Thursday, August 28, 2008

What Happens in Vegas...

If you've ever seen the movie "Indecent Proposal" you'll recall a young, poor couple (Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson) who take their last few dollars and head to Vegas in hopes of hitting it big. Before we were married, Tom and I used to travel to Las Vegas a few times a year (with our hard earned cash - his from bartending and mine from cocktailing,) in order to hit the craps table. At this point in our lives, pretty much all of our money was discretionary -  no mortgage, property taxes, big car payments or kids. Tom used to spend most of his cash on heavy metal concert tickets and paying for rounds of drinks at the bar at T.G.I. Fridays. I had a wicked collection of lacy mini-dresses and L.A. Gear hightops. 

With no real responsibilities (aside from school and our jobs) we could up and take off for Vegas at a moments notice. It was on one of these jaunts that things went horribly wrong. We took off on a Friday morning, driving through the desert in his Honda CRX, with a reservation at the Mirage, which at the time was the nicest and newest hotel on the Vegas strip. We had planned to stay just one night and between the two of us had approx. $300 in cold hard cash to gamble with.

Despite our love for alcoholic beverages, we rarely drank while gambling - especially when playing craps. I have enough trouble adding without using my extremities to count, so adding alcohol to the picture would most certainly be a determent to my gambling expertise. In actuality, we were both novices, but Tom knew a lot more than me. We began gambling early in the evening and by 10:00 pm we were up $900. It might as well have been $600,000 for as excited as we were. $900 would pay for 5 months of Tom's share of the rent - or, better yet, approximately 17 new tight minis (plus a new pair of LA Gears) for me! 

Had we been smart, we would have stopped, had a steak and lobster dinner (which you could get for $12.95 back then) and called it a night. But we were blinded by our new-found wealth, and decided that our streak of luck was here to stay. I ordered a soda from the cocktail waitress as I watched my "high roller" boyfriend continue to win. When she came back with my drink, I generously handed her a $2 bill from our stash o' cash. Within minutes, Tom's luck began to change. By the end of the hour it was gone - all $900. Tom somehow discovered that I had given away the $2 bill and suddenly it was I  who was responsible for our twist of fate as, unbeknownst to me, that had been our "Lucky" $2 bill. Like an addict who is all out of his stash, Tom began to become irrational and angry, certain that if I hadn't given away the whopping and oh-so-rare $2 bill, we would be rolling in dough. I reacted accordingly, by crying hysterically and running dramatically through the casino -hightailing to the nearest bar.

Unfortunately, with no money to gamble, or even enough to purchase a Fuzzy Navel, I sat alone in one of the Mirage's bar, while a Japenese cover band did a hideous rendition to Sir Mix A-Lots "I Like Big Butts (and I Cannot Lie)." I am not kidding when I say that it came out sounding: "I Rike Rig Rutts and I Rannot Rie."  

Passerbyers most certainly would have thought I'd just lost my entire family in a plane crash as I sobbed in front of the cover band, tears falling on the massive shoulder pads of my red leather jacket. Unlike "Indecent Proposal" there was no handsome millionaire to save the day by offering Tom a million dollars to sleep with me. I eventually made my way back to the room, knowing that our gambling hey-day was over, but relieved that we had left a safety-net of $100 for gas money and our trip home. When I opened the door, I expected to see Tom, waiting with open arms, all apologies. I literally gasped when I saw that not only was Tom gone, but so was our "nest egg": He had left and taken with him the hundred dollar bill.

I turned in for the night - tossing and turning as the hours passed and Tom was still missing. He arrived at approximately 4 a.m. with a 5 o'clock shadow and exactly $0 to his name. No hugs were exchanged. 

Honestly I don't know how we made it home. I do remember reaching down into the seats and counting the pennies in the CRX's change bin in order for us to find enough to buy a Carl's Jr. egg sandwich on the long, silent drive home. 

Tom and I are still together, happily married, but have not gone on a trip to Vegas since. 


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