Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Morning Story with Mookie - Episode 9

The Time Mookie Went to Las Vegas and Lost His Cell Phone

Everyone has heard the saying “What Happens in Vegas – Stays in Vegas.” I am here to tell you that shit is NOT true. In my case, “what happened” in Vegas DID NOT STAY IN VEGAS. No, no….It made it home just fine. My wife back at home found out about “what happened in Vegas.”

At 4AM.

From some strange woman named “Cheryl” calling my house.

Intrigued? I was too. Because my wife found out what had happened even before I did.
Buckle up. This is a good one.

My friend “Rick” (*) and I planned a weekend trip to Las Vegas. We left on a Friday afternoon, and would be back Monday sometime. The Las Vegas Marathon and Half-Marathon were going to be around the general time we planned on going, so we booked our trip accordingly and signed up for the half-marathon.

We arrived in Las Vegas Friday evening, and had a swell time from the get-go. Gambling and drinking were the planned activities, and we made good on those plans. It was a banner evening on both fronts.

As we had to be up at 3AM for the half-marathon on Sunday, we refrained from drunken stupidity on Saturday and just focused on the tables. We went on a successful (and hilarious) blackjack run that was topped off by a “comped” dinner at the Sahara Casino dinner buffet. We returned to our hotel by 7PM and fell asleep watching a Will Ferrell marathon on cable. All in all - another good day.

The start of the Las Vegas Marathon.  At 6AM.
The alarm woke us Sunday at 3AM, and we began our race preparation for the half-marathon. Clearly we were idiots. The race took us up the entire length of The Strip underneath all the casino lights and the visual magic they provide. This experience easily ranks as one of the cooler things I can say I have done. We both proudly finished the 13.1 miles, and went back to our hotel tired and sore.

After a quick rest, shower, and some quality food (Burger King at O’Sheas), we decided to hit Vegas HARD that last day. At first, the luck that benefited us the first two days was nowhere to be found. The casinos at the South end and middle of The Strip (Mandalay, MGM, Caesars, Imperial Palace, O’Sheas) kicked our asses. After some shopping for the wives and kids back home, we decided to head back to where we had the most luck Friday night…the North end. We hopped the Tram (Rick swears by the Tram) and rode it up to the Sahara. We played the Sahara, Circus Circus, Slots O’ Fun, and the Stratosphere. These places rule because they are old school, and cheap - which suits us just fine because we loved the $3 and $5 blackjack. (Note: The Stratosphere actually isn’t that bad of a place, but it’s just so FAR out at the end of The Strip and is a scary walk after dark.) The entertainment rolls on throughout the day and evening, and the beers are just as plentiful. (You may read a story about part of this night HERE.)

The Sahara enjoyed our gambling activity so much that they again comped us at the buffet that evening. We were living large. Around midnight, Rick decided he had enough “fun” for the day. We had been up since 3AM, and the effects of running 13.1 miles, all the beer, the food, and the fun had finally worn him down. Plus we had to get up in the morning and be at the airport by like 10AM. Does this concern Mookie? Oh hells no. I’m just getting warmed up. Rick hops the Tram for the hotel, and I head back to the casino.

.............You can probably sense the wheels will be coming off the train here shortly…….....

The tables at Sahara did NOT treat me well, so I got another beer and set out into the night for Circus Circus further down The Strip. After the lovely stroll in the dark – including a quick stop at the CVS Pharmacy along the way for a Bud Light tall boy and Gummy Worms – I arrived at Circus Circus. I quickly found a hopping $5 game of blackjack, and settled in for some fun. It was an outstanding table as the Bud Light was flowing and the vibe from the players at the table was great. The people I was playing with were collectively the worst blackjack players ever, but MY GOD they were hilarious. Our table had this gimmick game called “Wheel of Madness.” In addition to your normal wager, you could make a separate side-bet that you were going to get blackjack. If you got a blackjack and had a side-bet on the table, you got to spin the “Wheel of Madness.” The wheel would spin, and the dealer handed you a button to stop the wheel. You hit the button and the wheel would slow to a stop. Whatever number it landed on, it was the “multiplier” of your side bet. So if you had a $1 bet and hit the number 11, you won $11. Through my joyful and excited influence, I had everyone at the table betting the “Wheel of Madness” side-bet. It was comical. When a blackjack hit, the table would ERUPT. You’d think we were winning thousands of dollars here. Yeah, we are talking like five bucks.

The waitress rolls by asking for orders, to which I request another Bud Light. She says they just ran out. “HOW DO YOU RUN OUT OF BUD LIGHT?” I blurt out. “I don’t know” was all the lady could mutter. I ordered a Budweiser, and continued my game.

After about another 30 minutes of going up and down in chips, I decided it was time to get out while I was ahead and seek my entertainment elsewhere. I colored up, cashed out at the cashier, used the restroom quick, and made my way out of the casino. As I left the building, I did a quick assessment of my belongings by patting down all my pockets. Uh oh. The one pocket I carry my phone in was empty.

A quick re-check of all the pockets did not find the phone there either. I turned and quickly re-entered the casino and headed for the blackjack table I was sitting at. My phone was not there. I retraced my steps from the table to the restroom, and back. I crawled all around the floor near the blackjack table, but to no avail. I asked the pit boss - who was curiously watching me crawl on the casino floor - if someone had turned in a “lost” cell phone. They said that if someone did, it would have been turned into the "lost and found" with security.
Circus Circus Lost and Found phone number and hours
of operation.  Make sure you call and say "Hi."
I made my way to the security desk, and inquired about my phone. Sensing my anxiousness, along with my obvious inebriation and stupidity, the security guard decided to screw with me for about 10 minutes. Finally, he admitted that no one had turned in a cell phone and proceeded to give me the phone number of Circus Circus Lost and Found, and their business hours. Yeah, that helps. I’m leaving Vegas in the morning even before it opens. Thanks for nothing tool bag.

I didn't know what to do at that point. My real concern was that someone could be fraudulently using my phone, and I’d have to pay for the B.S. that would follow that. So I did what any normal married man would do at 3AM when he’s somewhere drunk and in trouble: I decided to call my wife back home.

Since I had no phone, I figured I'd have to call collect from a payphone or something. But then, some brain cell that I hadn't killed that night magically remembered our home phone had a special 1-800 number you could call, and it would call directly home. An emergency calling card if you will. I tried my best to remember the number, found a payphone and made the call. The number rang, and my sleepy and irritated-sounding-wife answered. I tried my best to sound as sober as I could, but my abilities aren’t THAT great.

WIFE: "Hello?"

MOOKIE: "Hey, it's me. Um, I lost my phone."

WIFE: "I know. WHO. IS. CHERYL?"

Needless to say, I was confused at how she knew about the phone, and did not understand her question.

MOOKIE: "I, um. What? Who? I don't know. Who?  Who is Cheryl?"

WIFE: "What?  You didn't get her name?"

After trying to convince my wife I had NO idea who "Cheryl" was, she then proceeded to tell me that some lady named "Cheryl" called our house twice from MY cell phone. The first time she hung up. The 2nd time she left this message on our answering machine:

"Hi, this is Cheryl. I found your cell phone at the hotel."

She then left her cell phone number to call.

Needless to say, my wife was not happy. There was some strange lady calling our house at 4AM telling stories about finding my cell phone at “the hotel.” When my wife heard the message, she called my friend Rick. She became further agitated when he told her he had "no idea" where I was because he had returned to the hotel - without me - hours ago. Then here I come calling, drunk and slurring my words saying I lost my phone. It goes without saying that immediate explanations were necessary.

Given the condition I was in, there was no way I could remember “Cheryl’s” 10-digit phone number, so I had to hang up and go find something to write "Cheryl's" number down with. In the meantime, my wife called Rick again and gave him "Cheryl's" phone number so he could call her and tell her to take the phone to security. After what was like 15 minutes, I find a pen and paper and called my wife back. She tells me about the Rick-to-Cheryl call, and how Cheryl was instructed to take the phone to security. I again tried to explain what I had been doing, that I was alive and well, and I had NO idea who this "Cheryl" person was, nor were there any shenanigans going on with her or anyone. When our conversation ended, while still suspicious, she did believe me (I think). She was mainly (and understandably) pissed at how my problem occurring 1,500 miles away in Vegas at 4AM also became her problem. The kids were total shits while I was gone, so I wasn’t winning any points with this screw up.  They had been sick, throwing up, and just being a pain.  And I was in Vegas.  Seems fair right? 

So she was short on sleep and full on frustration by the time my problems landed in her lap.

I returned to Security and the guard again proceeded to dick with me. His cocky attitude made it obvious he had my phone. After just being put through the wringer with my wife, I had no time for his shit. Finally I just blurted out "Can I have my phone please?" He asked me to describe it, so in DETAIL, I told him the phone brand, phone color, and wallpaper screen pictures in the phone. He finally relented and I left the casino with my phone. Dick.

Due to the events of the prior 30 minutes, I had certainly lost my buzz, and no longer had the desire to gamble and drink the rest of the night. I then made the 45 minute walk clear down The Strip from Circus Circus back to my hotel. Most of the way back, I pondered how much trouble I'd be in when I got home.  I also cursed this stupid "Cheryl" person who found it necessary to hang onto the phone for 30 minutes, and call my house twice instead of turning it into security to begin with. The fact that it was my drunk-ass fault I lost the phone to begin with - seemed irrelevant at the time. I am an idiot though.

I never got to meet or talk to Cheryl. It would have been nice to put a face with name that still haunts me to this day. While my wife has gained a bit of sense of humor about the situation, she still exhibits some of the ire she felt early that morning when the topic comes up. Whenever I'm going out somewhere, my wife often says:

"Be careful, and be sure to tell Cheryl hi for me."

(*) -Name changed to protect the guilty/innocent.

"Cheryl" is Cheryl's real name.  If I knew her whole name, you can guarantee I'd print that shit.

Miss an earlier episode of Monday Morning Stories with Mookie?  Click HERE.

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