There are these people at the tables, the 'normal' ones. They bet, they lose, they cry. That's normal these days. Back then, they played, lost, and played some more. Not nowadays. But once in a while one of the old-school players show up; suit, tie, cool...He'll play, he'll lose, he'll order a drink, win some. All the while looking like he's home on the couch. Comfortable. I don't see them often, but I wish I had been around when the real players were here.
But one day he was there. I thought he had gotten lost looking for the high-roller lounge, but of course he hadn't, he was exactly where he wanted to be- at the baccarat table with the small change players. When I saw him, he had lost his tie, sipped a drink. It was beautiful- watching his 'dance' with the dealer and the other players. Deal. Hit. Cards. All in an never ending loop. No win. No lose. Because that didn't matter, he was there only for the game, the hunt.
You know a predator when you see it. I could go on for hours with metaphors about tigers and panthers, but why should I? He was it! Top of the food chain. I was waiting for him to pick one of the girls hanging around, take her with him and show her a 'good time'. Somehow I figured it would be a good time, not one of those occasions when the girl came back crying. But he didn't, he just kept playing and drank soda water.
When he finally quit, he actually handed the chips over to the two girls next to him. I know one of them, she's hooking to keep her kid fed and clothed. Those chips would let her get some rest for a good, long while. I think she cried a little and that I've never seen before- she's one tough mamacita.
Anyway- still with the panther metaphor- he looked like one when he left the table. When people have been sitting for a while they sort of creak a little when they get up. He didn't- he was sitting and then he wasn't. Just walking away, no stretching, no nothing. Strolling between the tables, in no hurry. I heard the girls sigh and so did I. To have that panache...
I had to follow him. He took the elevator up to the high-roller lounge, and that place- I tell you- is heaven on Earth. What wouldn't I do to be a part of that.
My man just walked in, like he owned the place. No surprise there. The one he met though, he was a surprise. As I first had thought about my man there, I thought this one had gotten lost. Short, prim, looking more like an accountant than someone who belonged in the lounge. But looks are deceiving.
Not many outsiders know about the surveillance system we have in the building, that's why they do all that weird stuff 'in their privacy'. They think we don't see them.
My man and his company had one of the bigger suites. When they closed the door, I rushed back to the elevator to get to the central. I have to say that we don't make a habit of spying on our guests; it's just when we need to check a 'particular' situation and this was a very 'particular' situation. They acted normal when they entered and closed the door. Took off jackets and ties, poured drinks. Then it went weird. The accountant took to the couch with his drink, but my man started wandering around-hands in his pockets at first. He was searching the place- I have no idea how he did it but he found the cameras, all of them. One by one he found them and unplugged them. When he got to the last one, he looked directly into it- and winked.