Friday, May 14, 2010

Burning the Dawn

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I was up for 24 straight hours. That's not uncommon for me these days with insomnia and the particular industry that I work in.

"It's what we do," as Otis would succinctly say.

I get paid to watch a bunch of degen gamblers from all over the world play poker... online. It's an easy job. I'm not bragging about it, just stating the simple fact. I've had dozens of jobs in my day and all of them sucked.

Out of all of my previous freelance assignments in poker, this is a cake work.... No travel nightmares. No maids busting into my room at 6am. No need for me to even wear pants. I can blast tunes as loud as I want while I write and don't have to work inside a casino filled with old smelly people, fat gamblers, and drunken nits who ask too many stupid questions.

In short, this great cushy assignment makes me feel lucky and grateful that my client re-hired me for this specific two week festival of online poker. The hardest part of this assignment is staying up and having to deal with the fatigue of the "hurry up and wait" mentality. But that's a small price to pay for being able to sit at home in my boxers, pulling tubes, and listening to Miles Davis while watching a bunch of Brazilians, Germans, Russians, Scandis, and 20-something North American kids playing a "video game" for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I got Atari for Christmas when I was in the 2nd grade. I remember bringing it over to my grandmother's for Christmas dinner. I sat in the living room the entire afternoon trying to explain to relatives the concept of Space Invaders.

"When I grow up, someone is going to pay me to watch people play video games for money."

I didn't say that, of course. But I can see the 8-year old version of myself announcing that to the family. By the time New Year's rolled around, I had become a full blown video game addict even though I had only two games (Combat and Space Invaders). I'm petty sure that I considered becoming a professional video game player even though that title did not exist in 1980.

Today, I know dozens of people who make six figures a year money playing online poker. One of Benjo's buddies used to be a rock star in Korea because he moved from France to Seoul to become a professional gamer. When he discovered there was more money in online poker than playing Starcraft, he quickly ditch those video games for a another type of video game.... poker.


I overslept as Monday bled into Tuesday. It was my day off, so I got shitfaced and slept 11.5 hours. I never do that. Maybe once or twice a year... and I need help. Something strong like a elephant tranquilizer. Well, the thing is that I was kinda sluggish all of Wednesday and when it hit Midnight, I was super sleepy after eating dinner and then I took an allergy pill to clear up a sudden onset of burning eyes and a sinus headache.

I caught my second wind around 3am Thursday and was rocking out to the porn funk. By 7am I began the finishing touched. Once everything was done, I celebrated with a black and white cookie. Nicky had bought it for me as dessert, but I was so full from dinner that I put it aside. I totally forgot about it until moments after I closed the lid on my laptop and saw the bag sitting there.

Behold, the black and white cookie before thee.

And you know what? I enjoyed every savory bite. Sort of like downing an ice cold pint of beer after a long day of work.

Benjo took the week off from his job to exclusively work on the translation for Lost Vegas. He's been an amazing fact checker, in addition to being an extra set of eyes. He had a few notes for me. It was mid-afternoon in Europe and he had slaving over a couple of chapters. Anyway, I took his notes and worked on Lost Vegas for a bit. When I finished that... I was still awake.

Yep, I couldn't fall asleep because of too much rest. I had two attempts and both times I ended up back on the couch, ripping tubes, and watching Gordon Ramsey drop F-bombs at half-baked chefs.

It wasn't until I was up for the 24th hour in the row that I was able to crawl into the futon in my dark office where I slept for 2.5 hours.

* * * * *

Keith Richards is still alive. All of those hackneyed drug jokes over the years always got to me. Here's the deal... the reason he's still living is simple... he's was never alive to begin with.

Keith Richards is a zombie. The undead. You can't even cut his head off with a machete. It would grow right back. In 1970 Richards went to New Orleans but OD'd on a bad batch of black tar. One of those rock and roll doctors was called in to revive him since you can't have that sort of shit in the newspapers. He was unable to revive him, so one of those Mambos who practice Haitian voodoo was brought in to perform a ritual with snake blood and tearing out the heart of a chicken while it was still alive.

The mambo turned Keith Richards into a zombie and he'll be roaming the Earth until eternity. That's why he can drink, snort, smoke, shoot, and decimate any drug, spirit, or foodstuff that is put in front of him.

Sometimes when I can't sleep I wonder if I got turned into a zombie and I'll be in a perpetual state of hell... unable to live.... unable to die... just caught in that middle ground where I wander around in a daze wanting to eat chocolate chip pancakes and muttering lyrics to Pusherman.


  1. <span>Keith Richards will be dancing on all of our graves - with his liver intact.</span>

  2. Irongirl013:47 PM

    I always have said Keith is alive because hes living on all the drug residue in his veins/arteries and organs. His body doesnt know he is dead.

    I have to laugh about Black and whites when you come back East for Phish your going to be a judge of a black and white cookie contest. I currently have three samples so far.

    How about a knish?

  3. Armando2:43 AM

    A friend of mine catered a birthday party for Keith Richards at his house in London. He said it was out of control bacchanalia with different tents set up to create "zones" for specific drugs to be consumed therein.