October 10, 2012

Every time I put something in my stomach is a roll of the dice. Most of the time it's craps. While I would usually take the odds on a #2, sometimes it's a simple pass, a gift of chance. Needing a vacation from my stomach troubles, I figured my best bet was taking my girlfriend to Vegas.

“You're not taking me to Vegas. I'm paying my own way.” She reminded me.

Before we would go I would need to train for our big trip. I would need to eat foods that might upset my stomach in order to prepare for the buffets of Las Vegas. I also wanted to learn a new game we could both play in the casinos. We settled on Craps, the most appropriate game for me.

My first official day of training I ate a Philly Cheesesteak and lost $200 of fake money playing craps while on the toilet. My girlfriend waited patiently for me to teach her the game. Ready to teach her, my stomach erupted again. “Sorry, might need a few minutes!”

“You should lay on your stomach. It will help.” she advised.

Taking her advice, the pain remained. “What's this supposed to do?”

“It should help you pass gas. Put your legs up.”

I farted once. “This is great.” I farted twice. “I think I'll go back to the bathroom.” I shared.

“Sounds like you are well on your way,” she said.

When I returned we watched Youtube tutorials on how to play Craps. The concensus was to bet on the pass line and take odds on come bets. I took another bathroom break before our trip to Taix, a French restaurant in nearby Echo Park.

“How are you feeling?” she asked as I got in the car.

“I should be okay,” I bluffed.

Taking the left from Hillhurst on to Sunset is when my stomach began to rumble. I breathed in and out and rolled down the window. I continued to drive and tempered my thoughts by thinking about how much money I would win in Vegas. Continuing past Sunset Junction is when the cramps intensified.

“This is going to be tough,” I said.

“Poor guy,” she empathized.

The thought of eating rich French foods began to nauseate me. “I'm going to make an executive decision and turn this car around.” I said flipping a bitch back on to Sunset.

I felt bad that our romantic Saturday night dinner was derailed, but I did not want to use a W.C. We stopped to get Pepto Bismol and rotisserie chicken. Not the dinner we initially had in mind. After nibbling on a chicken wing, I re-entered the bathroom and felt constipated. I pushed like I was giving birth to a farm animal. I leaned back. I leaned forward. I seasawed each cheek off the toilet. I pulled a leg back and extended an arm to mimic the Heisman pose. I was either performing yoga or channeling an ancient tantric spirit before I could drop a few pellets into the once clean bowl of water. For the night I was cured. We would drive to Eagle Rock to go my soccer buddy Scott's house where he and his wife Stacy presented an incredible spread of food out on their deck.

“Please eat,” Stacy said motioning to the bacon wrapped figs.

“I probably shouldn't my stomach is a little sensitive,” I said.

My teammates empathized. Mike admitted that his two year old son, Sam pooped on the sidewalk and his parents took pictures. Carlos's wife was at a book store with her son who she rushed to the bathroom. Everything was fine until they walked back through the book store and she saw his shoes were covered in poo.

“Was this at Bowels and Nobles?” I asked.

“No,” she said as she went into the final details of the story.

I looked at my girlfriend and shook my head as if to say, “Please don't tell them about 4th of July.”

She looked back at me and smiled. “Elliot recently pooped in the woods” she began. “It was 4th of July and he made hamburgers and we decided to hike up to Griffith Park to watch the Fireworks.  Looking out into the Southland at dusk we could see the fireworks just start shooting into the sky from downtown and all over the city, but he began moaning 'Ow. My stomach.' We walked down the mountain making it all the way to a residential street and there goes Elliot running dropping his pants ducking under a tree butt naked.”

The worst was behind me. I cleansed my shame and looked forward to Vegas. “It will be a nice test for me and the girlfriend,” I told Mike before our soccer game.

“I think the woods was your test. You seemed to have passed.” He reasoned.

The Billagio Buffet in all it's decadence stood before us. We enjoyed Soup Plantation from time to time but this was something special. And because it wasn't our first date, I had no shame in handing my dinner date a tray. To start we each had a plate of everything with a side of something and another side of something else. Shrimp pizza, heirloom tomatoes, pork ribs, broccolini, sushi, and sashimi plus a neopolitan and cheesecake for dessert. We left the Billagio and walked for miles to the Luxor. My stomach was fine.

We played Wheel of Fortune on the slots losing our fortune before spinning the wheel. A good night and a sound stomach motivated me to lead us three miles on foot to Casino Royale, for our first round of Craps at a $3 minimum table. We played the pass line and took odds on 6. The dealer stared at my girlfriends breasts which I did not bet on. Luck did not find us until our second buffet, the Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan which trumped the Billagio in visual display, selection, and taste. Root beer helped me keep pace with my girlfriend as she ate the rissoto and short rib I was too fearful to touch.

Down to our final $100 we rode an escalator down to the casino to study which Craps table would suit us the best. I watched a terrific streak shooter, a Brit who admitted this was his first time playing. We stepped up after which a new stickman arrived and we lost all our money in 10 minutes, along with the shooter.

It was only 7:30pm, but we were tight on cash and had pressed our luck. “I might need to go back to the hotel.”

“Buck it up,” said my girlfriend.

She made me use facility at Blondie's Sports Bar and Grill. So what if I was down $400 and shitting in a bar bathroom to the sounds of Gagnam Style? I survived. And so has my girlfriend who has patiently stuck by my side despite my IBS. We played beer pong, ordered room service pizza and watched Erin Moriarty host 48 Hours Mystery. The victim didn't survive but we did. And we're still going strong.

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