When I was a teenager, I wanted to be Girl Keanu Reeves. I didn’t really want to be Girl Keanu Reeves so much as I wanted to be Girl Johnny Utah, rookie FBI agent in Point Break or Girl LAPD officer Jack Traven in Speed. My father, the police chief (and mayor) in my hometown of Pine Apple, Alabama, taught me how to shoot a gun when I was eight-years old, it stuck, and I grew up dreaming of shootouts, hostage crises, and stalking serial killers instead of picket fences, weddings, and baby strollers. All my crime-fighting dreams came true when I landed a job on an elite undercover security team at the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.
None of my crime-fighting dreams came true when I landed a job on an elite undercover security team at the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.
That’s not to say that there isn’t the occasional element of danger in my work. There has been, there is, and there will be, because the Bellissimo isn’t a little place. It’s smack-dab on the beach, with 1600-plus guest rooms, twelve restaurants, 75,000 square feet of gaming, plus liquor and money everywhere. So things happen. But most of the things that happen are far from major crimes.
A few weeks ago, a guy chartered a deep-sea fishing boat, then afterward, he smuggled four live baby sharks into his Bellissimo guest room Jacuzzi tub. When he sobered up and checked out the next morning, he’d forgotten to pack his baby sharks, and I had to get them back in the Gulf. There was nothing baby about them—they had whiskers—and there was screaming.
A few days later, we had a runaway bride. She ran out of her wedding venue, the Riviera Room, through the casino, her cathedral-length veil flying behind her. The bow of her chiffon wedding dress caught on a Lucky Monkey Triple Times Pay slot machine, and the whole thing ripped off her and landed across two Tarzan and Jane Jungle Bonus slot machines. She kept going, screaming her lungs out (“Save me! Somebody save me!”) in her lace undies, organza veil, and six-inch heels. By then the entire wedding party was chasing her, led by her would-be mother-in-law (trash mouth on that one), and before it was over, one of the bridesmaids tossed ME into the middle of a packed-out craps table. That night I found a $100 casino chip in my Tory Burch Caroline flats.
I spend just as much time chasing after casino patrons’ juvenilely delinquent kids down as I do chasing purse snatchers and dice sliders. Gamblers check into the hotel, then wag their fingers at their rotten offspring. “You be good. And stay out of that mini bar.” Then the parents hit the casino and forget about the teenage terrors upstairs reenacting every scene of Jackass 3.5. A few weeks ago, two thirteen-year-old brats dumped a half-gallon of Louisiana Fire Sauce into the holding bin of the ice dispenser at the Plethora Buffet’s self-serve fountain-drink line. A week later, a kid absconded with an abandoned motorized wheelchair, then drove it into the swimming pool. The very next day, two teenagers stuffed a small child through the opening at the top of the Claw Crane game in the kiddie arcade, put tokens in, snagged the child by the seat of his pants with the metal claw, and left him dangling inside the game. It’s almost worse when the parents ban the rotten kids to the hotel rooms. They make 300-decibel wake-up calls all over the building at two in the morning, and order porn on the television the parents refuse to pay for because their little angels “would never do that.” My advice to parents: Check your teenager’s luggage before you come to the Bellissimo. There is no reason for them to bring industrial air horns, 400 off-brand condoms (doorknob décor), or bottle rockets.
Never a dull moment, and who knows? Maybe we’ll have a hostage crisis one day, but when it happens, it’ll probably be me taken hostage.
Gretchen is giving away one (1) copy of DOUBLE WHAMMY. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the author. Contest ends May 16 and US entries only.
You can read more about Davis in Double Whammy, the first book in the new “Davis Way” mystery series.
Meet the author
Gretchen Archer is a Tennessee housewife who began writing when her daughters, seeking higher educations, left her. She lives on Lookout Mountain with her husband, son, and a Yorkie named Bently. Double Whammy is her first Davis Way mystery. Visit Gretchen at www.gretchenarcher.com
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