The Casino
Episode 3

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All Bad Things

"It's great how everybody here so far has been helpful. I've had such an exciting, overwhelming day. It's definitely an interesting start to getting to Vegas." No, honey, you're in Vegas. You made it. You've been here all day, asking random people to give you jobs and hanging out with pimps and hos and ruining the physical laws of the universe. This whole sentence was brought to you by TV Funhouse's "Fun with RealAudio," being edited weirdly out of so many different conversations it's impossible to tell where each individual word came from, and still it makes no sense, and besides that, when they find your body out on the salt flats in a shallow Juarez unmarked grave and the people start talking, nobody's going to jump up and down and scream about how you weren't asking for it. Because you are. You are asking for it politely, and you are asking for it C.O.D. and P.D.Q. Total glamour! As she walks away after having this Frankenfood of an epiphany, there's a totally retarded fake edit such that time-traveling Jenn, still playing with her time-traveling cell phone, looks in slo-mo over her right shoulder at Ernie -- who watches her creepily, and fades into darkness. A still shitty but better-produced bumper to commercial explains the whole next act, but I won't ruin the surprise.

Commercial for Spider-Man 2. How long until they just start saying, "Jacob. Everybody likes this movie. Two people hated this movie, and they're just pretentious. We're going to keep advertising this movie. Just fucking go see this movie. We know how you laughed at Willem Defoe yelling at the Evil Goblin Chair, we know you hated the first one -- just trust us. Trust us, and everyone you know, and everyone else in the entire goddamned world, and go see Spider-Man 2. Sorry, the rest of America, but we had to interrupt your evening to do this. Call Jacob up at 512-555-4444 and tell him to go see this movie, so Avi Arad will let us go home to our families."

They try to make me hate Li'l Tommy Sunstrum a li'l bit when right away, driving up to the valet station, he's doing that "izzle" talk, like it's '03 (is he a time traveller too?), but I stand firm. Okay, maybe I give in to the hate a tiny bit when he follows up with yelling, "Just another day in the game, baby!" Tommy tells us he's been at the Nugget for five months, which means he really is a time traveller, since he told the Trash Heap he'd been there for seven. Hmm. Tommy says he believes his career lies in the casino industry. Cool, because mine's in asbestos removal. Tommy waxes poetic to a fellow dealer about his father John, who is a wonderful host, and all about the wonderful life he's built for himself: "Look at him: he's just hanging out at the VIP desk, takes his clients to dinner, goes golfing [but with such people!], hangs out...all in all, he gets paid for having a good time." Things get faker. "I'll be eligible one day, I guarantee that." His friend says goodbye and they bump fists and Tommy says, "Peace." Oh, dear. Tommy tells us how dealing is fun because you meet all kinds of "characters" and, just for a moment, get to be a part of their lives. There's something so sad, so "townie," so North Shore about that statement. He gives us an e.g. with the story of a group of ten guys -- Tommy uses his time travel powers to make us see this flashback as though it is happening this very moment -- who came in with a thousand single dollar bills and wanted to bet it on a single hand. In the flashback, we learn that he has to count the entire stack of bills. Which he then proceeds to do. This is some exciting fucking television, right here. The thousand in singles guy puts a shower cap on his head. I start feeling sick and bad about myself. Dollar Bill starts screaming at Tommy, "Give me the hand, baby!" with this shower cap on his head. I begin to hate all people. The entire group of dorky men with Dollar Bill scream and scream and scream in this unending Superbowl Sunday kind of way. "Eccentric guys like that really make the job fun." I'm so sure, Tommy. I just quit your job and I don't even have your job. Tommy turns over a card and they scream some more and hug and bump chests and argh, argh, argh. I beg to be let out of this flashback. We snap back to reality in time for Tommy to tell us that this -- this fun, eccentric life of yelling and screaming and shower-cap shenanigans -- is "kind of like" a dead-end job, that it's "just a stepping stone" so that he can be, like his father John, a host. Because there's no dignity lost in giving hand jobs to the likes of Geoff Mills, I guess.

Tim comes down to the floor looking for R.I.C.O. and the rest of the Marinacci group who are not in the Mafia. He finds Tom propped up against a slot machine and asks if he's seen them. Tom decisively -- and I'd imagine truthfully, regardless -- responds that he has not. Tim starts bitching: "What is it with these guys? We put them in the Steve Wynn suite, and they haven't even played yet." Finally some casino politics I get. The whole point of kissing ass, Tom, is that the people will donate to your place of business by playing games that they are most certainly going to lose. I mean, they're established as poker players, which makes it less likely if they're good at it, but I don't guess they are since these guys are such a top priority for Tim and Tom. If they were really, really good poker players, Tim and Tom would hate them. (They wouldn't say so, since they don't want to get their kneecaps broken -- er, if these guys were in the Mafia, which they are not!) Tim goes off to find them, and carefully leans Tom back up against the slot machine. Makes it easier to find him later when it's time for his bath and bedtime story. Freakishly, Tom is about three shots of alert right now, so he explains the dilemma again: "You want to take care of them, you don't want them to go up to the Strip and trash the Golden Nugget. You want them to have a great time, but we were really disappointed that these guys didn't sit down and put a little bit of coin in action." Is that it's only Tim and Tom who say things like "put a little bit of coin in action," or is that it only sticks out so terribly, ruefully bad when they do it? Hmm. Anyhow, the Marinacci group were "definitely not the high rollers that we expected."

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The Casino

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