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9:09 a.m. - 2005-05-20
I wish I had a fucking word I said that fucking much.

One hell of a shift. 10 pm till 6 am.

There are a few very nice things about working the grave yard shift; no traffic on the bay bridge either way if I leave promptly, a few extry bucks an hour, sleeping during the day and staying up all night no longer a frown worthy practice, drinking beer at 8:30 am A-okay…

Also, as has been reported in song of our times, the freaks come out at night, and good lord do the freaks like to get their wager on. There is no shortage of nutty characters that frequent the casino in the wee hours. They are from every race, age and socio-eco-whosit-backthingy, and their temperaments, appearance, hygiene (and thus scents) are even more diverse than they are.

I have a few favorites already. The mean bitchy Asian lady with the Burberry hand-bag and seemingly endless supply of $100 bills she pulls from it in order to antagonize her enemies at the black jack table. If she doesn’t like you she will try her hardest to take your entire bankroll. If she does like you she will give you high fives and screechy whoops of approval when you win with her. If she hasn’t decided about you yet, err on the side of no sir she doesn’t.

One guy she doesn’t like, another regular, opined that she was a whore when she questioned his betting practice. Santa Maria, what a racket that produced.

Which brings me to my next subject. The most pleasant natured of the group in general. He is a six-foot Latino man with a deep booming spanish accent who light heartedly exclaims “Santa Maria!” whenever he loses. Or when he wins. Or at seemingly random intervals when nothing of note has appeared to occur. He’ll say “Santa Maria!” when the cards are dealt. “Santa Maria!” when they are flipped over. “Santa Maria!” when the deck is finished and needs to be reshuffled.” Santa Maria!” when $20 or $1,200 is wagered by a friend or stranger. One time he said it when a particularly delicious looking milkshake was delivered to a fellow player at the table.

There are other exclamations that are more common. If you have ever lived in a community with a large Chinese population I’m sure you have heard “Hi-ya!” said in similar situations you would imagine “Santa Maria” to be appropriate. If you haven’t then you should know it is not the same “hi-ya!” that a cartoon dog might yell when doing a kung-fu chop, it is said more in the tone of “oh brother” and means roughly the same thing. There are many Chinese patrons at the casino, but “hi-ya!” is not exclusive to them at all. It has so permeated the atmosphere that thugged out gangsters with gold teef and afros, Mexican immigrants with limited English, old bearded white guys with disgusting decade worn fishing caps, middle aged Persian men with loose fitting gold Rolexes, and even lil wee jewish dudes not unlike myself won’t shut the hell up with it.

In short? So far so effin good. I’m getting paid to play games. Black jack. Pan nine. Double hand. I’m shakin’ dice. I’m stacking big piles of chips. I’m saying “hi-ya!” when the opportunity arises. Now I’m finna don my prissy black eye mask and dorky earplugs to get my snooze on as if I were a vampire. Good night.


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