry  but when I checked in I was issued a key for this  room”. Seeing the envelope and with the reluctance of a cop not wanting to leave his donut behind he slowly stood up to get a  closer look at the number. He brought out a list for comparison and blinked several times to insure the number remained the same. “Well you will have to talk to the front desk. I have orders to watch these rooms as they have minors on a field trip”.

Wow a field trip to see other people’s hotel rooms! Must be a private school. “Ok,  I know you are just doing your job” I said as I shuffled towards the elevator.

I appeared at the front desk, a tired beaten man incapable of any anger except for the small amount saved up for the snoring that  I hoped would soon be assaulting the neighbors. I explained my plight to the front desk clerk but  it was hard to ignore the fact that  he looked like several of the Star Trek Ensigns that never lasted more than an episode before they were killed off. Perhaps that was why  he  seemed a little extra jumpy. He grabbed the master list of student rooms with all the energy of someone who knew this was their last mission and returned to my floor to confront the hemorrhoidal Bones McCoy from episode whatever and the dangers that lay behind my door.

The security guard snapped to attention accidentally taking the donut with him.

Studying the list together they concluded that my room should not be on the list but they could not guarantee that there would not be a couple of 13 year olds rummaging through my shave kit playing grown up.

Ensign front desk clerk decided that if the was his last mission he was going to carry it out all the way to its conclusion. Gathering his courage he slowly opened my door and throwing caution to the wind flipped the light switch. There at 2 am on a Tuesday night in a hotel in D.C. standing alongside  Ensign  Hotel “ last episode” Clerk and Bones “I’m not a cop I am  a security guard Jim”  McCoy, my eyes fell upon my hotel room devoid of any signs of teenage mayhem.

Twenty minutes later I was unconscious on my bed adding to the stories the school kids would be able to tell their parents about their field trip to DC , the cool stuff they saw and whatever they made up to explain the horrific noise next door that woke them up in the middle of the night.

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