Sunday, October 3, 2010

ZOUNDS!-REALLY!-OOPS! (Or, “MEET ME AT THE FREMONT AT NINE O’CLOCK” – Part One)

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Yep, it was time again to get the hell out of Hell (a.k.a. Phoenix, Airheadzona). I went to “the city that never sleeps”. New York? Fuhgeddaboudit! I went to the party capital of the nation. New Orleans? Bayou a brain! I went to “Sin City”. Yeah, that’s right: Las Vegas, Baabeee! What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas ‘cause no one can remember nuttin’. It’s always Blackout Time in The City Of Lights.
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But I knew y’all would want to know what I did there, so I took notes . . . on cocktail napkins. Here’s what I wrote, as near as I can make it out:
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Sunday, September 26:
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I didn’t get “on the road” until 9 AM, although I was shooting for an 8 AM departure. So, shoot me if I’m late.
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The musical soundtrack I had selected for this trip consisted of the following 8 albums:
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The first song I heard on this journey was “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” by Waylon Jennings. And that’s as accurate a statement as has ever been made. In fact, it sounded so good that I played it twice before moovin’ on. Of course, the ‘Wanted! The Outlaws’ album also contains the song “T For Texas” by Tompall Glaser, and if you’re going to drive through the rugged desert, you really ought to have a version of “T For Texas” with you, and I think Tompall’s slow, almost lazy take on it is one of the very best.
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Coming into Kingman, Arizona (hometown of the late Andy Devine), the soundtrack to the movie ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ was playing. It was perfection. If you’re ever going to take a road trip through the Western states of the U.S.A., trust me, you need to bring along this soundtrack. Nuttin’ much goes better as musical accompaniment to a view of buttes, open sky, and lots and lots of dirt.
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[A train rumbles through the desolate Arizona landscape while the musical soundtrack to 'Once Upon A Time In The West' plays in my automobile.]
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When I reached Las Vegas and got off the highway and drove West on Flamingo Road, the Tom Waits’ soundtrack to the Vegas-set movie ‘One From The Heart’ was playing. Again, perfection. But then I planned it that way. You see, I’m smarter’n the average bear, and I take the terrain I'll be traveling through into consideration when selecting the music I will want to hear on a road trip.
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I checked into my room on the 29th floor at the Circus-Circus Hotel And Casino at about 3 PM. They had put me in the back of the upper-most floor, away from all the other guests, as my reputation had preceded me. (The authorities at Avalon on Santa Catalina Island have been searching for me for the last 28 years. But they’ll never find me now because this grey hair is the perfect disguise. Mwuha-Ha!-Ha!)
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[And now STMcC,
He fell back in his room
Only to find Gideon's Bible]
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[Dont'cha just hate it when someone pisos on the mojado?]
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Once all my shi--, “stuffs” was unpacked, the first order of business was to get down to Battista’s Hole-In-The-Wall Italian Restaurant. I hadn’t been there since 1990, but I remember it as being really good (and all the wine you can drink with dinner).
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Well, it’s still all the wine you can drink with dinner, but sadly, with my now more mature tastebuds, I’d have to declare it an overpriced 3.5-star restaurant pretending to be 5-star. The fact that they serve the red wine chilled – CHILLED! - and let in Pittsburgh Steelers fans gives it away as being a poser. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t “all that” either.
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I was seated in the small booth adorned with a signed 8x10 photograph of Edie Adams and I took this picture of the picture:
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While I was looking at Edie Adams, I was mistakenly thinking to myself “Edie Sedgwick”. I figured y’all wouldn’t know who Edie Sedgwick was and I was going to tell you how she was Paris Hilton before there was a Paris Hilton. You know, a woman with no discernable talent and who is famous for simply being famous. But as it turned out, it was I who didn’t know who Edie Adams was. Oh well, stuffs happens.
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It was sad to find that in Battista’s Italian Restaurant, the old mafiosos have been reduced to playing the accordion tableside for tips. Rocco and Louie and all the rest used to OWN this town, now they’re playing “Beautiful Ohio” for Vegas visitors from The Queen City. Corporate America, give Vegas back to the blokes who were willing to die (and kill) for it!
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Walking back up The Las Vegas Strip (yeah, walking, not driving! – I said it was “all the wine you can drink with dinner”, didn’t I?) to my Circus-Circus digs, I found myself stuck in wall-to-wall, sneaker-to-sneaker, loin-to-butt, two-legged traffic on the sidewalk running alongside Las Vegas Boulevard. There was this tall, lanky guy in front of me, drunker’n hell and giggling like a schoolgirl for no reason whatsoever. I simply couldn’t get around him. When I zigged, he zigged; when I zagged, he zagged; when I swung left, he swerved left; when I moved right, he stumbled right; when I zipped left, he teetered left, when I ran right, he tottered right. It wasn’t that he was deliberately attempting to keep me from passing him on the sidewalk (unless he had eyes in back of his head), but by some strange, intoxicated coincidence, he seemed to anticipate my every move to get around him and he thwarted my every attempt.
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I finally reached my boiling over point, blasted past him on the right when he leaned to the left, with my shoulder lowered a la my high school football days, and I said to him as I went by, “Get the f##k out of my f##kin’ way!” Which sadly fell one “f##k” short of the all-time record of three “f##k”s in a single sensible sentence, set by Joe Pesci in some old movie when he said, “F##k you, you f##kin’ f##k!” But that guy was simply in my way for the last time. I may be going nowhere to do nothing, but by gobs, I’m in a hurry to get there and not do it!
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But even after passing that overgrown, sobriety-challenged, giggling girlboy, I still found myself in a sea of humanity (my least favorite kind of sea). But then I became aware of the fact that the lithe young woman in front of me was flowing through the sneaker-to-sneaker, loin-to-butt crowd all the while reading a book. For a short time – until I picked up my pace - she was even beginning to lengthen the distance between the two of us. It was the most amazing athletic feat I’ve ever witnessed (I mean, after Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series home run and Henry Drunkowski’s 66-shots-of-Tequila, Tijuana-to-Los Angeles drive home at 4 AM in 1985, that is). I toyed with the idea of asking her what she was reading (I mean, that had to be a damn good book!), but I was afraid she would take me for one of “those kinds of guys”, and I was afraid I would fall in love with her if it were nonfiction she was reading. But I’m still having not altogether clean dreams about that girl.
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Walking along The Strip, I couldn’t help noticing how many… uh… Well, to put it another way, I don’t think I’ve seen so many fay fellas in one place since the last time I took LSD and a wrong turn in Idaho and found myself in San FranCrisco. I would have bet that both Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler were in town, but no, strangely enough, it was only Donny & Marie Osmond. "People are crazy and times are strange / I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range / I used to care, but things have changed."
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I was planning to finish the evening with a cocktail at the legendary Horse-A-Round Bar in Circus-Circus, but to my great disappointment, I found that the bar (which my parents visited in 1974 and which is mentioned in the novel Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas) is now a (GASP!) ice cream parlor. What the--?!
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So instead, I found myself in the Peppermill Fireside Lounge and lovin’ it! I’d heard that this was an Old School Vegas type of bar, and I’d heard right. One of the bartenders told me it is the last casino-free, stand-alone bar on The Strip, that it has been standing in the same place for 39 years and that a couple of scenes from the movie Casino, involving Sharon Stone, were filmed there. I gotta tell ya, if you’re a watering hole connoisseur, this is a “must-visit” bar; the low-cut “little black dress” cocktail waitresses are all horny and I was hot! Uhm… ‘scuse me, I meant to say that the cocktail waitresses are all hot and I was… well, you get the idea.
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Now I will admit, the Peppermill Lounge does have one quirky policy. It don’t like hats. When I entered wearing my Stetson cowboy hat, bartenderboy asked me almost apologetically and somewhat timidly if I would mind removing it. I think he was afraid I might give him some static about it since real cowboys never take off their hats. But since I ain’t a real cowboy, I said, “Sure. No problem”, removed the Stetson and put it upside down on the bar beside me. What’s odd is that the Peppermill Lounge doesn’t mind a customer in a T-shirt, but the hats gotta come off. Go figure.
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But then the guy to my left – perhaps looking for trouble – said to me, “Has that hat been on your head?” I guessed that he was implying it shouldn’t be on the bar. But what was I supposed to do with it? Put it on the floor to be trampled? Set it on a barstool, which would prevent another customer from sitting there? So, when he asked, “Has that hat been on your head?” I replied, “Yeah. All day long.” And then I added, “In fact, it doesn’t like being left alone like that.” This made the dude laugh and that was the end of that; we got along very well from then on. I’d rather laugh than fight anyway.
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At the Peppermill, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Standing right near the lounge door was a cigarette machine, and people in the bar were . . . “smoooookin’!” I’ve never been a smoker, but after all this living in Airheadzona, it was so refreshing to be in the company of smokers again and to find cigarettes being sold from a vending machine. How “Old School” is that? A few years ago, the airhead Airheadzonans voted to ban smoking pretty much everywhere except in private homes (that’s next on the agenda). However, it’s not like we’re extremists here or anything. After all, an Arizona woman can still legally murder her unborn baby and call it “A Constitutional Right”. For crying out loud, we didn’t go off the deep end and ban that!
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No lie, I had fun at the Peppermill Lounge. It was great – people were smoking, drinking, talking, and laughing. The Black guy to my left and the blonde bartenderette were talking about deep-sea fishing. No, seriously. (Am I on Candid Camera?) And the platinum blonde to my right was… uhm… she was… hmmm. Well, it may be that I’m insane – certainly this has been suggested before on more than one occasion – but if I were a betting man (which I’m really not, despite my presence in Las Vegas), I would bet that the platinum blonde to my right was trying to pick me up. And this despite my recent ultra-short “skeetch” haircut. I mean, I acknowledge that I’ve been out of the hunt for a long time now, but unless I’ve forgotten EVERYTHING, by gobs, I think she was coming on to me! (Alright, where’s Allen Funt?)
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No, really, for a woman who wasn’t entertaining the thought of spending the night with me, “Platinum Blondie” (PlatBlo) was showing too much interest in what I had to say and too much interest in my Dolphins as they were losing to the Jets. But just as the Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays, I don’t partake of female flesh on Sundays. I had my spiritual beliefs to think of, and I hadn’t come to Vegas to be “losing my religion” (not to mention losing my virginity!) I remember how Mick told Rock that “Women weaken legs”, and besides, this platinum blonde (PlatBlo) - although very nice and not bad looking - was too old for me. That’s not to say she was older than I am (she wasn’t), but just the fact that she was being served at the bar meant she was older than 20, and I’m targeting the 18 to 20 age range, which I find less intimidatin’.
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At the lounge, while we watched music videos on the TV screen behind the bar, the Black fisherman (who was going to feel sick as a dog tomorrow, but who was certainly enjoying tonight), the blonde fisherwoman mixologist, PlatBlo and I, found our conversation turning to Donny & Marie Osmond, David and Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett and Rex Smith. Fisherwoman said that when she was young, she had a crush on Donny Osmond and Lou Rawls (sure, I get that; they’re so much alike), and son-of-a-gun if ten minutes later a Lou Rawls music video didn’t play. (An hour later, when I walked back into Circus-Circus, I would hear Lou Rawls singing “You’re gonna miss my lovin’” through the casino’s sound system. When you have a bunch of coincidences related to Lou Rawls occurring over a short span of time like that, I think it’s called “Synchronsoulcity”.) But anyway, I loved the Peppermill Fireside Lounge and knew that I would return before this trip was over.
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Out on Las Vegas Boulevard, all these scroungy illegal aliens were passing out picture cards advertising strip joints and call girls. Here’s a two-sided card that wound up in my hand:
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I put on my Brut deoderant and spent the rest of the time that I was in Las Vegas lookin’ for Marla and Lizzy, but evidently they had both left town. The word on The Strip was that they’d gone to Hollywood to become great actresses. Personally, I’d recommend to them The Stanislavski Method – that, a push-up bra, and a tight sweater should make first-rate actresses out of them.
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Later that night, I decided to hit the Sahara Casino, but on my way there, I stopped in at a gift shop. At the Bonanza Gift Shop (think: “My bisexual lover went to Las Vegas and all I got was this lousy T-shirt and a sexually transmitted disease.”), I happened to see a magnet that not only appealed to me but also made me think of my good friend The Flying Aardvark. I bought one for each of us.
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At the cash register, this wonderful old woman (at least in her 70s), looking at the magnets as she rang up my purchases, said to me, “What does this mean?”
I replied, “Well, it’s a famous painting.”
She said, “Yeah, I know that, but what does it mean?”
I laughed and answered, “I don’t really know. I think it just means that life has got you down and you’ve lost your mind.”
And she responded, “I know exactly what you mean… but hang in there. Don’t let life get the best of you - you’ll make it!”
She was the sweetest person I met in Las Vegas. In fact, I think she may have been an angel in disguise. God sometimes sends angels to me with messages from Heaven, and my angels always adopt the human female form (but never hot females in “little black dresses”… damn it!)
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From there, I walked across the street to the Sahara and dinked around for half an hour. When I exited the Sahara Casino, I found myself on some dark and empty backstreet, so I just started walkin’, and right on cue, here comes the beefy dreadlocks dude walking toward me from out of the shadows. I deliberately locked my eyes on his and stared him down with that look that says, “I’m from the mean streets of Bel Air and I have rough lawyers and tough judges in my hip pocket, so don’t you mess with me!” And dreadlocks dude . . . he didn’t even ask. Just walked right on by. Forget the imaginary lawyers and judges, that dreadlocks dude wouldn’t have messed with me anyway because I’m built like Serena Williams and I’m twice as Black. (Heck, I ain’t never held a tennis racket in my whole life!)
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Back in my 29th-floor room at Circus-Circus, I prepared to hit the sack. I’m a seasoned traveler and I know to pack earplugs for a quiet night’s sleep (don’t want my own snoring waking me up) and a safety pin to seal the drapes and prevent sunbeams from seeping into my room in the morning and making me conscious before the breakfast buffet has turned into the lunch buffet. When I go to bed, I want it to be soundless, lightless, and sobriety-free. And it was. It was PlatBlo-free, too, I swear it!
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Continued in Part 2
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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6 comments:

Mr. Sheboyganboy said...

HA!

My friend Woody goes one "F##k" further. He is famous (in these parts) for saying "F##k you, you f##king f##k-f##k!"

That's four, and sounds funny as h##l when he says it.

One to part two!

Paul

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

MR. SHEBOYGANBOY SIX ~

>>the all-time record of three “f##k”s in a single sensible sentence, set by Joe Pesci...

Well, I think the active word here is "sensible". I'm not sure if one can really, truly go to four, five, or more "f##ks" and still have a sentence that makes absolutely perfect sense.

Every one of Joe Pesci's f##ks actually means something. Otherwise, what's preventing someone from adding yet one more f##k and topping Woody but without really adding any additional meaning to the sentence? Such as: "F##k you, you f##kin' f##k-f##k-f##k!"

I wouldn't be belaboring this point if wasn't so f##kin' important.
;o)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

POSTSCRIPT: That picture I took of the book-readin' girl - does she look to you like her name might have been Emily?

Mr. CurseBoy said...

You are right: going any more than four makes no sense, and four only makes sense as sort of a Pythonesque, over-the-top, Dumb and Dumber(er) sort of humor. A hyphenated Four is funny. Five is "whaaaa?"

I almost said that the girl looked like Emily! You had another chance, Bro, and you missed it!!!!

F##K, you f##king f##k-f##k-f##k!

(See: not funny.)

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Actually, it WAS funny, particularly considering the context in which it was delivered. If that wasn't funny, then why did I laugh when I read it? Hmmm? Riddle me that, you f##kin' f##k!
:o)

Sheesh! We're terrible. Just f##kin' terrible!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground F##ker'

Pooh Lynth said...

Good writin and sounds like a great roadtrip.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

POOOOOOOOH...!
Whoooooooo you callin' a drunk?!

Nah, how could it have been a good roadtrip when . . . you weren't there, punk!

~ McRoadhog Dogg