When I first decided to start writing the Atlantic City Diaries, I didn’t think I would be doing it very frequently. From 2007 to 2011, I really only went to Atlantic City roughly once or twice a year. This year, I’ve been to Atlantic City five times, with plans to go again in 10 days. I originally thought that my last time there would be it for 2012, which is why I spared no detail in my 3,000-word recap. However, Chapter 2 got Keith itching to go, and, backed by a free room on a Sunday night, we headed back down the shore.
Now, half of the time that I go to Atlantic City, I am there to see a concert or a comedy show. This spaces out the night better. I am away from the free-flow of booze and gambling, as hours upon hours of blinking lights and arcade noises can melt your brain. However, the other half of the time, I am there for the sole purpose of having an alcohol-fueled gamble-thon. This trip was the latter.
We left Sunday at noon, on a bus driven by Friday. Yes, Friday was the born name of the man driving our bus. I took this as a good omen for the trip to come. On the bus ride, we caught up on several basketball topics, as the Brooklyn Nets were having a splendid summer, and the Manhattan Knicks were having a cruel one. This point was reinforced when news broke on that trip that their young point guard Jason Kidd got arrested for a DWI. I swear, that team needs some veteran leadership.
Keith Stone: As our trip turned out to be an extremely boozy one, I am going to step in to interject anything Rory may have missed or misremembered. Here, he’s forgetting the fact that Jason Kidd is 600-years-old. But hey, who doesn’t celebrate getting a new job by wrapping your car around one of your new boss’s telephone poles? It’s better than beating your wife.
We got off the bus at Showboat, even though we were staying at Resorts. This was because of the bus deals – we decided that $25 of gambling money was more fun than $15 of gambling money and $15 in food vouchers. However, I was extremely hungry when we arrived, and as we walked the boardwalk from Showboat to Resorts, I grabbed a philly cheesesteak from a food cart. I was about halfway through this cheesesteak when–
HOLY FUCKBALLS BIRD BIRD! From over my shoulder, a seagull dove and whacked my sandwich to the ground. Before I could even spot the guilty bird, about 15 more gulls descended upon my cheesesteak’s remains. The whole incident took no more than 15 seconds, but I was shaken to my core. Who knew mother nature could be so cruel? I mean, if the bird had flown to my face, I would’ve had a chance to make an evasive maneuver. I may have failed, but still, with a sneak attack from behind, I had no chance! That’s all I wanted: a chance to defend my sandwich! To add insult to injury, a witness to the attack came up to me after and said, “This must be your first time in Atlantic City.” It just goes to show you, you always learn new things when going to Atlantic City. Lesson 1: Never eat on the boardwalk.
MKS: This bird came out of nowhere, and it wasn’t like Rory was holding the sandwich up and waving it around. It was like Osi Umenyiora strip sacking Tony Romo, except instead of a football being involved, there was a delicious philly cheesesteak. Maybe it was more like Osi stripping Jared Lorenzen.
We got to Resorts, and they gave us the double whammy of a) not having the room we ordered (we got one king bed instead of two double beds) and b) not having the room ready. Between this and the bird, I felt the storm clouds brewing. We took some time to get a little more food and booze for the day ahead, came back, and waited even longer as the woman in front of us complained to the front desk for about 20 minutes. By this time, my nerves were on edge. We finally got our room, dropped our shit off, and, to regain my inner calmness, we took a bee-line to the pool.
The pool area at Resorts isn’t amazing by any stretch of the imagination – it is an indoor/outdoor pool with dirty glass windows and a seagull-shit stained balcony, but it was just what the doctor ordered. While the kids dominated the main pool, we relaxed in the hot tub. They had a mini-bar set up, where our bartender Nes (whose nametag read “NSE”, which given the Resorts’ track record of success, seems par for the course) served up mixed drinks that really stretched the definition of “mixed drink” – they were more like oversized shots.
After time in the hot tub, a strong drink, and a quick shower, I was back in the zone. I wouldn’t let a bird bring me down. We hit the boardwalk again, heading south. We stopped at Bally’s, as I had a free bet – which may have won or lost, I don’t recall. As mentioned in Chapter 2, I would normally toss the free bet on roulette, just to get it done with in a hurry. However, this time I played blackjack, and wanted to play a few hands both before and after using the said bet. Either way, I left Bally’s a winner. We moved on to the Wild Wild West, in its last days, for one final beer at their 24-hour happy hour bar. I’d like to say that Keith and I had many great memories over the years here, but I really only remember the time that the bartender refused to serve Keith, saying he was too drunk. I insisted on Keith’s soberness, only to turn around and see Keith throwing his jacket repeatedly onto the floor. Good times!
We traveled south enough to visit the last casino on the boardwalk, the “new” Atlantic Club Casino (formerly the AC Hilton, or as OB calls it, the “Alex Chilton”). We saw many signs for this on the Atlantic City Expressway, which sported the slogan “No Pretense. No Attitude.” Well, we decided to test out the precise amount of pretense and attitude they had by visiting their cheap BBQ buffet, but it was closed by the time we got there. So, the mission was a failure.
MKS: Apparently, the Atlantic Club Casino’s second choice for a slogan was “No shirt. No shoes. Eh, you can still play blackjack here.”
We made the long trek back to our room, reloaded ourselves with drinks, and headed to the Showboat to use our $25 vouchers. By this point in the night, time is getting blurry, so bear with me. Showboat treated us fairly well (I believe I turned my $25 into $26, so there’s that). Then, we decided to check out the Revel. This place was quite fancy, but I was in no state of mind to give it a proper review. After as many drinks as I had, the place seemed very confusing to me. In one section, Keith played blackjack (as I watched, where I was accused of card counting by the dealer). This section seemed away from the action of the main floor, almost tucked into a corner. After playing some hands there, we wandered around and stumbled into a band playing 90s rock covers (not the same band in Chapter 2, but still, this seems to be a popular thing in Atlantic City). More wandering around stumbled us in to attaining players cards – and of course, mine was promptly lost. Eventually, we found ourselves at a digital blackjack “table”. Basically, it was set up like a real blackjack table, with a live real human being as the dealer, but all the cards and chips were on digital screens. The appeal of this was that the minimum was $5. However, the game moved very fast, and the whole thing felt fishy to me. I did win $5 after a couple of hands, but wanted to leave immediately.
MKS: The easiest job in Atlantic City? The guy pushing the buttons for digital blackjack.
More drinks, more wandering, more getting lost in Revel. I’d put the time at somewhere between midnight and 2 AM, and I was once again sitting down to play blackjack. This table was in a bar area, and seemed more “in the action” (although, for all I know, it could’ve been 15 feet from where we played earlier in the night).
MKS: At some point, in order to show Rory how much better Knicks fans are than their Jerz/Brooklyn brethren, I decided to signify each time I wanted a hit by saying “Patrick Ewing.” Except I didn’t just say “Patrick Ewing,” I said it the way the PA guy at the Garden does. “Pat-rick Ewwwwwng.” If you ever went to a Knicks game in the 90’s, you know what I’m talking about. I cleared out the table pretty quickly. And yes, if you want to go ahead and skip to the end of this, I didn’t hook up with any girls.
I played only a couple of hands at this table, when another player commented on how I was playing my cards. I have zero recollection of what was said, but I was doing well and decided I didn’t need to take any guff from anyone. So, I just said to the guy, “Well, suck a dick about it,” gathered up my chips, and bolted for the cashier. However, that did not sit well at all with the other player, who left the table and followed me, yapping in my ear, asking me in unfriendly terms if I would like to clarify my statement.
Now, I’m a lover, not a fighter. Well, actually, I’m mostly an asshole. But this caught me off guard, as I didn’t expect the guy to leave the table at all. So, I did what any pussy would do: I kept my head down and walked toward the cashier. I didn’t acknowledge the guy at all, even after he grabbed my shoulder (the second shoulder attack from behind of the day!). Fortunately, Keith witnessed the incident, and separated the guy from me, saying the typical stuff you do in these situations: “My friend is really drunk, he doesn’t know what he’s saying,” etc. Keith may have damn near saved my life.
MKS: I really should get a job as a secret service agent. Rory and I weren’t sitting together at the table, so this douchebag didn’t know we were friends. When I saw Rory leave and Fuckface McGee take off after him, I grabbed my chips and sprung into action. You could tell business was about to pick up. The guy pursued Rory for a good 30 seconds while I followed right behind him. He was lucky he didn’t have a more aggressive first move because my fist was clenched and I was ready to cave in his face like I was Lennox Lewis. Isn’t it great how violent and confident alcohol makes you?
There is a tendency to make oneself look innocent in story-telling, but I’ll be the first one to admit that I wasn’t very mature here. However, the man thought I said to “suck my dick”, when I actually said “suck a dick”. I really didn’t specify what dick, so maybe I was telling him to find a delightful dick that he’d enjoy sucking. He doesn’t know that, and really should’ve considered it before trying to attack me. Either way, next time I will choose my verbal barbs more carefully. I think I’ll go more old-timey; I doubt anyone will want to fight me after I tell them to go fly a kite. Lesson 2: Be careful with your insults.
MKS: I bet Joe Johnson has a delightful dick.
Keith and I hightailed it out of Revel before we got into any more trouble. By this time of night, sleeping was not an option. Around 5AM, I packed up my stuff and checked out of the hotel room while Keith sat down at another table. I wanted to take an 8:30 AM bus to New York City. I was only taking half a sick day at work, as I am going to San Diego this weekend, and then back to Atlantic City with OB the following weekend. My time off is currently at a premium. I handed Keith his backpack while he was playing blackjack and headed towards Caesars, where the bus was leaving from.
I got to Caesars around 6 AM, and, being up roughly $100 and having time to kill, I did what any gambler would do: I went back to the tables. I played for a few hands, slowly seeing my profits trickle away. However, I was doing my best to keep track of the cards, and increased my bet on my last hand. I was rewarded with a blackjack. However, the dealer was showing an ace. I would normally never do this, but I was tired, drunk, and wanted to get back to even, so I took even money. Surprisingly, I actually made the right call, as the dealer had blackjack as well. With that, I went back to the bus station. I received several frantic calls from Keith, who didn’t know where I was, didn’t know where his backpack was, and didn’t know the room number that we stayed in. This was bad, as we were both too tired and too drunk to understand each other. I got back on the bus, and slept so hard that you could’ve stolen my kidneys.
This story does have a happy ending, as I got to work on time, Keith lived with all his possessions intact, and we both left slightly richer. An Atlantic City all-nighter is no easy task, and while this was a fairly successful one, there are many places where the night could’ve gone horribly awry. So far this year, every Atlantic City trip I’ve had has left me wanting more. This night, however, has left me sated – if I don’t head back until next year, that would be fine with me. However, as mentioned previously, I’m scheduled to go down on the weekend of the 27th. I have ten days to suck it up, and get my putzing self back into shape. I would’ve liked to end this chapter with an “until next time…”, but right now it is a “to be continued…” So, come back in roughly two weeks for the next write-up, which I’m sure will be filled with more over-the-shoulder surprises.
MKS: “Lived with all his possessions in tact???” Rory makes it sound like I had a good old time finding my backpack and making my way back to the bus, but like the Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels Iron Man Match at Wrestlemania XII, Gorilla Monsoon has ruled that this story must continue:
5:30AM-I become sentient but can’t remember anything that has happened for the last few hours. I decide that pulling an all-nighter in Atlantic City is the worst idea since Disney thought Taylor Kitsch should be a movie star. I get up, somehow cash a few hundred dollars worth of chips, and head to our hotel room. If you haven’t been at a blackjack table at 5:30 in the morning in Atlantic City, you just haven’t lived.
5:45-Oh hey, it’s the sun. Wasn’t expecting that.
6:00-I make it up to the room except none of my stuff is there. I call Rory frantically to figure out what is going on but there’s a problem. Whether it’s the sleeplessness or the massive amount of vodka Red Bull I drank throughout the night, I’ve lost control of the English language. I literally cannot think of the words I want to say. The call I made must’ve sounded something like this:
Rory: I can’t understand you. I’m taking the bus.
Rory: Uhhhhhhhhhhh, text me.
Not to make light of people with actual speaking disabilities but it is fucking frustrating to want to say something and not be able to. I guess I shouldn’t have made fun of George W. Bush so much.
6:15-I figure that my bag must be at the Revel. I head to the elevator to go down but realize I took off my shoes in the room. I look in my wallet for the hotel key but all I have is my awesome new Revel rewards card. Fuck.
6:45-In the biggest surprise since Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 sexual abuse charges, my bag is nowhere to be found at the Revel. Back to Resorts. Yes, I am walking barefoot through a casino on a Monday morning. If anyone has any pictures of this, please send them to me.
7:15-I try to plead my case to the lady at the Resorts front desk. Why wouldn’t she let a disheveled weirdo reeking of booze who can’t put together a full sentence, isn’t wearing shoes, and doesn’t remember his room number into her hotel? Her eyes reflect fear and revulsion. I call Rory for help:
Rory: Uhhhhhhhhhhh, text me.
7:30-How could this situation get any dire? My phone battery dies. Whatever little hope I had of Rory helping me has now vanished. In my infinite wisdom, I go to the shops at Caesars because I know there’s an Apple Store there. Of course, it’s fucking early in the morning so it’s closed.
7:45-I walk around on the beach a little bit because what the hell else am I going to do.
8:00-I eventually figure out the room number but Rory the genius has already checked out of our room. My friend DeskLady wants to know if it was checked out under my name. I meekly hand her my ID praying that by some miracle she will completely read my name wrong. She doesn’t and tells me to take a hike.
8:15-What does one do at a moment like this? Wander aimlessly through the casino. In the 12 brain cells I currently have functioning, I figure that once I sober up, it would be easy to find my missing backpack and attain some footwear. It really doesn’t make me feel that much better, though.
8:30-I’m hovering by the front desk. At this point, DeskLady has been joined by a co-worker closer to my age. If I can only get to this DeskGirl, she’ll have to take pity on me and let me up. DeskLady gets distracted by a customer so I run up to DeskGirl and string together, “Please………..717…………..I left my shoes!” DeskLady sees me and looks at me with disgust but she’s predisposed. With a startled look on her face, DeskGirl agrees to have a security guard named Juan escort me to the room to get my shoes.
8:45-In the biggest surprise since Jerry Sandusky was acquitted of three sexual abuse charges, I am stunningly fluent in Spanish. Juan and I are both Colombian and we talk about traveling to the homeland. He opens the door to the room and there are my wonderful shoes right below the key I left on the nightstand. I debate asking if I could take a shower but decide that would be pushing my luck. I explain how I left the key in the room after I took my shoes off and he laughs. I really haven’t spoke Spanish this well in my entire life. Remind me to go on an all-night bender the next time I go to my grandma’s house.
9:00-The shoes have brought my mojo back. That, along with Juan’s suggestion to go to the lost and found, were all I needed. I got to the lost and found room and saw my beautiful black backpack just sitting there. Unfortunately, the people there didn’t speak Spanish so I just pointed at it and screamed, “Mine!” When they asked for proof, all it took were two words: Mickey Mantle. My copy of his biography was in the outer pocket. The Mick had come through in the clutch one last time.
9:30-I haul ass to Caesars and can’t wait to get out of this miserable city. I pass out in my seat and wake up as we’re going through the Lincoln Tunnel. I vow never to go back to Atlantic City again, until next time…