Fluctuate and vocalizate to the bounce bounce

It’s late.

Nonetheless, I feel a powerful need to continue our sordid story.

I huddle in front of my keyboard, space heater on high. Winter dawns in San Francisco, and it’s just as ruthless and spiteful as one might expect. My heater buzzes away, and in some cave somewhere little PG&E executives clap their filthy goblin hands with glee as my kilowatt hours soar. Easier to pay the electric bill than type with gloves on, so fuck it.

Where were we.



One of Chris’s brothers used whatever dark familial subterfuge was necessary to get us VIP entrance to Tangerine, Treasure Island’s response to the New Vegas Night Life. After dinner, we dispersed for drinks and grooming and various diversions. We stopped at the slots downstairs long enough to get a withered Filipino cocktail waitress to bring us a tray of complimentary Long Islands that tasted like accelerant, then retired to the rooms. After all, nobody goes out till midnight in Vegas. Everyone knows that. I shaved off my grimy Lower Haight beard and laid to rest my righteous heirloom pink floral shirt, a monstrosity that once belonged to my father and that I dearly love. Numerous phonecalls were made to numerous characters of disrepute. Across the gaudy nightscape, Mother of Pearl phones rang in tiny, brass trimmed offices; balding white men in cheap suits barked orders and signed vouchers; word spread, all in anticipation of our arrival.

First, a word about the Couevas family.

Chris is, easily, one of our more shameless and low class friends. I can say that because we’re folks, because he and I share a kind of creative malice and moral flexibility; we share a common understanding of the questionable and dangerous that the rest of the cats we run with just don’t seem to have. Probably to their credit. Knowing this, that Chris is our go-to guy when we’re planning something dubious or marginal, it should be further understood that Chris is hands down the Shining Pillar of Virtue in his family. He’s head and shoulders above his various relations in terms of class and honesty, and when Chris is your beacon of hope in a sea of malignancy and distrust, you know you’re in a bad way. So it is that Las Vegas Nevada is the perfect town for the Couevas clan, with that festering sty Orange County a close second.

Enter the Rest of the Family. Two of his brothers, and at my last count he’s got about 25, joined us in Vegas. Both of them are far seedier than Chris could ever aspire to be. Knowing what details I know about the family at large, I don’t think I’m going out on too thin a limb to assume that the cousins, in-laws, family friends, and ex-uncles on the other end of the trio of brothers’ cell phones are just as iffy. A shady town for a shady bunch.

Understand also that I am not speaking from atop my high horse. Anyone who knows me can tell you I hate horses, regardless of height. I’ll shake whatever damn hands and associate with whatever damn characters I need to if the end result is no cover charge and free booze. I don’t give a shit.

So we stood in front of Tangerine, with its long and knotted line full of frantic 21st birthday parties and desperate 29th ones, and waited. And waited. And waited.

The brothers, taking turns, spoke in hushed tones over the white courtesy phone near the cashier. Various persons came filtering in from wherever employees in Vegas filter in from, and spoke in more hushed tones to the brothers. Most of these personages were cut from the same mold; cheap, poorly cut suits, bad posture, an air of malignance and poor hygiene. Eventually, one of them led us straight to the front, however, and we were hustled in like so many Paris Hiltons. I sneered at the chumps in line, waiting with their 30 bucks in hand to get into this dump. I shoved Paul…err Hot Sauce ahead of me into the club, clapping excitedly and tossing the long line one last double flip-off before we disappeared into a sea of orange curtains and loud music. Chumps.

There’s nothing I appreciate more than a good string pull.

A club is a club. The social dynamics involved, had I the patience or the will to elaborate on them, could fill treatise after treatise. The subtleties of the modern night club are many, but I’ll try to keep this analysis brief and practical.

Tangerine: A smallish and uninspiringly decorated joint with good intentions. The architecture is such that it looks out on part of the Strip and offers outdoor access. The drinks are strong, strong enough. The music is B- / C+ grade top 40 Hip Hop. Not as good as Ra, but far superior to Rain. The crowd, the crowd was mixed. The typical roving fortresses of 21/22 year old plain, mousy Biology majors from Ohio State and Univ. of Washington, looking uncomfortable and sheepish in their unfamiliar ho-ish clothes… Groups of three to four girls pushing thirty, smiling too hard and wishing they had really gone to the gym every day for those last three weeks before their Big Girls Night Out Vegas Trip like they swore they would… Scattered remnants of bridal showers and the occasional pair or trio of high-maintenance blonds wishing they hadn’t settled and had gone to Pure instead… and dudes. Always dudes.

Let’s be honest, kids. No more kidding around. I’m gonna say what everyone’s been thinking for the last four damn years. It’s not a fluke, you didn’t go on a bad weekend, you didn’t go to the wrong club. Vegas really is a cockfest. It’s the world’s biggest sausage farm and their marketing is so good you don’t even realize it.


One positive thing about this whole knob garden situation is that you’re almost guaranteed to be some of the least scabby and nasty guys in the club. At least we are. Especially at a middle of the road joint like Tangerine. Shit I even wore a tie for Christ’s sake. 75% of the other dudes in there are A) in a frat, but not the guys in the frat that get laid all the time, just the ones that carry the kegs and throw up in their neighbor’s bushes or B) 42 year old Laotian gambling addicts from Antioch. We look damn good in a place full of guys like that. Damn good.

We did what we do at the clubs. Peter got approached by many a hopeful ‘big’ girl; Hot Sauce leered, cuz Hot Sauce leers; Chris and I spearheaded and got shot down about 75% of the time, not at all a bad percentage for those in the know. I started chatting with a girl who spilled her drink on me, ostensibly on accident.

“You know there are better ways to approach somebody than by dousing them with Cosmo.”
“Hahaha” she said. Her laugh was tinny and vacant. She was probably 27, and was an assistant manager at a Circuit City in Fresno or some shit. I disliked her instantly.
“My name’s sweet daddy and this here is Hot Sauce. I’m in to volunteer firefighting and taxidermy; he’s a Venture Capitalist and a shaman, trained in Belize.”
“Hahaha.” She offered.
“You know Trader Joe’s?” I asked.
“Hahaha what did you say I can barely hear you haha”
“YOU KNOW TRADER JOES you dumb bit…”
“Haha yeah I know Trader Joe’s why?”
“Joe is Hot Sauce’s father. He flew us out here in his P-51 Mustang for the weekend. Hot Sauce’s real name is Joe Jr. but nobody calls him that.”
“Hahaha how cool!”
“She’s all yours Paul, make it happen.”

I wandered off, leaving our dim brunette in the Hot Sauce’s tender care.

The night continued, and we did the club thing.

I sieged a wandering fortress of Japanese chicks with Chris, but their desperately averted gazes and compulsive arm locking looked unencouraging after our initial approach.

I looked around. A pair of early thirties girls danced close to Peter, conspicuously bumping him and not looking at him. I can only imagine what’s running through these girls’ minds. An aging, underpaid 31 year old from Michigan whose bitter witch of a mother won’t shut up about wanting grandkids and whose friends won’t shut up about their new Ethan Allen couch shawl and whose boss doesn’t make quite as many lewd comments as he used to, which, rather than making her feel better is actually undermining her confidence and making her wonder if she’s lost it… To girls like that, Peter looks like a glistening roast turkey must look to a starved orphan in a refugee camp in Bahrain. Six foot something of blond San Diego aryan, with a shirt that says Good Paycheck and a smile that says I’m Completely Harmless, it’s all they can do to keep their pants on in his presence. Too drunk or too honest to god harmless to care, Pete just boogies away, breaking many a weary and pathetic heart on the Tangerine dance floor. Of course then they stonewall Chris and I; they see our eyes and assume we’re just another pair of predators out to ruin your dreams and fear commitment.

I have a tendency to explain stuff. When drinking, doubly so. Especially to Paul.

“Look at them, Hot Sauce.”
“Look at who?”
“These chicks right here, undressing Pete with their eyes.”
“The plain ones?”
“The plain ones. Now Hot Sauce, if they’re plain right now, you know what that makes them in real life?”
“Ugly. Because you see Paul we’re hammered. And the way they look right now is all bad lighting and loud music. It’s all an illusion, Sauce. All of it. I’ll bet they’re beat as all hell. True Kindred Spirits.”
“We need a drink.”
“What happened to that dame I handed you earlier?”
“Beats me.”
“God dammit Sauce, I give and I give and I give…

We keep doing our thing. We pick up a couple of hangers-on, a pair of youngish girls who we establish enough familiarity with to dance with regularly. These relationships are symbiotic; guys with girls already are much more approachable and thus successful with other ladies, and in return we act as life-preservers and skeezoid deterrent, harboring them safely when some groping car salesman from Oxnard stumbles by with sin on his mind and Bacardi on his breath.

“Drink with me Chris.”
“You got it. Gimme 2 glasses of Korbel.”
“Ah, Korbel. The beer of champagnes.”
“You look like your heart’s not in this tonight Dazzle.”
“Oh my heart’s in it, as much as my heart gets in it. This crowd is just drab. Whatever, it was free. At least we got the backup pair over there.”
“The plain ones?”
“The plain ones.”
“Where to ne…”
“Fuck I hate this song, I hate this song so much. This shit is the bane of my existence. I hope Gwen Stefani gets hit by a train.”
The speakers blare, spelling bananas over and over again.
“Fuck it. Let’s go find Paul.”

The nights in Vegas clubs seem long, long and draining. Us Western wimps raised on the 2 A.M. State Mandated Club Closing Time start to drag some serious ass come 3:30. Things get dim.

“You see that girl Chris is dancing with?”
“She big.”
“Oh yeah she big.”
“She’s taller than him. Christ. They getting freaky too. Why is Chris’s brother laughing?”
“That’s his cousin.”
“His cousin?”
“His cousin came out to meet us. Now they’re dancing.”
I was mortified.
“Paul, I’m mortified.”

Eventually it was time to leave. Dawn threatened. We stumbled out to find the other Couevas brother and his buddy perched at the slot machines right at the club exit. Timmy, the 20 year old brother we had to sneak in and out of every damn place cuz he didn’t have a fucking fake ID, had been kept entertained for the last five hours by his yard long plastic tube of rum and coke. Vegas, in its wisdom, had engineered this yard long alcohol container flawlessly. Plastic and topped to prevent spillage or shattering, cuz god knows after a couple feet of rum and coke you’re gonna fall or run into something at least once. Even a neck strap, so you never even have to set the thing down. It’s one step away from an IV. He and his buddy were working the stragglers coming out of the club, hissing and yelling at everything even remotely female that spilled out from those orange curtains.

I’m not a classy gentleman by any means, but somehow sitting around like a vulture at club closing looking for that one girl whose friends ditched her and who just rolled her ankle walking in those unfamiliar and damn uncomfortable high heels, who has had too much to drink and doesn’t know where she is seems… a little wrong.

I excused myself after watching the two artists at work for fifteen minutes or so, marveling at the sheer horrible daring of the entire enterprise. Good god, fellas. Good god.

Peter and I consoled each other on a fairly unsuccessful night, commiserating and bragging and being generally exhausted and misogynistic. A typical Vegas sunrise.

By this time Chris was falling down drunk, and so by caning him with Timmy’s empty Yard-garita bottle and having Hot Sauce shove him along, we made it back to the hotel in relative safety.

The tie came off, I hit the bed, and then it all went away.

Thank god.


Next time: Saturday!

Adventure! Drama! Mystery!

Tune in next time to find out who gave Pete that nasty rash, on next week’s episode of Bachelor Party Extravaganza


You fuckers. I’m so tired.



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