THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist

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THIEF! character, Vince Eli

Monday, March 23, 2015

BJ Dealers School + Poker Cheat + White Chick = THIEF!

Mob Speak announced an upcoming subject several posts ago.

So, what does a casino dealers school, a poker cheat and a curious white chick with a dubious past have in common?

It goes like this...years ago yours truly, the white chick with a dubious past, worked as TV station manager and on-air personality (Bambi Lin) for an indie TV station in Santa Fe/Albuquerque, NM. Talk about a fun job. Then boom. The TV station sold and I found myself in the unemployment line.

Well, Indian casinos were popping up all over the state like wigwams. I interviewed seven blackjack dealers who agreed to talk with me and found out they made pretty decent tip money. Barely knowing how to hold a deck of cards, I had to enroll in a casino dealers school. It was there I met William "Slick" Hanner, one of my teachers. He carried around a yellow tablet with 28 pages of his handwritten "life story," searching for some sucker to make it into a book. Naturally he had no money to pay anyone.

We think it was an "act of God" that convinced me to take on the task because I'd never written anything other than a shopping list, let alone a book about gangsters. Plus, I didn't know the first thing about the crazy, complicated publishing world. With all that stacked against me, I was determined to write the true tale of a zany card mechanic who went through life like a speeding freight train about to derail at any minute. Something I can't explain drove me to write the book then get it commercially published. It was sort of like a passive death wish.

Almost overnight (actually nine grueling years later), Slick was ready to kill me out of frustration when we finally landed a publishing contract with Barricade Books. A year later, THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist hit bookstores.

Young Slick handcuffed with his rap partners
from THIEF!

As for my blackjack dealing abilities, you can read about that in earlier the time I was auditioning (that's how prospective dealers get hired) and one of my fake red fingernails flew off and hit a player between the eyes. Or the time I was auditioning as a roulette dealer, spun the ball a little wildly, it flew out of the wheel and hit the floorman in the crotch.

Listen, I really don't have to make this s--t up. It follows me around like the dog crap you step in and can't shake off.

That's it for now.

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