Friday, November 02, 2007

Viva Las Vegas: the finale

On Friday morning, I woke up with a nasty migraine, which only happens two or three times a year. Generally, the only thing that helps is making myself puke, which I can do without sticking anything down my throat (America’s got talent!), so I fumbled my way to the toilet and let ‘er rip. Afterwards, I still had a headache, but it wasn’t nearly as bad. I brushed my teeth, showered, coated myself with sunscreen, and headed down to the gift shop to buy a big bottle of water and a packet of Advil, which killed off the remaining owie in my head. Then I walked across the street and met up with Susan and Gunny, and we took off for our day’s adventure.

Our first stop was Jack in the Box for breakfast, and then we drove to the Valley of Fire state park. Showing is probably better than telling in this instance, so peep these pics. Unfortunately, they don't really do the area justice; those rocks really were red!

(That last picture shows some of the ancient petroglyphs in the area.)

When we got back to Vegas, I suggested that we go see the Bodies exhibit at the Tropicana. I’ve been wanting to see this ever since I first read about it in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006 earlier this year. It’s a collection of real human specimens dissected and posed so that you can see the workings of the human body up close and personal. I know it sounds morbid, but it was actually really fascinating.

One thing did piss me off, though. There was a big sign saying “These specimens have been treated with the respect they so greatly deserve.” Okay, that was true…until you got to the gift store. There, you could get a picture of yourself with one of the bodies in the background, or eyeball keychains, or a Bodies mousepad. I don’t think these people donated their bodies to this exhibit so they could serve as a macabre prop in a tourist’s souvenir photo.

Anyway, after the exhibit, we decided to part ways for a couple of hours and meet up again for dinner. I went back to my hotel room and curled up for a nap. When my cell phone alarm went off, I took a quick shower, and as I was drying off afterward, my phone rang. It was Spock, and the first thing he said was, “You got me into so much trouble at work today!”

“What? How?”

“Because I was reading your entry about the silverfish, and I started laughing really hard. Well, it turns out the guy next to me was telling someone about some medical problems he’d been having, and since it was obvious that I wasn’t on the phone, he thought I was laughing at him! I had to go up to him later and say, ‘I swear I wasn’t laughing at your diverticulitis.’”

Anyway, he said he wouldn’t be joining us for dinner, but asked if he could meet up with us later and bring his friend Stuart. I said sure, and after I hung up, I finished drying off, got dressed, and walked over to the MGM Grand to join up with Susan and Gunny. After debating our dinner options, we decided on Fiamma. When we walked in, I was worried that I was severely underdressed, but they seated us anyway and we immediately tucked into the bread basket. When the rolls had been decimated, Susan shook the basket in Gunny’s face and demanded, “More. Make more.” Gunny flagged down our waiter and asked for another basket.

I like a guy who understands the importance of carbs.

But how was the food, you ask?




I had roasted organic chicken with creamy polenta and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus. I can’t vouch for the latter item myself; being loath to consume anything green that isn’t a Skittle or an M&M, I passed that on to Susan and Gunny, who said it was excellent. But the chicken was yummy, Susan seemed to enjoy her scallops, and Gunny loved his steak so much that he asked the waiter to pass his compliments to the chef. We were all pretty full after the plates were cleared, but Susan and I are total dessert junkies, and after careful scrutiny of the menu, we both chose the same thing.

According to Fiamma’s website, the dessert in question is called Caramello di Noce.

According to ME, it should be called Happy Fun Fun Delicious Orgasm Heaven Tart.

Salted caramel, caramelized walnuts, Valhrona chocolate ganache, and a scoop of sweet cream gelato.

There were noises coming from our table that wouldn’t have been out of place in a porn film. I made LOVE to that fucking dessert. It’s probably one of the five best desserts I’ve ever had in my freakin’ life, and you know I don’t joke ‘bout no dessert. Truly first-rate.

After dinner, so sated we were practically purring, we met up with Spock and his friend Stuart in the MGM lobby. Spock made introductions, and then we decided to walk down the Strip and see what caught our fancy. Gunny was several steps ahead of us when a porn peddler said, “Come on, don’t any of you like girls?” Spock laughed and called back, “Uh, no!”

I can’t remember what in the world we were talking about at the time, but I made a joke about “gapes”. Spock said, “What the hell is a gape?”

“It’s a shot in porno flicks where the camera zooms in on a gaping asshole directly after penetration,” I said cheerfully.

Everyone stopped dead in their tracks.

“Why the hell do you KNOW that?” Spock said.

“I dunno, read it online somewhere,” I said. “There’s a popular series devoted to the topic called Planet of the Gapes.”

It took several minutes before we could stop laughing long enough to continue on our way.

Anyway, the rest of our evening consisted of drinks, gambling, and lots of wonderful conversation. In the middle of Billy’s Casino, I asked Spock to tell the infamous “Gomer” story.

“Pleeeeeeeease,” I begged, wringing my hands. “Nobody can tell it like you!”

(Note: this story will lost a LOT in the retelling, because Gomer---a pseudonym, by the way---had a really heavy Texas accent. Never having met Gomer, I can’t attest to the accuracy of Spock’s imitation, but it’s funny as hell either way. I’m assuming it’s pretty accurate, since Spock does terrific impressions. I still remember his Ethel Merman impression back when we were teenagers...and yet I was stunned when he came out of the closet, go figure. I think my gaydar needed a tune-up. Anyway, I’ll try to spell the funnier words phonetically.)

“Okay, fine,” he relented. “I was at a mall with my then-boyfriend Gomer, and he excused himself to use the bathroom in Sears. When he came back, he was really pale and said, ‘Mah gawd, that bathroom was disgustin’! There was shit all over the WALLS! It was lahk someone just…just spread their AYUSCHAIKS and let flah!’ I said yes, that was gross, and we continued. But he seriously would not fucking shut UP about it! Ten minutes would go by and he’d say, ‘I mean, what would possess someone to just…just back up in a public bathroom and SPRAY shit all over the walls?’”

By now, we were all clutching our sides, and Spock continued. “I thought I was safe after a half-hour, but no, right next to people who were fucking eating, he starts up again. ‘Lahk…lahk they spread their AYUSCHAIKS…”

Affecting a really bad accent, I said, “It was lahk Hershey bars in a woodchipper! It was lahk beef stroganoff in a paint sprayer! It was lahk POOCASSO in there! Lahk Jackson POO-LOCK!”

Okay, I’m really a 12-year-old boy in a 36-year-old woman’s body.

Finally, sadly, it was time to say goodbye to everyone. I hugged Susan and Gunny goodbye and extracted promises that it wouldn’t be another three years before I saw them again. Then Spock and Stuart escorted me back to my hotel, where I hugged Spock and blubbered, “I love you so much!”


I went to bed around 2:30AM and woke up at 7. That was fun! But at least my trip back to California was about as smooth as it gets. The flight was short, I managed to get on the flyaway bus literally minutes after getting to the curb, and the drive home from Van Nuys was uneventful. And the timing of my trip was perfect, too; I had three days in Vegas (which is pretty much my limit; after that it gets kind of depressing, and much harder to resist the slot machines), followed by a full weekend with G, and then a day off to run errands and log some reading and TV time sprawled out on Big Brown.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. I got to spend time with terrific friends, consume chocolate-covered bacon, watch half-naked acrobats, eat one of the best desserts I’ve ever had in my life, visit the Neon Museum, see ancient petroglyphs, watch a drunk chick in a skimpy referee costume flash her panties to everyone who walked by, and see dead bodies in a non-criminal setting. And, bonus, I may not have won a ton of money, but when you subtract what I lost from what I won, I only lost about $25 to one-armed bandits.

Vegas, you beautiful, greedy whore, how I love you. I'll see you again, I promise. Keep the (neon) lights on for me.