Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Sister I Never Had.

I whittled that five hundred down to a more manageable sum. How? I foolishly tangled with 5-4 offsuit with my measly AA. The ace that gave me trips gave some stillborn Lithuanian gentleman his five-high straight. That got me down to about $200. I remember getting some lap dances. At the club, inviting a police officer (who later turned out to be an exotic dancer -- apparently the cop outfit was just a costume) to a little coke party my friends and I weren't having at a beach house whose whereabouts (and keys) eluded me. I nonchalantly referred to it as "blow", which I figured would give my offer what lawyers call "additional indicia of reliability" The scary thing is that it worked. At about 4:45 in the morning, my phone rang. It was Officer Andrea. She was in a cab and was coming to pick me up. Yikes. We rode around in a cab for a while.

"Do you remember where the house is?"
"Hmm, not really. My friends don't have their phones on. It's late."
She looked exasperated.
"Do you want to get a hotel? I can't go to my place. My boyfriend is there."
"Sure," I said. "Will there be any vacancies? Oh, I don't have any [drugs] on me."
"That's okay. I have some."

She got on her phone and was told by the operator at the Showboat Hotel and Casino that, for $79, a room could be had.

Something was amiss here though. She was far too willing. Yet completely blase, given the fact that the ostensible aim of this adventure was to find a hotel room in which to have cocaine-fueled sex. We weren't acting as though we were anything more than co-adventurers. We could have been siblings, each of us slumped in the back of the cab, vaguely insolent ("Are we there yet?") All of the sordid, tawdry promises in the club seemed ridiculous and neither of us bothered pretending otherwise.

We arrived at the Showboat. I gave the cab driver about half of my remaining dollars. Now I had to pray for a miracle -- that somehow, one of my four maxed-out credit cards would be accepted at the reservation desk. No such luck. I made up some bullshit excuse, and she was all set to pay cash on the condition that I pay her back tomorrow. She was too insistent about the whole repayment thing. I didn't want to owe her anything. I wanted out. Immediately.

We discussed our predicament -- can you believe the nerve of my bank! -- at the hotel bar.

"Buy me a drink."

Then she excused herself and went to the ladies' room again. To do some blow. Again. I paid for the drink and walked as quickly as I could toward daylight, toward freedom. It must have been 20 degrees out there. I didn't have a coat on, just a hooded sweatshirt. The sole of my left shoe was worn out and becoming detached. It made a ridiculous flopping noise with every step I took on the Boardwalk. I had $14 and some half dollars in my pocket.

The sun came up over the Atlantic Ocean. It was New Year's Eve.


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