(This is Part 2 of our story. For Part 1, read Before We Were Us.)
The night crew met up around 5 a.m. I think it was cold that morning, but my brief google search for historic records was a failure. We were riding in Bryan’s family’s new escalade. The ride through California was pretty uneventful, but we probably had typical 23 year old idiot banter. We stopped at Buffalo Bill’s at state line, because now that we could legally gamble, we had the itch. I didn’t come on the trip with a ton of surplus cash, maybe $400, having just paid rent and bills before I left. Because I had a limited budget, I was willing to lose up to $100 before I quit gambling for the weekend.
I walked around the Casino surveying the scene because this was my first time in Nevada when I could legally gamble. I quickly got sucked into a game of craps with Eric and Jason while walking past them. I had no idea what I was doing but Eric was helping me out. I played for about 20 minutes before losing $60. I ended up playing blackjack and slots until I had just $10 left. I put the last of my money into a Monopoly nickel slot, and soon walked away with $50. That’s when I saw the roulette wheel.
I don’t know what it was about roulette. There’s no skill, it’s all luck, and for a guy who considers himself to have bad luck, I’m a fool if I play. But the hum of the spinning wheel, the ball bouncing and clanging, looking for a home, it was a siren’s song that beckoned me. I couldn’t resist. I decided to play it safe on a $5 minimum table, and only played black or red. Red, red, black, red, black. By the time we were ready to head into Vegas, I had over $200 in my wallet. Roulette had been good to me.
We were staying at the Rio, but got there way too early to check in. We had to wait about two hours, so I ended up wandering around the Casino until roulette had me firmly in its grasp again. Red, red red, black, red, red, red. Bigger bets were leading to bigger wins. By the time we finally checked in, I had plenty of cash for the weekend – $600.
EVERYTHING’S COMING UP MILHOUSE
Night was approaching so I texted Angela. She was out at 8:30 p.m. and had the weekend off. Bryan was totally cool with letting me drive his family’s new car into North Las Vegas to pick up Angela, who I’d never met in person, while he and the other guys just gambled around the Casino, no questions asked. We had dinner reservations at the Rum Jungle (R.I.P.) in Mandalay Bay for 10:00 p.m. so I had to hurry back. I got to the shopping center around 8 p.m and sat in the car for a few minutes thinking about what I should say. I still had time to kill so I walked over to the super market and bought Angela a single yellow rose. I didn’t know what she’d think, but I didn’t care. When she came out the front door I headed over to greet her. I told her we had dinner with my friends so I’d take her home to change before we headed out. I don’t know what she thought. I was completely out of my realm, money in my pocket and a beautiful girl by my side. Viva Las Vegas.
Angela lived with her cousin and her cousin’s boyfriend. They owned a house near Angela’s work, so it was only a three minute drive. I waited outside in the car while she changed. She came back out shortly with a DVD player and some movies. On the way to dinner we talked and had some awkward silences, but managed to get there right on time. I got to take Angela out to a nice restaurant and it was all paid for with winnings. The dinner was fun, and Angela fit right in with my friends. Afterwards, everybody headed to the casino. Now, I was 23, but Angela was only 19, so we were hesitant to go with them. We decided to walk around the strip to see what Vegas had to offer instead.
We walked around for a while and somehow ended up at Circus Circus. We hung out in the midway all night, playing dance dance revolution, doing the photo booth, talking and getting to know each other better in person. At some point after the sun came up, we decided it was best to head back to the Rio and grab breakfast with my friends at the buffet. Walking through the casino on the way to breakfast, I won another $100 bucks in roulette, so breakfast was instantly paid for.
After breakfast, still needing things to do, we walked more of the strip while looking for activities for people under 21. We ended up visiting a couple of souvenir stores and bought some sunglasses. I even bought Angela some cigarettes, although I let her know my feelings about them. We decided to go see Ray at a movie theater somewhere on the south end of the strip (neither of us can remember the actual location). Snacks in the theater were a substitute for lunch that day. The date just kept going, and it was all being funded off our winnings.
Eventually, we made our way to the MGM Grand to check out the lions and meet up with my friends yet again. All the recent winning had me feeling confident, so I headed straight to the $100 minimum roulette table. The wheel had hit red eight times in a row, so naturally, it had to be black next… OK, it won’t be red 10 times in a row, and if I bet $200 this time, I’d win back the $100 I just lost plus the additional $100 I was supposed to have won on the previous spin. Red. Alright, if I bet my last $300 on black, I’d win back everything I’d just lost and could walk away even. 11 reds in a row couldn’t happen. Red.
I ended up taking another $100 out at the ATM, against Angela’s advice. We stayed in the casino, playing roulette with more sensible bets, turning that $100 into $200 before grabbing a cheaper dinner and heading back to the hotel room. When finally got to there, Ben was waiting to get in the room because he was out of money and didn’t have a room key. Angela and I let him and in and the three of us started watching Forensic Files. What a weird way to wind down a remarkable 24+ hour date.
Eric and Jason showed up to the hotel room some time later. They’d struck out on multiple fronts and were reevaluating their plans for the night. Jason gave me the key to his room so Angela and I could have time alone. Angela was really excited because I had agreed to watch Spellbound with her. It’s a documentary centered around several National Spelling Bee contenders. She’d brought it to watch with me, along with Cabin Fever. She introduced me to her love of horror movies, both good and not so good, 25 hours into our first date. We stayed up until we couldn’t stay awake any longer, around 4 a.m.
We got back up around 8 a.m. so we could get Angela back to her place and then get me to Dana Point because my grandparents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and I couldn’t miss it. Angela and I said our goodbyes at around 8:30 in the morning and I told her I’d call her later. That Sunday traffic on the way home from Vegas can be a bear, but in the last lucky thing to happen during my trip, the ride home was completely clear and I made it to the party on time.
But, what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas…
For the next chapter, click here.