5 October 2007
One person who saw me as a finalist on the Anyone Can Host contest was Nelson, the head Baccarat boss at the Sands hotel. His girlfriend, Tina, was friends with my sister, who was living with and later married Sonny King. A teenager during the Cuban revolution, Nelson ran guns for the counter revolutionaries. Since he was just a kid, his car was not as likely to be searched, which would have resulted in being executed on the spot.
He escaped from Cuba with the clothes on his back, eventually making it to Vegas where he worked his way up from the bottom to the top of his profession. He was ready for a change of scenery and had purchased the Florida franchise rights to Eastern Onion Singing Telegrams, which was in the process of going nationwide. When the Greyhound bus I had been riding since Oregon with a stop in Vegas finally arrived in Florida, I had trouble reading the sign that said Welcome to Florida the Sunshine State, because it was raining too hard.
Any business involving delivery requires a sense of logistics. The closest thing that Tina, the bosses girlfriend, who handled most of the orders, had to that was horse sense, maybe. She once left me a note to get some tolit paper. When I corrected her spelling, she replied, "that's how you say it, toe-lit". Certain peak times, when the most money could have been made, sometimes turned out to be mainly driving frantically from one missed booking to the next, rewarded only by the client's scorn.
Nelson could have easily defined the stereotype of a hot headed Cuban. In the heat of battle, after pulling off the road, finding a payphone to answer the beeper because the client was wondering where I was, the wrong voice inflection could prompt him to show off how many different ways he could use the F-word. That April was set to be the driest on record until the last day, when there was a freak convergence of fronts and over twenty inches of rain, mostly overnight, made it the wettest. Canoes were being paddled on the water covering the street. The boss wanted to know why I was not able to get to work that morning, because I had a car, not a boat.
He had this drive that was contagious. He did things with passion so we got along great. We were making each other money. But after about seven months crisscrossing southern Florida in a red tailcoat, I had enough saved up for another plane ticket back to France. Have you ever had a crazy boss?
Hope you never feel the need for profanity,