How!! to Rob an Indian Casino
“How!!! to Rob an Indian Casino” is the big question for a pair of buffoons employed by the Laughing Loon Casino, owned by the terminally naive Loon Indian Tribe. Their plan, enhanced by the theft, testing, and deployment of magic mushrooms to blindside casino Surveillance, is secretly watched by two separate gangs of snoops planning to disrupt the heist, grab the swag, and … who knows? More
“How!! to Rob an Indian Casino” is a snapshot of the Loon Indian Tribe at a particularly freakish moment in its ragtag history. Before the arrival of the Europeans, some sort of Loon or proto-Loon tribe had been eking out a pre-Columbian existence in the old Adirondack Mountains of northern New York State. Unlike the experience of many Native tribes, contact with whites did not lead to warfare, but to a gradual, relaxed dilution of Indian blood as Loons intermingled, socially and otherwise, with waves of white incursions. The racial mixing started easily and peacefully with early French trappers and missionaries and then moved on to Colonial-era explorer, adventure seekers, runaway slaves, sportsmen, vacationers, hippies, and other types of white rabble, over four centuries.
A decade before the story begins, the tribe has opened the Laughing Loon Casino on a man-made island in Winners Pond (renamed from “Indian Lake”) on the tribe’s reservation land. The casino brings in lots of money and instant disruption in the county’s old-time social balance, in which a whole lot of county people were probably at least a little bit Loon, but no one really noticed or cared. After the casino opens, profit is divided according to tribal membership, forcing county residents to take a seat on either side of the rich Indian / poor white divide. Tribal members themselves more or less had forgotten what it felt like to be an Indian, and they had to figure it out quick, partly to justify their big winnings.
The story opens on April Fools Day, as planning gets underway for two major events, one public and one private. Tribal Chief Reggie Willis, an idealistic and gentle man, announces plans for a Ceremony of Respect and Unity at the casino on Memorial Day to honor Native American patriotism. At the same time, two other big shots on the casino property, Simon Larouche, director of Security, and Jim Knickle, chief of Food & Beverage, are fine-tuning their fantastically complicated plan to rob the casino that same weekend.
Reggie struggles to stir interest in his forthcoming ceremony while Larouche and Knickle blunder through one fiasco after another to lay the groundwork for their ripoff. Meanwhile, a gaggle of busybodies occupies itself by spying on the would-be robbers. One cadre of snoops is led by Leonard Warren, a permanent stowaway who lives in the basement of the casino. Two other, separate troupes of spies, including a secretary to one of the robbers and her smarmy boyfriend, also get their fingers into the planning.
Distractions from these plans include the discovery that a plot of land crucial to the ripoff plan may be a Native American graveyard. Events build to a peak as two groups of casino denizens struggle to predict and intercede in the robbery. In a mangled series of double-double-crosses that trip along as the various conspirators collide with each other, the Memorial Day celebration and robbery play out through one surprise after another. In the end, the crooks win some battles but lose the war; the stolen Loon money is put to a better use than ever in the past; and the tribe stumbles toward a renewed view of its past and its potential.
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