Special apologies to mom and dad.
Day one was highlighted by the staggered arrivals of the 13 participants of our little experiment in terror. I was the first person in, meeting up with Pretty Boy (PB) at Las Vegas’ McCarran airport. He is apparently bringing back the tie clip. I am forced to comment on it.
We meet up with PB’s parents who ferry us to the hotel, which is explained to me to be named TheHotel. Is that weird to anyone but me? Anyway, after checking into the first of the three rooms we’d be descending upon, we are greeted by three of PB’s friends from LA: FBJ, Silent Bob, and BigJ. We get to the room where these three arrivals reveal 6 handles of vodka and two cases of red bull.
So, the drinks are flowing, and I’m in the awkward position of trying to find common ground amongst four friends who have known each other their entire lives. They start making fun of PB’s tie clip. I am going to fit in great.
So, we sequester ourselves in the room as the rest of the group trickles in, drinking and watching Tiger remind us why he runs Torrey Pines, and Phil remind us why he’s Phil. Once everyone is accounted for, we hit the Mandalay floor as one big group. Some go to craps, others to blackjack, but at this point, everyone is FAIRLY sure of where the others are. This will not last.
At approximately 2 am local time, FBJ and myself are killing a blackjack table, making friends with the pit boss, doubling down in ridiculous situations, ordering vodka-red bull like we owned stock in Stoli, and actually being cheered. Being a narcissist, I love it, and find the adulation addictive. Offhandedly, we realize we haven’t seen anyone we know in God knows how long, and decide to go exploring for our friends. After cashing out, we start calling our friends, to no avail. 2 hours in Vegas with everyone there, and no way to tell where anyone is. Awesome. At this point, the night firmly divides our party into two loosely defined groups: Team Gamble, and Team Oh My God.
FBJ, and I finally get in touch with everyone else, who apparently left the Mandalay for a strip club. There had been an ‘incident’ and everyone headed to a club somewhere down the strip. Agreeing to meet them at the club, we get a cab and are on our way.
Arriving, a quick glance tells me that things aren’t going as well as possible. PB, Suit, MVP, and Custou are standing in a sea of people, waiting for some over-steroided, over-gelled, under-evolved gorilla to look at them, and wave them in. Someone suggests using shiny objects to distract them, and sneak in. PB’s tie clip is deemed not shiny enough. Bored, we head to gamble some more, and FBJ and I sit at a blackjack table, Suit and PB wanting to play craps. I should have played craps.
Our first dealer was an older black man, named JR, he was from Texas, and he loved it when we were winning. In a related story, we loved him. We’re living it up, talking about the trip so far, and he’s telling us about the craziest stuff he’s seen in his 20 years in Vegas. Everyone is having fun. This will not last. Eventually, his shift ends, and we tip him, and welcome our new dealer.
Jessica. Or, as I would later affectionately call her, The Axe-Murderer.
A small, Asian woman, whose name tag claimed she was from China. Unless China opened up a wing in Hell, I don’t believe it.
She seemed to take pleasure watching us lose. We double down on 10, she deals us a 2. We hold at 17, she turns over 18. Instead of the good nature that JR had engendered, her open, blatant and repeated abuse of FBJ and myself drove us to saying some meaner things.
- "You pick up drifters just to kill them, don't you?
- "Do you have children?" (She nods.) "They hate you."
- "I swear to God, if you string out blackjack here, I will find whatever local shack you live in, handcuff you to the door knob, and burn it to the ground."
(7 card black jack.)
"Unbelievable. How do you sleep at night? STOP SMILING AT ME!!!"
Getting back together with the craps players (read: winners), we head to the Bellagio for more gambling. Oh good. Walking in, I notice things are MUCH more higher priced than Bill’s. Like 100 dollar minimum blackjack tables higher. Figuring I’m not going to play anything here, I go to watch the others play craps, and finally look at my cell phone to see the time. Okay, 5:00…which is 8:00 Atlanta time. Seeing as how I had gotten up at 6 Friday morning, and had been drinking (okay, drunk) since I got on the plane at 1, my little math problem was turning into a consciousness problem. Deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, I head back to the hotel, to attempt to pass out. Getting out of the cab at TheHotel (I feel pretentious just writing that), the concierge opens the door, and tells me good morning. My reply?
“Don’t do that. Say hello, say welcome back, just don’t remind me further that it’s morning. I know the sun is coming up. I know that I’m a degenerate. Why belabor the point?”
“Hello, welcome back sir.”
Apparently, I’m not the first idiot to stumble home at 5:25. Who knew?
Oh, and as far as sleeping went? Yeah, the 40-something Vodka/Red Bulls doing laps through my circulatory system like it was the damn Daytona 500 had other ideas. Unless you count the four times my heart pretty much gave out, I achieved nothing resembling an REM cycle on the couch in our suite.
The rest of Team Gamble stay at the Bellagio until PB can’t count to 10. Apparently, 10 was the minimum bet at the craps table and he’s throwing down 7 at a time. The exchange with the Bellgio employee was related to me as such:
BE: Sir, 10 is the minimum.
PB: That’s my bet.
BE: Sir, that is only 7. 10 is the minimum.
PB: It’s my money, I’ll do what I want.
BE: Have a good evening sir.
He is later spotted wandering the halls, demanding to be taken the TheHotel, when a kind passer-by tells him he is in the Bellagio, and that TheHotel is further down the strip. PB thought he was stumbling through Mandalay Bay. Good times.
I am rudely awakened 3 hours later by Silent Bob leaving the suite to go watch soccer. Apparently, he went to bed when he couldn’t find anyone. Silent Bob is regarded a genius in my eyes. Before he goes to watch whatever Nazi-Ball match of the morning was, he regales me with the story of Team Oh My God:
The incident at the strip club turned out to be the demanding that my friends pay a cover, so most of them left. Not BigJ and SBack. They smooth talked their way in, and that’s where there problems began. Inside, they spilt a bottle of Grey Goose, and shared the tab for numerous dances. And just dances. My friends may be degenerates, but they did not fornicate with strippers…no matter how much money they spent. The next morning was highlighted by a note from PB’s mom slid under the door of our suite.
7:30 BigJ was passed out in the hall. We took him into our room at 7:30 am.
Meeting up with SBack later, I got some details on the evening, but the thing he said last is what stuck with me the most.
“So, fun night, how much did it run ya’ll?”
SBack reads text message.
“Apparently, a lot. I guess my ATM card was frozen, so BigJ paid, and I owe him half.”
“How much is half?” (Keep in mind, from what he told me, I thought he couldn’t owe THAT much.)
“A grand.” (I was wrong.)
Basically, the first night either went well, (crap-playing jerks), alright or God awful. I fall into alright by process of elimination, but wow.