The inspiration for this story.
Couching Your Bets
“Hi, I’m looking for a divan,” I told the receptionist at the casino.
“I can have him paged,” she said, slightly uncertainly.
“It’s not a he, it’s an it,” I said. She looked blank. “How about a Chesterfield? A futon?”
“Are . . . they guests here?” she asked, taking a shot, like a drunk sniper on a Tilt-A-Whirl.
“They’re pieces of furniture,” I said. “My furniture, in fact.” I was struggling to keep the conversation afloat in the tar-like morass of her incomprehension. “They rebelled and came here to Vegas.”
The receptionist was almost audibly praying for me to go away so I left her desk and wandered further into the casino. There were high stools at the slots, easy chairs in the lounge, and long, wooden benches outside for the smokers. But no couches.
“It was all because of the slip covers,” I shouted at a floor attendant five minutes later over the brassy jangle of the slot machines. I had explained my search and he was keeping up better than the receptionist had. “They hate slip covers, you see. They say they like to breathe.”
“Well, not really, but they left a note,” I said. “The futon wrote it, since of course the Chesterfield’s writing is crap. The divan was apparently feeling lucky, and you know how divans are.” The attendant nodded and chuckled knowingly in a way that made me think he wasn’t paying the least amount of attention.
“Have you seen them?” I asked.
He actually seemed to think for a moment. “Did you have a chaise lounge? Because I saw a red chaise lounge come through here a couple hours ago. It blew about ten grand in twenty minutes.”
“I’ve never had a chaise lounge,” I said, thinking that I’d also never had ten grand.
“I’ll keep my eyes open,” he said.
I wandered the Strip for hours, showing pictures and asking people. Finally, a cop said he’d seen some pieces of furniture go into a wedding chapel. I went in to find the shocking news, memorialized by a Polaroid picture tacked to the Just Married! bulletin board: my futon had just gotten married to a loveseat.
“Their cushions reeked of bourbon,” the clerk said. “I’ve never seen sofas so soused since that Saturnalia in Sears.”
I left in a rage and spent the rest of the night wandering around getting more and more desperate. Finally, as dawn was bleeding through the neon noon, I found the whole collection in an alley behind a strip club.
“Come with me right now or I’m going to IKEA,” I said, my voice as calm and steady as an executioner’s sword. They came quietly.
When I got home I spent a fortune getting them clean. I also found that the loveseat had tagged along, so I put it in the den by itself. The futon started to look forlorn, so I stuck them together, even though it messed up the layout of the room.
It wasn’t until I found $45,000 in casino chips in the cushions of the Chesterfield that things started to look up. Also, a few months later I went into the den to find several brand new ottomans ranged around the room, so that was a bonus too.
February 6th, 2016 at 7:41 am
Oh God David, I loved this. You are so funny and clever. Read it three times. 🙂
February 6th, 2016 at 6:35 pm
Thanks, my dear. That means a lot to me. 🙂
February 6th, 2016 at 10:26 am
Especially brilliant, even for you, David! Of course the Chesterfield’s handwriting is crap… I almost spit out my coffee. And threatening them with IKEA? Well yes, that makes perfect sense. Incredibly fun read!
February 6th, 2016 at 6:33 pm
Thanks so much, Joy. This is the sort of story that is a lot of fun to write. Glad you liked it.
February 6th, 2016 at 3:16 pm
A chaise longue blowing through ten grand. (Not) Priceless. Good writing. 🙂
February 10th, 2016 at 10:15 pm
I will never look at furniture the same again! Now..wondering how my stove got a potbelly!!! Love your stories.
February 11th, 2016 at 8:25 pm
Thanks! Great line about the stove. 🙂 Who knows what they get up to at night or when you go away on vacation?
April 2nd, 2016 at 11:13 am