The 29th (and greatest) U.S. President, Warren Gamaliel Harding, was a renowned gambler, golfer and lover of life. As such, his sage wagering advice and stories of criminal bravado are brought here through the medieval art of necromancy. Seeing as President Harding ushered us into economic success unheard of in human history (before being tragically assassinated by his jealous wife — thus tanking the economy), his words might as well be chiseled into stone tablets. (All views and opinions presented should only be considered those of President Warren G. Harding.)
Michigan (-4.5), Cincinnati (-10), Cleveland Browns (-1)
OVERALL RECORD: (2-4)
THE HONEYPOT: $-20,000
This story begins where most tales of gut-wrenching sorrow have begun: the OK Café. If you've been blessed enough to find yourself in Marion's legendary saloon (that I kept open and serving spirits during Prohibition via Executive Order during my Presidency), it's a dimly lit establishment that reeks of marijuana smoke and human papaillomavirus.
Last week's $10,000 Presidential Power Parlay fared about as well as Munchie LeGaux's knee ligaments against Illinois. My thoughts were to springboard Cincinnati's inferiority complex into a massive payday. It could have been due to the Japanese methamphetamine that had spurned my 72-hour bender, but I had forgotten inferiority complexes come from being inherently inferior.
"Something got you down, Warren?" said the lumberjack-looking bartender as I fondled my shot of tequila.
The Warren G. Harding File
- Term: 3/4/1921 - 8/2/1923
- Position: 29th U.S. President
- Trade: Dope/Newspaper Peddler
- Hometown: Marion, Ohio
- School: Ohio Central College
- Rivals Ranking: 5-Star
- Quote: "Damn, I hate being sober."
"Yes," I said before ripping the shot of El Toro. "I wagered on a team coached by human weasel Tommy Tuberville. I've met prostitutes with crippling drug addiction that have more honesty in their bones than that man. It's harder to tell who is the bigger idiot: the guy who chose to move to Cincinnati or the guy who wagered on that man." I twirled my finger around to signal for another shot.
It was hard to tell how long I'd been sitting there. Hours, days, who gave a shit? A man-made construct like Time is of no concern when you're in the depths of a sorrow-fueled bender.
"And the Browns..." I muttered to myself. "Why do I put up with the Browns? If they were a prostitute of the same quality, I'd have rolled them in a rug and given them a ceremonial hoodrat burial at he bottom of Lake Erie by now." I shook my head and took another shot.
My mind turned to darker matters after that shot: namely, how I was going to acquire another $10,000 for another fierce parlay. I won't lie to my disciples — the idea of quitting out of shame had crossed my mind, but I ain't no bitch.
Robbing drug dealers is always a favorite activity of mine, but ever since Operation Revolving Door happened and Marion City Police removed street level dealers who were slanging to feed their own habits, it's been hard to find a trap house operating blatantly enough to locate and blow over. (Revolving Door was a fitting name because the dope is right back on the street through new dealers.) Still, this was the City of Kings, the Opiate Capital of the Midwest, and there were always fools who could be got.
It's funny how life works. Just about when you're about to fold your cards and walk away from the card table of hustling and grinding in these streets, the Lady of Fortune showers you with gold coins of blessings.
A sudden chill went down my spine as the temperature in the saloon dropped at least twenty five degrees. The doors kicked open, and a plume of purple marijuana smoke leaked into the door.
"By God," I muttered. The drop of temperature and purple weed smoke meant only one thing. Could it be? Was Gucci Mane about to enter the club?
"BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR," Gucci answered my thoughts in his customary war cry. He walked in, tugging on a blunt with about three of four ethnic women in tow.
Gucci and I had pledged to the Illuminati in 1876. I bailed Gucci Mane out of jail when he bombed the Haymarket Square in 1886. I pulled some strings in the newspaper industry and pinned the sinking of the Lusitania on a German U-Boat and even railroaded the World War I effort through Congress to protect my fraternity brother after his posse got a little too deep into FourLokos back in 1915. I'm not even sure the statue of limitations has passed on the governmental coverup I engaged in to protect Gucci Mane after his despicable (yet somewhat understandable once he explained) actions 12 years ago to the day. Such are the depths to which you'll plunge in order to protect your family.
"Gucci, what it do?" I said after Gucci took off his otter-fur coat, shooed his train of damsels to the dance floor, cracked open a FourLoko and sat beside me.
"People are getting mad at you for talking that shit on the Internet?" I said. "I thought that was the whole purpose of the internet, but whatever. To hell with the Haterz, Gucci. You don't need rehab; you need a refill. Bartender!"
After explaining my current situation to my old comrade-in-arms, he sat up in his chair and took off his Bart Simpson chain and laid it on the bar. "Take it, mane," he said. "I owe you five. Go get one for these streets."
"Gucci," I protested. "I can't do that. I was there when the Illuminati jeweler crafted this Bart Simpson chain and gifted it to you. It's a symbol of your power; it's your essence. I can't take this. No way."
"Take it," Gucci replied sternly. He pointed to the ice cream cone tattooed on his face, "This is the talisman from which I derive my essence. Take this chain to the Gypsy King and use it to end this drought in the streets."
For the second time in two weeks, I found myself in the catacombs of Marion. The Gypsy King, sitting in his plush throne, appeared to have not showered since the last time I saw him. The slatterns caressing his naked, greasy and bloated body were so zooted they didn't seem to mind the stench of stale kitty litter. Of the two slatterns who weren't caressing the Gypsy King, one was feeding him grapes and the other was fanning him with peacock feathers.
Gilderoy Scamp looked bemused to see me again. "After this syndicate bankrupted you last week, the Gypsy King didn't expect to see you in these parts ever again, President Harding," he said before biting into a grape and letting the juice leak into his ruddy beard. "How do you plan on paying this week? In Pennies?" He chuckled at his own stale jape. "The Gypsy King no longer accepts credit. It's not wise in this economy; no sir, not when there's some predator killing my heroin dispensers."
"I don't know nothing about that," I lied as I opened up my tuxedo jacket. I plucked Gucci's Bart Simpson chain out of my breast pocket and tossed it onto the sewer floor in front of me. "That's—"
10K PRESIDENTIAL POWER PARLAY
- Terms: 10k to 60k
- Louisville (-13.5) vs. Kentucky
- SCAR (-13.5) vs. Vanderbilt
- ROLL TIDE (-7.5) vs. Texas A&M
Gilderoy Scamp cut me off, "—The Gypsy King knows at what he's looking. My Gods, President Harding, how many markers did you have to call into acquire something as legendary as this? Or better yet, what crimes did you commission in acquiring this artifact?"
The Gypsy King took his serrated dirk off the arm of his throne and waddled over to the chain. He bent over, used the dagger to lift the chain off the sewer floor, and examined it in the torchlight. Judging by the way his pupils dilated as he looked at it, Gilderoy Scamp was smitten.
"Let's just say Gucci Mane and I go back a ways," I said.
"It's against the Gypsy King's better nature, oh yes it is, but these are jewels of celestial crafting. The Gypsy King makes an exception, yes he does, but do not mistake it for kindness, President Harding. You're only trading this in for $10,000 in credit. Same terms as last week"
"Fair enough," I said. I was tired of playing games with this man. The alcohol was starting to ware off, and I had more important matters to get to: like acquiring more alcohol or drugs to keep the feeling going.
"The first chip in this banger is Louisville (-13.5) vs. Kentucky. Honestly, I didn't even know Kentucky had football team, but I'm glad they're finally trying to play a grown man's sport. This may be a rivalry game, but Louisville stands head and shoulders above their competition. Kentucky couldn't even prove it was better than Western Kentucky, what hopes do they have against that gunslinger Teddy Bridgewater? (Who, God willing, will play for the Cleveland Browns this time next year.) Speaking of Louisville, I've met call-girls that weren't as easy as Louisville's schedule. They need the style points, and they're going to get them at the expense of bumbling Kentucky and Bob Stoops' dipshit little brother.
"The second chip is South Carolina (-13.5) vs. Vanderbilt. Ol' Vanderbilt tried to screw me in week one before they folded like a fish getting bluffed at a poker table and gave up their lead quicker than those aforementioned call-girls give up the dussy. South Carolina got embarrassed by Georgia last week; this is a night game is at home, and Vanderbilt's team is dealing with the fact their coach might have covered up the gang-rape perpetrated by his players. WHERE ARE YOUR FALSE IDOLS OF INFANTILE MORALITY NOW, CORNELIUS, YOU OLD FRAUD!? YAIN'T NO TYCOON. UNLEASH THE CLOWNEY.
"The last chip is Alabama (-7.5) vs. Texas A&M. I love Johnny Football; he turns grown men into nancies because he rolls around, hobnobs with celebrities, throws touchdown passes, collects currency and touches more dussy in one weekend than most these crusty dudes have touched in the last two decades. As if these haterz wouldn't change their mundane lives for his faster than they'd get naked with one of Manziel's concubines. Johnny Manziel is the $10,000 Presidential Power Parlay in human form, and under normal circumstances, I would never bet against him.
"These, however, aren't normal circumstances. Usually by this point in the season I'm having unprotected sex (is there even a protected sex?) while riding a polar bear down the Las Vegas strip. Yet, here I am in the sewers, trying to get back on track. Nick Saban has obsessed over this game like a dumped man who uses his break-up as motivation to get in the gym (like repetitive lifting of weights will replace the swollen, days-old frog corpse that is his personality). Nick Saban has been grinding his battle-axe all summer for this weekend. His players have watched their loss to Johnny Football like a teenage boy watches porn. I hope Johnny Manziel throws for 500 yards in a loss to Bama, but if he's the one who torches my parlay, then so be it. I will deserve it for betting against a man who is more-than-likely a bastard child of mine."
The Gypsy King clapped his hands together slowly, almost mockingly. "More chalk, President Harding? Alas, the Gypsy King misses your creativity, but your money will spend all the same. Our business is done. You know the way to the exit."
And it was, and so I did, and so it will be be done for Gucci Mane as well as the streets.
The Rainmaker Extraordinaire and Drought Exterminator,