The Dunes Hotel Gun Incident circa 1974
The Dunes Hotel had a men’s washroom that was a classic operation. The attendant was a born hustler. Lonnie was an interesting black man that knew exactly how to hustle a toke that means a tip from every customer. When you were washing your hands and you were just about to get a paper towel, he would hand you a linen cloth. You couldn’t refuse it. In front of you was a small money tray suitable for coins, bills and chips. You were practically forced to leave a tip, just by being embarrassed not to leave one, especially after drying your hands with his fancy linen towel. If you said you didn’t have any change, Lonnie would say, ” I have change right here.”
He could break any bill and had change for each denomination pre counted in each of his four trouser pockets. A pocket for one hundred, a twenty, a ten and a five. The small trays on the sink had coins already placed on them to give you the idea that no donation was too small.
He had every brand of cologne, every mint, mouthwash, razors, and whatever else a man needed to pretty himself up. There were ice cubes in the urinals and he would actually walk down the avenue of stalls and ask customers to please flush the toilets. I guess he was trying to put a guilt trip on you. There was even a first class shoe shine stand right in the bathroom that generated a ton of cash. One day I walked into the mini-corporate bathroom for a shine. The attendant took my suit jacket and hung it on a solid wooden hangar and I got into the chair. He cleaned my shoes, put polish on them, and then began a spit shine with his polish cloth. Aaron Herman, the 21 shift manager, who was the best friend of Pete Licavoli, Detroit’s number one mafia kingpin, steps up to wash his face and hands. He talked to me by looking in the mirror that stretched across the wall that made the room look twice as big. He said, “Hi Kid.” Either Aaron Herman liked you or he didn’t like you, meaning either he talked to you or he didn’t. Then in walks a new casino host, Murray Lang that was not particularly liked by Aaron Herman. Murray Lang was not mister warmth to anyone unless it was a woman. Aaron told him to keep out of his pit and don’t get in the way of the floormen. Those are the gents that make sure the blackjack games are being dealt correctly. Murray Lang was brought in by Howie Engle from Miami Beach, as a favor to some wise guy, and placed in the role of casino host. Herman and Lang had several previous run-ins, and Aaron and Lang made eye contact via the mirror. Aaron said “What are you looking at? And it got worse from that point on. Words led to a shove and finally Lang pulls out a small pistol and hit Aaron on the head; there was a scuffle and someone yelled gun. Everyone ran out of the bathroom, including the shoe shine attendant, who left the cloth and polish on my unshined shoes. I was stuck in the chair no more than 4 feet away. I tried to duck out of the line of fire. Eventually the casino manager, George Duckworth and security came in and Lang was fired.
Aaron Herman was mad at me for over one year for not taking away the gun. Only at the Dunes.