I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t read. I couldn’t do anything except stare at the back of the seat in front and wait. I wanted to drink. I needed a drink. I had waited this long, almost four hours, and the plane would be landing soon. I found the stewardess in the back. “Jameson and Budweiser.”
“All right, honey.” The woman folded her magazine and lurched into the tall metal compartment. ”
I offered her a $20.
She shrugged. “I don’t have my machine.”
“I can pay you later.”
“It’s on me, honey.” She went back to her magazine.
I went back to my seat and read and drank. I was finished both in 15 minutes. “Excuse me.” I waved to the stewardess as she passed.
“You want another?” She already had it out for me. “It’s on me.”
“Uh-huh.” She continued down the aisle, leaning forward, like she had had a drink or two herself.
The city appeared out of the dark just as we landed. I had thought about taking the shuttle in but then took the first cab I found. “You mind if I smoke in here?”
The casino was quiet, as quiet as could be with all the lights on and sounds ringing out. And then I was alone in my room, standing there with my can of beer. I waited in the middle, looking out through the sheers at the lights and then the desert. And then I turned and went down. It was time to gamble.