For Whom the Splidchik Tolls

Oof. Ack. I mean, I’ve taken baths in Vegas before, but not like this. Not like this, man. I am seriously tapped out. I got up $20,000 at the blackjack table, and then like an idiot I got cocky and went over to try to double it in the security room at Ikea again. Mickey decided to take me on and we sat in front of monitor D and I just went for it. I bet four thousand that within the first thirty seconds, a nerdy twenty-six year old guy would nod silently again and again at a woman at least fifty percent better looking than he was as she ran her hand over a tri-color duvet cover, and wouldn’t you know it, the ideal couple came in right on schedule but she ran her hand over a regular tri-color quilt instead as he nodded silently, and the money went bye-bye. Then I took a deep breath and I put five grand on the sure thing that no more than sixty seconds would pass before a girl with blonde highlights wearing a Penn State sweatshirt that had been bought before she even started her freshman classes would put a meditative hand to her cheek as she and her mother stood in front of a white futon, and dammit all, the girl showed up well within the time frame but her shirt said Swarthmore instead (I can’t believe I missed that one---and to think, I was only worried that the futon would be eggshell and not white). I decided to go double or nothing on one of my traditional bets, that the first guy to appear in a NASCAR cap would grunt wordlessly a total of exactly four times in response to his wife’s comments and that neither one of them would physically touch any of the products before they left within ten minutes, but of course the gods made the guy reach out and just kind of brush a $4.99 table lamp with the side of his hand, so I tanked it again, and then Mickey piled on by betting me a whole ten thousand that the guy would take a moment to say the cutesy Swedish product name for the lamp out loud with a hint of bemused contempt, and I said he wouldn’t, and you know what happened then otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation (did I really think the guy wouldn’t say the cutesy Swedish product name out loud? What the hell was I thinking?). Finally I put all the money I had left on the most obvious bet of all, that at exactly 12:35 there would be no less than three guys visible on the monitor pretending that the model rooms were real rooms in an attempt to make a joke for their live-in girlfriends in the hopes that being patient for an hour and a half inside the store would result in forty minutes of sex after dinner. But I blew it COMPLETELY because Mickey goaded me into betting that a minimum of two of these same guys would look longingly at the cheap hot dogs on the lunch menu before wimping out and ordering the Asian salad instead, and I bit on it, and here I am asking you for nine bucks just so I can put enough gas in the tank to get back to L.A. tonight. I’m not exactly proud of what happened, but seriously, whatever you have, I’ll pay you back on Thursday. And do me a favor, don’t tell anyone about this, okay? I don’t need people going around saying, “Oh, that crazy Nick Nolte, he’s so messed up he’s addicted to gambling now too.” I’m just not in the mood, know what I’m saying?