"Could you hold this for me for just a sec?"
I glanced at the her engagement ring as she handed me her purple overcoat. An anxious line of passengers waited as she nervously shoved a generic black carry-on bag into the overhead compartment. I handed her the purple overcoat and she tossed it into the empty seat by the window.
She was in her late 20s and looked like the actress from the Scary Movie flicks. For a second I considered that it very well could be that same actress. After all, I was on a JetBlue plane bound for Burbank, California where most of the Hollywood corporate offices were located and where the studios churned out artistic feces for mass consumption. My brother once sat next to a random actress on a JetBlue flight from Las Vegas to New York City. Why couldn't that be happening to me?
I had been sitting in the aisle seat and stood up so she could scoot by. I realized that she wasn't that actress and simply a random chick who looked like someone famous. She plopped down a stack of magazines in the empty seat between us. Bridal magazines dominated the stack. She also slid a Lonely Planet travel guide for Bali into the seat pocket in front of her.
"Lemme guess," I said. "Honeymoon in Bali?"
She smiled and picked up the guide book. "How did you know?" she said as she fanned out the pages in a dramatic fashion like a game show hostess.
"Bali. Now that's a very romantic location. Magnificent and ravishing in the same breath. You're going to have the time of your life. Just don't go during the rainy season and keep your eyes open if you go to Kuta. Fundamentalist Islamic terrorists target tourists there. Especially Americans."
The once smile unfurled into puzzled look that quickly morphed into panic. That's when it hit me. At some future date, that young woman was going to walk down the aisle and gamble the rest of her life on a coin flip. Marriages in America these days are coin flips because about 50% of them end in divorce. Plus, she was about to take the biggest gamble of them all and book her honeymoon in a resort town that was bombed twice since 2002.
As much as I try to take time away from poker, it seeps into my every day life. I was waiting for my delayed flight to get the hell out of JFK and out to the West Coast. That's all I was thinking about when I sat in my seat. As soon as I saw the engagement ring my immediate thought was "coin flip."
The point of telling you that story was to explain how I often poker invades my waking life. Like how I caught an angle shooter on my KLM flight from Amsterdam to Copenhagen.
Some fat dude was in my aisle seat. He played the "Me don't speak good English" bit. I sniffed out that bluff. Basically he didn't want to be squished in the middle. Well, that's why I didn't to sit there. And that's why I get to the airport early enough to sweet talk the check-in counter chicks into making sure I have an aisle seat.
It was only an hour from Amsterdam to Copenhagen. I was holding up the plane from boarding.
"I'll do it for twenty bucks," I said.
"Ehhh?" he moaned.
"I'll do it for 20 Euros."
"I will not pay money."
"Then you have to get up."
He pulled out a 5 Euro bill. I snatched it out of his fat fingers and sat in the middle seat. Talk about a bad beat.
See? Three poker references in just one encounter.
Here's another example. When I got back to New York City from a trip to Florida, I was bombarded by the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal. He was a VIP member of a high class brothel and this is where the hypocrisy card comes into play since he used to prosecute those types of cases. Wicked Chops Poker had some of the best coverage of the scandal including photos of Spitzer favorite girl... Ashley Alexandra Dupre aka Kristen. Check that out. Anyway, we hated Spitzer with a feverish passion on Wall Street during his Draconian reign as attorney general of New York State.
Ashley Alexandra Dupre became another one of those chicks who solely got famous for fucking a married public figure. When the press-types got wind of where Spitzer's high priced ho lived, the vultures swooped in to peck at the last remains of her dignity, as the media conglomerates scrambled to feed the voracious scandalous appetite of the American public, who eagerly waited to get a glimpse of her. I chuckled when I saw the address of her loft. It was located on West 25th Street, one block up from where I used to live back in 1994-95 before I migrated to Park Slope, Brooklyn.
I lived in a loft on 24th Street between 6th and 7th avenue. Billy's Topless used to be located on the corner. Any of you Rounders junkies knows that Billy's Topless was the strip club that Worm went to after he got out of the joint. Grama cornered Worm in the bathroom and took all of his money after Worm accused him of "rolling fags in the Village."
So, as I played connect the dots inside the hallways of my mind, my neurons were firing out a slew of different messages, memories, and thoughts. My brain processed images of Eliot Spitzer's hooker before I flashbacked to the mid-1990s then trailed off into a montage of random scenes from Rounders.
"In a legal sense, can fuckin' Steinbrenner just move the Yankees? Does he have the fuckin' right to just move them?"
"We get to Steinbrenner in the third year of law school."
Flashback again to 1995. Jerry Garcia was still alive. Don Mattingly was playing in his last year for the NY Yankees. Hootie and the Blowfish had the #1 hit song. And I was living with my girlfriend at the time with two other roommates, both of whom were drag queens. One worked at Lucky Chengs. It was an odd situation, but the rent was cheap and I was madly in love with Sabine.
"Everything happens when it happens, the way it happens, and it just is," she once wrote me in a love letter.
I had a penchant for crazy and dangerous women in my early 20s. Sabine fit that description as a malcontent chain-smoking French painter that loathed and scorned everything including being an artist, living in America, and the mere fact that she existed. She encouraged me to write everyday and to experiment with poetry. I was insanely jealous of her talent because even though she was an artist, she would write several poems a day... in English... and I couldn't even scrape together a decent short story. She turned me onto different writers, may of which I continue to admire to this day. She gave me my first copy of Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller and Post Office by Charles Bukowski.
Then again, that was the same cunt that waited five weeks to break up with me on my 22nd birthday. Why? Because once a year I would always remember that my heart was shattered in a billion different pieces.
That was some cold shit, man. Seriously demented and calculated. Worm was right.
"Women are the rake."
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