My Vacation: Befriending a Dominican Casino Dealer

The entire message was written on a napkin, in Spanish. I was in the Dominican Republic, on vacation, and I rushed over to a bartender so he could proof read it. He nodded in approval. The message said: 

I would like to take you out. ANYWHERE you want to go, anything you want to do, I’ll take you. 

I had been playing poker and had already been given the nickname “El Monstruo” (‘The Monster) by the casino owner. This is him. It was my birthday and he played Happy Birthday over the speakers and brought over bottles of champagne. I won 1,200 dollars and it was one of the best days of my life. 


Anyways…The female dealer caught my eye and when I’m in Latin America…I tell myself pale and skinny is exotic to this population. So, I wrote my napkin-note to the Dominican casino dealer because  I was told I couldn’t talk to her about personal stuff at the table. They’d get fired. So I morphed back to 6th grade and wrote the note.  I gave the note to someone who then gave it to her. The whole thing was quite sneaky and nobody got detention. Then, shit got interesting. She left the table and 15 minutes later another female casino dealer came over and whispered, “Here is Yohanna’s number. She’s off on Sunday.” My heart skipped a beat and the vacation took a turn for the loco

I was in the resort’s swimming pool trying to drink the entire list of mixed drinks all in one day. There were 33 and most of them had bananas in them. I failed. It took me about 2 and a half days. I could have drowned!


It was about noon and I was already buzzed, talking to everybody in the pool. I was in a very social mood and met some interesting people. One guy had been to the resort 15 times and told me about the “wall”—the place where you cross over and get prostitutes. 40 dollars gets you everything. I thanked him for the kind information and ordered another. I met a newlywed couple who were there because the husband was “working”. He was a police officer and they had a convention of sorts and apparently they had break-time because he was hammered. He would play a pivotal role in my Dominican excursion, though.

I drunkenly began to tell them how I fell in love the night before with a casino dealer named Yohanna. Somehow, the guy knew her and began to get real excited like he was the Million Dollar Matchmaker. He kept badgering me to call her. The banana vodka drinks also told me to call her. My Spanish was not as good as it is now but I gave it a try. Yohanna picks up and I get all nervous like Jo-Jo the Indian circus boy with his pretty new pet. I quickly realize that I am understanding about 8% of what she’s saying. This is because a.) It’s harder for me to understand Spanish when I can’t see the person and b.) I was drinking at a loud pool. I panicked, put my hand to the phone, and desperately said to my new friends “can one of you talk to her for me?!” The police officer who spoke Spanish gladly took the reins and I stood there anxiously waiting for the results. It all seemed very serious—like a drug deal was going down and I was the Godfather. I’ll never forget the moment after he hung up:

Police Officer: Ok here’s the deal. Tomorrow at noon you’re going to take a motorcycle taxi to the end of the road. Outside of the resort there’s a Burger King. Yohanna will meet you there. 

Me: What?? Why can’t she come to my room?

P.O: They’re not allowed. She’d get fired. She can get fired for even talking to the guests.

Me: And what the fuck am I supposed to do when I get to Burger King?

P.O. That’s up to you, my man!

I’ll save the date(s) for another day but it was ridiculous. I brought a pen and paper and was writing things down because I was a better writer than speaker. She told me that she was 28 and it was the first date in years that she had been on. I thought that was odd, seeing how she was very pretty, and she told me that there’s a problem in Santo Domingo:

Los hombres matan las mujeres con machetes

WHAT?! The men kill the women with machetes? Yep, she confirmed my translation. A few sentences later I learn she has two kids and is divorced. Also picture at this time, 5  mariachi guys playing banjos at the table and 2 kids holding flowers for me to buy, because I was the whitest thing they’d seen in years. The whole thing was wonderful.