Tuesday, September 20, 2016


The first time I ever told my mom to shut the fuck up I felt like a 5 year old who prematurely let go of a balloon, wishing that I could grab that string and pull it back, but I never caught that string, watching it float away helplessly. Once that barrier is broken, there's no turning back. The relationship was instantly changed forever, and when we looked into each other, it was as different people than before.


              My mom called out to me from her bedroom. This was where she spent most of her time for the past few years. She rested comfortably on her bed, watching ridiculous court television shows and petting our dog, who seemed to be the only one in the family who wanted anything to do with her anymore. That may sound pretty harsh to say, but when your mother, the person responsible for teaching you all of your morals and basically one of your models of perfection, lies to your face enough times, you become desensitized to a lot. When you’ve seen this same godlike person stumbling around the kitchen in a drug-induced stupor enough times, nothing seems too harsh to say.

                  My father was busy working all of the time since my mom had been out of work. Besides that, trying to get him to talk about his feelings was about as practical as trying to get a dog to ride one of those Segways that you constantly see douchebags and yuppies riding.
And at 18 years old, I knew everything about everything. I blamed her for it all. It was her lack of self-control that lead her down this path, not the fault of the drugs or even the doctors who prescribed them. It wasn't her friends' fault who would get her the drugs secondhand and were never looking out for her best interests. It wasn't that the nature of her job as a cocktail waitress kept her in pain all of the time, which was what initially got her the prescription. The very same job she kept for all those years to provide food for me and put me through music lessons. In my mind none of that had anything to do with her affliction, and I despised her lack of self-control, promising myself I would never let that happen to me.
I was busy finishing up my latest blog entry. At the time I thought I was doing something artistic, or at least prolific. I was really just hoping to impress my friends in a roundabout way. Validation was my drug. I needed it just like my mom needed pills, and a lot of what I did up to that point in my life was an attempt to get it. My attempts at brilliance usually ended up looking more like an amalgamation of clich├ęs and emo garbage. I wanted desperately to sound clever and sophisticated.
April 2008,

I killed a man today.

The execution was perfect. Every minute detail of this murder was planned and executed accordingly with meticulous attention and care. There was no trail of blood left behind his lifeless body to leave a trace. No hair follicles nor fingerprints for police to scrutinize. Not even the scent of the victim was left behind. Nothing.

His remains are gone. There is nothing left of him. His family will not miss him. His friends will not find him. Scientists will tell you that matter can not be created nor destroyed, it can only be changed into other forms of matter. I dare scientists to attempt to find any hint of this man’s matter. With proper planning, science can be defied too. This man will only exist in memories and pictures. But with time, those will be gone too.

I killed a man today, and he had it coming.

I suppose you would like to know why I killed this man. Such a heartless act, and here I flaunt it with pride. However, I believe if you knew the all-encompassing story, my side and his side included, you might find that I am justified in my actions.

This man has spent his whole life tormenting me. He has done everything in his individual power to tatter my life with a sick sense of well-being. He has attacked me mentally, physically, and emotionally. It is because of him that I lose sleep at night. It is because of him that I am not where I want to be, achieving what I set out to achieve. I have persisted against him for years, but he is just as relentless as ever.

He is the nucleus of my problems. Well, he was. He poked at my insecurities until I believed his every thought. He conned me in the realest sense of the word. I became nothing but a puppet for his demented games. He carelessly tossed me around by the strings and I’ve still got wounds to this day. He wanted nothing more than to see me fail.

Maybe this is what he wanted all along. His life was agonizing; he needed a way out. Perhaps he knew with his dark spirit that eventually I would be capable and willing to set him free. His duty was to test me and ruin me, and he was not pleased about it. He realized that after eighteen long years, I wasn’t going to give up.

The closer I came to killing him, the more he pushed. Maybe there’s a person like this inside of all of us. A fraction of yourself that is specifically designed to test you. You’ve felt their presence your whole life. The reason you never stick to a regimen or follow your dreams. The reason you trudge along at a job you hate 8 hours a day for the next 40 years of your life. The reason you stick with every bad decision you’ve made and never seem to come across good ones. The anti-instinct. The path to unhappiness. This person inside you stands against everything you’ve ever believed in.

I killed myself today, and I’ve never felt more alive.

            My friends were going to lose their shit over that mess of blubbering incompetence. My writing was always about a change of some kind; a drastic change in my life that I kept hoping would come soon, but never did just naturally happen.
“I’m coming, hold on.”
If the years of listening to anti-establishment stand-up comedians like Henry Rollins, Bill Hicks, or George Carlin didn't completely tarnish my belief in most conventional wisdom, it was my mom who was responsible. I hated every single doctor she had ever seen, without ever knowing them. Prescription drugs became the devil to me, along with the doctors who irresponsibly peddled them to pay for their next trip to Rio Fucking De Janeiro at my mom's expense.

"I'm coming, hold on."
I finally responded, with a prepared, yet undeniably annoyed tone in my voice. I knew what was coming next, the guilt trip. 'Why don't you come talk to me more often Michael?' or 'Don't you still love me Michael?' Meh. I would never have the balls to tell her that I may be undecided on that second one. Instead I kept to myself in my bedroom, the only place where I really felt comfortable anymore. I was already an introvert by nature, and this ongoing saga only helped push me in that direction more.

I stayed in my room, and I kept myself distracted.

At 18 years old, distractions are at a premium. My favorite one was the girlfriend I'd had who was way too pretty, cool, and just about everything else for me. And I spent a lot of time taking advantage of that distraction, the neighbors could attest to that. They heard everything. I've always thought of myself as an average looking guy. If looks could kill, my looks would just bruise. Five foot eleven, medium build, with brown hair. I would've been a perfect model for one of those Back to School ads had I not just had my braces removed and been afraid to smile without my mouth closed. This girl was starting to bring me out of my shell though, and a lot of things I'd held back were suddenly bubbling to the surface, about to hit a rolling boil. I could feel that the tension surrounding my mom and I was about to hit a high point and maybe result in a complete falling-out or something equally irreparable.

I minimized whatever filth I was currently into on the computer and left my sanctuary. I put on a walk and emitted a general aura that getting up to talk to her was quite the energy draining task, if not the most annoying thing I had to do all day. My hope was that this would eventually stop the constant bickering and requesting of menial tasks, but her resolve was strong. Which is to say, she could give a shit less how I felt about it.

I made my way to her room, or her cell as it seemed, imprisoned by sheriff Xanax. The first thing I noticed in the room was the Gazelle Freestyle leaning on the wall, one of those elliptical training machines that got about as much use as good judgement at a metal concert. If this machine was to imitate the grace and beauty of a gazelle, it certainly looked like one that had been shot and mounted on the wall, drained of its essence. She laid under the covers almost all of the time, these poor covers that have taken the abuse of so many cigarettes burned into them while my mother fell asleep with one carelessly planted in her mouth. She wasted more cigarettes this way than a villain in a movie wastes bullets. The first few times I came across her sleeping with a cigarette in her mouth I woke her up and chastised her as well as a teenager can to a parent. After that, I figured she would learn after burning herself enough times.

Her room was a mess. There was this random pink chair in the far corner, covered in probably a year's worth of little white dog hairs. I can't exactly say the the pink chair matched the forest green carpet, or the off-white comforter stained yellowish from random foods with little black rimmed circles from cigarettes that the designer certainly did not have in mind when they embroidered the nice flowery pattern onto it. But the chair was just as much a staple of the room as everything else. Nothing changed other than wearing down rapidly.

It was interesting watching her bedroom deteriorate at the same time as her body and mind. The floor probably got vacuumed once every five months, and that was only when I had gotten disgusted enough to do it for her. My dad slept on the couch, every night. He told me it was because the bed hurt his back. He must've thought I was fucking clueless. I don't blame him, I would have slept on the couch too. Except it would've been a couch in a different house. But he was a lot stronger than me.

The small lamp was there to do the sun's job and keep the room light, as any natural light had not been able to get around the blinds for months. The dusty television was playing some Judge Joe Brown, and two giant neanderthals were bickering about how one of them was too violent while injecting the other one with steroids and that the fight that ensued was in self-defense rather than a blatant assault. I wondered if they had a special breeding ground for people this stupid.


My mom shouted my name again, and instantly I was in distress. I was standing right there in front of her, wearing the same basketball shorts and t-shirt I always wore and looking as recognizable as ever, yet she was calling out to me as if I was still in my bedroom, or even in some other distant place.
"What mom? I'm right here," I answered, trying to remain calm.
"Michael, grab your sled."
What? Utter confusion is the only way to describe what I felt at this point.
"Grab my sled?"
"Yeah, I want you to go down the hill with me. It's our turn."
"Mom, we're in your bedroom. I don't even own a sled. Did you take your pills without eating again? How many times do we have to do this?" I swiftly dealt the blow, making sure she knew I wasn't going to let her off easily.
"Oh," she sighed. Apparently I wasn't the only one who was confused.

"I thought we were at the mountains."

I was one or two fights away from being completely done with this battle. How could she think she was at the mountains? There were beads of sweat on her forehead, most likely from laying under the covers in the middle of the day in Las Vegas heat. Her thin, sticky hair that hadn't been washed in a few days showed the evidence too. I thought of days past where she took care of herself, her hair beautifully crafted and her bedroom a blueprint for a clean and neat room. I had seen her fumble words before, and barely be able to keep her balance, but this was something completely different. She seemed perfectly coherent, yet it was as if we were two people occupying the same physical space, but we were in two different worlds.
"Are the people from the internet here yet?"

I inched closer, trying to see what was going on. She never looked at me, just kind of staring off as if she was watching something happen. All the anger, annoyance, and everything else went away. The only feeling I had now was one of fear. Deep, survivalistic fear. It was clear what was happening to my mom at this point. She was hallucinating. Something must have finally convinced her to quit taking those pills, and the drugs were fighting back.

"What people from the internet?" I tried to have a conversation with her, maybe bring her back to reality. I thought maybe logical talking could somehow bring her back to the real world. For her the hallucination was very real.  

"The people that are coming to get Daddy, are they here yet?"

When you hallucinate, there is no filter discerning what you should and shouldn't talk about. All of those deep seeded fears will come up along with other random fantasies and memories. Fear of computers is pretty common in older people. My mother was old when she had me, so she was already in her fifties by the time I was a teenager. My dad had gotten into technology and the internet, but it was something that completely baffled and apparently scared my mom.

I shook her a bit, trying to wake her up from the daze she was in. It seemed as if she could hear me, but couldn't see me or feel me. I shook her a bit and finally her eyes locked with mine. They were glazed over and seemed to lack the vibrant greens they once had. I looked at her and saw a confused and scared woman, unsure of what was happening to her.

My fear grew immensely. The first thought that immediately came to mind was 'what if this kills her?' Suddenly this relationship that I thought had been frazzled to the very core was strong. Strong enough to give my stomach fits and cause my palms to sweat. I looked her straight in the eye and said something I had meant more than anything I had ever said before. I meant it more than every time I told my girlfriend I loved her. I meant it more than every time I told my teachers I promised I would start doing my homework because I was better than I gave myself credit for, and more especially more than every time I
told myself I hated her.

"Everything is going to be okay. I'll figure this out. I'm here for you. Just stay awake mom, I love you."

She didn't say anything for a few seconds. My damp hands rested still on her shoulders. I wondered how to fix this, how I could help. I had done enough reading on the subject to know that if hallucinations are serious, they can cause serious damage and sometimes result in death. She probably needed a hospital, and strict doctor's attention. But instead she suffered in her cell. She finally looked up at me.

"Michael, where is your jacket? It's freezing out here."

Monday, January 11, 2016

Walking the tight-rope


Sometimes when I write, I find it difficult not to do it without being cynical and self-defeating. It’s almost akin to walking a tightrope.

                He ascended onto the high-wire, his feet tripled its girth. His balance stick waved to and fro, bending with the wind like an overloaded barbell. He tried not to look down, but became consumed with the thought. Not the thought of dying, but of looking down to see just how deep the sky goes. How long he would have to spend cascading to his splattering doom wondering, “did I leave the crockpot on? Even if I did, those things are meant to run forever, right? If there were an electrical problem, it would just cause a short due to fancy technology and safety regulations, right? What if it’s on for several days, and the juices have all cooked out of the roast and the potatoes catch fire..” SPLAT.

                Birds didn’t even fly by, he was so high. His stomach gurgled and he regretted the handle of bourbon from the night before. Like, he would have never bet his buddies he could traverse a tight-rope if he wasn’t plowed from Jim Beam. He was a cab driver for Christ’s sake. Even worse, he would have never eaten all of those greasy tacos in a drunken stupor, which is also pretty bad for your health. He worried that an El Nino fart brewing from bourbon and tacos would be just the gust of wind to undo his equilibrium and send him bobbing for concrete.

                “Get yourself together,” he confided in himself, “this is exactly like that time you thought you couldn’t stay awake through another episode of MasterChef, but you did it, damnit. And that Indian vegan chick cooked a perfect medium rare filet, and it was a beautiful moment. This will be your vegan filet.”

                He neared the half-way point, his knees shook like a white NBA player being chased down on a fast break. He thought about all of the good things in life he would never get to do again if he died, like shining laser pens at oncoming drivers on the freeway, or dipping French fries into milkshakes, cause it’s so wrong that it’s right. Oh how he would miss the euphoria of executing a perfect handshake with a black guy, the rare and momentous highlight of some truly memorable days.

                As he continued he had a slight hitch, and the two people watching let out a barely audible groan, because nobody knows or cares when a cab driver decides to walk a tight-rope. I mean, he announced it on Twiter, but he only had 12 followers despite a ton of witty and controversial posts. Mostly memes. Even most of his friends who dared him to do this didn’t show up because they couldn’t call out of work. He considered his legacy. He would forever be known as an honorable gentleman who didn’t back down from a bet. Like the time he did the cinnamon challenge, and threw up profusely. Or the time his buddy bet he wouldn’t ask a girl if she liked cider, and when she said yes, he said “what about dickincider?” and she punched him square in the nose because even girls train in mixed martial arts now. He started to notice a pattern and his fright began to overtake him. What about his newborn child, growing up without a father? Then he realized it was better than his son growing up with a fraidy cat for a father.

                And just then, as the sun shined in his eyes, he had an epiphany. The rope was just a metaphor for the fear that had held him back his whole life. If it wasn’t for that fear, he would’ve quit his job and became a musician just like he had always dreamed. He would’ve went to the gym and gotten ripped instead of growing soft and doughy on the couch. He could have the life of his dreams, and it was the fear of failure that was stopping him. And then his knee gave out and he fell, realizing that not everything is a metaphor with a deeper meaning you self-indulgent, pretentious dummy.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Feeling sad from a break up? Steak up.

Don't know what to do when you wake up? Steak. Up.

Amount of time spent listening to Drake up? Steak up.

You might be asking yourself: why would he put a picture with vegetables in this clearly steak-biased piece? Doesn't he have the whole world of Google Images at his fingertips and the ability to hand-pick one of six billion pictures of steak available? If you noticed the vegetables, you definitely need to steak upBrussels-sprout a pair, buddy.

            I found myself flummoxed recently. Broken hearted and moping around, I was weak, bereft of all of the power I once felt. My world lacked contrast and seemed to be a collection of grey hues and rain clouds. And then, as if delivered from the dream gods, I woke up and the solution was sizzling on the edge of my tongue. It's not every day that a man comes up with an idea that could change the world. Much less one that is delivered through whatever recent dream-god-technology is out there without any previous prayers or even acknowledging of the existence of said gods. But let us not make this all about them, for they are humble gods, and I'm from a generation of entitlement.

       I got in my car one morning, drove to the store and picked up a pair of Rib-eyes. I slapped them on the cutting board and as I applied the kosher salt and cracked black pepper, I felt a change in my demeanor. By the time the grill had been sufficiently heated I already felt my moribund day reviving.

Did you know that 93% of people aren't getting enough steak in their diets?1 I could just point out with anecdotal evidence how awesome steak made me feel and offer up testimonial after testimonial of proud steak eaters, but that would just be too easy. And my friends are taking their sweet time writing fake testimonials. Lazy writers.

Protein. You may have heard of it. Protein is responsible for things like preserving muscle tissue, supporting brain function, providing energy, and boosting your immune system. Another interesting thing about high protein foods is that they increase satiety and decrease appetite. In short, they satisfy you. But if things like cell growth and repair aren't important enough to you, steak offers other benefits.

Steak is a great source of: phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12, zinc, iron, niacin, vitamin B6(yes, that's ANOTHER B vitamin), and riboflavin. Steak is also a great source of saturated fat, which has a bad reputation but current science shows is actually good for you.

                                      Practical Application

 I know this is somewhat mind blowing due its simplicity and you’re wondering how to get started. Rather than bore you with a bunch of statistics I made up, I'm going to show you how to employ the philosophy in your own life. Don’t hold off, there’s time to make up. Steak up. Here’s some sample scenarios in which steaking-up can help you.

Problem 1: You’re attempting to get re-elected as the President of the United States. In your first political debate against your opponent, you come out looking soft. Your opponent uses half-truths and some solid tip-toeing around questions to win the debate in the eyes of the public. Your supporting group of democrats start losing faith, the country is at risk of handing the reins to a Mormon. Time to steak up.

Recommend dosage:

One steak chili sourdough bowl from Claim Jumper. Note the way the steak is overflowing from the edible bowl. When you're trying to figure out how much steak to eat, some key words are: overflowing, gluttonous, retarded, or Herculean amounts.

Problem 2: You’re watching Netflix with your boyfriend and he gets a text message. You want to look, but you don’t want to seem jealous. You ask who it is and he says, “oh just a friend.” He announces that he has to “use the restroom” because after two years together he still doesn’t feel comfortable telling you that he’s got to take a shit. You see his phone sitting on the night stand and don’t know what to do. There’s potentially a bitch out there trying to step on your territory.

Recommended Dosage:

5 oz. bacon wrapped filet. That’s right, ladies can steak up too. Jealousy doesn’t look good on anyone. Chances are you know whether your man is cheating on you or not. Imagine if Miles Davis was looking down from heaven on your every move and saw you looking like a sneak trying to check your boyfriend’s texts? You don’t want to disappoint Miles Davis, do you? Eat your filet and search your own heart for the answers. And if he’s cheating on you, use those protein filled muscles to punch him in the dick.

Problem 3: You’re heart broken. You’ve been left in the cold by a girl you thought was the one. You’ve begged and pleaded for her to take you back, promising you’ll conform to whatever would make her happy. You tell her you’ll even stop watching football with the boys and drinking so much. She doesn’t waver, so you go to the last resort, the mix tape. The first song you put on there is “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. The next is “Hey there Delilah” by the Plain White T’s.

Recommended Dosage:

Prime rib. As much of it as you can eat. Listen buddy, she doesn’t want to be with you anymore. Chances are if you somehow manage to get her to stay with you for a couple more months, she’s going to be having sex with the guy she really wants to be having sex with anyways. It’s time to realign your steak chakras and get back out there. Do something amazing. Don’t even worry about getting a new girl, just work on your steak intake as well as time management and following your passion.

As evidenced here, there are many varieties of steak and various uses for them all. It doesn’t take an expert to diagnose and prescribe, it’s a trial and error process. But I am here for questions. This is merely an introduction into the philosophy that changed my life, and could change yours too.

                   Coming Soon: The Steak Scale.
1) lol

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Experience Pt.3

This is part of a fictional series of stories based on stuff that I've seen working on Fremont Street. Just think of it like that guy who wrote all those memoirs and got exposed and had to apologize on Oprah, except I'm telling you that it's bullshit at the beginning. I embellished

 “Climb with me to the highest conceivable pillars ladies and gentleman. It is time that we rise above this bureaucratic malarkey and embrace the human spirit for what it is. Kindness, passion, love, all subverted by the need for material possessions.” A man preached under the thousands of flashing bulbs outside of the Golden Nugget. The sweat trickled down his dark shiny skin and he lifted his tweed jacket to wipe it.

“It is time for the end of capitalism,” he said. The midget Elvis impersonator next to him strummed an air guitar and danced.

“It's time for the end of war... of nationalism... we must unite as one entity. We have the resources to ensure that nobody goes hungry, yet we horde them all to protect our own family and we ignore the fact that we are all brothers. We are all part of this super-organism that is the earth. Merely collections of cells built to work symbiotically for the greater good, but we have been distracted. Oh how we have been distracted.”

I stood against a pillar watching the old man attempt to save society one drunkard at a time, occasionally his sounds were outweighed by the screaming children passing by on the zip-line. This guy didn't have the normal motives of preachers on Fremont; religious promotion(and of course donations). His legitimacy intrigued me. Any minute now he was going to pull out a jingling cup of change.

“Quit your useless job today. Create something. Love somebody. Go somewhere. Love everybody,” he said with a smile, his rage calming into happiness.

“Can I get a picture with you?” a young girl wielding a three-foot long alcoholic beverage asked.

“A picture?”

“Yeah.” She put her arm around him. He faked a smile and she threw up a crooked peace sign. She pulled two dollars out of her bra and handed it to him.

“No, I don't want your,” he started to try to give the money back, but she had already found herself in the arms of Captain Jack Sparrow.

“Yo ho, yo ho!” they yelled together as the black man shook his head and stuffed the two dollars into his pocket.

“We are so transfixed with the idea of being comfortable that we have forgotten to strive for greatness,” he began. A horn blared as a car almost ran over a pedestrian text messaging as they crossed the street. The pedestrian didn't even look up. A chain reaction of horns ensued as the taxi drivers battled for position on the side of the street. The man watched the chaos and felt himself jarred when a security guard on a Segway bumped into him trying to get to the clueless jaywalking pedestrian. He composed himself.

“Stop giving your money to these casinos. We have become so attached to material possessions that we will risk the money we wasted our precious and limited time attaining for the small, unlikely chance that we might double up on Fremont street. Give your money to charity if you wish to unload it that bad. Donate to your child's school.” I wondered how long it would be before somebody stopped this guy, dragged him out by his arms as he preached freedom and peace.

“Who are you supposed to be?” a man with a “This Guy Needs a Beer” shirt on asked.

“Who am I supposed to be? I am you, and you are me. I am earth. I am part of one big cancerous organism and I know the cure.” he replied.

“Oh I get it, you're like...Tracy Morgan?”

“What the hell is a Tracy Morgan?” The man asked.

“That crazy actor from that show...the guy who said he would disown his kid if he were gay. Who are you then?”

“I am the man standing behind the boulder of change, pushing with all of my might and suggesting that you might help me push this boulder. Alone I can not budge it one inch, but together we could throw it through the window of our corrupt government. In a sense, yes, I am Tracy Morgan. Just like I am Alexander the Great. Genghis Khan. Their greatness is in my grasps, as well as it is in yours.”

“Well, you don't really look like Genghis Khan. Can I get a picture anyway?”

“Two dollars,” he said with a sigh.  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Experience Pt.2

 This is part of a fictional series of stories based on stuff that I've seen working on Fremont Street. Just think of it like that guy who wrote all those memoirs and got exposed and had to apologize on Oprah, except I'm telling you that it's bullshit at the beginning. I embellished. 

     Two things that should not be combined: heartbreak and swing shift. Could there be any more impetus to make terrible decisions than to be getting off work on Fremont street at two-thirty in the morning with a fresh wound and be expected to make logical choices?

         But even I wouldn't resort to a Fremont street hooker. I was sitting at the bar after my shift the other night, collecting my thoughts and to be honest a little alcohol makes it easier to sleep when you have to unwind at three in the morning. The screen in front of me was desperate for my attention, pretending to show me straight flushes or four cards to the Royal. I decided quickly I wouldn't fall in to that trap. But the free drinks make everything somewhat copasetic. A girl near me started talking to me.

       “You look young, you just start here?” she asked me. Her tiny skirt did not fit with the winter weather. It never gets unbearably cold in Vegas, but she did everything short of having Bruce Buffer announce that she was a working girl. There's little room for discretion in these matters. Or need for it, for that matter. The security guards are in on it, they have to be.

“Yeah, it's my third week.” I told her. I got a good look at her, she had light brown eyes and a great smile.

“Ah, you spend that first paycheck yet?” she asked. So blunt and quick to dip into my financial situation. I don't know if her tactics are subtle to the average drunk idiot at the bar, but they seemed pretty blatant to me. But I was bored.

“Nope, I'm pretty good with my money. Direct deposited right into the old savings account. I just try to live off of my tips and save the paychecks.”

               “You make pretty good tips? Usually the cute ones make bank.” I think the biggest difference between hookers and interaction with normal girls is that hookers like to center the conversation on you, whereas normal girls like you to ask them questions about them. Or at least this is how I felt as I sat heartbroken at the bar. Her ploy was starting to work on me. For some reason I respected her blatant honesty. We could just cut through all of the pussyfooting and tact that happens in normal courting and get down to brass tax. And it was nice having someone who wanted to talk about me.
“I do alright. Had a really good night tonight,” I fibbed a bit. I tried to do the logistics of the deal in my head. Do I get an employee discount? Maybe a non-weirdo rebate that I get back a week later? Okay, don't go down that road. Let's end this now.

“Awesome. Hey this bar is kind of cold, would you want to go somewhere else?” she asked.

“Nah, I'd better get home. Gotta go to the DMV as soon as they open tomorrow.”

“Well, everybody thinks the DMV is empty first thing in the morning, but there's always a line. It's best to go around ten after that line goes away.”

“Thanks for the tip. Have a good night,” I said. I went home and slept well that night. I went back to the bar the next night, wondering if I'd see her spitting game at some other sucker. The bartender set a napkin down in front of me.

“So what did you have to do last night that was so important?” he asked.

“Huh? I went home and crashed, why?”

“I was thinking you might have had a better excuse for turning down that girl last night than the DMV, unless you're just a pussy, which is totally cool.”

“The working girl?”

“That wasn't a working girl you idiot. I work the graveyard shift every night here, I know the hookers, and that girl is not one of them. Notice how she didn't look like a meth head.”

“Vodka tonic, please.” I folded my arms and put my head down while he squeezed the lime into my drink until it was a ball of stringy remnants curled into the fetal position.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Experience Pt.1

This is part of a fictional series of stories based on stuff that I've seen working on Fremont Street. Just think of it like that guy who wrote all those memoirs and got exposed and had to apologize on Oprah, except I'm telling you that it's bullshit at the beginning. I embellished.

I stood in the elevators with two other people cascading down the employee parking garage when one of them said, “sure is eerie riding this elevator knowing somebody jumped off the top of the garage yesterday.” The woman was in her early fifties, wearing a dealer's outfit of slacks and a vest over a button up. Her hair looked like it had been sprayed into the same mold for twenty years straight. It stood in perfect alignment like a Spartan Phalanx, or freshly mowed blades of uniform grass.

Personally, if I were to jump off a building, it would be double digits in floors. I'm just saying, seven stories sounds like if you landed the right way you might just end up disfigured for the rest of your life. I swear I've seen a television special where a girl was skydiving with a baby in her womb she didn't know about and crashed to the ground and the baby survived. I don't want to take my chances with anything less than fourteen, fifteen stories.

This was something like my second week working on Fremont. The Experience. A microcosm of tortured souls. Alcoholics, homeless, street performers, power hungry bosses, prostitutes, all lurking around every corner. Not to mention all of the inconsiderate tourists that don't look where they're walking.
As I exited the elevator I surveyed the area where the man committed suicide the day before. It didn't look clean, none of the pavement downtown looks clean. But it certainly didn't look how I expected it to look; ie blood stains, perhaps a dislodged finger that nobody bothered to pick up. The guy worked there for something like eighteen years. And that was it, even his blood stain was gone after one day. Forgotten. We can't have that kind of bloodshed on display so close to the entertainment.

I think the guy was a porter, which for those who aren't familiar with the casino terminology, is kind of like a janitor. Some tough guy has too many shots at the bar, pukes all over the floor, and who cleans it up? The bartender, right? Nope, the porter. Haven't you ever wondered what happened to all those cups you left on the floor or near a machine when you were drunk and didn't care? Some old guy making a decent wage who has been cleaning up after drunk idiots for eighteen years cleaned it up. Clearly we see where that can lead.

I had a long day at work. Dealing blackjack can be brutal. My table is near the craps tables where every five minutes or so some annoying group of girls yells, “WOOOOO!!!” Blackjack can be a very fast game where people lose a lot of money before they realize it. People are always getting angry, sometimes at each other because one guy doesn't know how to play right. And people are drunk. They think I miscount and they yell. The pit boss reviews the tape and they get a free meal even though I didn't miscount.

“Stay after for a drink?” Rick, the craps dealer asked me.
“No, I'm broke man.”

“The first one's free, you get a free post-shift drink,” he said.

That's a thing? No wonder these people get stuck here. I declined anyways, I had not adjusted to being up so late yet, and I just wanted to go to sleep. Two-thirty in the morning would eventually become the norm for me, but at this point it was foreign. At two-thirty in the morning there aren't many people left on the streets. The performers have retired their costumes for the night, and most people have either overdosed or passed out by that time. It caught me off guard when a guy asked me if I was driving home. As opposed to what? Walking?

“Yeah, I'm driving. Why?” I responded.

“Do you think I could get a ride man? I'm desperate. It's just down a few blocks, I lost my friends. I could really use some help man, please,” he said. He didn't look threatening. Smaller than me, and certainly less sober. Although I'm not sure what he was high on.

“Sure,” is what an idiot would say. And that's what I said. The guy seemed genuinely in need of help. We walked to my car and he thanked me a few times.

“Do any drugs?” he asked. Not the kind of question you normally get within the first five minutes of a conversation anywhere else.

“Not really, no. Weed sometimes. Why?”

“I think I got some at the crib I can give you for the ride. I just really appreciate it man,” he reiterated.

“I'm good man. Don't worry about it.”

He pointed me the direction to go and off we went. He looked paranoid. He grabbed his face.

“I think my jaw is broken,” he said.

“What? Seriously?”

“Me and my homie got into it with this dude over his girl. He hit me first, but we lit him up real good after that. Dude's face was messed up.”

Something I would have liked to had been informed of before I let the guy into my car. I think he was full of shit. I haven't been around too many broken jaws, but I'm pretty sure he would have been in severe pain and his speech would have been messed up. Either way, he was a dick.

“Shit. See the cop cars over by 7-11? We've got to keep driving a little bit. Go down the road a little further,” he said. Is this where I get lured into the middle of the ghetto and get robbed? I watched to make sure he wasn't itching towards some sort of weapon. I had to take control of this situation.

“Dude I'm going to throw my hat out the window,” he said.

“No, don't do that.”

“They might recognize the black hat,” he shivered out of frustration.

“It's going to look suspicious if you throw a hat out the window. You're being paranoid. Nobody's looking at my car. My shit is registered, my brake lights work, I have no warrants...just tell me where to let you out.”

“Over there I guess.”

Never again would I give somebody a ride anywhere near Fremont.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Experiencing the Animal Kingdom in Green Valley

Although we feel every malicious step the summer takes towards us, the heat has not yet arrived in full force, and the Samaritans of Las Vegas are stuck in between turning on the air conditioner, or opening windows and doors. In a household consisting of three young males, the door stays open.

There are a few things in our house that might be attractive to a stray dog; scattered Kibbles and/or Bits, a bottle of ketchup on the floor that nobody can explain, but namely my roommates’ dog Megan. Megan is a small Beagle mix with a cute face and personality. She tends to chew on shoes, but she doesn’t have the jaw strength to complete the destruction. It still seemed strange when we heard the non-threatening yelp of a miniature pinscher at our door late in the evening.

We looked at the dog as he filibustered at our door. By we I mean me, Scotty in one of his trademark pro-rap or pro-weed shirts, and Ken, probably dominating at a video game at the time. The unfortunate thing about a miniature pinscher, or a mini-pin as some lame people I have run into at the dog park refer to them as, is that they have the markings of the powerful Doberman, but none of the pinache. They’re like a little dog with a Napoleon complex, barking at things that tower over them.

We were intrigued by his brashness, although we didn’t like his manners. We stood up and he ran out into the street. We did what anybody else with nothing better to do would do, and followed him outside. Megan chased behind us to watch the scene unfold. It was clear to me that there was a connection. I suggested that the dog was here not for violence, but for reproductive purposes. The idea didn’t catch on quickly.

“I told you,” I shouted as we looked in the back yard and saw the mini-pin mounting our sweet little companion only a few minutes later. He had slipped his fragile little body through the gate and ran his game. Although the fairy tale of dog courtship is not that cut and dry. Megan was fending him off, she did not want nor need his services.

“Maybe they already finished, and she just thought it was just alright,” Scotty said, connecting the dots first. It was obvious at this point that we had to intervene. We approached it to eradicate it and the mini pin lunged at Scotty with a bark, but to no avail as he just leaned back, balling his hand into a fist in case of emergency.

We discussed what a terrible guest this little dog was. You don’t sneak into somebody’s back yard, have sex with their dog, and then threaten them. Then the dog did the unspeakable. He squatted and pooped. Things got out of hand after that. There were scuffles. Names were called. We chased him out and he retreated into the street. We went and watched television, ten minutes later we see him mounting Megan again in the back yard. We chased him back into the street. It took two or three cycles before we realized that Megan was just crawling out my bedroom window by jumping on my bed.

By this time we felt like disappointed fathers when their daughter brings home a guy who is way less than what they deserve, and despite what they tell her she just keeps seeing him because, “we’re meant to be together forever” at seventeen years old is really going to happen.

It was probably a good thing Megan had a little maturing experience, but it’s times like these that I wish my roommates had a Rottweiler for instances when mini-pins roll up trying to act like a boss so we can get some real nature in this house.