By Dingo © 2007
Living in Las Vegas and hanging at Mandalay Bay's Island Lounge each night gives one access to a huge cross-section of people.
The very first lady I met when I moved to Vegas in September 2004 was a tall, leggy blonde whom I shall call "Randi." I will use a moniker for her because I know she still frequents the place as of April 2007 and I would hate to ruin someone else having as much fun with her as I did.
The reality is that I instantly tried to hit on this 5ft 11in hottee cause I was hornier than a canetoad on Viagra and she has a killer body, face and phallic bearing lips (all the better for my little fella).
Anyway, after three hours of plying her with hard liquor she left me at the bar for a hunky looking California surfer dude called "Mark," and I assume proceeded back to his room for a great night of "horizontal toe tapping".
Randi is or was one of the most fascinating b/s artists I have met in my life. During our three-hour drink-fest she told me she was from Moscow, had a fabulous modeling career going with her identical twin sister and was a frequent guest at Mandalay Bay for various jobs. She was the best name-dropper I have ever encountered and having run a global hedge fund for many years, I personally KNEW many of the people she purported to know.
Despite having not made it past the batters' box, as far as hitting on her was concerned, I had a blast with this lady from the former Soviet Union.
Over the course of a year I came to know Randi very well, so much so that she told me I was the only person she trusted. I came to see her as a sometime-intelligent drinking buddy. She told me in two slightly different accents at various times that she was either Randi (the good twin) or Tatyana (the second twin) but it took me the whole year to work out they were the same person.
Randi had a thick eastern European accent, straight blonde hair and a mischievous smile. Tatyana wore her hair in waves/curls and was very serious and often depressed. She would cry about nothing in particular and from the whopper stories she told and her sniffling I concluded Twin 2 was a heavy "coke head".
Randi told me the "twins" had a suite at Mandalay in "The Hotel" as a semi-permanent thing because her father was a wealthy Russian nickel industrialist who knew just about everyone. I mentioned to her that I knew Boris Beresovski and Roman Abramovich, the current owner of Chelsea, the English Football Club. Boris and Roman had made their billions helping the Russian government sell off their state-owned assets (always to their own advantage, of course). For fear of ending up like a recent Russian spy in London, I will say little more about the two Russians except that Randi's father must have known them well. Randi strung me along with many stories of her and her father's success and interlaced it with facts about the two Russian billionaires, so I believed she was who she said she was.
Over months we became mates, exchanging calls and often sharing breakfast at 4 or 5 AM at the Mandalay Bay cafe after a night of singing, drinking and dancing at the Island Lounge. I would often get up with "the Limit" and sing a version of INXS' "New Sensation." Randi never seemed to have any money but that didn't ring a bell with me for a LONG TIME so I usually paid for everything. Yes, I should have realised if she WAS staying at The Hotel she could put tabs on her room but she gave me a line that daddy paid for her and was tight with her funds.
After six months or so Randi disappeared and Tatyana would come to the lounge. Tatyana generally ignored me but I asked her one night why I never saw Randi around. She told me Randi was in London helping Daddy in a deal with the Russians.
Tatyana would occasionally appear with a black guy in his late 20s, a magician called Max. Now I hate frickin magic shows so when he did the old cigarette through a card trick for the third time one night I told him to get a new "dead horse to flog." The guy was a straight out hustler and a poor one at that. I told Tatyana she should get better company. She told me to piss off.
The very next night I saw Randi again. She was in a very happy mood and apologized for not having called me in two months. She told me she was in love and was moving to California. Apparently, she had been seeing the surfer guy she met at the time of our first meeting and planned on getting married to him. She told me she had given Mark my number in case he ever needed me.
At this time, I was just recovering from treatments for a brain tumor so would get foggy quite easily when drinking. I awoke the next morning and found that I had slept through four phone messages from an unknown Texas number and three from what appeared to be Mark, Randi's new fiancé. The Texan who called asked me to phone urgently as it was a life or death matter.
So, I call Mr. Texas. He proceeded over the course of two hours to tell me the story of his life. He was Michelle's (Randi and Tatyana's real name) husband of five years and was staying at the really shitty Motel 8 across the road from Mandalay. He had been in Vegas for two months and had finally tracked down his wife. He told me he got my number from her cell on the one occasion he caught her. He had been calling everyone in the cell with no joy and finally realized I was the Australian in Vegas his wife had once mentioned a year or so earlier. He knew she trusted me so he poured out his guts.
Texas and Randi had two little girls, two and five years old. Randi was a diagnosed schizophrenic (actually a multi-personality disorder patient) and she had flipped out when her 2nd daughter was born. She had milked the family of all of their savings and would fly to Vegas and party and then return when her money ran out or her psychotic episodes finished. She had finally scammed Texas of his last funds when she met and fell in love with Mark and he assumed she would proceed to do the same to him. Texas told me that Randi was a child prodigy, a genius with numbers but had been molested repeatedly as a child and had run away to Austin as a 17-year old where she met him. She had a special skill for blackjack. Texas had trained Randi from the age of 18 to 21 on all of the math and practical aspects of poker. They married when she was 21 and she began to win them money in various casinos playing blackjack. But over time her illness would deteriorate and she could only concentrate while medicated. Often she forgot or refused the medication. Texas told me that they entered her into a blackjack tournament at the Mirage in 2004 which she won ($75,000). Randi immediately hid the winnings in a safety deposit at the casino and kept the key away from her husband. According to his lawyers the casino has verified that the safety deposit box has not been touched to this day.
Her husband and two beautiful children were forced to bunk with friends for three months because the bank had foreclosed on their house, Texas had zero funds and no job. Randi had taken everything from him. Texas told me his wife was seeing a guy in California who sounded like a nice guy. He said she had massive drug problems on top of her clinically diagnosed psychosis and she would not help him or their children with the $75,000. He said she didn't even seem to know she had the money hidden somewhere.
Texas decided to track Randi down and had been chasing her trail around Vegas for two months. He was paying by the week for a tiny room for himself and the two girls at the shitty Motel 8 near Mandalay. He had caught Randi one night but she ignored him even in the face of her two young daughters. He told me she was so messed up that she was working as a hooker and had forgotten about the blackjack winnings at the Mirage. He had drawn down all of his credit cards and the children had been eating McDonalds dollar meals for the last two weeks cause he could only scrounge $5-6 a day. I told him my financial plight was as bad as his (you will see why in other posts soon) and couldn't help but he told me all he wanted was for me to persuade Randi to see him.
I hung up the phone call from Texas and was immediately contacted by Mark, the surfer guy, fiancé of Randi from Cali. He told me that some guy from Texas had called him asking about a Michelle (Randi). After ten minutes I concluded that this guy was a good bloke and so told him everything I knew about the story from day one. I told him I could not get involved and did not know the truth but a guy with two little girls seemed very real to me. I called Randi but only got her voicemail.
A week later I received a call from "Tatyana" telling me that her sister had died and that some crazy guy from Texas with two little girls was following her around. I told Tatyana that I understood the Texan to be her husband and that they desperately needed her help with the money she had stashed at the Mirage. She went berserk at me on the phone and then hung up. I NEVER HEARD from her again.
Fast forward to... July 2006.
It's the World Series of Poker. I am sitting at the bar playing video poker at the Rip Casino when a tall attractive blonde sits next to me. She has no recollection in her face of who I am. She introduces herself in an English accent as Diana Smith from London.
It is Randi.
Dingo is a forty-something lawyer who's originally from Australia and currently living in New York City.