I loved working in the Bahamas. So different from England. The warm balmy weather, the beaches, the tropical vegetation, the bugs.

I was dealing Blackjack in the main pit, when a young couple approached the table, They had just come from one of the many patio restaurants. She sat down on third base, while he stood beside her.  I smiled at them both, and took in their appearance. I took a step to my left, putting a little distance between us.

“Er sir…” I muttered. “You can stay, but your friend’s gonna have to wait outside.” I pointed to his arm, just below the shoulder. There was probably the biggest cockroach I have ever seen in my life. It had to be at least four inches long.

Now this guy was about six-two, six three, and had quite a build on him. He looked at his sleeve and screamed like a girl, and frantically brushed the bug from his sleeve. It landed in the middle of the pit, where it began running around the floor. My floor person ran as far as she could screaming like a lunatic, to the far end of the pit. When it looked like it was coming in my direction, I too screamed, and began jumping up and down. One of the floormen tried to stomp on it, but missed. It changed direction. A pit clerk, and another floorlady began screaming and dancing, trying to get out of its way, as it ran around their feet. Soon the pit resembled a poor rendition of The Mexican Hat dance, as dealers, floor people, pit clerks, and players, jumped up and down screaming. Finally one of the floorpeople threw a clipboard at it.

That was when it got real interesting. It was not your common cockroach, it was a Palmetto bug. Those suckers can fly! It took off, looking like a German helmet on wings. Now people were screaming, dancing and ducking! It headed in the direction of the Baccarat pit, an enclosed area.

Within five seconds, half the occupants of the Baccarat pit were out on the casino floor. Screams could be heard from inside. The bug flew out of the room and toward the craps pit. As it flew over one of the tables, the players scattered. We could hears the cries of grown men;

“WTF is that?”

While others around him panicked, one of the Bahamian floormen, used to seeing insects of this proportion, simply whacked it midair with his clipboard, and then deftly brought his heel down on it, when it hit the floor. He picked it up with a tissue, threw it in a trash can, and carried on as though nothing had happened.

Even Paradise has its down side.


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