In the Desert, Ch. IV
If you haven’t heard the story of how I got my roll back, check out Chapter III here:
When I last left off, I was trying to figure out how to get to Las Vegas with a comically small amount of money. Fortunately, my wonderful aunt sent me a very thoughtful card with a very practical amount of gas money in it, because she’s a saint. With nothing holding me back, I was ready to head south Tuesday after work. It’s about a six-and-a-half hour drive from my hill to the house of my cousins in Henderson, NV, so after a stop for gas I hit the road.
The best part about driving in the Nevada desert (and the Utah desert, for that matter) is that you can generally see any oncoming vehicles several miles in advance. This means that, if you’re into this sort of thing, you can drive as fast as you want. I’m not saying I did that, what with the fifth amendment and all, but you theoretically could. If you wanted to.
A few exceptions exist, though. For whatever reason, the few towns between Reno and Vegas (I’m talking about you, Tonopah) all have a 20 mph speed limit for no good reason other than the fact that it’s damn near impossible to drive 20 miles per hour after you’ve been traveling at [SPEED REDACTED] for a few hours. Needless to say, they’re horrible speed traps and, more importantly, a huge pain in the ass. When Sean and I drove through Tonopah in October, we got pulled over, but only for broken taillights, for example.
I know what you’re expecting, but actually nothing bad happened, for once. The drive was pretty uneventful, and I ended up getting in around two AM in Henderson. Being exhausted, I went straight to bed, trying to ensure that I would be well-rested for Twerksgiving.
Yeah, you read that right. When I let my Vegas family know I was coming down, one of my cousins invited me to join in what is apparently a tradition known as Twerksgiving. Naturally, I was concerned that it had something to do with a dancing turkey, but it turns out I was (thankfully) mistaken. What a relief.
We left the house that night to go to a friend of my cousins’ to pregame. I ended up having a strange conversation about Buddhism with some guy at the pregame who apparently didn’t know anyone there, which, at this point in my life, no longer surprises me. After an hour or two of hanging out, we, now somewhat loaded, loaded ourselves into the Uber and headed to the Wynn hotel/casino.
Some necessary information going into this part: I’m routinely the kind of person who likes dive bars and pubs. Having lived in Jacksonville and Fayetteville, NC, I’m inherently wary of anyone talking about “going to the club,” “getting turnt,” and “getting mad krunk, yo.” I don’t know anyone who said the latter, because I know how to pick my friends, but if I did I would be concerned. That being said, there is (obviously, I know) a big difference between shit “clubs” in military towns and the impressive Vegas nightlife venue known as the Intrigue.
Somehow my cousins “know everyone in town,” so upon arriving at the club, we got to walk past a line of 200+ much fancier looking people than myself and skip them all. I’m not going to lie, that was just plain cool as hell. Feeling smug, we continued down the stairs (it’s underground!) to the club proper, but then went in through some fancy looking doors to the left. I learned later that this is called the “Living Room,” and it’s one of the VIP sections of the club. It even had private bathrooms with the expensive breathmints, and not just the shitty chocolate ones, either.
(A much brighter picture of The Living Room)
We had a table in the corner complete with a handle of Belvedere, a variety of mixers, and a scantily-clad waitress who poured our drinks for us. I sat down, and while drinking a much higher quality screwdriver than I am historically accustomed to, took a look around the room. The room was set up like some kind of very shiny library, and in my country-mouse ignorance, I attempted to take a snapchat of it. Of course, that wasn’t kosher, because a vested man with a lisp immediately walked up behind me and hissed, “No photography in here, sir.” Maybe he didn’t have a lisp, who knows. Maybe he did. Either way, that was displeasing.
The room was very dimly lit, and the bathroom doors were poorly labeled and close to each other. A number of times some drunk women in the bar “accidentally” walked into the (very small) men’s room, resulting in screams and giggles galore. One of those times (which I somehow doubt was accidental) was when I was in there, and the intruder loudly shouted at the handful of dudes in the room, “Hey, nice dicks!” Unsure of how to respond to that, I took it as a compliment and drunkenly shot the finger guns as I exited.
(The confusing but exciting flaming fountains)
Despite that entry-level debauchery, The Living Room was fairly quiet compared to the main club. As we had finished our vodka, we lost our table and got thrown into the wild of the greater club area. The place was packed with women in short dresses and men reeking of Drakkar Noir. Pushing through, we made our way to the other VIP area outside. This actually happened to be, I shit you not, a cave under a waterfall, adjacent to a fountain that shot flaming water out of it. I couldn’t even begin to understand how that worked, and as a result I remember drunkenly asking a number of people, “Hey, how’dya think they lit the water on fire, huh?” I don’t think they knew, either.
(The actual cave under the waterfall.)
At some point, Diplo showed up to DJ, and the crowd twerked away to such hits as “Boy Oh Boy” and “Bubble Butt.” Good times. He puts on a great show, and there was a number of women dancing precariously on the stage. I wondered whether any of them had ever fallen off. I certainly would have, because at that moment it was a wonder that I didn’t fall into the fountain.
The only unpleasant moment of the evening was when I went to buy myself and one of my cousins a round. Everything had been free at this point, so I wasn’t worried, but when I got the two Long Islands, I also got a reciept for $38. What the actual fuck, man, that’s obscene. I’ve ordered whiskey in NYC for less, and drinking in that town is a nightmare. Shocked and a little upset, I limped away, sipping a good-but-not-nineteen-dollars-good drink.
We ended up crashing at the house we pregamed at for a few hours, then we went home and I slept my hangover away until dinner was ready.
Speaking of dinner, I have never seen such a relentless verbal assault as I witnessed that evening. My Aunt is truly a good sport, because what she endured was probably tantamount to senior abuse. She regaled us with a story about one of her elderly suitors, who attempted to court her by swimming naked in his pool. As the conversation alternated between things I didn’t want to hear at that or any other dinner (or any other meal for that matter) to horrible expletives that I cannot, in good conscience, reproduce here, everyone got drunker and more absurd. Eventually, someone put a bandana reading “BOSS BITCH” on my Aunt’s head. I was thankful, indeed.
After that insanity ended, we watched Elf and then went out for Black Friday, which wasn’t as crazy as I had expected. I got some pants. It was good.
The next day, we made plans to go downtown to some bars that evening. We went to get some dinner beforehand at an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant, which I thoughtfully noted “probably isn’t what you should eat before a night of drinking.” Oh, how right I was. Why didn’t you listen to me, me? You fool.
It started innocently enough, with small, tapas-sized portions of pork belly and salmon sashimi. After the first round of our orders had come out, we were still feeling good, so I decided to put in a quantity of food I would very shortly label as “way too damn much fish, man.” It was awesome sushi, but the menu gave you no concept of how big any of the plates were. I then learned, to my horror, that you have to pay full price for anything you don’t finish. That’s when shit got real.
The three of us made a valiant effort to put back as much as we could, then a final plate showed up. At first, I thought it was a mistake, but it turned out that I can’t read Japanese or even discern simple menu items, because I guess it was something I ordered. It was also the only part of the meal that wasn’t delicious, because it was six large rolled pieces of seaweed filled exclusively with roe and rice, along with some octopus and oysters.
We managed to finish it, but oh, the price we paid. I have never felt so ill in my life, and it was all the more painful because I knew, deep down, that I deserved it. Remember, kids, that little voice in your head that says, “No, Garrett, you can’t eat four more oysters, just pay for the damn things and keep your dignity,” isn’t challenging you and only wants the best for you. If nothing else, remember that.
As you can imagine, we did not make it downtown that night. When we got home, I layed down on the couch and prayed for a swift death, while National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation played on in the background.
All in all, it was a great holiday adventure and I’m happy to have been able to visit my family for the week. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!
Until next time!