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The Presidential Power Parlay: Requiem

The 29th (and greatest) U.S. President, Warren G. Harding, was a renowned gambler, golfer, and lover of life. As such, his words are brought to you here through the medieval art of necromancy.

Image used under Creative Commons from Harris & Ewing

Seeing as President Harding ushered us into economic success unheard of in human history (before being tragically assassinated by his jealous wife--which tanked the economy), his words here might as well come to your doorstep in the form of etched stone tablets. (All views and opinions presented here should be considered only those of Warren G. Harding himself, obvii.)

As the subject matter enclosed is intended for mature audiences only, reader discretion is strongly advised.

LAST WEEK: Florida St (-14), Missouri (+10), Oklahoma (-14)

As a bon vivant of great panache and a well of life stories deep enough to burrow all the way clear to China (which my friends, I have done; it is not as glamorous as many Marxis-Leninists would have you believe), I am not one to ever describe myself as between a rock and a hard place. The Tea Pot Dome Scandal was but a minor inconvenience. My wife's zealous conspiracy to have my murdered? Trivial. Alas, I don't mince words when I say, I find myself colloquially where you would call a f***show (though I've been to many a literal f***shows and with enough sartorial flair can be quite tasteful, actually).

You'd think a civilized town like Las Vegas, Nevada would know how to treat their once and future king. But alas, I am informed by a goon looking pit boss that my gold doubloons are no good here. What sort of barbarous sports book fail to accept real currency?! Next thing you'll have me believing that the Spanish milled dollar is of little value. I speak the King's Spanish (despite my belief that they're a very boorish people as a whole), and I've lead Basque child rebel forces in bombing raids in the capitol city, and I can tell you as authoritatively as anyone that currency is currency. From the attitude of these thugs dressed like Pitbull's man slaves, you'd have thought we'd mistakenly been taken to a post-apocalyptic hell hole where civilized mediums of exchange were now rendered worthless.

"Old man, I don't give a flying f*** who you claim you are. I'm going to need the 10K you guaranteed us when you rode in here like the Sultan of Brunei placing foolhardy in about 30 seconds or this is not going to end well for you," the one who probably bathed in Drakkar Noir mumbled. His name tag read "Guy", but I could hardly make out the sans-serif through the high blood pressure induced blurred retinas. As a man who lives a purely post-stress life, it was unclear whether this was the result of my third handle of Lady Bligh in the last 27 hours or that second butter poached duck and foie gras meatball sub. It was inconsequential. A man's vital organs are but a crutch anyways.

Anyone familiar with my body of work knows I fear no man. A sissy faux machismo posturing ruffian who keeps the company of night walkers (and actually PAYS them; for shame) and unironically never misses a George Wallace "I Be Thinking" performance when he's off is but a fly to a deity like myself. it didn't matter how many armed discount black dress shoe clad miscreants he could surround me with. I've fought my ways out of the most dangerous prisons on earth and walked the streets of a crossfire ripe Federal Republic of Yugoslavia all the while eating an apple without a care in the world. This situation didn't meant sh*t to me.

I looked "Guy" back in the eyes and smiled coyly. "If you take a look at the piece of paper in my front coat pocket, I rest assured you'll consider the wisdom bestowed upon you as pittance." I would sooner render unto Caesar than I would give a dime of any man's money to this gutter slime in a Target brand dress shirt. The insignificance of the men now surrounding me with barrel pulled back hand guns' lives was now dominating my thoughts. "I wonder how few other human beings would miss them if I swatted them like flies," I began to wonder, oblivious to my surroundings.

"You insult me you pathetic old piece of sh*t," "Guy" said as he kicked me in the ribs and spit in my face. No man dare treat this country's 29th president like a pre-abolition second class citizen. All men were created equal, and all die just the same too. Without hesitating I struck "Guy" in the wind pipe and secured the weapon he concealed poorly in the back of his suit pants. I discharged the shot in the chamber into his foot and grabbed his stunned, wounded waste of humanity to utilize as a human shield. Collateral damage. I didn't have time for this. College fooball's fifth week was but 48 hours away and I was swimming in a sea of eager bookies, some legitimate and some less so.

His gang of posers and wannabe tough men backed down. No one even bothered calling the local law men it seemed. Some casino this was. I dragged "Guy's" shocked exterior as I made my way towards my carefully concocted exit plan when I felt a prick in the back of my neck. You know by now I'm no stranger to the needle, no matter how many subhumans enjoy it. Opiates are our lifeline to the gods, and I'd be no less a man than a monkey if I didn't indulge from time to time.

But this wasn't a sweet release, it was something else. I felt my arms give way freeing "Guy's" sad sack excuse for a body from my lock and my legs give out from under me. Then the all too familiar spiral of blackness.

I awoke with my limbs secured disheveled in an unfamiliar barron ostensibly southwestern United States landscape. The sun beat down on my leathery skin as my eyes struggled to regain their focus. I appeared to make out a man in a blue tie, white suit jacket, and a white cowboy hat just ahead.

"You're a stupid f***ing prick, you know that Warren?" the man in white said with disdain.

As he moved closer into my still hampered line of sight, I finally recognized a face I wouldn't mistake anywhere else. Las Vegas impresario Sam Boyd himself. Sam, like myself, was a self made man, who arrived in Las Vegas with but $80 to his name and worked his way up from a roulette dealer into an architect of what modern Las Vegas has become today. The papers of course had said Boyd died at the age of 82 back in 1993 from a "a number of ailments" at a local Las Vegas hospital. I knew better.

"Sure look good for for a 101 year old," I muttered, my lips dry from dehydration.

"Oh, Warren. I assume this is the part where you try to get me to tell you what you're doing here, how I got here, and how I look more fit than any dead man you've ever met who isn't yourself. I didn't get where I am today with parlor tricks and card counting. And I certainly won't acquiesce to your bullsh*t. This ain't Hollywood and the movies, Mr. Harding. This is Nevada."

A random Boyd foot soldier struck me in the ribs with the barrel end of the shotgun causing me to spit up blood.

"I'm no fool, Sam. I know all about the lazarus pits in Yucca Mountain. Do you think if they let the public believe that the right amount of exposure to nuclear waste could make you immortal they'd be able to profit from it the way they do now?"

"The game ends now, Warren. I may have designs on living forever, but my time is still more valuable than you could ever dream of affording."

"Sam, I've died before. I neither fear it nor think anything of it, really. It's sort like an endless itch you can't quite scratch mixed with the time spent waiting for a brothel to open. Frankly, the only thing I find more boring than death is this life of ours. But that doesn't mean you wouldn't be a fool if you don't hear me out. I've got $80,000 that says you should."

"$80,000?!" Boyd laughed comically. "You think the kind of change I lose in my god damned couch is worth me humoring you? You're dumber than you look."

"I think you might reconsider when there's an easy $12,000,000 to be made," I answered, confident as ever in my abilities at the bargaining table.

"Twelve million you say? An easy twelve million dollars at that? Why... Why I'd be a sucker not to--"

Boyd stopped midtracks turned and emptied the clip at near point blank range into President Harding's skull. Much as he dropped when the ptomaine claimed his heart, so too did the body as it fell lifelessly to the Esmeralda county sands.

There was nearly no reaction. Only cold, calculated, business like clean up and disposal. Boyd may have been a dark man (you don't get to the top in Las Vegas any other way), but he wasn't heartless. After taking the now blood stained piece of paper from the late President's pocket, he did the only humane thing. He had the body covertly shipped across state lines and prepared for a secret, private re-burial ceremony at the southeast corner of Vernon Heights Boulevard and Delaware Avenue.

A few close business associates who'd aided the President during his globe hopping during the last several decades showed up to pay their respects. A fellow Mason said kind words and they had a somber moment of silence for their fallen friend and cohort. As soon as the grieving had said their peace, the closed casket was prepared to be lowered. But before it could, the undertaker remembered a long standing superstition he'd had of pinning a white rose on to the lapel of any males he'd buried.

Making sure there was no one around, he slowly pried open the corner of the coffin to add the flower before he completed his work. But as the shadows gave way to the coffin's confines, the undertake stepped back, jaw aghast. The contents of the wooden box were but an empty suit and what looked from the distance like some kind of note.

The undertaker tried his best to gather himself, stepped forward, and examined what appeared to be a blood stained piece of paper. It read the following:

Texas +5.5

Texas A&M -11.5

West Virginia -10

Ohio State +2.5

Arizona -3

Alabama -30

Missouri +3

Virginia Tech -6.5

Bet $80,000 Win $12,000,000


And with that it's with great sadness I announce that D.J. has elected to hang up his blogging cleats. This was a surprise homage to the great work he's done here and elsewhere during the last several years. Feel free to wish him the best in whatever comes next for him in the comments below. Namaste, sir.