Per our agreement, I drove down to my father’s home in Anaheim on Monday afternoon. Unlike my father, I am of the belief that just because you possess the keys to someone’s house, you don’t necessarily have the right to use them, even when you’re expected. I suppose everyone would agree that my biggest faults are my manners…. Anyway, I only used the keys after the appropriate amount of wait-time had elapsed. My father is not a young man, and any number of things could have happened to his body that would preclude his answering the doorbell, including severe constipation and severe death.
Fortunately (whew), nobody was home, not even Missy, my father’s black lab. I’d almost forgotten that he’d given her to another family after just a couple of months because he was fed up with dog hair “everywhere.” It should be noted that my father pays not one but two maids to clean his home on a weekly basis, and each appointment lasts nearly eight hours. What I’m getting at is that in order for Missy to be a problem in such an environment, she’d have to be one seriously hairy motherfucking dog. She wasn’t. Dad’s just nuts. And I miss the puppy.
“HELLO!?” Dad bellowed into his cellular phone, wherever he was.
“Hey, Dad,” I said, calmly. “I thought you wanted me to come over today.”
“WHAT!? WHERE ARE YOU!?”
I could hear bustling humans behind my father’s screams, and I imagined anyone in his immediate vicinity was probably really annoyed right then. “I’m at your house!” I cried.
“OH!” Dad said. “OKAY! STAY THERE! I’LL BE THERE IN AN HOUR!”
“Why don’t I just meet you wherever you are?”
“WHERE ARE YOU!!”
“AT THE CASINO! HAWAIIN GARDENS!”
“Where is it?”
“WHERE IS IT!?”
This went on for some minutes, but I eventually found myself parking in front of a casino in Buena Park that was not actually a building, but more of a massive bubble-tent-thing. On the way in I walked passed a sign that read IF YOU LOOK 30 YEARS OLD OR YOUNGER YOU MUST SHOW IDENTIFICATION. Nobody carded me, so I guess I’m fucked.
The place really was a giant tent. The walls were something like vinyl, with some sections covered with cheesy Hawaiian backdrops. I can’t decide if having one backdrop here and there is better than covering all the walls with backdrops. I suppose it’s pathetic either way you look at it. The dozens of Chinese lanterns hanging around the ceiling were a nice touch, though.
I negotiated the sea of sad bastard gamblers and old Asian waitresses with their trays-on-wheels and found my father at one of the Texas Hold ‘Em tables. Right away, he announced to his opponents that i was his son, and they quite rightly didn’t give a shit. “You know,” Dad began in his whispered I’m-About-To-Say-Something-Fucked-Up voice. “This casino is owned by a Jewish doctor—”
“This Jewish doctor takes all his profits and sends them to organizations in Israel that buy up Palestinian land in Jerusalem!”
“Oh, really? That is pretty fucked up, I guess…” I sighed.
“Pretty fucked up, huh? You’re damn right it’s fucked up!”
“Then why are you fucking gambling here, then?”
“Well, I don’t like to… but your godfather heard they have a special $100,000 jackpot on Monday afternoons—”
Dad insisted the food at Hawaiian gardens was delicious and that I order some. It wasn’t until after I’d already started eating my BBQ bacon cheese burger on a little tray-on-wheels right there at the poker table that Dad told me I wouldn’t be going with him and Jeannie to Israel.
“Uh, what?” I asked. “I thought the whole point of me coming down here today was to plan the trip?”
“What plan the trip?” my father shrieked. His voice always gets really cracky when he’s trying to push blame away. “I’ve been talking about it for weeks. Your sister told you about it. You never said anything!”
“Sorry! We have the itineraries and everything.”
“It’s not like it will be the only time I’m going over there.”
“But Israel AND Jordan?” I whined.
“Yes! I’ll be going back to both, don’t worry, habibi.”
“I wanted to see Petra, too…” I sighed. “They shot Indiana Jones there.”
“Oh, I KNOW!”