The pit boss approached the table and got as close to Jerry as possible, then said to him rudely, "Why don't you pay him." Then he turned his back to us and picked up the phone which was on the podium right behind table. It would have been to our advantage had the podium been father down the pit in a sticky situation like that. I would've been able to disappear easier without the pit boss seeing me go. But now he was able to keep me in his sight, looking me dead in the eye as he talked into the receiver, undoubtedly the surveillance room on the other end. He did absolutely nothing to mask the contempt he was feeling. Before he hung up, Joe crossed behind me and distinctly said, "Gallo!"
Without any further ado, I swiped the purples from the betting square along with the backup chips, stuffed them into my jacket pocket, bolted out of the chair, and sprinted for the side exit at the far end of the casino. The dealer panicked and shrieked his protest. I was about halfway to the exit when I heard the pit boss that’d been on the phone cry out, "Security! Grab him!"
I plowed into the exit doors, bursting them open with my palms acting as a battering ram. I ran as hard as I could through the parking lot, trying to get off the property as fast as possible. I looked behind me; there were two uniformed security guards chasing, but I had at least a hundred yards on them. To my right was Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip). I debated whether I should cross the street to the other side. There were throngs of people walking along both sides; I figured it would be easier to disappear along the boulevard. I'd pull the chips out of my pocket and toss the jacket, blend in with everybody else.
I started angling for the street, looking for a spot where I could cut through the endless parade of yellow lights, but the automobile traffic was just too heavy. I would risk never making it to the other side if I attempted to cross, so I continued running straight ahead as fast as I could, weakening slightly but still confident I could shake the security guards, who were bogged down by their equipment belts- and their guns.
Another look behind me and I didn't see them. I slowed down a little.
"Freeze!" a husky male voice suddenly called out.
I turned around as I requisitioned my stride. Unbelievably, there was a new uniformed security guard right on my heels-ten yards behind. He couldn't have been from the Desert Inn, I thought, as I ran again for my life. He had to be from one of the little motels I had passed en route. Security from the Desert Inn must have radioed ahead.
I kept running.
"Freeze!" the guard ordered again.
I turned around again in midst ride. The gap between us had widened-doubled. I felt a surge of adrenaline as my confidence soared. I would outrun this guy, too. A flash from the backroom experience I'd had in Lake Tahoe five years earlier passed through my mind. I didn't want to go through that ordeal again, perhaps face a bust.
"Freeze, or I'll shoot!" the officer demanded.
I didn't stop and wasn't about to-until I heard a loud report from his gun. The fucking guy actually fired a warning shot!
"Freeze, or I'll drop you!"
I turned around, still running, but now panting and out of breath.
The security guard was about twenty yards behind and still had the gun in his hand. When he saw me turn around, he squatted into a shooting position, the pistol barrel aimed at my chest. I could see a flicker of light bounce off the metal.
I flung my hands above my head in surrender. It was over. The gunshot unnerved me. I couldn't believe the guy had actually fired a shot. Had I not stopped, would he really have shot me in the back? I was just a fleeing past poster.