Crying Over My Loss
I had just sat down at the Pai Gow table, ready to kill an hour or two until my wife and two young granddaughters got out of the Lee Ann Rimes concert they were all attending. I was playing my $10 to $320.00 negative betting progression at the table, trying to get in enough playing time to justify the free room and the free concert tickets they had given me. The comps, or complimentary gifts, were given out to casino players to encourage them to stay and play at the casino. The more you played, and the higher you wagered, the better the comps. I'm a low level better when I play cards over at any of the state line casinos, but even there, I can play for a long time with my progressive betting systems. If I get stuck too bad though, their maximum betting limits are so low that I have to drive the forty miles into Las Vegas to play my system past the first level.
The thing I like best about my system is that you win right up until the minute you lose six hands in a row. Losing six in a row would cost me $630.00. Sometimes though, you never lose six in a row, and you get to quit winners. Some people like to shoot themselves in the head and get it over quickly. Others, people like me, we like to jump off of high places, and enjoy the ride down. It's a lot of fun until you reach the bottom. My systems aren't supposed to be winning systems, they are meant to prolong the time that I get to play. Often, I spend a few days and nights as the guest of the casinos, usually leaving with more money than I came with. Occasionally, I have an extended run of bad luck and will drop a bundle.When that happens, I come back with even more money and win back whatever I've lost.
So, anyway, I'm sitting there, playing Pai Gow and, as it usually happens, the other players at the table are all talking with each other, being sociable while they gamble. I'm the same way. I like being sociable. I even have my tried and tested brand of witty patter, mostly what I'd call self deprecating humor, things I say that makes some gentle fun of my old brain, and of my relationship I have with my wife.
I've been told I'm funny. Not by my wife, but by strangers like these that I meet in these casinos. I like to play and pass the time pleasantly. I can be a real sour puss at times, but, mostly, I'm someone who tries to be pleasant and get along with people. Mostly, I do, get along with people, I mean.
Sitting next to me, on my immediate left, was a fairly attractive woman in her mid to late thirties, with a shorter style of dark blonde hair, and a body that was ten, or even possibly, fifteen pounds on the heavier side of perfect. She had the kind of body that was just the teensiest bit on the ripe side, the kind that causes those men who live in trailer parks and think beer is a food group, to sometimes yell out when they see this kind of girl: "You'd be really purty sweetheart, if'n you was to lose them extra twenty pounds yo'all be carryin'."
I'm not like those kind of men, so, instead of yelling that at her, I sat there quietly, thinking it, but letting my thoughts go unspoken. She was an attractive woman, no doubt about it, but there was something about her that somehow seemed not quite right to me.
We had been sitting there together for about ten minutes when Cindy, that was the girl's name, asked me what it was I did for a living. That had been the table's current topic of conversation, all of the people at the table wanting to celebrate the diversity of having all of us brought together like this in a casino such as this one, far from all our real homes. I had developed a whole wide array of pithy comments that I could make in situations just like this one.
"I used to be a land developer, a long time ago, but now I'm pretty much retired. I still play a lot of poker though, and I sometimes write porn stories and put them up on the internet."
I thought that was a pretty good reply to her question. It was interesting, and just a little bit provocative too. The combination of things I admitted to doing would be unexpected, coming from a relic of my advanced years. I was sure I'd get a comment or two, and at least a few follow up questions about the stories I claimed to write. No one ever admits to actually reading dirty stories on line.
"What sites do you write for, and what name do you write under?"
I could tell, just from the expression on her face, that Cindy was really interested, and wanted to hear my answer. I hadn't expected either of those two questions. Hell, it was just a throw away line I sometimes used in situations like this anyway. She was supposed to have just laughed, and maybe asked me if it paid very well. Since the answer to that question would lead right into a whole battery of funny one liners I'd carefully rehearsed, I had expected to be able to hold forth, and with my quick delivery, to soon have the table rolling in laughter. I looked over at her, knowing that she was serious.
"I use the name "Openbook", I write and publish my stories only at Storiesonline for now."
"I've read some of your stories. Your descriptions of the oral sex guys perform on women were hilarious. My lover and I really got a lot of good laughs at that story you wrote about the old geezer who was sent back in time. The one who always thought he was such a great lover. Reading it made me wonder if you have ever actually gone down on a woman before?"
This wasn't turning out at all like I'd planned on. I could feel my face coloring. I can take criticism of my writing. Well, I can take it if it's something about a misplaced comma, or maybe a semi colon that doesn't belong where I put it. But, I'll be fucked in the ass if I'm going to just sit out in some public venue and put up with some total stranger questioning my credentials to be writing smut on some relatively obscure online site that mostly features erotic stories written by amateurs. Just who the fuck did she think she was?
I'd eaten pussy, and lots of it. I can't say I'd never had any complaints about my technique, because I did have. The thing was though, I hadn't been writing about my own technique, so why was she talking to me like this, embarrassing me this way? With this type of criticism, I found myself bristling, wanting to strike back at her for what she was doing to me.
"Yes I certainly have, and, for your information, I'd be willing to bet that it was at least as many as you've done that to." I expected my little dig, announcing my own suspicions about which side of the plate she batted from, would be enough to stop her right there in her tracks.
"I seriously doubt that, Mr. Book. As a matter of fact, I've engaged in oral sex with more than one hundred different women. Can you honestly say that your own personal experience is the same or greater?"
A hundred woman? What the hell had I let myself in for here? Even the dealer had stopped doing what she was doing in order to listen to what my answer was going to be. The floor supervisor was standing right there next to her, and she didn't tell the dealer to resume dealing either.
I'm an old man, so I'm already used to lying to women. I was certainly no stranger to exaggeration either. If she had challenged me by claiming to have done that with five, or even six, women, I'd have lied, almost without thinking, and claimed ten or twelve for myself. Why not? She couldn't prove that I hadn't done that many.
To be perfectly candid though, after she threw that big a number at me, I couldn't even think of any lie I could possibly tell. Not one that would be, in any way, even remotely believable. On top of that, I was starting to worry that she might actually be able to remember some parts of that story. Even worse, suppose she was able to quote from my story, verbatim, right there at the table, now, in front of everyone? It would only take one or two sentences quoted from her lips to expose me as the know nothing fraud that I am.
Even worse than that, like any other married man would be, I was afraid my wife might come sneaking up on me, for some crazy reason right then. It was possible that she hadn't liked the free concert seats we had been given, or maybe, the concert had been canceled.
Who could tell what perverse series of events might suddenly produce her, there, right behind me. If she was there, she'd be able to listen in on whatever untruth I might have decided to try to get away with. If she did come over right then, she would be certain to wade right in, naturally, on Cindy's side. If that happened, I'd never be able to live it down with her. I had to say something though, and I had to do it damned quickly too. I just needed to make whatever I said in reply suitably vague. This was so that whatever I said couldn't expose me to any further possibilities of ridicule.
"I've been in a committed relationship for over forty five years, and I'm not the sort of person who takes his solemn vows lightly."
Weak, I knew, but maybe she'd take pity on me and leave things just as they were. It was the best I could reasonbly hope for. I just wanted this to be done with, over, so that I could go back to enjoying the game.
"So, are you saying, for the last forty five years, your total experience at giving face is limited to just one poor woman?"
All of the women at the table, including the dealer, the floor person, and another pit critter who'd wandered over to the table, they all joined in with her, all of them laughing right at me.
I was sitting there, surrounded by a bunch of know it alls, all of whom were enjoying themselves, at my expense. I hadn't come all the way there to Nevada, on my vacation, to allow myself to be treated like this. I could get all of that, in great abundance, right back at my own house.
"I never said I've only done that with one woman. Don't you try to put words into my mouth. Besides, this isn't about me, so don't try to make it seem like it is. The story that you're discussing revolves around a totally fictional character, one that I just made up. His abilities, or lack of same, shouldn't reflect, in any way, shape or manner, on any of mine. I'm a real person, not some character in a made up story. I'm not about to sit here and have all of you discussing my sex habits. I wouldn't talk about private things like that, not in front of you, Cindy, and certainly not with a whole group of total strangers."
I glared right at the dealer when I was saying that, then yelled at her to deal out the damn cards. It got awfully quiet at that card table right about then, and remained so, over the next forty five minutes. One or two of the other people playing had stood up and left the table. This was a really silly thing for them to do, because that dealer, as well as the one that followed her were both running cold as can be. All of us that had stayed at the table were taking good money from the casino, and we all kept on doing it, for the remaining time that we were there playing together.
I was doing well enough that I was starting to feel a lot better about everything, when Cindy's lover showed up.
She was a slightly older lady than Cindy looked. I'd put her age as somewhere in her late thirties, around there is where I'd guess. She had a slightly more masculine look about her than Cindy had, but she was attractive also.
She placed a hand on each of Cindy's shoulders and proceeded to give her a shoulder and neck rub that looked like it was not only sensual as all get out, but also really a professional quality neck and shoulder massage.
"Hey, Debbie, guess who this old guy sitting next to me is? He writes on that dirty story site we sometimes read. He goes by the name of Openbook. Do you remember that story of his where this old guy had cancer, and the voice in his head told him he got to live his whole life all over again? He's the guy who wrote that story. Can you believe it? What are the odds that we'd ever get a chance to meet him?" Debbie looked at me, and she too started laughing.
"Hey, I liked that story a lot. Are you really the guy that wrote it?"
"Yes. I'm sorry that you thought my descriptions about the oral sex were laughable. It was only a story, and I tried to stay true to my characters."
"I never thought they were laughable. I thought they were hot. I wondered how a guy could know so much about what a woman wanted done down there. I even told Cindy that she might be able to learn something by reading the techniques you talked about in your story, didn't I Cin?"
I shot a triumphant smile over at Cindy, and, suddenly, she started looking a little green around the gills. She looked damn nervous to me in fact. A thought came to me that she was afraid that I might tell Debbie about something else that she had said to me. The only comment she had made, that I could remember, that might bother Debbie, was when she had bragged to the table about her munching on over a hundred different carpets.
Momentarily, I thought about having a little fun with her, as a payback for her earlier put down of my character's prowess with oral sex techniques. I thought about it, but then, I resisted the urge. What can I say? I'm not usually a malicious person. I was winning money and having a good time again. I was mostly over the criticism she'd given to my writing. She was entitled to have her own opinion. It was a free country.
It was a good thing I resisted that too, because just about then, my wife walked up, right behind me. I had no doubt that she would have been very happy to discuss, and at great length, right there at the Pai Gow table, my abject ineptness when it came to performing cunnilingus. She would have made some cutting comments about it all being only some vague and distant memory for her too, saying this was just what she could still remember from a time that was long ago. But, after that, she would have been all too willing to give her own damning testimony.
Then, when she finished telling everyone about my lingual shortcomings, she would have complained about how long it had been since I'd even made my last half hearted and feeble attempt. That would have set me off then, and I would have launched into my own charges, each designed to counter her complaints, by telling her that it must have been back sometime around the same time as the last blow job that I had received from her.
As soon as I said that though, the fight would have been on for real. It would have made quite a spectacle too. It wasn't that I don't enjoy us having those kinds of fights, because I do. I was there on our vacation though. That kind of banter would be just as much fun if the two of us were sitting around the living room some night in our own home.
My wife was signaling to me that they were anxious to leave. She had to do this from about ten feet away. My two granddaughters were with her, and they are too young to be any closer to the gambling tables. I got up and colored up my chips to make it easier to carry them over to the cashier's window. I had won a little bit over two hundred dollars, even after tipping the dealer ten bucks.
I said my goodbyes to both Debbie and Cindy, wishing them both continued good luck at the casino. Debbie promised to keep on looking for new stories from me, while Cindy kept silent.
A few days later, the wife, the grandkids, and I were sitting in my big Lincoln Town car, driving back home after a slightly profitable five day vacation. Both of our granddaughters were asleep in the back. It was during this quiet lull that my wife asked me whether or not I'd been flirting with Cindy a few days before. She is like that, letting things go for a few days so that my guard is relaxed, and then springing stuff on me. She claimed she had noticed the two of us looking at each other in a way she thought was suspicious.
That was when I started to tell her about the conversation we had gotten into at the table that night. Of course, my wife took Cindy's side of things, just like I knew she would. The more she talked and harangued at me, the faster I drove the car, hoping to get home soon enough to grab my golf clubs, and get in a quick nine holes at the club.
In fact, I was pushing my Lincoln up to ninety five miles an hour when my damn engine blew up on me. Luckily for us, we were near enough to Barstow that the cell phone had a strong enough signal for me to call AAA for a quick tow. The repairs on the car cost me nine thousand dollars. I needed a whole new engine to replace the one I'd ruined.
I can be a vindictive bastard, as well as a writer who really doesn't really take certain kinds of criticism very well.
So, Debbie I hope you're online here reading this. That little bitch of yours, Miss Cindy, the one who considers herself such a great critic of all my writing? She has been out bragging, in public, that she's eaten over a hundred different pussies. Yes, a hundred pussies, that's what she claims. I'm letting you know about what she said for two simple reasons.
The first is because I consider Cindy partly responsible for causing me to blow up my motor, and for making me have to end up spending the nine thousand dollars that the new engine finally ended up costing me. The other reason I'm telling on her is that I'm not fond of literary critics, especially the ones that enjoy picking apart someone else's story because of a few tiny flaws.
Debbie, thanks for reading, and for enjoying all my stories. I really hope knowing this will help you see what kind of person that Cindy really is.