Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One

Ah, spring: the season where an aging bookie’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of revenge.

It’s been ten weeks since Jimmy the Geek finished beating me like a gong and let me tell you: my brass is still feeling it. Kimmel’s spending my money all over town – and make no mistake, it’s my goddamn money – and putting on a big show of it. At every gin joint all over town it’s the same story:

“You wouldn’t believe who was in here last night – Jimmy Kimmel! And boy was he generous! He was literally throwing cash all over the place!”

At this point I’d believe a lot, even the story about a guy who walks into a bar, finds thirty other jackasses and one woman there, and still decides to stay. What I can’t believe is that, for once, I expected this season to be different.

Not that I thought any of these men would go running for the hills; especially not when they’re getting their fifteen minutes of fame and at least one night of an open bar. I was just hoping for a break from the same tired tropes: the schmuck in a costume, the schmuckier schmuck with a guitar, the schmuckiest of them all who’s there to make an idiot of themselves and then everyone acts shocked when they’re kept around for two more weeks. Come on, people; even with a program I can’t tell one contestant from another. You think after Rachel called out the names of the five guys she could pick out of a lineup, she wasn’t readily accepting whatever names were put in front of her? She would have called out the entire Marx brothers lineup if only the producers told her to.

The only thing more baffling than Chris Harrison leaning on those tired clichés season after season (and that not one but two idiots showed up in khaki suits) is the fact that I’m not exploiting them for personal financial gain. I’ve never gotten my kicks separating people from their money when things are preordained. It makes me feel like a stick-up artist, and a mask and gun has never been my style. I prefer to set the odds and let people make their own mistakes.

Of course, that isn’t to say I’m not turning the situation to my advantage. I may eschew financial gains at this stage in the season, but it doesn’t mean I can’t have a bit of fun helping out a friend.

I’ll give Matt Damon his due: he may not be able to work his way onto Kimmel’s guest couch, but the man knows a thing or two about reeling in a sucker. With only a little cajoling he was able to work his way into The Geek’s weekly viewing parties. From there it was just a matter of getting the whale to take the bait.

As soon as the Rose Ceremony started I texted Mr. Damon that he should try to get 5-1 odds on Lucas (who I refuse to refer to by his trademarked nickname) getting a rose, 3-1 on the penguin guy getting sticking around, and even money on a fight being shown during the “this season on” preview. Just to throw The Geek off the scent, I recommended that Matty D. throw a few dollars in the direction of Rob, the law student who likely received a ton of advice about how to dress for his first night on the show and clearly didn’t take any of it.

As soon as the credits started rolling and we found out that many of the contestants have had rap albums described to them without ever actually hearing one, I got a confirmation text from my man on the inside.

“We’re in business, Clint.”

“Glad to hear it. How’d it shake out?”

“Up thirty grand. He made a point of telling everyone it was your money.”

“Lovely. Was Harrison there?”

“Yeah. Watching everyone like a hawk. Guy can hold his champagne.”

“We’ll take care of him later. You did good this week, Matthew.”

I switched my phone off and lit a cigarette. It didn’t matter that the money wasn’t in my pocket, the only real downside of the transaction was not getting to see that shit-eating grin wiped off The Geek’s face.

Thirty grand. It’s shaping up to be a good season.

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