Las Vegas
Decks and Violence

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Swizzle shtick

So Vanko goes to do a trick where, presumably, Vera moves from her little levitating position to the inside of a pyramid, and when he finishes flapping his hands around and goes to open the pyramid, there's no Vera. The audience gasps. Vanko improvs with a whole "I meant to do that" dance, and Sam confirms with Mary that yes, Vera's missing. As Vanko performs a little panic dance, Sam breathes, "Oh, I don't believe this."

Oh, whatever. Elvis would like you to shut up and get busy now.

Once we get back from the commercials (which were so unremarkable as to not merit comment), Mary is dealing with an angry crowd all demanding their money back. Who knew magic-show attendees were such discriminating consumers? She caves and tells them they're all getting a refund. Danny, who is leaning against a wall, helpfully reports that there's no sign of Vera. Mary replies, "Oh, Danny, the fans are freaking out. Especially the ones who buy into the whole 'Vanko and Vera on your honeymoon guarantees happiness' thing." What, like bringing Vanko and Vera on your honeymoon? There you are, trying to get to bed, and Vera's floating over by the sink while Vanko does tai-chi-like poses in the tub. I guess that's why it's just easier to go their show, huh? Danny assures a not-too-calm Mary that they'll find Vera.

Back at the A-plot, the not-really-a-poker-player actor has managed to get out of the game and is stalking a cocktail waitress so he can put his drink on her tray. I do mean that literally. Anyway, as the guy heads out, he runs into Mike. Naturally, Mike knows him. Mike knows everyone in Las Vegas, remember? The guy is one Ben Pierce, and he apparently goes back a long way with Mike. Mike's all, "I never thought I'd run into you in Vegas. Frankly, I never thought I'd run into you outside of the engineering building at M.I.T." "The"? It's the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- you'd figure they have more than one building devoted to engineering. At the two left-brain universities I attended, the engineers had, like, half the campus buildings while all the humanities departments got shoehorned into one. Anyway, Ben's all, "I didn't know casinos had engineers on staff." Mike shoots back, "Yes -- just in case an eccentric millionaire decides he wants someone to design a semiconductor for him. The IEEE's job outplacement program rocks." Oh, he does not. He says, "Ah. They don't. I'm head valet here. How's the value of your degree looking to you now, huh?" Or maybe he stops after the valet line and carries on about how he's like the wind, baby, and no office is gonna get him. Mike helpfully adds, "I gotta work with people, not machines." This is the kind of self-knowledge that would have maybe come in handy when he was applying to college. Anyway, Mike says the engineering degree does come in handy, and the money is sweet. We find out that Ben has been laid off from a software company because he wasn't enough of a team player. You know, having put in some time as a code monkey in my younger days, and having spent some considerable time around software developers, I can say that the combination of "team player" and "temperamentally inclined to enjoy and excel at spending hours immersed in designing and churning out code" is an elusive one.

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Las Vegas

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