“Mindy?” Daniel huddled in the men’s room, whispering into the phone even though the music pounded through the walls.
“Daniel. Did you find Pastor Sebastian?”
To make the search for the pastor more efficient, Mindy and Daniel has split up the casinos between them.
“I found him. Where are you?”
“I’m at Treasure Island. Did you find him in time? Has he lost all our money yet?”
The toilet in the next stall flushed and Daniel waited for the man to leave before answering. “I have our money for now. Well, I sort of have our money. But I need your help with Pastor Sebastian. He doesn’t wants to leave.”
“I’m on my way. Where are you?”
“I’m at a place called Spearmint Rhino, but Mindy…”
Mindy cut Daniel off. “I’ll grab a taxi and be right there. Don’t worry, Daniel. We’ll get him to come back home.”
Mindy hung up before Daniel could reply.
He leaned against the wall of the bathroom stall and closed his eyes. Just outside the door he could hear men cheering and yelling above the thumping rhythm of the music.
He wanted to warn Mindy that he was in a strip club, but she had hung up before he could say anything. He admitted to himself that he was rationalizing. That if he had wanted to, he could have stopped her from hanging up and told her that Spearmint Rhino wasn’t a casino.
Two guys entered the men’s room, laughing. They used the urinals and left, talking the entire time about a girl named Wichita who had “tits bigger than the state of Kansas.”
Daniel redialed his phone. It rang four times.
“Hi, Dee. It’s Daniel.”
“Well, hello Honey!”
Just hearing Delores’s voice relaxed Daniel. He put his hand over his other ear in order to hear her soft southern accent better.
“Are you still there?”
“I’m here. How are you?” Daniel thought Delores sounded out of breath. He worried that her lungs were giving out on her entirely.
“I’m doing fine, Honey. But where on earth are you? If I didn’t know better, I’d say it sounds like you’re at a party or something.” She found the idea amusing and chuckled.
Her laugh was so warm that Daniel had to join her.
“You won’t believe this, Dee, but I’m in Vegas. Las Vegas.”
Delores snorted which made her cough. “You’re just pulling my leg,” she wheezed out between coughs.
“I’m not kidding. Mindy’s here too.”
Delores sniffed and Daniel heard her blow her nose. “Don’t tell me you two have gone and eloped!”
Daniel’s mouth dropped open. He hadn’t stopped to realize that people might think that’s why he and Mindy had gone to Vegas. They had even left a message on their boss’s voicemail saying that they had to take a sudden trip to Las Vegas. Probably all their coworkers at Payless assumed that they had eloped.
Delores called out to him, startling him back to the conversation “Daniel? Did you elope?”
Daniel cleared his throat. “Oh no. That’s not why we’re here, Dee. Our Pastor, Sebastian… I told you about him, right? Well, he decided that he’d take the church’s savings come to Las Vegas to gamble it into more money. Mindy and I came to stop him.”
“Well aren’t you two nice to go chasing after him like that. That church is very lucky to have you. And I’m relieved that you’re not eloping. I just love a good wedding!”
Daniel smiled to himself. He liked the idea of Delores being as his wedding, whenever that may be.
“So why are you calling me from Vegas, Daniel. You must have other things you need to be doing, like finding that Pastor of yours.”
“I found him. And I have the money. But I need some advice.”
“I hope it’s not about poker. You know, the game I play with the girls is only penny ante. None of that high stakes stuff.”
“It’s not about poker. It’s just that… When I found him, Pastor Sebastian was really drunk. And now he and Reverend Fake Elvis and I are at a strip club and Mindy’s on her way here. Do you think she’ll be mad at me? I mean because of the strippers.”
“Hold on a minute, Honey. I need to sit down for all this.” Daniel could hear Delores lowering herself slowly into a chair. It was clearly an effort for her.
“Now, your pastor is drunk and the two of you are with someone named ‘Reverend Fake Elvis’ at a strip club. And your girlfriend is meeting you there? Do I have that right?”
It sounded absurd to Daniel’s own ears. “Yes,” he admitted.
Delores laughed again. “Daniel, you certainly get yourself into some strange predicaments!”
Daniel hung his head, embarrassed. “I know.”
“But don’t worry, Honey. You found your pastor and he’s not going to gamble away the church’s money. I haven’t met Mindy yet, but I’d bet that’s more important to her than you being in a strip club. Unless you’re getting a lap dance when she walks in. You’re not planning on getting a lap dance, are you Daniel?”
Daniel’s face turned red. “No! I didn’t even want to come, but Pastor Sebastian was headed to the poker tables and I couldn’t stop him. Then Reverend Fake Elvis mentioned strippers and Sebastian stopped talking about poker all together.”
“Just explain that to Mindy and she’ll be just fine.”
The door to the men’s room slammed open. “Daniel? Why are you hiding in here? Wichita is looking for you!” Pastor Sebastian rattled the stall door and then banged on it.
“I’ll be right there, Pastor.”
“You better be or I’ll drag you out of here by your hair!” With that threat, Sebastian left.
“I’ve got to go, Delores. Thanks for the advice. Again.”
“You’re welcome, Honey. And be sure to tell Wichita that I said hello.” Daniel could still hear Delores laughing when she hung up the phone.