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Fiestas and Fiascos

I've been going through my journals again. Think I'm going to make that an annual year end activity - reflection. Here's one of my favorite entries. Probably doesn't tell the whole story. It focuses on gambling and drinking and punks. But biking home from the bar tonight I was thinking of the moment I barely described in the last sentence. So maybe there's something there.

Flights weren’t noteworthy, except maybe that I had a beer in Denver and 2 en route to Vancouver. Customs was a breeze this time.

2 ½ kilometer hike to Matt Busby’s (Buzz) place. A trashed duplex with 3 motorcycles parked on the side of the house. Knocked on the front door first, where 2 large barking dogs met me. Was then directed to downstairs, where two more large barking dogs met me. The dogs were sweethearts.

Matt and Mike were both crustyish working man punks. They’d both been homeless before, but both were currently tied down to “good” jobs. Matt – a construction worker. Mike – a prep cook at a swanky restaurant.

They offered me PBRs and Old Milwaukee’s and we hung around and shot the shit about cops, dogs, and music.

Mike had ideas about things to do, and us two Mike’s ended up catching a cab to the Historia, some bar with an indy rock show.

Bustling joint, lots of pretty people. Neither of us said a word to anyone besides the bartender. We had two rounds of “Craft” beer and Jim Beam. At one point I threw a beer can in the trash and within two seconds a guy who worked there picked it out and threw it in the recycling bin, which was far from the trash. The band we saw was alright but one of the singers did that annoying mountain goat yodeling crap that I can’t stand.

Mike asked if I wanted to go to the 24 hour casino - said he and Matt had guessed that I was a gambler from my Facebook page. So we did.

Cab ride and walking took us past some hopping grungy scenes I wish we would have stopped to check out. I have no idea where the casino was or its name.

Took out $400 at the casino (after $120 at the bar), gave Mike $100 for no real reason. He put it all on black. Wheel came zero. A few minutes later I was down another $200 on roulette.

More beers, switched to blackjack. Oh, I made a joke about how roulette is “like a crap shoot.” Thought that was funny.

Mike went out to smoke, I took out another $340, started playing $15-$1000 blackjack. When Mike reappeared I gave him another $100. He was driving the dealer crazy, stupid drunk and no idea how to play blackjack. I just told him what to do. He always said “let it ride,” and then I’d tell him “bet,” “stay,” etcetera. He got up a couple hundred and I had him pay me back the $200. He lost the rest of what he had in one hand. Walked with $900.

He said he was down all his money, so I handed him $100 and he put it on black again. This time won, paid me back my $100 (although I lost $100 of my own on that spin), went and played slots. I realized it was 2:30 and made him cash out at $112. Cabbed back to the house and cracked a couple more beers.

I woke up with $940 Canadian in my wallet, so if my math is right I’m up $80. Canadian.

Barely slept, it was chilly and no blankets. Put my legs under the third cushion on the couch. Grabbed a stinky hoodie from behind the couch and used it as a blanket.

Mike left really early this morning.

I left without a word around 8.

Next stop: Victoria!

Oh, and walking to the station this morning, everything looked and smelt beautiful. It was good to be alive.

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