Castle Roland

Dessert Fantasies

by Jack Scribe, of Honored Memory


Chapter 2

Posted: N/A

Ground Rules

Manny found the supervisor in the staff trailer and introduced Cray as a new cleaning crew employee. From Jos Rivera's surprised reaction to the information, Cray assumed the older Hispanic supervisor usually had some say in the hiring process. Cray was naturally leery of adult authority figures and decided to behave cautiously in this new environment. He also sensed he should keep a respectful distance from his two bosses until he knew them better.

Within a matter of minutes, he was processed - uniforms, locker, timesheet and security card. After Manny wished Cray well and departed, the supervisor tersely told Cray that he'd have to prove himself and not to expect a free ride just because he knew the boss.

"Sir, I'll give you 110%," Cray said earnestly. He was aware that the last thing he needed was to be in the middle of a managerial pissing contest. "This job means a lot to me."

"Okay, kid. You do that and we'll get along just fine," Jos replied. "I want you back here an hour before the regular shift so I can show you around the spaces to be cleaned and review your job duties."

"That's not a problem, Mr. Rivera, Sir. I'll be here at 4:00 p.m."

"The name's Jos and I'll see you, then...not a minute later." He cocked his head a little, raised an eyebrow and added, "Now, go ahead and vamoose."

Cray shook hands with Jos, turned towards the door and exited the trailer. He saw Mario, waved and walked over to the truck.

"Looks like you're all set. Get in and we'll split this scene." Mario opened the driver's door, swung into the seat and started the engine.

"All set...but I gotta get back here at 4:00 p.m." Cray got into the passenger's side and closed the door as Mario started rolling the truck forward.

"How does it feel to be an official working stiff?" Mario asked as he turned onto Las Vegas Boulevard to return to the bus station.

"Relieved. Although I can't officially be a 'working stiff' until I actually begin tonight. It's not that much money but it'll get me started. And I don't mean to sound ungrateful," Cray replied with a tight, nervous smile. "This really helps."

"I told you how you could make lots more...but I understand that this other work is not an option for you." Mario expertly moved through the busy boulevard and pointed out some of the other casinos he had missed on the earlier trip. He also gave Cray some basic information on which city bus to take back to the casino construction project later that afternoon.

"I'm amazed that the buses run so frequently late into night. Provo is pretty dead after seven or so."

"There's over 110,000 hotel rooms in Vegas and they're mostly filled all the time. The guests have a desire to spend their money all night long...on lots of things." Mario turned and winked at Cray. "Most visitors quickly learn that the bus is the easiest way to get from the casinos on Fremont Street to the Strip. Our problem is how to get you over to my house at one in the morning. You gotta transfer buses."

"Oh, oh. I knew this seemed to be too easy. The last thing I need to do is get lost in the middle of the night in a strange city." Cray pondered this new catch and added, "Maybe I can sleep on one of the chairs at the bus station."

"You crazy? First, those plastic bucket seats are uncomfortable on purpose. But the cops make a sweep of that place pretty frequently and trying to bed down for the night is unlawful. Tell you what: I'll have you picked up by one of the other guys who stay at my house. I know their schedule and one of them will finish work about that time. Just leave everything to me. For two nights, we can handle it."

"Mario, that's a lifesaver. Thanks." Cray looked over at his new friend and decided not to question his luck. 'As long as I don't have to do sex stuff with guys like I did with Gene, I'll go with the flow,' he decided.

"Just be out by the security gate and I'll have ya picked up somewhere between 1:15 and 1:30 a.m. They'll know your name and I'll tell them to flash the lights a couple of times as a signal."

"Cool. I'll bring my duffle bag back to the trailer this afternoon and keep it in my work locker. I'll just take a change of underwear and my dopp kit to your house." Cray decided not to trust having all of his possessions in a stranger's matter how well Mario had treated him so far. As he looked out the truck windows, Cray's glance lingered just a little longer when the reflection of his dark-haired new friend came into view. He wondered who this handsome guy really was behind his 'tough guy' faade. 'Mario's certainly more than just a pimp who hustles for new talent.' Cray smiled when he conjured a vision of his new friend driving a white Cadillac, wearing tons of gold chains, a white fur coat and diamond rings. 'Like the movies.'

"That works. And if ya want to do any laundry before ya leave, no problem."

"By the way, this may be a dumb question but I don't even know your last name," Cray said. He looked directly at Mario and held the stare. For the first time, he could make out 'U.S.M.C.' at the bottom of the tattoo on Mario's right bicep.

"I guess I've been a little vague. In Vegas, usually the first name is all ya use. But since we're going to be sharing a bed for a few days, I'll give you the whole thing," Mario replied with a chuckle. "Mario Cirillo at your service. Although some of the guys around the house call me Troy. That was my working name."

"Working? As in, you know...?" It hadn't occurred to Cray that Mario probably had to 'know' the business if he was going to recruit new...talent. 'This is definitely stuff that a kid like me is too young to be a part of,' he decided. 'I wish I had a real home to go to...with real parents.'

"Exactly. Like you said earlier - fucks for bucks," Mario said with a resigned smile. "I've been out here four years but decided to retire last year cuz I was promoted to number two in our organization."

"If you don't mind me asking, is that tat on your arm from the Marine Corps? I couldn't help but notice it."

"Yep. Right out of high school. Something I had to do with that whole 9/11-thing happening. My current boss met me at a bar near Camp Pendleton and I ended up, ah...moonlighting on weekends up here in Vegas or L.A. until I got out. Then, it just seemed natural to move to this town and work full time. So there you are...end of story."

"'re gay?" Cray hadn't bothered to match the pieces of this puzzle together until now.

"Gay for pay I suppose is the best way to describe it. There's a part of me that's very bi-curious...always have been. I've been doing stuff with guys since as long as I can remember. So when I was approached about 'working' and found out how much I could make doing what I like to do...well, it was something that I found appealing. But the other 90% of the time I got a girlfriend. Ha, I've probably told you more about myself than to anyone else for a long time. Somehow, I feel like I can trust you."

"Thanks, Mario, for the rundown and vote of confidence." Cray stopped short of returning the compliment about trust. He knew this was a lot of information to digest about this new person in his life and he needed time to think it out. 'Gay for pay' and 'bi-curious' were new expressions to him.

They passed the Stratosphere and several new condo projects as they got nearer the downtown area. When Mario turned off the side street, he told Cray that they were skirting the Fremont casino area and would be at their destination in a few moments. He didn't want to leave the safety and security of this man, but he knew it was time to take control of his life. 'Kinda like life without training wheels,' he decided as they pulled up in front of the Greyhound terminal.

Mario reiterated the pickup arrangement for later that evening and departed. Cray watched his new friend drive down the street and then went inside to retrieve his duffle bag. With all his earthly possessions in hand and over his shoulder, Cray made his way over to the Downtown Transportation Center and boarded the "Deuce" Strip bus for the trip back to the construction site. He figured he'd stow the duffle bag in his new locker, go to a Mickey D's he'd seen earlier to have lunch and walk around the strip casinos. 'This is a good time to understand the area better until it's time to report for orientation,' he thought. 'I just hope the uniform doesn't look too dweeb-like.'

Promptly at 4:00 p.m., he returned to the trailer, changed into the blue work uniform and found Jos. At his direction, Cray signed the timesheet before taking a tour to be shown the equipment and the spaces that would be cleaned each evening.

"This is a one-time training shot, Gamble. Tonight I'm going to show you what needs to be done. There's a checklist that you can use to follow along because tomorrow you're on your own. We'll start over at the shed where all the carts are stored. Follow me." Jos led the way out of the crew trailer and the two men walked over to a metal building. Inside were carts with all the cleaning equipment that was required.

"I grabbed a pad so I could take notes," Cray replied as he helped push one of the larger carts out of the shed.

"Good idea. We'll go to each of the trailers and then end up at the big boss's trailer. He's usually out of there because of a late afternoon meeting every day. I'll show you how to get his offices cleaned and then we'll do the rest."

"The big cheese is in one of the trailers?" Cray thought the guy who ran things would probably be in some cushy office tower someplace else.

"Well, the operations big cheese works out of the trailer. His boss - the really big cheese - and the sales people are in a building about a half-mile from here. If you meet one of them, just kiss ass big time and everything will be fine. Manny seems to think you'll fit in."

"I get the picture." Cray wiped some perspiration from his brow and added, "Guess ya just get used to the heat." Even wearing the short sleeve uniform shirt, Cray thought that the late afternoon desert temperatures were already very toasty.

"Just be glad that it doesn't rain in Vegas too much in the summer. Trying to haul this cart around in the rain is a bitch." Jos chuckled and pointed the way. "The one thing about cleaning around construction sites is you get fresh dirt every day. The wind really stirs it up."

All together, there were six clusters of trailers: Human Resources, Accounting, Purchasing, Engineering, Security and Operations. Cray noted that all the mobile trailers were of similar steel structure. He thought it was strange to see the 'GE' label on each trailer. 'Funny,' he thought, 'the same company that makes fridges is in the trailer business.' Throughout the tour, Jos would give Cray little tidbits of information about special issues in cleaning each space. Finally, they arrived at the last cluster of trailers. There was a sign stating, "Barcelona Casino and Resort - Operations" by the door of one of them.

"You grab the broom, mop and bucket; I'll take the vacuum and dusting rags," Jos ordered.

Cray went ahead and held the door open for his new supervisor. Inside was a modest linoleum-tiled reception area with hallways running off either side of the entrance. Beyond the receptionist's desk and filing cabinets was an open door to a carpeted office.

"This is the boss's office I was telling you about. He's the only one with carpeting. Let's get his space done and then we'll take care of the other offices in this trailer cluster." Jos stepped aside and gestured for Cray to enter first.

"This is a pretty nice..." Cray suddenly stopped just inside the door when he saw a man sitting at the desk. In addition to the desk and computer workstation, the office contained a small conference table and an area that contained a sofa and easy chairs.

"Well, looks like either I've stayed too long or you're early," said the man who was wearing a shirt and tie. "Never seen you before," he added as he stood. "Jos, how are you doing? Don't see you very often, either."

"Oh, Mr. Reichardt, I'm sorry to disturb you. Thought you'd be at your meeting over at the office building. I'm just breaking in a new man and showing him around. He'll be taking care of your spaces by himself starting tomorrow. This is Cray. Cray Gamble."

"Please, don't be so formal. Cray, welcome to the group. You can call me Drew...just like Jos usually does." He walked around from the desk and extended his hand. "Last names are a nuisance when we're under the gun to get this place built."

"Nice to meet you, Sir...I mean, Drew." Cray was surprised that this man - Drew Reichardt - was the boss he'd been told about. He judged that Drew was maybe 10 or 12 years older than his age.

"Just help me keep the place squared away and we'll be in good shape. Jos, how's your family?"

"They're all out of school right now so my wife is keeping busy," Jos said with a proud grin.

"I look forward to seeing them at our company picnic later this summer. Cray, just for your information, I'm usually out of here late every afternoon for a briefing with my boss. So whenever you want to come in here after that, it'll be fine. Today, my being here is just a fluke."

"I'll do my best to keep things the way you like them. If there's anything that you need, just let me know." Cray already felt comfortable even at this initial meeting. He'd still try to be careful and evaluate this man at every turn. 'Drew seems to be cool though,' he thought. 'But I only just met him. He must be a smart guy to have a job like this.'

"Why don't you come back a little later? I've got some paper work I've got to get finished if we're going to open on time. I should be out of here in a couple of hours."

"We've got lots of work to do. You have a good evening and we'll take care of everything." Jos motioned for Cray to leave the office. "See you soon."

Once they were out in front of the trailer, Jos stowed the vacuum on the cart. He started walking and smiled as Cray automatically pushed the cart along to another cluster of trailers without being told. For the rest of the shift, Jos patiently trained Cray to thoroughly clean the spaces. By the time they were finished and returned the cart to the storage shed, it was just before 1:00 a.m. Jos seemed satisfied that his new crewmember had learned the job and told Cray he was on his own tomorrow evening. Cray changed back into his street clothes, grabbed his backpack and tucked in a few changes of underwear next to the dopp kit. He signed the timesheet and walked to the security gate. It was just 1:15 a.m. and the desert air had cooled considerably.

While Cray waited for his ride, he thought about the past 24 hours and wondered what had happened once Gene woke up from his forcibly induced sleep. Cray nervously thought about his mother and the note that he had left on the dining room table. 'Wonder what her reaction was when she got home and found the perv sprawled out on the couch?' Cray shook his head and realized it was the first time he had consciously thought of his over-weight step dad as a pervert. 'What else could he be?' An approaching vehicle whose headlights had just been flashed interrupted his thoughts.

Cray stood a little straighter and shielded his eyes with his hand when the white Honda Accord coupe stopped. The tinted window lowered and a blond guy's handsome head popped out. "If you're Cray...hop in. I'm Spike."

"Hey, Spike. I'm your man." Cray walked around and got into the car. "It's a bitch working at night and no car to get around with. Thanks for the pickup." He smiled, bumped knuckles with the driver and closed the door. In the short time that the overhead light illuminated the interior, he judged that Spike was maybe 20-years-old and was impressed at how nicely he was dressed. The tight pullover shirt clung to his flat, defined stomach and pumped bi-ceps. Unlike Cray - in cargo shorts and sneakers - Spike wore pressed slacks and polished shoes.

"Keep your eyes open cuz I'll follow the same route as the bus. It'll come in handy tomorrow." Spike made a u-turn and eased onto the moderately busy boulevard and headed south.

"Another first. I've not been south of the construction site." Cray looked out at all the casinos on either side of the car.

"This is where a lot of the action is." Spike then proceeded to tell Cray about the various casinos as they passed.

"Holy shit...these places are friggin' cool, or what?" Cray was amazed at the replica of several New York City landmarks to his right while a mammoth casino complex with a gigantic lion dominated the corner on the left. "I've seen pictures of all this's just crazy to see it up close."

"You really are a newbie, aren't you?" Spike asked with a laugh as he angled over to the left turn lane. "New York, New York" is a fun casino and plays the city theme to the max. And the MGM Grand is the largest hotel...right Vegas. If you look down the road, you'll see the Luxor and Mandalay Bay casinos." He turned left onto Tropicana Boulevard and added, "The Trop over there is a beat up place. I've never...worked there. It's primarily a budget crowd."

"Where you from?" Cray picked up on Spike saying he "worked" at the hotels...omitting exactly what he did. 'I bet Spike has all kinds of ways to 'do the nasty',' he thought.

"L.A. Got here a couple of years ago. Mario spotted me at a gay bar and made me an offer I couldn't refuse," Spike said with a chuckle. "He said you're new in town and got a legit job at the Barcelona. That's goin' to be the hot place this season."

"I started tonight. I plan on doing's a whole new start for me." Cray thought about his life change as the larger-than-life neon facades disappeared behind them.

"You may not know it, Cray, but you've gotten involved with a couple of movers and shakers. Mario and Mighty Joe are plugged into this city."

"Mighty Joe?"

" haven't met him. Joe Strollo is the big boss and we all call him Mighty Joe. No disrespect at all. He makes things happen in this town. You'll probably meet him very soon."

Cray nodded and watched the city scene - he could be in any town in America at this point...all the fast food franchises blended together - and vaguely noted the various street signs. At Eastern Avenue, Spike pointed out the bus stop for the transfer Cray would need to make when taking the bus, as he turned south. They drove further into an unremarkable suburban landscape until another turn brought the car onto a quiet residential street with large homes set back.

"Here's the house," Spike said as he pulled into a driveway marked with large posts on either side.

"House? It looks more like a ritzy motel." Cray's eyes widened as the car slowly approached a large, sprawling one-story structure. The architecture, he decided, was similar to the adobe, Southwestern style he had seen only in books. The soft lighting that lined the driveway and bathed the house suggested manicured landscaping.

"I guess you can say that Mario has a nice company perk. Mighty Joe built this for the top revenue producers who work for him. Think of this as a fraternity house and Mario is the house mom," Spike said with a chuckle. He passed the house and drove behind a separate garage structure to a large parking area.

"How many guys live here? I assume that it's men only." Cray took note that there were eight other cars parked and still several open spaces when they came to a stop.

"Let's see...there's twelve of us plus Mario. We each share a bedroom and there's a fulltime housekeeper who cooks. Your company, Galaxy Services, cleans the place once a week. Come on in. I'll give you a quick tour on the way to Mario's room." Spike got out of the car and waited for Cray to catch up with him. "To answer your other question, there's another house across the street for the associates. Mario's girlfriend ...well, make that former at this point... looks after that end of the business."

"Kinda like it's all in the family," Cray said as they approached a rear door to the main house. He was intrigued about Mario's mostly straight life and wondered if he would meet the former girlfriend. He wanted to ask more but felt it wasn't appropriate.

"Yeah...but I would be very careful about saying anything about 'family' around here. Just think of it as a word best left unsaid." Spike opened the door and motioned for Cray to follow him into a large, modern kitchen. "The one refrigerator by the door is for us. It has juice, milk, sodas and snacks. It's the only fridge that we're allowed to get into. The other one with the double doors is off base. Only the housekeeper opens it."

Cray made mental notes about the layout as they silently skirted the dining room and living room to the front entry to the house. The furnishings and dcor were very masculine, he thought, and not what would be considered plush. It appeared that the Southwest theme dominated the interior.

"This is the front door...but I don't think I've ever used it. All the bedrooms and the entertainment center are down this hallway. Come on...Mario's bedroom is around the corner at the end."

"Pretty sweet," Cray replied.

"You said it. Most of the guys haven't had the greatest home life so this is really neat. Built-in brothers and cool surroundings."

"So, what happens if you don't...ah...produce enough business?" They passed the entertainment center and a couple of closed doors before turning a corner. He spotted double doors where the hallway stopped.

"Living here is the carrot for hard work. It's pretty straightforward; you get a couple of warnings if you don't bring home enough bread and then it's bye-bye. There are plenty of others who'd give their left nut to be here. The 'bookings' are all done by appointment but the real bread is developing a repeat clientele."

"So you don't yourself on the...?" Cray asked.

"On the street? Naw, that's something I'd never do. Our escort gigs are all scheduled by reservation - like renting a car. Another fast way to get you on the shit list is to get involved with drugs. That's a subject that isn't even open for negotiation. My last roomie got hooked on meth." Spike shrugged as they came to the double door. He knocked and added, "Mario said he'd wait up for you."

The door opened and a boxers-clad Mario greeted the guys. "Thanks for bringing Cray to the house, Spike. I'll take care of him from here."

"Hey, thanks for the ride." Cray tapped fists with Spike and walked into the suite while Mario closed the door. He couldn't help but admire the stud who was his host. He thought Mario's body looked flawless. 'Guess he must work out a lot,' he judged. 'No wonder he's in demand.' He discretely checked out the muscular form in front of he usually did in the school locker room. Cray compared Mario's dark, furry hair patterns to his own mostly-smooth body. The image of his real dad flashed briefly in his mind...the first adult he'd seen naked. 'Daddy didn't have much hair either,' he remembered.

"Earth to Cray. You zoning out on me?" Mario said with a laugh.

"Naw. Something triggered a memory...that's all. These are pretty nice digs." Cray looked at the king bed and furniture before seeing the large, wall-hung, flat-panel TV screen. "You sure it's okay crashing here?"

"It's a big bed and you'll only be here a couple nights. And I hope you know that you're safe here. The last thing that's on my mind is jumping your underage bones. If you want to take a shower or use the can, it's through that door. I'm going to the kitchen for a drink. By the way, do whatever you want...but I usually sleep in boxers."

"Thanks for the heads up. I'll take a shower and brush my teeth." Cray set down his backpack on a chair and watched Mario leave the room. 'Phew,' he thought when he took a whiff of his pits. 'One shower and shampoo coming up.' Off came the sneakers and all the clothes. He put them neatly in a corner and reached in his backpack for the dopp kit and a clean pair of briefs. 'Probably need to shave tomorrow,' he decided as he walked into the bathroom.

Ten minutes and one less coating of grime later, Cray came back to the bedroom and saw Mario stretched out on the far side of the king bed, under a sheet, reading a magazine. As he got closer, he was able to study the tattoos - one on each upper arm. The Marine emblem was on one bicep, a ferocious bulldog on the other with the words, "Semper Fi" underneath. "Those are neat tats but I don't understand the dog." Cray was hesitant to get into bed and stood at the edge.

"It's a devil dog; one of the nicknames for a Marine. Supposedly the Germans called us that during the war cuz we were such a fuckin' fierce group of fighters. Hey, hop in the sack...ya waiting for an invitation?" Mario said as he pulled down the sheet and added, "By the way, don't get embarrassed but I think you're one, hot buff dude. It's a shame you're not an adult...for real. You'd be great in our business. You must work out." He grinned and put down the magazine.

"Um...thanks, I guess." Cray got into bed and pulled up the sheet to his waist. "I do work out and practice Tai Chi. In fact, is there some place I could practice tomorrow?"

"Out by the pool is the best place. You can wear shorts or be butt-naked. There's only guys here and most are used to skinny dipping."

"I've got some gym shorts in my backpack but I'm not shy about swimming nude." Cray decided not to explain that a pair of balls swinging around during Tai Chi and kicking wasn't practical.

"Cool. Oh, one more thing - this is a snuggle zone," Mario replied with a wink. "Don't get alarmed if you wake up and I've got an arm or leg over you. I sometimes do that in my sleep. And if that happens...don't freak. I won't take a 'non-freak out' as a sign that you're ready to do 'it'."

"But it's okay to hump the pillow?" Cray laughed out loud at the idea.

"Just wait until I'm outta here...and ya gotta wash the pillowcase. Speaking of not being here...I've got a class at UNLV in the morning. Don't worry, though. I've made sure everyone, including Mr. Ed, knows you're here."

"Mr. Ed? Like the..."

"Horse. No, but that's a good one. Mr. Ed is the housekeeper and cook. Edward Humphrey Wallace is very English and got used to having his employers only referring to him by his last name. We compromised with the 'mister' and shortened his first name. Seems to work. Okay...lights out." Mario turned off the bedside lamp. "And seriously, kid, if you need a strong shoulder or a hug in the middle of the night, I was serious about snuggling. Holding on to a warm friend is good medicine."

"Good night, Mario. I appreciate everything you're doing." Cray closed his eyes and was out for the count before he could even finish his thoughts about his new friend's words.

Drew Reichardt counted the days until his office would move from the complex of construction trailers in the back lot to a permanent home in the central tower of the new hotel. If the revised timelines were accurate, relocation would take place on August 1st - in two short weeks - where he would work amongst the interiors being installed. The ultimate target was the soft opening of Barcelona later in the fall.

He fingered a new business card and smiled at the title, Vice President, Hotel Operations - Barcelona Resort and Casino. Drew's boss, Nick Maggiano had been a man of his word. The promise of the promotion as the opening date approached had not been idle or a lure. The ball-breaking hours Drew gave to keep the project on track as Nick's assistant had paid off. Except for some construction delays due to material shortage - it seemed that everyone was building in Las Vegas - the 2,000-room hotel, VIP casitas, casino, ballrooms, theme pool, restaurants, lounges, showroom and shopping arcade would officially be in business by late October.

The ring of the desk phone snapped Drew out of his thoughts. He knew that the private line meant one of two people: his partner, Bob Harrington or his boss, Nick Maggiano.

"This is Drew," he said calmly into the receiver. With the exception of the owner, Mr. Al Bromley, Senior, and potential guests, he was very free with first name exchanges.

"The gorgeous guy in the executive trailer who dates this stud in Marketing?" Bob asked. He had followed Drew to the new casino project six months earlier as a manager in the marketing department.

"This stud being you?"

"Guilty as charged."

"I would hardly call living together for over a year and making mad passionate love on a nightly basis just dating," Drew said with a chuckle. "But we probably shouldn't be discussing our sex lives on the company phone."

"Picky, ya doin', babe?"

"Up to my eyeballs in alligators. Friggin' budgets for next year are driving me nuts. Whazzup with you?"

"Working on the official grand opening party. My boss has just got Nick to sign off on the festivities to take place the Monday of Thanksgiving week."

"So I heard at our meeting this morning. I'm a little nervous about last minute stuff screwing up the training and pre-opening...but I guess at some point you gotta 'just do it'."

"Said the man with the Nikes."

"Babe, while you're up in a plush office tower looking at the strip from your window, I'm schlepping around down here in the dirt. It's not all that fun wearing a hard hat whenever I go out. Although I must admit there are a few construction cuties that are kinda hot," Drew said with a chuckle. "And yesterday, Galaxy assigned a young stud muffin to clean the trailers. I think Manny, who manages the cleaning service, is trying to suck up to me. Like he really has to worry about the contract." Galaxy Services was a division of Gallian Industries - part of the Bromley corporate empire which included the Barcelona.

"Just so 'suck up' is only in the figurative sense. Sounds like you're having all the fun. Honestly, I'm looking forward to leaving the rented offices and setting up shop in the hotel."

"Two weeks and we'll be there...barely. Although Nick says it'll probably be a good month before we settle in. The thinking is to move in to the spaces at the earliest date possible. This supposedly sends a message to the construction guys that we're on a deadline and they need to finish the job."

"I can just imagine the chaos we'll experience over the next few months before we open."

"Let's get through the mass hiring first. I'm told that next week all the managers will be interviewing over 20,000 people for all the hotel and casino positions. First impressions are going to be really important cuz we'll only be spending five minutes max for the initial interview."

"Kind of like an assembly-line approach?" Bob asked. "There are what, 100 manager types to pull this off?"

"Yep...just the basics. Check grooming standards, rate communication skills and determine primary job interests. H.R.'s goal is to have 4,000 warm, trainable bodies by Labor Day."

"Speaking of warm bodies, will I see ya at home around seven as usual?"

"Yes. You pick up the steaks and I'll handle the wine. I'm ready for a candlelit dinner for two and some handholding," Drew purred into the phone.

"Babe, it's certainly going to be more than just handholding. I'll make sure of it."

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