Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Forty-three

Posted by ilbebe on January 27, 2009

On Casey’s twenty-first birthday, our friend Jeremy met him at his house around seven in the morning with two large bottles of a concoction he used to be very fond of; a mixture of fruit juice and some sort of flavored vodka. Roughly six hours later, Casey was told he could leave the car show in Pleasanton they had gone to in one of two fashions: in a police car or an ambulance. It seems he’d be spotted by security wandering around semi-coherently asking people where a bathroom was. Being a rational fellow, Casey opted to leave in the ambulance, and after unsuccessfully trying to bribe the ambulance men with In n’ Out to just drop him off somewhere, he found working through the titanic drunkenness he’d gotten himself into with a saline drip at the same hospital where twenty-one years earlier he had been born. Four days later, it was time to go to a rockabilly weekender in Vegas.

Casey, Jeremy, Shawn, Joe, Vic and I left Byron around midnight in Casey and Joe’s old Bronco, which we called the OJ in honor of our favorite Heisman Trophy winner. On a side note, in case anyone is unaware, the Brentwood I hail from is in eastern Contra Costa County, about fifty miles east of Oakland. Around the time knife catalogs started showing up at our post office in 1994 addressed to OJ, since his Brentwood doesn’t have it’s own zip code for idiot hicks to look up, I highly doubt there were any millionaires in my Brentwood, and there certainly weren’t any mansions. ANYWAY, we drove all night and stopped only once so that Vic could get food poisoning from a Tina Turner Tuna Sandwich at some fifties-themed diner in the desert. Casey ate the Richie Valens fries, but avoided a similar fate. We rotated through the back storage area of the Bronco for short attempts at sleep, and mine cam up just as our driver Joe started listening to the Howard Stern show really fucking loud to keep himself awake. Thus I entered Vegas for the first time around ten in the morning having already been awake for nearly twenty-four hours.

We checked into our room at the Orleans on Tropicana and Joe immediately bought the twenty-four hours of continuous porn on our TV package for twenty bucks. I complained that we didn’t vote on it, to which Joe responded It Had To Be Done. This became the first component in my Unified Theory of Vegas, which would later be expanded to include Why The Fuck Not? and finally Because We Can. After an hour-long wild goose chase trying to track down some beer, drinking commenced shortly before noon. We surveyed the Orleans and discovered to our delight that it had a bowling alley and an auditorium where they would having a boxing match that night, so we bought tickets to the match and walked outside with our beers held proudly in hands to catch a shuttle over to the Gold Coast and see what was going on with the car show.

Delirious from being up all night and now the booze, I got frustrated as the shuttle took us through a row of warehouses on a street parallel to the strip, which I hadn’t actually set foot on yet and was keen to explore. I would soon learn that with the congestion on the strip, taking the less-scenic back way on Industrial Road was the prudent course of action, and furthermore there was really no quick way to get anywhere in Vegas. Except when in the company of one man…

We dicked around at the Gold Coast for a while, then walked back to the Orleans, where I almost passed out face-down in a plate of nachos but was held back by Joe. The time that elapsed between the nachos and the boxing match are a blur, and I finally caught an hour of sleep during the main event of the match, two tired-looking heavyweights who didn’t throw many punches, then awakening to hear Casey screaming “Break his mind!”
 
After the fight, we went out to walk up the strip and discovered a two-floor porn emporium just a few lots down from the Orleans. After an hour of browsing, we made it to the strip, and eventually to the Barbary Coast, the third hotel affiliated with the rockabilly weekender. I sat down to play roulette for the first time and had my first taste of the highs and lows gambling had to offer when a hot girl won two hundred bucks on double zero and then got surly in a hurry as it evaporated away in ten minutes. I politely lost ten bucks and walked away nursing my free Heineken. We soon discovered that one of the greatest things about not having a ban on public consumption of alcohol makes it a lot easier to walk out of a place you aren’t digging. There’s no leash on your drink, nor on your sense of human decency…

We staggered into a small place called the Wild Wild West around two in the morning to inquire about a 99-cent breakfast that was advertised on a huge billboard that loomed over the building like a UFO. Indeed, breakfast was 99 cents, and our waiter Bru informed us that for only a dollar more you have either a burger or the spaghetti dinner. Vic made his second questionable meal decision of the day by opting for the spaghetti, while the Jew got the breakfast and everyone got burgers. When I started complaining about the bill, saying we needed to split it six ways instead of the five Joe seemed to be insisting on, Vic reminded me that Jeremy had turned in after the boxing match and hadn’t been with us for more than four hours. “Oh.” We went back to the Orleans and bowled for a while, then I stayed up gambling for another hour after everyone else went back and turned in and finally got to bed around five.

I was awoken around eight because Shawn, Vic, and Casey were adamant about getting over to the car show and seeing some bands play. We caught the shuttle to the Gold Coast again, and Joe suggested that we get the lunch buffet at the nearby Rio, which highly appealed to me because I had heard many tales of extravagant Vegas buffets whose prices hovered around the gallon-of-milk level. Thus I was flabbergasted when, after waiting in line for almost an hour and nearly losing my mind from hunger and anticipation, I was fleeced for twenty bucks. I became psychotically determined to eat my money’s worth, and was able to do so only by staying for an hour, taking a massive crap to get a second wind, and putting ten cheeseburgers in a backpack for later. This was the genesis of an in-joke that’s still around with our gang, that of having a locked briefcase handcuffed to your wrist that’s full of cheeseburgers. “Cheeseburger, Shawn.”

We bought a bunch of beer and wandered around the car show for a while, then went to the ballroom at the Gold Coast to see a band play. They were all right, and ended with a song about how you can’t be rockabilly if you drive a Honda, a moment that I would reflect on a few months later in Wendover when a guy referred to the Vegas event as “a fuckin’ fashion show.” We went back to the Orleans for some rest and showers before the main concert of the evening, then caught what remains the coolest cab of my life. The driver was Russian, and when we told him we wanted to go to the Gold Coast, he said You Know There Is Free Shuttle. We said Yeah But We Don’t Feel Like Waiting. He said You Can Walk You Know. We said We Don’t Feel Like Walking. He made an angry noise and said Then Get In.

The ride was incredible, he blew stoplights, honked incessantly, and when caught behind a driver at the red light on Flamingo who was exercising too much caution in turning right, he augmented his horn by muttering Must Be Asian. Or Old. Or Woman. He pronounced the word woman with an amount of disgust not often heard outside of racial slurs, and as he blew one final light to turn left into the parking lot of the Gold Coast, the meter read a little less than seven dollars. The mile and a half journey had taken about five minutes. This man was constant source of inspiration when I was doing pizza delivery.

The rest of the night was more drinking, the breaking of bottles, another visit with Bru at the Wild Wild West which saw Victor falling in line with the group and getting a hamburger, and me and Casey staying up hours later than everyone else so I could play more two-dollar blackjack and he could smoke more Swisher Sweets indoors. After my eyes started to cross, we walked outside and were shocked to discover it was broad daylight. We reflected on the surreality of it all, and went straight back to the room, announcing ourselves by throwing on the light and screaming PANTY RAID!

I was again awoken after three hours sleep because we had to be out by eleven. I struggled to stay awake and upright during my shower, and as I packed my bag, I found four cherry-flavored Swisher Sweets I had brought along for novelty smoking. We went to a bar on the first floor to redeem our boxing match tickets for a complimentary drink, and in a request that has never otherwise been granted when getting a drink on the house, the bartender served up five Long Islands and one screwdriver, for me, who was trying to take it easy. My goose was re-cooked when everyone gave up on their Iced Tea Death Bombs about halfway through and I finished them and started chain smoking my Swishers.
 
This led to me falling out of the Bronco as we parked outside of Fatburger about an hour later to get breakfast, a gaff that Casey gracefully covered up by picking my drunk ass up and saying Right This Way, Mr. President. I ordered chili at Fatburger because a)it was cheap and I was almost out of funds, and b)it seemed like a good idea to pave the way to some awful gas for the nine-hour drive home. We ditched the idea of visiting Hoover Dam, bought a shitload of bottled water, and headed south on I-15.

There are many awful sights and smells to be encountered in Vegas, but perhaps none so miserable as six men emptying out of a 1988 Ford Bronco at a gas station in Mojave, CA, desperately fleeing the scent of a near-death young Jew’s Vegas cocktail of flatulence.

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