2:09 a.m. -Hunter S. Thompson
Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas ... with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.
2:09 a.m. -Hunter S. Thompson
-Hunter S. Thompson
last watched: Bend It Like Beckham
Previously in Xenology: Emily became a National Champion and then hurt her knee.
With all due apologies and thanks to HST for the next two entries.
This was our first night in Vegas. It is 11:30, Vegas time. Owing to frequent naps across the continental States, I am feeling very little jetlag. I do not actually know what jetlag is, but suspect it involves one needing to sleep a lot, like malaria. Or perhaps I had always lived my life on Vegas time so this is just a homecoming. Emily is very much asleep in our ginormous bed, feeling the general lag of being an Emily.
That's because they have claws on their feet.
The apartment was tiny to me, but is evidently worth $1600 a month in New York City. Still, it bore the marks that two archeologists live herein, the various faux artifacts and a well-chosen collection of jazz CDs that would speak well of culture and worldliness even were they covered in an inch of dust and still in cellophane. Neither of these conditions were present.
I slept little despite the fold-up mattress on the living room floor, my body preferring to express its anxiety about this trip with excessive perspiration and sudden onset OCD. I was actually staring at the unconscious M when her alarm went off. I cursed the alarm nonetheless for being a physical manifestation of my insomnia. She has evidently grown far too used to my peculiarities for she barely reacted. Though she did whack me with all of her strength in her sleep earlier in the night and then lovingly apologized, neither event which she remembers. Therefore, I am karmically allowed to startle her once and not suffer the Wrath of the Broken Ninja.
Before I continue, I would like to give full credit to her sister Lauren. Not only did she allow us to stay in her apartment, preventing a much more painful time of departure, but she remembered that Emily's birthday is Sunday and chose to give her an ice cream cake (she couldn't have known Emily hates ice cream cake) and a Tibetan bracelet that trumps both the collection of Homestarrunner merchandise I gave her before we began this trip and, very likely, the super secret special gift I will spring on M sometime on the 12th. Well, maybe not the latter, but it still was the sort of gift I should have gotten her and inspired both admiration and jealousy from my pink heart.
We stepped outside the apartment and, despite it being before dawn, a cab immediately stopped for us. We sat in the cab headed for JFK, still too much lapsing citizens of Nod to speak. I turned on Flea to read some e-mail as a means to remember consciousness. Emily motioned for the device and wrote, "I am supposed to be going to Vegas to fulfill a dream. Instead I'm going there to keep dreaming." I read over this ten times and nodded my silent consolation.
I slept though the flight to Los Angeles, our illogical layover. I awoke as the plane landed and glared out of the window. Emily soothed, "It's time to get off the plane, Bone Daddy."
"What? No! We can't stop here! This is bat country!"
"That's what I said."
Best seventy five cents spent
"M, this sounds like big trouble. You're going to need plenty of legal advice before this thing is over. As your attorney, I advise you to rent a very fast car with no top. And you'll need the cocaine. Tape recorder for special messages. Acapulco shirts. Get the hell out of L.A. for at least 48 hours."
"How about 72?"
"Even better. Can we still get the car with no top?"
"No, it is another airplane for us. It's a half an hour trip." She smiled, possibly humoring me before continuing, "Now, no more of that talk or I'll put the fucking leeches on you, understand?"
I wanted to leave the airport and touch the Pacific, but Emily and logic reminded me that the layover was tens of minutes and the ocean was far. Nonetheless, I waved fond greetings to the coast from thousands of feet in the air and silently promised I would swim in her one day. Not that the Atlantic does not have the exact same water, but one cannot drown in the same ocean twice.
Vegas has, so far, met my every expectation and disappointed me terribly. We exited the plane and were greeted by row after row of slot machines. I dropped my backpack and told Emily she could pick me up on her way home. After she lost seventy-five cents in the closest machine, we were disillusioned enough to want to actually venture to our hotel.
We are staying at the ostensibly world famous Circus Circus. Circus Circus is what the world would be doing every Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. This is important to me only because it is one of the settings for Fear and Loathing, though the hotel refused to actually be in the movie because it wouldn't extol the family-friendly attitude of losing one's life savings and getting wasted from watery mixed drinks women dressed as floozies distributed freely. The trulls aren't even dressed like clowns. Circus Circus does not have rooms with a circus theme. At least, this is not the case where we are staying. I had expected polka dot sheets and harlequins leering from each corner. I am not, per se, complaining. The accommodations are pleasant but totally usual. This room could exist in any hotel in any state in America. We are not connected to Circus Circus in any physical way, instead occupying what would be the evil clowns' servant quarters. This is another thing, aside from eerie murals on certain walls in the casino, there are no clowns to be found. I am terrified of clowns, as all God fearing souls should be, but I would still have liked to be unnerved by them around every corner. What else are we paying one hundred dollars a night for? Oh, right, the ginormous bed.
I think, perhaps, that Emily and I are not Vegas people. We do not like gambling when we cannot win. We do not wish to have sex with prostitutes. What was I doing here? What was the meaning of this trip? Emily was supposed to be competing in team trials before her knee was injured, but this can no longer occur. Even though I tend to find some of the Tae Kwon Do events tedious when they do not involve Emily, I would much rather watch them at 7 in the morning that be beaten by the sensory overload that assaults in every direction or the drunkards who think "SHOW US YOR TITS, BITCH!" is a particularly witty bon mot when screamed from a car at me. The long hair should only confuse someone for half a second. After that, you are kind of gay, frat boy.
Perhaps what most colors my view of Vegas slightly puce is my pity for Emily. She is enjoying herself as much as she can and is excellent company, as always. She has been so loving and sweet through this day that refuses to ever end. But I see the disappointment in her eyes. To be so close and to have worked so damned hard only to be pulled away because she landed a kick wrong a few months ago is an inexcusable slap from the Fates. Before we left, she told me she was too embarrassed to ask for her money back for a formal dinner for the competitors. This is over a hundred and fifty dollars, but she won't ask because she can't stand even facing it right now. It is so dishonorable to her that reminding her how much Victoria Secrets she could buy with the refunded still didn't move her. Her knee keeps going out while we walk and I wish the moving walkways extended as far as the eye could see so she would not hurt.
I hurt as well, though differently and less. My foot is blistered because I forgot to bring my sandals here and thought new ones were more logical than wearing my boots in the middle of a desert. You can guess that logic and myself are not on the best of terms. This is one of my essential rules for visiting Vegas. I may as well give you the whole list.
After returning from a necessary perusal of the strip, we turned our attentions back to Circus Circus. As far as I can tell, it wholly lacks a giant, rotating restaurant, as seen in Fear and Loathing. This is unfortunate, as my whole intent here was to stumble off of it in an ether induced binge. Then again, I also do not have ether or the urge to behave like the village drunkard in some early Irish novel.
The casino had gained no luster since our initial passage. We wandered up some dark, unlit, back stairs in search of acrobats and Nazi clowns. At the apex sat a carnival. It is perhaps strange that we had somehow missed a carnival ripe with barkers and crappy prizes. However, this is Vegas. We were not meant to pull ourselves away from the epileptic flashes of the slots.
We ducked into a photo booth to plan our strategy given this new information. Emily noticed with delight that the machine gave us the option to meld our faces together to see what our progeny would look like. I looked carefully at the picture of a man combined with a chimp and was reticent to commit our easily lost money to yet another machine. Then again, the chimp man bore a canny resemblance to a certain politician, so I decided the booth did perhaps possess some manner of precognitive skill. Five dollars later, we had a photo of a monstrosity. Kicking the machine, I demanded a do over. The machine, stolid stoic that it was, just smiled a deformed rictus using Emily's face. Bastard child of a blender and videogame. We left the machine in disgust, still taking our malformed daughter. My side of the family has no history of monstrosity, this thing must get it from Emily.
I walked up to one of the barkers, exhorting me to win a purple monkey by throwing darts. I made strong eye contact with the faux carnie and spat, "Let's get down to brass tacks. How much for the ape?"
The woman was uneasy, that was to be expected. She looked backward to the aforementioned stuffed simians, terrified that they couldn't feel her distress or heed her warning. They smiled dumbly. "They..." she began, but stammered. My eyes did not leave her. Why give her the satisfaction? "They are... Three darts for a dollar."
I looked at her hard, lifted a dollar from my pocket, but Emily pulled me away. "Are you harassing the carnies?"
"Yes. I was. Hmmm."
Our night ended soon after this exchange, though it is impossible to know when. Time is made more abstract in casinos, a place where clocks are verboten. As, evidently, are windows. No monkeys were won, nor a single quarter more. We did see hydrocephalic clowns lumbering at one another like painted, inverted sumo wrestlers. We've got to get out of here. I think I'm getting the fear.
Soon in Xenology: More Keilaina-y fun. Viva Las Vegas. Dave and the chumpkin.
reading: Shadow of the Hegemon
listening: The Nightmare Before Christmas
wanting: The abilty to count cards or souls.
interesting thought: The city of Angels was too busy with earthly matters.
moment of zen: Passing through time.
someday I must: Win.
last watched: Bend It Like Beckham