Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Minor Setback

After about five hours of watching Pro Basketball with "Keaton" at the Race & Sports Book of the Wynn Property, we were hungry and happy. The Heat not only covered but my over parlay hit and Keaton benefited enough from Kobe's first 70 point effort of the season to put money back into his pocket.

"Chaplin", who just game back from a journey that is worthy of its own post in the future, had no gaming interest in Pro Basketball. When he arrived we left for The Mirage, more specifically a fancy hamburger restaurant called The Carnegie Deli. This place was less famous than its NYC inspiration, and vastly less populated. We were met instantly from a 40+ year old server from Washington who, according to Chaplin -and Chaplin ONLY- told him he had "beautiful eyes." I'd still bet a few green chips that the server said no such thing.

This was not the last hearing failure of the dinner. FYI: Chaplin does not say, "What?" "Pardon me?" or "Excuse me?" when he fails to hear an audible message. With the precision of a Swiss watch he always responds, "Say again."

Keaton theorized that I was too slow in responding to the server's order cues (i.e. How do you want that cooked ? Fries or chips? etc...):

Keaton: Your ordering style is inflaming the waitress.

Chaplin: Say again.

Keaton: Tom is inflaming the waitress

Chaplin: Say again.

Keaton: Inflaming.

Chaplin: (silence)

Keaton: Do you know what inflaming means?

Chaplin: (after more silence) Gay.

TQ: (laughter) Yes, Bill, my ordering style is slowly turning our waitress into a lesbian.

Chaplin: Oh, I didn't hear the last part of that.

Keaton: No, you didn't hear the first part of that.

After we were handed the total from the server, who's sexual orientation was unknown to us, continued to stand at our table and stare us down. I think it was retribution for my slow-play of ordering, Keaton believed she was just nuts. Chaplin did not provide his theory.

Finally we threw our cash in the leather flap book and the server checked to make sure we didn't pay with Monopoly money. After she was certain it was true legal tender, the sever stood for a few beats silent and stoic. Finally she shrugged her shoulders and made an expression that read, "well... that's it."

We walked out with Keaton insisting that she was in fact nuts. 25 yards away were the Craps tables.Keaton , who might have wanted to continue his foray into "wrong betting" chose a different craps table. I decided to stick with Chaplin, who I insisted read my Craps Book when we were back at TI at the start of the day. First time craps players always seem to have better luck.

That night was the debut of my new "snap enhanced" audible shooting routine. It proved successful and Chaplin and I began to draw fans from foreign worlds. Fast forward 90 minutes later, I'm back up to shoot and have already made a point. Keaton stops by on his way out saying that he had to escape. His table had turned cold and he was next to a large boisterous man who'd yell, "MINOR SETBACK" after every failed point.

Shortly thereafter, without warning, Mirage officials close down all the craps tables. In the middle of a point. In the middle of MY POINT! Citing a "fire regulation" we all stand in limbo when all the lights in the casino go out. Less than ten seconds later I see more flashlights than an X-Files convention as everybody around me makes the worst attempt at an Oceans Eleven reference in history. After the 4 odd minutes the lights go back on and the craps table opens back up.

Gambling in a silent casino, with no slot machine noise and no background music, was the closest to a slow-motion dream sequence that I have ever experienced. The Mirage was operating on a bare bones energy grid, but that couldn't stop the game. The only thing that I could hear was the random "MINOR SETBACK" yelled from 20 feet away. I repeated that same statement in a pissed off sarcasm as I silently roll a seven minutes later.

Wanting out of that Twilight Zone I cash out and leave. The lights in the Mirage bathroom were out and the faucets had no water. When I got outside I noticed all the lights on the outside of the hotel were out, and the steady hum of generators was more chilling than the casino's silence.

I give one of the security guards outside a puzzling shrug and he assures me they are just "testing a power failure." I respond back with, "Minor setback?" The security guard nodded in approval.