Sunday, April 15, 2012

20 On Orange and Black

After reading my heartfelt praise of his teams Game 1 effort Peter Laviolette called me and requested a meeting.  This is the transcript.

April 14, 2012

Peter called me at 6:30 am telling me to meet him at Sugar House Casino in an hour.  Groggily I get up toss on my old Eric Lindros Jersey and ride down.  I arrived about a half an hour later.  The casino is sparsely populated.  Off in the slots area are some blue haired old hags blowing their grandsons birthday present money.  In the other corner is the line to the buffet.  In fact the only commotion is coming from the Craps table where a large crowd of people are loudly cheering.  I wander over there and after elbowing a few spectators I see Laviolette at the epicenter.  He looked manic.  His hair wasn’t it’s typical slicked back manor.  There was no suit, no tie not even a piece of gum.  His eyes were blood shot and wild, it looked like he hadn’t slept in a while. 

I stood transfixed on the Flyers coach. He had barely any chips left and he was growing more and more anxious with each throw.  By the time he rolled a three the dealer used that pole thing and collected the rest of his stack.  Eventually some other degenerate picked up the dice, but by that time Laviolette had wandered off towards the soggy breakfast trays.

I caught up to him when he was seated at a table absentmindedly stuffing sausage links in his mouth.

“Mr. Laviolette.” I started “It’s Aaron, from the website.  You called me down here, remember?”

“Huh, o yea.  Aaron, thanks for coming.  Please have a seat.” He said as he motioned towards the chair.

I sat down.  “Thanks for the call.  I’m really excited to be meeting you.”

“Glad you could make.  You didn’t have any trouble finding the place?”

“No actually I’ve been here a couple of times before, but can’t say ever this early.”

“Yea it’s great here isn’t it!”

“Uh, I guess it’s ok.  I mean it’s no Vegas or anything.”

“Yea, it really is a great place to come.  All the bright lights, the crazy alarm bells.”  He took in a big breath “Just makes you feel alive doesn’t it?”

“Sounds like you come here pretty often.”  I said starting to get nervous.

“Oh, if I’m in the city or within 300 miles of the place I try to make it back.”

“Wait are you saying you came back here between Games 1 and Game 2?”

“What! No that would be crazy.”

“O, Whew.  You had me going for a while.  I was beginning to think you were some sort of addict.”

“No, nothing like that.  There’s a place called Rivers casino in Pittsburgh where I also have a line of credit.  So no matter where I go in PA I’ll always have a bed available.”

“So you’re telling me that you have a room on call in at least 2 casinos, that’s pretty revealing Pete.”

“Actually I have rooms in about 4 or 5, and that’s only in this state.  You know it’s always good to have options when it comes to these things.  You can never be too careful.”  He said as he stuffed more cold waffles down his throat.

“Any others?”

“Other what’s?”

“Comped Casino rooms in any other state.”

“Just a couple dozen and a few more in Carolina, but they aren’t comped anymore.”  His eyes shifted, scanning the tables.

“Your rooms aren’t comped?”

“They used to be, but you know sometimes you’re hot and well sometimes…”  His voice trailed off. 

“How bad is your gambling problem.” I said bluntly.

“Gambling problem!?  I don’t have a gambling problem, just right now the cards are a little slow that’s all. 

“Uh, huh.  Well then I have to ask, what does….”

“HIDE” Laviolette screamed as he grabbed me by the collar and thrust me under the table.  We flung ourselves down to the floor while a team of security guards casually strolled by, stopping to chat with a high roller who had just entered the lobby.  Eventually the two wandered out of sight and we emerged and sat back down at the table.  “Sorry about that but Crusher and Low Blow there aren’t really too fond ole Petey here.”

“I think I want to leave now.” I said as I dusted pieces of glitter off of my shirt.

“Leave?  But you just got here.  We haven’t even played any roulette yet?”

“To be honest Mr. Laviolette I’m not much of a gambler.  I was just hoping to speak to you about the Flyers.”

“We can do that.  Please sit back down.  I’ll tell you anything you want to know, for a price.”


“20 dollars man, that’s all I need.”

I sighed.  I passed him the money more out of pity than an actual desire to keep talking.  He snatched the crinkled money, sniffed it vigorously and slid it into his pocket.  “Thanks” he said “I’ll get you back at the end of the playoffs.  Trust me by that time I’ll have enough money to burn this sucker down.”

“What do you mean?”

A wry smile flashed across his face, much like the Cheshire cat he knew something that only a select few people knew.  “You really want to know?”


“You really want to know?” He said leering me on.

“Yes, yes.”

“20 bucks.”

“Fuck, fine.” I again slid him the money where he again breathed it in deeply and folded it away.  I couldn’t afford to keep talking to him for much longer

“I’ve got a great con going.” He started as nonchalantly as he could, although he was grinning like a jackass.  

“I realized that you can make in game betting if you’ve got the right sports book.  It just so happens that I know a guy who asks very little questions about where the money is coming from.”

“So what does that mean?”

“It means that I can bet on my team during the game.  Don’t you see it’s genius.”

My head started spinning as flashes of Pete Rose danced across my mind.  “But you can’t gamble on your team man.  This is the playoffs!”

“Shhh, no so loud” he hissed.  “and sure I can.  I’ve been doing it the last three years.”


“Again, keep it down.  But yea.  Three years ago  I met this guy and he tells me there’s big money in it for the team that can go down 3-0 in  a series and come back.  So I jumble some lines around, kidnap some players families and make some anonymous threats.   Then after we went down I returned all their families, restored the lines and badabing, badaboom everyone is so relieved that they were able to play fast and loose.”  He started laughing like a school girl. 

“What the Fuck!  Are you serious!”

“What’s the problem?  Was that not the most epic series of your life?  How great was it that we won.  And it didn’t hurt that I made a tidy little profit.” 

“But that’s insane” I stammered

“No insane is what I tried to do last year. 

With a deep sense of dread I asked.  “Last year?”

“Hehe, yea last year, there was big money on the amount of goaltenders you could use in a playoff series.  So I started locking away two goalies a night trying to throw them off their game, you know like sleep deprivation or rapid raccoons, that sort of thing.  It worked in the first series, but we got bulldozed by the Bruins.  Oh well.”  He shrugged his shoulders and went to work on his scrambled eggs.

“Jesus Fucking Christ!  You’re a God damn psychopath.”

“Hey!” he punched down on the table, hard. “You’re starting to sound a lot like Mike and Jeff.  I don’t like it when guys I like start talking like Mike and Jeff.  If you don’t want to end up like Mike and Jeff you better keep your God damn trap shut.” His eyes were focused on mine with the type of ferocity that I  always saw during his post-game interviews. 

“What did you do to Mike Richards and Jeff Carter?”

“Let’s just say I wasn’t surprised they had poor seasons.”  Again that Cheshire cat expression crossed his face.

We sat in silence for a few minutes.  I trying to figure out what to say next; Laviolette happily munching on his bacon.

“So then, do you have a scam going this year?” I finally asked.

“No, a scam is something boys do to get inside Grandma’s purse.  When you’re at the Danny Ocean level like me it’s called a con; and yea, this years con might be my best yet.”

“Could you tell me a little more about it?”

“10 bucks.”

“All I have left is three singles.”

“That’s good enough.”  He took the money, smelt it and put it with my other 40 bucks.  “This year I needed fast money.  So as I said I found a guy who could take in game bets.  So what I do is slip everyone a high dosage of Valium right before the start of the game.  Then after we’re down two or three early, I’ll call a timeout and shoot everyone up with enough horse steroids to take down Andy Dick.  Don’t you see it’s perfect.  After every game I’m banking a couple of grand.   No more long cons for me, this fast money it’s, exhilarating.  Every game being down huge; then I place my bet, usually during the first intermission and then sit back and watch the goals pile up.”  He leaned back in his chair, put his hands behind his head and beamed.

“How?”  was I’ll I could muster after several minutes.

“It’s pretty easy actually.  In fact…  OOO there’s Terry, I’ve got to go!”  He sprang from the table and sprinted towards a blackjack table and sat down.

I sat there staring at the mostly eaten breakfast plate when I got a tap on the shoulder.  I turned around and 
a middle aged woman with a cigarette strapped between her teeth was glowering down at me.

“Hey hon, that’ll be 32.50 for the food.” 

Oh fuck you.

After paying for Laviolette's food I wandered over to the sports book.  I put 20 on the Flyers.  I recommend you do the same.  Just make to call it in at the start of the 2nd period. 

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