Saturday, March 23, 2013

Thirty--The Spice House

Despite Enquirer reports, Quincy had gone to Reno instead of Vegas, with Piotr Gleeman, his agent, and Arvin, his toady.

"How are you going to play?" Piotr laughed.  "You look like the youngest cub scout in the troop."

Without makeup or anything to disguise his age, he opted for a Hawaiian shirt, which only drew more attention to his age.  He was instamatically booted from John Ascuaga's Nugget, Harrahs, and Circus Circus, eventually complaining to a security guard, "Did you even look at the shirt?"

"What about it?" asked the guard with a smirk.

"Haven't you ever been on a cruise?  Only old people wear these."

"So you gotta be old?  What do you think I am, a retard?"

"You're a security guard."

"Get lost, kid."

Eventually, he found a home at the Peppermill.

After a bit of $2/$5 NL, the biggest game that Quincy could find in Reno on a Tuesday afternoon, he found himself bored and hungry.  During the half-hour session, Quincy had gone all in on about forty percent of the hands he played and had lost the completely boring amount of $4,300.  The other players kept motioning for the security guards to keep away.  On the last hand, when he reraised all in with 5 2 of diamonds on a Q 6 3 rainbow flop, he decided to try his facepunching strat.

"Dealer, wait," he said.

Before the dealer could respond, Quincy socked himself in the temple three times in quick succession and flew from his seat.  The bearded man next to him flinched and stood, looking down at the floor.  Other players craned their necks.  The dealer, indifferent, dealt the turn and river.

"Natalia's toes," Quincy said nonsensically from below the table.  "Bubble bath."

The bearded man held out a hand to help Quincy, who rose unsteadily to his feet.  When he saw the dealer pushing the pot to a player in a T-Wolves ballcap across the table, he shook his head and thought, Wasted facepunch.

He staggered into the parking lot, Piotr and Arvin in tow.

"Your first time in Reno," Piotr said to Arvin.  "What do you think?"

"Bad video games, bums under benches, and everyone drunk in the afternoon," Arvin said, and then added philosophically, "Reno is awesome."

They hopped into Quincy's orange Maserati, shiny as a gumball, and zipped through the streets in search of lunch, eventually stopping at a promising spot.

"Uh, Quince," said Piotr, "I don't think that is a restaurant."

"It's got 'Spice' in the name," Quincy replied.  "They'll have food."

It was dark inside, dull light emanating from above the bar, from a muted glow along the walls, and from the shine of the stripper poles.  A hint of bleach was overwhelmed by the stench of sweat.

"Nobody here," Piotr said.  "Let's go get some pizza."

The door closed behind them, and they heard the click-click-click of heels. A woman with a hawk-like face approached them and abruptly said, "Out.  Too young."

But Quincy had been kicked out of enough places for the day.  He pulled a softball-sized ball of cash from his jacket pocket, which the woman give little more than a glance, peeled away two Benjamins, and handed them to her.  "One big bowl of mac and cheese and whatever they want," he said, motioning to Piotr and Arvin.

She smiled.  "My name is Chamomile.  Take a seat, gentlemen."  She returned to the entrance, flipped a sign so that "CLOSED" faced the parking lot, and locked the door.  She wore a black miniskirt and a sleeveless top with vertical black-and-white stripes.

"Maybe her Dad is an NFL referee," Arvin guessed.

When she returned to the table, she held a pen and pad in hand.  She said, "One big bowl mac and cheese."

Then she looked at Piotr, who asked, "Do you have a menu?"

"The menu is whatever you want."


"Uh huh," she said, and turned to Arvin.

"Nine Whopper meals."

She nodded.  She squinted at the pad for a moment, then said, "Nine hundred bucks, and it'll take an hour.  Cash up front."

Quincy paid.  A man came out of a room behind the bar, craning his neck, and Chamomile hurried over to whisper to him.  He disappeared, and she clicked back over to their table.

"Your food is on the way.  While you're waiting for lunch," she said, "how about a show?"

"Anything we want?" Quincy asked, scanning the room for a television set.


"Beavis and Butthead," said Quincy.

"How about," she said, leaning forward to reveal cleavage, "I get naked and we call that a show?"

"I guess," Quincy said.  He figured that if she wanted to get naked, who was he to stand in the way?  "But what are you gonna do?"

She laughed.  "I'm going to get naked."

Quincy seemed unconvinced.  "Can you get naked while we watch Spongebob?"

"No Spongebob.  Me.  Naked.  Dancing around that pole over there."

Quincy peered at her.  "That's the show?"

For a split second, Chamomile's face turned furious.  Then the anger was gone.  She said sweetly, "Why don't I put on some music, get naked, and dance over there, and you can tell me what you think?"

"You talk about getting naked a lot," Piotr observed.

Arvin interrupted.  "I want to change my order.  I want extra cheese.  On my Whoppers."

"Fuck your Whoppers!" Chamomile exclaimed.  Then she walked behind the bar, crouched down, and soon a song with strong bass began vibrating their chairs.  She sat up on the bar, pouted at them, twirled around on her ass to the other side, and headed with a determined gait toward the platform.  As the music played, she gradually lost her top, skirt, and bra.

"What's that called?" Arvin pointed, shouting over the music.

"G-string!" she shouted back.

"No, that blue thing above it!"

"That's a mole, asshole!"

She wrapped her legs around the pole and fell backwards, breasts gyrating and hair brushing the floor.

"How do you make your breasts do that?" Piotr shouted.

"Do what?" she shouted back at him.

"Move to the beat of the music like that?"


"Good job!"


When the song ended, she stalked over to them.  Quincy saw sweat beads on her upper lip.

"Private show," she said, "is four hundred bucks."  Quincy shrugged and paid her.  Folding the money into her g-string, she seemed to toss a vulnerable glance their way.  "Why?  Didn't you like it?"

They were quiet.

She frowned at them.  "Well, how about ping pong?  You like ping pong?"

They remained quiet.  Eventually, Arvin declared, "Ping pong sucks."

"Well, you've never seen ping pong like this."

She started another song and returned to the stage with a pink bucket.  Soon she tossed her g-string in Quincy's direction--he ducked--and deposited her ass onto the shiny stage floor.  As the song thumped its chorus, she shouted, "How about this!" and inserted one of the white balls into herself.  She made it disappear, reappear, disappear, and then launched the ball at them.  It bounced off of Arvin's forehead.

"Ping pong is awesome," Arvin said.

More ping pong balls began to fly in their direction, sometimes three at a time.

"Her aim," Piotr observed, "is surprisingly good."

A well-placed ball flew toward Arvin's face.  He caught it in his mouth, crunched down three times, and swallowed it.

"You're not supposed to eat the ping pong balls!"

In his own defense, Arvin shouted, "What's the point of the game then?"

With renewed fury, she launched another trio of ping pong balls.  Two of them bounced off of Arvin's face.  Trio after trio kept hitting their target.

Eventually Arvin wailed, "I'm hungry!"

Just then, the front doors opened, and a blaze of light fell across the platform, forcing everyone to squint.  The man they had seen earlier entered, shut the door, and placed bags of food on their table.  As he did, the music stopped, and Chamomile came over.

At the same time, Chamomile and the man said, "A thousand bucks."

Clarifying, he said, "Delivery charge," and she said, "For the private show and one eaten ping pong ball."

Paying, Quincy noticed a small TV above the bar and said, "Can we watch TV now?"

"Fuck it all to hell," Chamomile spat, and marched over to collect her clothes.

"You don't like Cammy, eh?" the man remarked, and chuckled.  "Okay.  Let's watch TV."

Arvin had already finished one Whopper and was midway through a second.  Quincy's bowl of mac and cheese was gigantic.  He dove in.  Even Piotr, normally picky, said that the lasagna was the best he had ever had.

Meanwhile, the TV news was reporting on the Truckee Massacre.  Beneath a picture of Alex Trebek was a single word: "Manhunt."  When the man behind the bar saw that nobody was watching, he switched channels to Bugs Bunny, which immediately caught the attention of the three eaters, who giggled at the cartoons while an angry stripper named Chamomile glared at them from a distant corner, absently counting new cash.