Las Vegas, NV
"Nothing shakes off a bad beat better than hate fucking a hooker," an elderly local once told me at the poker table.
We were sitting in a 4-8 limit game at Green Valley Ranch. I couldn't tell if the geezer was serious or just joking. But it made sense. There's a running joke in poker that when someone tells you a bad beat story, they have to pay you $1 for wasting their time. I always imagined that being a hooker would be one of the worst jobs on the planet. But I'm almost brought to tears at the thought that somewhere in Las Vegas, right now, there's sloppy, smelly, sweaty fat poker player telling a bad beat story to a hooker while he's humping her doggie-style in his hotel room.
I have always felt that prostitution should be legalized. That's what is great about America. We're made up of fifty states and if one state wants to allow hookers and another wants to decriminalize pot and another wants to host a slew of Mormons, then so be it. Some states say poker is legal. Others don't. While most of the union is against prostitution, Nevada has a different stance. It's the only state in America that allows it. However, the legal brothels are nowhere near Las Vegas. And that means that the local hookers (aside from those girls who work in massage parlors) have to seek out the customers. That process involved hitting up the different hooker bars.
For the most part, the girls that worked the hooker bars in the casinos were above average looking girls in Las Vegas. You occasionally saw the high end girls, usually draped on the arm of an elderly gentlemen as they strolled through the casino, but you rarely saw the hottest hookers in Las Vegas because they were too busy chugging cock or biting pillow.
The girls who walked Tropicana in front of the Redneck Riviera were the bottom of the barrel hookers. They were strung out, overweight, and outright nasty. But they managed to pick up clients, who would swoop them up and drive away. Those girls often disappeared and were strangled by psychotic serial killers, if they didn't end up overdosing on the car ride out of town.
There are two types of people in Las Vegas... the hustlers and those getting hustled. Which one are you? Mostly everyone I know is the worst kind. Because they're someone who thinks they are a hustler, when in fact, they're the ones getting hustled and never saw it coming.
Everyone in town is running a con or a scam or always looking to shoot an angle. Even the Jesus freaks and Mormon missionaries are scooping lost souls by the baker's dozen. Missionaries never go into rich neighborhoods to recruit members, only Scientologists do that. God is most often sought in places of despair like poor communities and ghettos. Hospitals. And very frequently, God's good will is sought at the craps tables in Caesar's Palace.
Someone tried to hustle me the other night. I looked like a tourist. I looked like fresh meat. I lived on and off in Las Vegas for three years. I know a hustle when I see one.
I have faith in the majority of cab drivers. But there's always a couple bad seeds in any group. I've been around taxis for most of my waking life. One of my earliest memories was puking in the back of a taxi headed to the doctor's office in upper Manhattan. Living in New York City, you get used to all kinds of different types of drivers. Taking a lot of cabs in Vegas also offers some insight in the differences between a good driver and a bad driver.
The good driver was the guy who picked me up at the airport. My taxi was captain by an elderly chatty fellow. He said that I was his first fare of the day. We spoke about the weather and where I flew in from. He said that he used to live in L.A., right around the corner from where Change100's parents live now. The ride was quick and the fare was $11. I only had a $20 or $100 bill. I asked him if he could break the $20.
"No problem," he said.
I gave him a $3 tip.
A couple of hours later, I picked up another taxi. The guy was very quiet. The fare was $9.10. All I had was a $20. I told him to give me $9 back and keep $1.90 as a tip. He tried to pull the old "I don't have any change" trick. He said that I was his first fare of the day. All he had was $3. He showed it too me. Essentially he was trying to get an extra $6 when I tipped him almost $2.
"Don't bullshit me," I said. "I don't believe you. Show me your wallet! Show me your till!"
I took the $20 back from the driver. He protested my requests and had a thick accent. I couldn't tell where he was from. He muttered some other bullshit. I told him to go get change. He wouldn't get out of the cab and do that. I looked through my pocket. I had exactly $9.60... the fare plus a fifty cent tip.
"If you're lying to me, well fuck you man," I said. "And if I'm wrong and you are telling the truth, then tough shit. It's your own fault that you showed up to work unprepared and only $3 in change."
I never liked stiffing cabbies or waitress, but sometimes you have to make a stand. I overtip so much that I feel as though my tipping karma can take a small hit from those instances.
My gut told me he was lying. When I saw the look in his eye when we exchanged the money, I knew I was right.
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