For seven years I lived in the Bay Area. It’s where Drama Queen was born and while we were there I worked a majority of the time at a Toyota dealer. I started out as a Fleet/Internet Sales Manager and eventually became the Special Finance Director.
There was this guy they hired about 6 months after me. His name was Bill, but I called him Tex from the day he walked in for an interview. I called him Tex before anyone ever heard him speak. I saw him walking across the showroom in his cowboy boots, short sleeve shirt, thrift store tie and way-too-bad-ass attitude and just knew this dude was from Texas.
They hired Tex as an additional Internet Manager and put a second desk in my office. He was a cocky little prick. He didn’t care that he was 5’3”, he had a shitload of attitude and pointed toe boots!
A few months after he started working there we ended up taking the same day off every week. At one point he asked if I wanted to cruise up to Reno with him for a quick overnight.
“Shit yeah,” I said. Mid-week room rates at the time were around $12 a night for a really nice room. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive, gas was cheap and dinner buffets were $3.99.
We went to Reno and we had fun. I don’t remember how much we won or lost on those first few trips. There is one trip, however, that continues to stick out in my mind. Tex called me around 7:30 on a spring Tuesday morning.
“Hey. You’s off today at 3 and work tomorrow at 2, right?” I told him I was and asked why. “We just got paid, so I’ve got some money burning a hole in my pocket and I was thinkin’ we should go to Reno, pull an all-nighter and get back in time for a shower and work tomorrow. Baby Mama’s still out to sea?”
Baby Mama was in the Navy at the time and her ship was indeed out to sea for a couple more weeks. Drama Queen had not yet been conceived, so I had no reason to stick around the house that night. “Hell yeah son,” I said. “Let’s goooo to Renooo!” I knew how Tex was, so I drove and brought an extra pair of clothes with me. Just in case.
Our workday was done and we cruised past Sacramento and stopped at the last In-N-Out on the road to Reno. I worked just a few blocks from an In-N-Out, but for some reason a double-double tastes better when you’re on a road trip.
I suggested that we get a room, even if we weren’t going to sleep in it. They were so cheap and at least we would have a shower and a place to crash for a few minutes. He kept insisting that we were going to do this without a room. He called it, “Texas style,” whatever the fuck that meant.
We pulled into Harrah’s and hit the casino. Tex loved playing slot machines and I preferred blackjack. This was way before the big poker craze hit and I don’t remember there being any casino in the central core of casinos that offered poker. Tex crashed the $1 slots while I found a $3 table.
I played for a while and was up about $300, when the table cooled way off. I quit, colored up my chips and went to find Tex. He was all excited because he just won $900 on, “That slot right over there.” He switched machines because he, “had a feeling this one was fixin to pay real big.”
It actually did pay off big. Around $2,500 big ones as a matter of fact. He was all jumpy and happy. So much so, that he switched over to $5 slots. I went back to play blackjack for a while and told him to come find me when he was hungry.
A little before 1 AM, I went looking for him again. He was at a $5 machine and had been going crazy. He was up almost $9,000, but I could tell something was wrong. He had that look degenerate gamblers get when they’re about to do something really, really stupid.
I reminded him that we hadn’t eaten in eight hours and told him I would buy him breakfast. He needed to get away from that machine for a bit and interact with a human again. The VIP Slot Host told me he had offered him food, a free room and to even reserve the machine until Tex got back.
I looked at Tex and told him he was an idiot. I looked at the host and said we were taking it all. Tex insisted he was going to keep playing, but I told him he was walking to the coffee shop or to my car to go home. He finally relented and we went in search of steak and eggs.
After some coffee and breakfast, he felt a little better. I told him our next stop was the front desk to get a room and at least go up and kick off our shoes for 15-20 minutes. He did so very begrudgingly and exactly 15 minutes after kicking his shoes off, he put them right back on and started up again.
I went down with him but told him I was only staying up an hour or two, then I was going to sleep for a bit. By this time it was 3 AM and I needed to get some sleep or I was going to crash on the way home.
Around 4:30, I found him and told him I was going up. His $9,000 had shrunk to just below $6,000 and I begged him to come up with me. He promised he would be up soon, but he never showed up until around 7 AM.
I rolled over and asked how he did. He had “almost $1,000” of his $9,000 left. He asked what tine we had to leave and I said 11. We set the alarm for 10 and right at 10 he was up and in the shower. He was going down to the casino to play slots for a few minutes while l I showered.
I was less than 20 minutes behind him and I told him we needed to go eat breakfast and get outta town. We had two more free meals from the VIP host and I was taking advantage of whatever I could. He told me what to order and said he would be there in 10 min. He showed up 15 min later and was pretty quiet. I asked him how he did and he tossed it right back in my face by asking me how I did.
I told him I was up close to $400 and that I was pretty happy. He told me that he lost it all and he ate his meal in dead silence. I tried to joke with him a couple times, but he wasn’t in the mood. Just before we finished eating, he looked up and asked if he could borrow $200 from me.
“What?” I asked. “What the fuck do you want with $200?” He explained that he saw this machine, right outside the door to the coffee shop and he just knew that this machine was “fixin to pay off real quick…”
P.S. Did I give him the $200? Shit no. I had to get to work.