I pulled a red chip and a white chip off my stack and handed it the old man in the Mardi Gras beads. I'd been waiting for more than an hour for my food order to arrive. I was patient because the Gold Strike offered free food to its players. C.J. was on his way to winning an $1800 pot, fueled by pure adrenaline and a tasty meatball sub that had arrived in 30 minutes.
The old man took the toke and asked me if I needed anything else. I said no, but he stood over me as I dug into the container. My mouth was already awash with au jus.
I opened the styrofoam and saw a few chips and another container full of what appeared to be vomit. Since the old dude was still standing over me, I said, "I ordered a French Dip."
"That's the only kind of dip they had," he said, as if the vomit in the styrofoam was as close to a French Dip sandwich as he could muster. "Do you want something else?"
I agreed that I did, in fact, want a French Dip sandwich, knowing I'd never see the old dude again. Bad beat, I figured, and ate the vomit.
In need of a break, I walked into the WPT tournament area to tell the gathered partying masses about CJ scooping the nice pot. The drinks had obviously been flowing and Iggy was holding court from his perch on the bar. It was the only way he could look Spaceman in the eye without a step stool.
"Otis," he said, "Roshambo for $40."
For a moment, I thought I should get back to my game. The diminutive one is a known hustler. But, I smelled Grayhound in the air and I thought my sobriety might help me overcome the hustler's edge.
After working out the timing of the shoot and the obvious height disadvantage, we got ready to go.
"Wait!" Iggy said. "I'll give you double or nothing if you go rock first."
I considered the bet. The odds said I should do it, but I was worried about the hustler's skill. I told him that the bet was on.
I threw scissors and cut his paper into confetti.
"I'll take even money," I said, privately thinking, "Who is the hustler now, bitch?"
Two throws later, I had skunked him, taken my $40, and walked back to the poker room.
By and by, the hour grew late. We had to check out of the hotel a few hours later and CJ and I decided it was time to call it a night. As we had Iggy's booster seat in CJ's car, we made sure to pick him up before we left the casino. We found him holding court near the bathrooms with a dealer, Tuscaloosa Johnny, and Spaceman. Iggy didn't want to leave.
"Otis," he said. "Roshambo for $40."
I was eager to get the hell out of Dodge, but I thought, "Hey, I won the first time and the alcohol has surely found its way to Iggy's noodle."
Again, it was on. This time, the match was more even. Iggy made it a contest, but I ultimately prevailed.
Eighty bucks to the good and feeling good about hustling the hustler, I again suggested we get on the road.
"Otis," Iggy said, "Roshambo for $100."
I felt sorry for the little guy. I really did. Drunk, obviously off his noodle, and hemmoraging money like a lanced leech after a big meal on Wil Wheaton's boys.
Before I considered it further, my hustler mind woke up and two Franklins were sitting on the table.
I'm not sure what happened in the next two minutes. While I'd only had a couple of beers, I blacked out, lost time, and dreamt of a life in which I was fucking Paul Newman and Robert Redford wrapped into one.
When I woke up, CJ, Iggy, and I were on the escalator. It was 4am and Iggy was talking.
"I feel sorry for you, Otis. I really do."
I heard myself saying, "That's enough."
"No," he said. "I mean really, I do. Really sorry. Wanna go for another $100?"
"Just plain sorry. I mean, to be that bad at Roshambo..." He trailed off and I know his eyes were twinkling behind his indoor shades.
Some days, I think I'm the Roadrunner. I can beep-beep with my tongue and run really fast.
Iggy. my friends, is Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and the Roadrunner wrapped into one.
Me? Just call me Wile E.