So there I was.
The dealer had just dealt me my cards, and I was preparing for the next round.
Yeah, it was past midnight, but the night had just begun as far as I was concerned.
Suddenly, the dealer stops in the middle and looks behind me.
I look where he’s looking, and there’s this tall black fellow signalling him and pointing to me.
I don’t know the man, but he wants to speak with me, and the dealer won’t let me continue now.
So what choice do I have?
I stand up from the table, and look at him.
I say to my friends, “I’ll be right back, I think.”
The black fellow motions with his hand, “After you,” as if I could possibly lead the way when I don’t know where I’m going.
Am I in trouble?
I haven’t done anything, but is there some misunderstanding?
We walk together to the far corner of the room
Passing through a door that didn’t seem to exist
(These places have so many hidden entrances and exits)
I find myself in a room filled with monitors.
These are the other side of all the cameras everywhere.
“I would like to show you something,” he says.
I don’t feel alarmed because it’s actually interesting just being there.
He points to one monitor which shows the table I was just at.
I see that another person has taken my place.
There are my friends.
He draws my attention to a different monitor.
That’s one of my other friends buying chips at the cage.
“Do you gamble with these people regularly?” asks the black fellow.
I say, “A couple times a week nowadays.”
“Hmm,” he says. “Yes, that’s what it seems. And how are you doing?”
I say, “Well, nothing remarkable. I win sometimes. I lose other times.”
(I am really lost about where this is going.)
So then he signals to one of the men watching the monitors, and they invite me to have a seat.
Another door opens, and a woman walks in and gives a pouch to the first fellow.
The black fellow unzips it. It’s full of cash.
I am looking, but I am still not seeing the point.
As if reading my mind, he says,
“Almost all of the money collected from the people at your table is counterfeit.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that when your friends buy chips at this house, they pay for them with fake money.”
A million questions run through my mind.
Is he sure? Is he talking about tonight only, or other times too? How long has he been watching them? Does he think I’m also paying with counterfeit cash? (Because I’m not.) Where could my friends have gotten counterfeit money? Where do regular guys even get counterfeit money? Why didn’t they tell me they were doing this? Is there a mistake? Why is he telling me this?
“You’re the only one playing with real money.”
“So — it’s not just one person, but everyone at my table?”
“I’m afraid so,” he says.
I am speechless, and I look from the money to the monitors to the lady from the cash cage to him to the monitor man.
Finally, I say, “What do you want me to do?” as it occurs to me that there is probably some end goal here.
“You don’t have to do anything,” he says, “We just wanted you to know.”
“Oh. Wow. Okay.”
The drive home with my friends is somewhat awkward, tbh.
Ben is the one driving because only he and Jon have a car right now.
They ask me what the black guy wanted to talk to me about.
I won’t lie and say, “It’s nothing,” because it was definitely something.
What do I say?
It’s not like it was normal. You don’t normally get interrupted like that by the staff.
I don’t want to talk about it.
So yeah, that’s what I say.
I say, “Yeah, the guy said some stuff, and asked me some questions, but I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Woo-hoo-hoo!” they tease me. “Are ya in trouble with the casino?”
I laugh a bit, figuring this might be the out that I need.
Let them think I was getting questioned or reprimanded.
They don’t let it go, but soon enough it’s my stop, and I say,
“Well, hey. I guess I’m home, so I’ll catch you guys later.”
I take out my keys and let myself into the building.
So the weird thing is that I started working for the casino.
This meant that I was at the casino a lot more, but I wasn’t gambling.
The black guy — his name is Marcus — is actually the owner of the place, and he offered me a job as one of the monitor guys.
He says, “I already know you’re honest, Jerry.”
In other words, he knew that I wasn’t up to the shit that my friends were.
I think he felt sorry for me, tbh.
But he never came right out and said that.
I decided not to tell my friends about my new job.
I kind of think they just assumed I was still working at the shop.
And for a while, I did work both jobs, but I just wasn’t getting enough sleep
I chose the casino because I felt appreciated there.
And it came with a benefit package for dental treatment and such.
Marcus is a really good guy.
He looks out for his people.
But what I gotta tell you is that I saw a lot of familiar faces coming through the casino.
And the screwy thing is that they’re all trying to cheat the place!
Actually, I don’t know what’s more bizarre — the fact that there are so many cheats, or the fact that Marcus doesn’t have them all charged.
He’s got all the evidence. The cops could have a field day. It’s all on tape — the counterfeit cash is only a fraction of the story.
And I don’t see how he can stay in business, tbh.
Nobody is getting caught, so it just makes everyone more brazen. You half wonder what the point is of all that expensive surveillance equipment if you’re not going to turn people in.
And I have to say, it’s extremely weird for me personally because I know these people — as in, they’re friends and family.
To find out that someone you trusted is a cheat — I don’t know — it just makes you question all your memories of them
What else were they lying about?
And something else which sucks royally is the fact that they knew that I was all in
My coin was real
Every time we came to the table, it was a joke for them
Because I was the only one with anything to lose
Yesterday the boss was around when I was on my break
I was having a smoke outside
He joined me
I didn’t even know he smoked
Anyway the timing was perfect because I had been really thinking about asking him a few things,
Like why he doesn’t rat out all these people, and why he decided to let me into the surveillance room that first time.
We had a good chat, and yeah, he did answer my questions
He said that he had been watching me from the start, and that he felt sorry for me
(like I figured)
to be spending so much of my time with these vultures
(his words, not mine)
who were sucking my time and energy and taking advantage of my good intentions
He said that he felt it was time to intervene
As he was saying this, I was thinking, wow, he barely knows me and he’s way nicer than all those other people
So it was a really cool conversation
Almost like a father-son heart-to-heart, tbh.
I am sure we totally went over the break, but it was like time was standing still
And so of course I had to ask him —
Why do you put up with all of these crooks ripping off your casino, day after day?
He went quiet, and so for a sec I thought maybe I shouldn’t have asked.
“Ah,” he goes, “I have been patient — this much is true, but there will come a day when all will be known. That day is coming soon.”
As he said it, it felt so epic
Like he was from a movie — kind of like a Moses or a wise Jedi.