Let’s get one thing straight; Jim and I are not Gamblers. The few times we’ve found ourselves in Vegas, I would stand there gawking at the Gambling species, dumbfounded as I watched them willingly toss money away.
But last week while waiting for the space shuttle to take off, our fun campground neighbors Carol and John invited us to join them on a “free” four-hour casino cruise. In Florida, where gambling is illegal, Sun Cruz Casinos will take passengers out to blow money at sea, three miles offshore in international waters. They had a free shuttle that would pick us up right at our campground. “You get all of the free food and booze you want!” my neighbor said excitedly.
Now that caught my attention. Whenever I hear “Free” and “Booze” in the same sentence, this cheapskate gets happy. All that, and we’d get a “free” cruise in Florida too. Ah, the things trip memories are made of! I grabbed Jim and said “let’s go!”
Later, neither one of us would realize that we were about to set foot on a third rate, smoky casino from hell, unable to escape!
Is that Dinner or Did Someone Take a Dump On My Plate?
Before the boat set sail, everyone headed for the buffet room. We got in line, and grabbed a plate. From out of nowhere, a surly waitress with giant leathery sunburned boobs jammed into a cheap casino outfit, grabbed our plastic plates right from our hands. “We serve you” she barked at us.
Then she presented us with a choice of two entrees; a “gumbo” or manicotti. Jim got the gumbo, I got the manicotti. When she slopped the gumbo onto Jim’s plate, it looked like someone had taken a watery dump on it. As we moved down the serving line, another grumpy server was dishing out our side dish, a bean salad, straight out of a Sysco food service can. Lovely.
The food was awful. Jim’s was so bad, he didn’t finish his plate; a first for him. We took off and went to the top deck to see the stars. About an hour later, we went back down to get a soda, and found that the free food had been put away, and not even the water was free ($2).
Sad Scenes and Karaoke Guitar
We walked the length of each of the three decks, and each one was dirtier and smokier than any second rate casino in the worst part of Reno. The slots were old, and of those there were only a few nickel and quarter slots. But all of them were being hogged by old ladies with cigarettes hanging out of their wrinkly mouths, each one tethered to their machines with a “VIP” card on a cord. I threw about $3 into quarter slots, and lost, of course.
The “free booze” waitresses were non-existent over at the slots. Instead, they threw their big saggy boobs in front of the Asian tourists screaming and yelling over the card tables, boisterous frat boys and their muffin-top girlfriends, and sad looking gambling addicts flashing their VIP cards.
We found my RV neighbor. “This stinks!” she said. She hadn’t had any luck on the slots, and was just wandering around the same as we were, looking for any sign of fun. Jim and I went outside, sat in a corner, and waited for this nightmarish scene to end. A long haired rocker dude with an electric guitar (the promised “entertainment”), strummed classic rock songs played on a karaoke machine.
The night dragged on. Jim refused to spend his allotted $20 in gambling money, because if he lost it all, it wouldn’t have been worth losing it at that dump. At midnight, the boat returned, and we couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Another Sucker Takes a “Free” Ride
Through the years, I’ve dragged Jim into some pretty stupid situations because I’m such a cheapskate, but this was the topper. I was the ultimate sucker, drawn into the gambling industries’ oldest trick in the book.
I have vowed to make this the last time I re-learn the lesson “there’s no such thing as a free ride.” Jim’s not holding his breath.