The next day, Rayn seemed to have settled down. It might have been a heavy dose of sedatives, but as long as he could still pull off his tricks at the casinos, I didn’t care. He drifted around the motel room, half dressed and on a planet of his own.
I passed the time by making wraps of cocaine, waiting for Rayn to get dressed properly. He took his sweet old time but then it wasn’t like we were in any rush. The gullible, naive tourists that couldn’t quite afford Las Vegas weren’t going anywhere.
They were out in full force today. The tourists, I mean. Christ, they all stuck out like a nigger in the white part of town. They looked like a bunch of idiots with their cameras and their sandals. It wasn’t even that fucking hot.
When we eventually got out of the motel, Rayn lead me to this sort of run down looking place. I remembered it, but god it had changed. We practically grew up in this casino; the manager was good friends with Rayn’s dad and when he found out what had been going on at home, he offered to babysit a lot. He was a good guy, I mean, he put up with knowing what someone he had considered a friend was doing, and stuck at it just to help look after Rayn. Needless to say, Rayn was a lot more comfortable when we got inside.
“Phil,” Rayn squealed, grinning when the manager came into sight. He was a couple inches taller than me and probably about five times heavier. His shoulder length hair was tied back tight against his head, full of grays that hadn’t been there ten years ago, but his smile hadn’t lost any of its warmth.
“What’re you doing back here?” he asked, a hint of concern betraying the easy smile on his lips.
“We were just winning far too much money in Las Vegas,” I rolled my eyes.
“Ah,” he laughed, “I get ya. Well feel free to win as much as you like,” he leant in and lowered his voice, “as long as you give half of it back to me.” He stood back and patted Rayn on the back, “I taught this kid all he knows, I can’t have him bankrupting me.”
“I remember. I was the kid he used to drag in here with him,” I chuckled as the look of recognition flashed across his face.
“That was you? My god, boy, you’ve grown. Rayn looks the same as ever.”
“He always was a short ass,” I grinned, ignoring the blow to my ribs Rayn dealt me.
Sometimes, me and Rayn would split up and work separately so we didn’t get caught out in Vegas. Nights like these, I’d go and figure out who would be an easy win and who to avoid, watching and playing alone. Later on, I’d find Rayn and tell him who to target. He’d always win back whatever I’d lost, along with a healthy chunk of profit. So, while Rayn was off chattering away with Phil like a pair of gossipy old women, I went to work.
I came across this English family, a mom, a dad and their lanky ginger son tailing along nervously behind him. They can’t have been here long, they were all pasty and sickly looking – and that’s coming from a guy who spends most of his time indoors avoiding bright light as much a possible.
I hung around nearby, overhearing them trying to decide on what to play. In the end they settled on poker, to try and teach their kid to play. That was when I wandered over.
“Sorry, I couldn’t help overhearing – you’re looking for a poker game right? To teach your son?” I glanced over at the kid, smiling. He couldn’t’ve been more than seventeen. But then Rayn looks about ten and he’s twenty two.
“Yeah,” the dad spoke up, smiling back at me. I offered him a hand and he shook it firmly; his palm was a little sweaty, though, and his smile looked kinda tense. It was either because I’d come over to them, or the fact that his son was most likely underage and shouldn’t have been in there.
“Relax man, the manager of this place knows me, he’d flay me alive if I cheated you at anything. I was just gonna say I could get us a table to ourselves so you can teach him without losing your money to a bunch of money grabbing ass holes,” I told them, “we can play for matchsticks instead of money, if you like.”
The suggestion of playing for matchsticks seemed to relax them enough to agree, so I went and cleared us a table and got a couple boxes of matches while I was at it, spotting Rayn already at work on one of the blackjack tables.
I explained the very basics of it to the kid, how you win, how you know who’s blind, all that sort of stuff. I started off dealing just to show him how it was done, leaving his mom to divide up the match sticks.
When he and his dad had made the blinds, I dealt the cards, and I explained the betting rounds to him. He nodded, understanding what was going on. He was a smart kid, but then I s’pose he had to make up for the awkward weirdo thing he had going on there somehow. Still, teaching him poker was pretty easy. It didn’t take long before we played a whole round through.
“Time for a real game?” I suggested once they all had the hang of the rules. They nodded, smiles all round as the chips came out.
Time flew as we played. They were going to be easy enough to beat at this game without having to cheat, to be honest, I could read them all like a fucking book. I didn’t say that though. I let the kid’s mom win a couple games before bowing out, claiming they’d won all my money. She’d looked the least confident in being here, so letting her win meant she was less likely to drag her family out of the place once we were done.
“It was good to meet you guys. Enjoy your stay in Reno, ‘kay?” I put on my gracious loser smile and shook their hands.
I slipped off into the crowd to find Rayn sat at the blackjack table still, losing all his money to some grey haired cunt that had managed to beat Rayn at his own game of cheat.
“Hey, Mikey,” he muttered, using the fake name I used when we were out cheating without looking up at me. I stood behind him, watching what was going on.
“English family, with the ginger kid, Omaha poker,” I murmured in his ear. He nodded once and looked around for them, going straight back to his game when he saw who I meant.
Onwards and upwards.