January 21, 2005

Sunday Morning in December

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2004

Las Vegas, NV... The phone was ringing. I sheepishly answered another wake up call minutes after I had finally fallen asleep. I could have sworn that the maids were popping into the room for a "bed check" and were stealing $100 bills out of my pants pocket while I was passed out. Or maybe that was just a dream? I was greeted by a minor migraine headache, the kind that you get the morning of day three of a week long a bender, the type that never goes away no matter how many painkillers you pop or no matter how many drinks you consume to drown it out. You just have to gut it out and pray that it doesn't get any worse. Derek was much slower to get up and moving. So was I, for that matter. I had an extra few minutes to write before my shower. Short on time, we skipped a sitdown breakfast and grabbed something quick from the food court.

I remembered that Iggy wanted me to put $100 on the Bengals for him at the sports book. Since we were cutting it close on time with kickoff a few minutes away, I made the bet at Excalibur then took the tram to Mandalay Bay. When we arrived at the sports book, the spread was an extra point in Iggy's favor. Ouch. For bettors that's a huge difference. I ran up and put another bet on the Bengals for myself and got it in just a few seconds before kickoff I had them at 10.5 and 11.5 and was praying that they would not get blown out. Let's be honest. It's not that I had faith in the Bengals. On the contrary, I had been picking New England consistently all season and that was the first and only time I bet against them in 2004. And why? Because Iggy did it. Yep, I'll adapt that old expression my Mom used to scream at me as a small child... because if Iggy jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, I would too. The lowly Bengals were my Brooklyn Bridge. And I had taken the leap of faith with Iggy.

When Derek and I arrived at the Mandalay Bay sports book, both BG, Daddy, and Bob had already snagged a table. They have these really cool marble tables with comfy chairs twenty feet from the bar. We sat down and I scanned the Daily Racing Form. BG and Bob had been placing bets all morning. BG suggested a horse with the name Miami in it... a long shot at 30-1. I wandered up to the window to place my bet, and sure enough, the horse was scratched. Not a good sign. I called Miami to tell her that she was already jinxing my day.

Within a few minutes, we had a full crew soon after AlCantHang arrived and we were cracking jokes with our scantly clad waitress. She was cute as a Georgia peach and had the slow drawl to match. My notes have me knocking back shots of SoCo with ACH at the bar around 10:08am PCT. Gotta love being on the west coast for football season. Games start at 10am. I was giddy by 11am, drunk by noon, and shitfaced by 1pm. I can thank ACH for that. Derek was wicked wasted. He was audibly slurring his speech and speaking with a three second delay. I picked up some chicken fingers from the cafe to help sober him up.

Soon after Iggy wandered over with EvaCanHang. She had been up all night playing slots with Grubby. Iggy found a small piece of paper in his pocket that I had given him the night before at the poker room. It said:

Mandalay Bay sports book - Sun. @ 10am.

As soon as he discovered the note, he rushed over. I gave him his ticket for the Bengals and we just sat back and waited.

The game wasn't close in the first quarter. New England had gotten off to a quick start and the Bengals fought to hang in there. At some point they lost their starting QB to an injury and I quickly accepted defeat. Out of nowhere, they faked a punt and scored a TD. That made the game closer than anyone imagined. The Pats ended up winning, but they didn't cover. A slew of us had bet on the Bengals, and we were all winners.

EvaCanHang was at the tail end of a 36 -hour bender and she had quietly passed out in one of the chairs. I made up a Do Not Disturb sign and gently placed it on her. She slept through all the loud drunken chatter, even through the raucous chanting of the San Diego Chargers fight song.

EvaCanHang came to and decided it was time for her to crash. She got up said her good-byes. Before she walked out of the sports book she mentioned, "Don't buy any more shots Al. They're too expensive."

As soon as she walked away, AlCantHang stood up and announced to the entire sports book, "Who wants a shot?"

I went with him to the bar to help carry the multiple SoCo shots back over to the table. The bartender mentioned that his tab was somewhere near $177 for the 2.5 hour bender.
  • 15 Southern Comfort
  • 1 Soft drink
  • 4 Coronas
  • 5 JJ Irish
  • 3 Jagermeister
  • 2 Bud Lights
  • 1 Vodka rail
  • 1 Absolute Citron
  • 1 Budweiser
  • 1 Miller Lite
"Only $177? Holy shit!" screamed AlCantHang, "I thought it was $300!"

When we all had our drinks I offered up a toast for AlCantHang. He quickly interrupted and said that we should all toast for me.

"To McGrupp!" he said as our entire group hoisted their drinks and shots. At the same time, there was a huge play on the big screen, an interception, and the entire sports book cheered in jubilation just as the bloggers were toasting me. That was an awesome feeling, to hear "To McGrupp!" followed by a thunderous applause from the entire sports book.

I realized that the majority of my drinking with AlCantHang all happened within the hours of 9am and 5pm. I wonder if that qualifies as a full time job? At the least, it gets a mentioning on my resume.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

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