Chapter 8: Crazy Game of Poker

So I said, "Hey, what ya' doin' tonight?"
He looked at me with a face full of fright.
And I said, "How about a revolution?"
And he said, "Right."

Faye was a woman on a mission for the next two hours. She barreled into a discount clothing store and began furiously digging through the wares, holding clothes up to her partner, holding them up to herself, adjusting this, comparing that. After what seemed like 20 minutes, she brought a bunch of clothes to the counter, swiped Spike's card right out of his pocket and paid for him. Spike, too curious to protest, just followed her back outside.

She then barreled into a coffee house and dumped the contents of her purse out on the table. Inside was a sewing kit and what happened to be about a dozen labels of clothing designers she couldn't afford in several lifetimes. She then proceeded to carefully remove the paper price tags from the clothes, but did so in such a way that she could just as carefully slide them back on to the plastic bit. "See?" she said without looking up from her work. "We just lent them that money."

She then removed a razor blade from her sewing kit and very carefully removed the no-name labels from the clothing and sewed on her replacements when applicable. "Throw this on," she tossed him the suit. Spike decided that now was not a time to argue so he shrugged and changed in the men's bathroom. The second he came out she was upon him, tucking parts in, letting parts out, but all of it done in very professional yet also temporary looking seams. Though he doubted anyone could tell how temporary they were in normal everyday interactions. She took a step back to admire her work, then sighed and threw a jar of hair gel at him. "Fix your head, please. People are gonna think you're a gaucho who hasn't seen scissors in ten years."

"Well...that would be a very astute observation," he shrugged. It was the first time he had spoken in all these goings on. He somehow sensed there was something very ritualistic in all of this and he didn't want to break her mojo.

"Yeah, but that's not the look we're going for tonight," she said simply and then disappeared into the bathroom.

About ten minutes later, Spike emerged to see Faye waiting for him impatiently. He was a bit taken a back by the radical change in her appearance. She looked conservative, confident and well put together. Her dress showed off her figured without actually displaying it and she had modest yet flattering make-up as opposed to the Fuck Me Red lipstick she usually wore. Her hair was neatly tied up in a sweeping sort of bun. She looked about ten years older but not in a haggard way. Her whole posture was just different somehow. Faye took one look at his hair and rolled her eyes. Spike had to admit he wouldn't know what to do with hair gel if it jumped out and bit him in the ass. As it was, he had about half of his hair slicked down to his head and the other half swept over in some strange come-over. "Come here," she snapped at him, like she was a mom about to polish her kid's face with her own spit at the park. She ruffled his hair up and then slathered on some of the gel herself, combing it every which way until she was satisfied. "There. Now you are presentable."

Spike glanced at himself in the mirror and actually yelped. His hair was slicked back like some sort of pansy ass pop star pandering to teenyboppers at the mall. "I don't even look like me," he observed.

"That's the whole point," she sighed. "Spike Spiegel and Faye Valentine wouldn't get very far in this town but Mr. and Mrs. Bovier are going to have the time of their lives." She gathered all of her stuff up in her bag as the manager strode over to them.

"Um, excuse me, are you going to purchase anything?"

She gave him a 40-woolong handshake as she strode out of the coffee shop, Slick Willy Spike reluctantly in tow. "Oh, by the way," she said to him. "It would probably be best if you don't speak at all tonight."

"Fine. This is all you, anyway, Faye. I wouldn't get this dressed up for my own funeral."


Spike thought he had seen Faye in action before but he imagined it was a totally different kind of action. She walked confidently into the casino and with a dignified grace he didn't know she was capable of possessing. She immediately made eye contact with the floor manager and strode up to him, hand extended. "Good evening," she said charmingly. "My husband and I are on our honeymoon. We've never been to your city before, and if it isn't too much trouble I was wondering if you could give us some advice. We don't usually make it out to big cities like this and it's all so...over whelming." Shy giggle, hair toss, eye contact.

"Sure," the manager grinned professionally, as opposed to leering like most of her intended victims did. Though admittedly, she wasn't playing for the leer tonight. He reached out and shook Spike's hand. "What did you have in mind?"

By the end of the night, Faye had managed to score them two tickets to see a magic show, free brunch and a free nights stay in the hotel suite. Spike did little more than laugh at everyone's jokes and compliment on the fine establishment when it seemed appropriate to do so. At the end of it all they had a few more hours before either of them could think about sleeping, so they decided to split up and explore. Spike gave Faye an allowance of 500 woolongs, which she immediately tried to protest as it was degrading and insulting that a grown woman be given an allowance. "Faye," Spike shook his head. "Shut up."

Faye understood everything that was implied by that shut up, her past history, their current situation, and that she owed him big, and decided that maybe it wouldn't kill her to shut up this evening. So she sighed and strode her way over to the "junior" tables just as confidentially and with as much class as she would have heading over to the high rollers. She was a piece of work.

Spike decided he liked Vegas. There was something desperate about it he kinda dug. Everyone and everything in it was starved for attention. Hey, you want magic? This guy'll pull a white tiger out of his ass. That don't do it for you? We have a full sized pirate ship, complete with pirates. So authentic, you'll get scurvy just from lookin' at it! We got the flying trapeze and people being shot out of canons! We'll even shoot you out of a canon if that's your bag! Look at me! Pay attention to me! He saw why Faye was so drawn to this lifestyle, since she was the human incarnation of the Las Vegas strip.

He walked into a lower class bar and went to order when he noticed every single person in the place was glaring at him. He wondered why until he looked up and caught his reflection in the bar mirror. Oh yeah. He was dressed like James Bond. Spike would glare at himself too. There was nothing more aggravating than a rich little yuppie slumming it. He sighed and made his way respectfully back to the casino, not in any real mood to gamble, not when he and Faye were sharing funds. He was surprised to see she was still playing, and had apparently amassed enough woolongs to graduate to the higher tables. She had also accrued quite a handful of gentleman admirers. Spike shook his head. The girl had being a diva down to a science. He decided now would be a good time to break the seal.

"How ya' doin'?" a young, snarky looking guy greeted Spike amiably as they both approached the sink. The bathroom was one of the few places in Vegas casinos nowadays that a person could sneak a cigarette. Spike just nodded and then offered him a light.

"You see that fine piece of ass at the blackjack table?" the guy sneered, obviously tipsy.

"No," Spike shook his head. "Where?"

"Right there," the guy cracked the door open a peak. "In the purple dress."

Spike squinted as if this would bring the hottie into focus. He didn't see anyone. The only woman at the table was...."Oh. Oh, her," Spike shrugged. "Yeah, she's cute."

"Cute? A puppy is cute, man. That girl is banging."

"Yeah, well. I'd be careful trying anything on her," Spike shrugged, giving him a friendly warning.

"Why? She your girlfriend or something?"

"No. She just doesn't seem like the kind of person to be trifled with, that's all." That was certainly true. Despite her come hither demeanor, he always pitied the man who tried to put the moves on Faye Valentine when she was not in the mood. And he knew that when she was gambling, she was in the mood for little else.

"They all want to be trifled with," the man replied.

"I wouldn't be too sure about that."

"You kidding? I'm telling, ya. The second I go make a play for that bitch she'll be all over me like stink on shit. Man, what I'd like to do to her..." The kid then continued to illustrate what he would like to do to her, complete with visual aides and a few colorful euphemisms.

Spike just stared at him with a disgusted expression.

"What are you, gay or somethin', man?" the kid stumbled a bit, poking Spike in the chest. Was this kid going to pick a fight with him in the men's bathroom? Jesus, that's sad. And over Faye. And Spike's apparent reluctance to bang her "like a screen door" as the kid so delicately put it. Spike just removed the kid's hand from his jacket and sauntered out of the bathroom. The little weasel wasn't worth it.

The kid was left to stare at the swinging door for a few minutes, until it swung back open. "You know, on second thought," Spike sighed and then sucker punched the kid right in the face. He went down like a ton of bricks. "Bang her like a screen door," Spike muttered, snatching a few chips out of the kid's pocket. "Fuckin' prick."

He flipped the chips in his own pockets and sauntered casually out of the bathroom. "Hey," he flagged down an attendant. "There's some kid passed out in the bathroom over there. Must have had to much to drink."

The attendant nodded. "Happens all the time," he sighed in a way that seemed to prove it did. "Thank you sir."

Spike saluted him and then nonchalantly strolled over to Faye's table, even going so far as to whistle. "I think we should call it a night," he said to her.

"Not now," she swatted him away. "I'm up."

"So...that's a good time to quit, right?"

Faye gave him a look that seemed to say, "Amateur," but then focused her attention to the limp body being dragged out of the bathroom. "Is that your handiwork?" she muttered under her breath, her focus back on her hand.


"Men," she snarled. She finished out the hand and then left the table with all the showmanship of a Hollywood starlet, coming only a few steps shy of taking a bow. Well, they didn't take advantage of the magic show but they were certainly impressed with their suite. It was quite possibly the nicest place they had ever been without having to shoot or sleep with somebody.

Faye made a beeline to the bathroom and stayed in there for what had to be 45 minutes, soaking up the fragrant bath oils like a sponge. She wished that these were luxuries she could get by just being herself, but knew that was impossible. She also knew that "herself" was a delicate thing these days. She thought she knew who she was, if not who she had been, but even that seemed to be changing now. She wondered if everyone felt this way, amnesia or no amnesia. "Years seem to flow by like a broken down dam," she sang a line from her bus song out loud to herself. She had loved that song the moment she heard it, on a pirate radio station somewhere on Mars. She remembered she froze when she heard the first line, just stopped what she was doing to listen to it. Something about it spoke to her, like it was written specifically for her. But it was an old song, even older than she, and she had to wonder if she still would have felt that way about it had life progressed like normal. If she was just an old woman instead of an old woman in a girl's body. She didn't know, but she hoped whatever was waiting for her in Arizona would help her to find out.

She emerged from the bathroom all prune skinned and sweet smelling, her damp hair still tussled from the towel she just removed from her head. Spike had already washed his hair out in the sink and was rooting through the liquor cabinet. He emerged with a bottle of tequila. "Shot for shot?" he asked her.

"Giddy up."



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