Visa Las Vegas

by Calendar Hacksaw

Olí Calendar is heading off to Las Vegas next month, without Betty cominí along, to see if he can get propositioned by a hooker. I never go anywhere without having a clearly defined goal. Mind you, I donít intend to go through with it; itís just research.

And a Happy New Year to you, too!

Iíve probably been to Sin City 15 or 20 times in my adult life, and never once have I been approached by anyone wanting to exchange companionship for compensation. It leads me to believe that perhaps there are no "ladies of the night" left in Vegas, now that itís been transformed into a family-oriented resort destination.

I had a boss once who told me of a time he and his wife were strolling the Strip with another couple in broad daylight, hand-in-hand with their spouses, when both men were made offers within earshot of their wives. And you thought telemarketers were persistent and had bad timing.

Now, I might be batting zero in Nevada, but not so in San Diego or Anaheim, where aspiring sexual therapists have brazenly introduced themselves to me regardless of the hour. When they have access to the concierge floors, itís not much of a stretch to assume that the hotel has a stake in the action.

Anyway, trolling for trouble isnít the subject of this monthís column. I just wanted to grab your attention, and Fence Post readership studies have shown that illicit sex ranks high among subscribers of both genders.

The real purpose of this writing is to invite you to join me in Las Vegas so we can spend some quality time together. In order to do so, youíll need to know where I can be found. Try the Tropicana, for starters, since thatís where Iíll be lodged under an assumed name. Iíll be attending a convention, though, so I wonít be in my room a lot; attending classes and seminars during the day, with private nighttime affairs planned as well. But I should be free after midnight, and ready to help you paint the town red.

When it comes to gaming, Iím pretty much turned off by the computerized slot machines and whateverís going on in the pit. Hell, I canít count to 21 since losing a toe, and Iím way too intelligent to understand the finer points of shootiní Craps.

No, my attention is drawn elsewhere, and I can amuse myself just by watching as much as playing.

I remember one time back around 1975, I flew there for a job interview and my prospective employer put me up at the Hilton, which was still pretty new. Elvis was appearing on the main stage, and immediately adjacent to the theater entrance was the Baccarat table. It was a warm night, and the showroom doors were left wide open, so music could fill the casino.

As you may know, Baccarat is sort of the "poor cousin" to its Monte Carlo counterpart, Chemin de Fer, with the primary difference being that there will be no game of Chemin de Fer unless someone comes forward to bankroll the action. The casino gets no piece of it; all winnings and losses are those of the players. I like that.

My introduction to Chemin de Fer and Baccarat came about by reading Ian Flemingís James Bond classic, "Thunderball." The novel goes to great lengths explaining the game and its strategies, as Bond is pitted against the villainous Emilio Largo. Unfortunately, the tutorial didnít adequately survive the transition to cinema, but it was still a pretty exciting scene in the movie.

In any event, there I was overlooking the Baccarat table, populated with Saudi princes, Texas oil tycoons (same thing, just different hats), and a small collection of bored, blond, diamond-encrusted trophy brides, all playing high-stakes Baccarat while olí Calendar sipped his complimentary Chivas Regal and listened to The King live and in concert. What a magical summer night it was.

It was on this same trip that I first played Keno, thanks to an off-duty runner at the bar who graciously showed me how to fill out a ticket. And on that first go-around, I won $14, which made me an instant Keno addict, although Iíve never won since. I love the slow pace of the game; it takes a good 10 or 15 minutes just to lose a dollar. And you get to sit in a comfortable chair while youíre losing. Itís even okay to fall asleep, since youíre surrounded by many elderly gamblers who may already be dead for all anyone knows.

But, by far my favorite attractionóone that can keep me glued to the chair for hours, doling out quartersóis the mechanical horse race. This is a glass-topped, rectangular table around which a dozen or so people sit and place 25Ę bets on numbered horses. Each steed follows his or her assigned track, moving forward according to the seemingly random sprockets in an unseen chain drive hidden from view beneath the artificial turf. The odds change with each contest, which means last gameís 3-2 favorite might be a 50-1 longshot in the next. Most people who engage in this game are considerably younger than Keno players, but usually much closer to death, judging by their appearance. This is a game for those who are on their last legs, worn out, but still want to put down a bet. Itís a chance for a young female to kick off her shoes and relax for a spell. On occasion, her mate will sidle over and stand behind her, impatient for a bit, but ultimately he, too, will get caught up in the action, shouting, "Go, go, go!" just like all the other idiots.

I think with just a little imagination, and some computer knowledge, we could come up with mechanical team penning. Just think of the possibilities: thereíd be no rule against helping your favorite penners by shouting out the location of specific cattle, and no hat fines, either. But there would also be no rest breaks at the Sand Canyon Bar, and worst of all, no Lou Varga tri-tip BBQ, so just forget I ever mentioned it. Donít ever mess with a good thing.

You can try to buy happiness in Las Vegas, but the price is high and you can seldom bring it back home. The hookers know that better than anyone.

Calendar Hacksaw can be reprimanded at, and heíll also be visiting D-Bar-J Hats while in town, just to get that ugly stain removed from the brim of his Stetson. Stains on oneís character are much harder to remove.

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