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Julius Seizure

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Posts : 996
Join date : 2010-11-06
Location : England

PostSubject: Old friends   Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:20 pm

Having the use of a company jet and flying here and there whenever you want eating exotic foreign food and drinking foreign booze for a year soon takes the fun and wonder of flying and the exhilaration as the ground drops out from underneath you. Furthermore, a private cabin with a bed, TV's, a computer, an ashtray etc. just makes a commercial flight a real pain in the ass. Joxide, a bit short of 6 foot tall, was cramped on a chair on the aisle. There had been no first class seats left and he wasn't about to wait another twelve hours for one. And even he felt excited about the flight as it touched down into McCarran International Airport in Las vegas, Nevada.

Joxide had been here before. The TXA corporate bigwigs like to come here with their cash bonus paycheques and Joxide used to join them occasionally. Although never a serious gambler, he could see why people got addicted to it, He'd been here on a few occasions but never business, up until now. "Official" company business on a commercial flight! Joxide grinned to himself. How ironic.

After the plane landed and Joxide was checked out, he walked outside the terminal quickly. The slot machines covering the airport were doing his head in. He saw a woman empty $30 before she'd even picked up her bags! He lit a rollup and strode towards a taxi rank. The constant ching of coins and chips was doing his head in.

As Joxide walked towards the taxi rank he paused. Strange, he thought. At one time I wouldn't leave the airport in anything less than a limousine with blacked out windows so I wouldn't have to see the proles. This time he didn't even think about it, quite prepared to slum it.

Joxide arrived at the MGM Grand hotel in the early evening. It was fortunate his old friend was staying in this great luxurious hotel. In the few times Joxide had been to Vegas they'd stayed here also. He knew the layout somewhat so didn't feel like such a stranger. He looked like one though. It was a Saturday night and a lot of people were wearing dinner suits or dressed smart. Joxide was wearing some cargo trousers, his battered house shoes from Chile, a red T shirt. Not really a posh kind of attire. Nevertheless, Joxide strolled into the foyer and looked around.

In casinos Joxide was always a bit on edge. He really didn't like the fact that everything you do is being watched and scrutinised on overhead cameras by security phantoms. He didn't ever do anything wrong but it gave him a sense of claustrophobia. He likened it to George Orwell's telescreens, obviously without the thought-intrusion and capital penalties, but Joxide had seem them at work. The final time he came here, he'd seen a guy leave a table angry after losing, and starting on a stranger. As he walked off, security intercepted him. They just circled him while he was walking, all at once, keeping pace and civil looking. Big bald men with big hands steered him through a nearby doorway and closed the door. It was skilfully done. They didn't cause a scene, hardly anyone noticed. One minute he was there, three seconds later he was ushered firmly away and gone from the crowd. Amazing. The thought of that happening to him didn't really appeal. People who do that probably wouldn't hesitate to give you a beating, guilty or not. And I don't need that before my match with the Cydes, he thought.

Joxide passed through the foyer to the casino and paid for $25,000 on his card for chips. Vegas is probably the only place you can go where buying twenty five grands-worth of betting chips and not receive any attention. In fact, many of the old time, jaded cashiers would give them a 'cheapskate' look. He then walked out onto the floor with 24 pink $1000 chips and 10 x $100 green ones then walked casually out onto the casino floor. It will keep him interested until nine when his meeting is.

Back in TXA, Joxide remembered a guy called Barry Wheeler who worked on the board of directors. He couldn't recall much about Barry except that his wife had left him and he was a hopeless gambler. Joxide had seen him once during a directors christmas party pissed as a fart at the roulette table, gambling away his entire bonus. When he made it clear he'd lost the last penny the free drinks stopped, the girls went away but the gentle dealers let him stay at the table, it was a relatively dead night and he had nowhere to go now. The look on Barry's face made Joxide wonder why he'd even come to Vegas in the first place if that's what's going to happen. He saw that before him at the tables. He didn't like the looks of harsh realisation of many of the punters faces when they registered that they'd got a bit carried away and the last ill-gambled $200 chip was meant to pay for their family's food next week. After seeing all these faces, Joxide knew he could never become a full time gambler in Vegas.

He found an almost empty roulette table and threw down $100 on red. He won. Red again. Win. Red again. Lose. Raise bet to $300. Lose.

No sooner had his chips raked away from him a suited, smart, clean shaven man appeared beside him.

"Good evening sir, would you like a drink?"

It was customary to treat guests well here. The more you spend the more you get for free. And the better time you have, the better tip you give, right?

Joxide threw another $100 chip down on red and the ball dropped onto the table.

"Sir?"

Joxide turned around. As soon as the man met his gaze, he smiled politely and spoke clearly.

"Sir, can I get you a drink? Would you like some dinner?"

"A beer would be great, cheers. Can I smoke here?"

"Of course you can, sir."

Joxide took a cigarette from the pack of Marlboro he'd bought at the airport and before he could even put his hand in his other pocket the friendly hotel rep had flicked on a shiny silver lighter bearing the hotel's logo. No sooner had he turned around back to the table, his bottle of beer arrived. Joxide took a large gulp and checked the time on his phone. None of these casinos have clocks. Who would want to see them anyways? They'd be horrified by how much time they're wasting, thrusting their money into some rich men's pockets. Besides, the longer you stay, the more you pay. Clocks are bad for casino business. Half seven. That's ninety minutes.

=========================

60 minutes later, at half past 8, Joxide was in his luxurious hotel room, provided 'at no extra fee' by the hotel, in their words. Not one of the best, you had to book in advance for them, but he it did have a lounge and a bedroom. He sunk a few beers from what must be the world's most expensive minibar while he waited for a call from reception telling him his friend was here. After he received the call he sunk his last beer and lit a cigarette as he strode back downstairs.

The doors of the lift opened right into the thick of the casino. Joxide stepped out into the mass of bodies in search of his old time buddy.

TO BE CONTINUED
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