By Tenzin McGrupp © 2004
It was still early in the morning for Vegas standards as we navigated through a slew of Rodeo families with small children in cowboy hats as they rambunctiously made their way to and from breakfast. I like kids, especially red neck kids. They're the cutest. However, my tolerance for little ones runs thin when I'm hungover, especially in Vegas when I have a throbbing headache similar to the feeling you'd get when you slam a car door onto your fingers. I sidestepped the wee ones like dog shit on a crowded Manhattan sidewalk. We finally made our way through the first obstacle and quickly headed towards the front door.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone stumbling through a row of nickel slot machines. Poor guy had probably stayed up all night drinking and gambling and it appeared he couldn't find his room. Just another victim of the depravity of the dark side of Vegas. I stopped for a second to get a better look at the unlucky fella. Holy shit. It was Iggy. I completely forgot he was in Vegas. Our epic meeting just nine hours earlier hadn’t been a dream, after all. In Sin City, my short term memory was as spotty as my cellphone reception.
OK, so I found an inebriated Iggy who opted for more liquor than sleep. Just as I grabbed him, I realized that the Sherwood Forest bar is packed with bloggers and King Al Cant Hang is holding court with his beautiful blonde bride... Queen EvaCanHang at his side. His merry jester BigMike kept everyone happily entertained with multiple rounds of hearty meads and ales and a smattering of his loyal soused subjects sang his praises. Iggy's liver had been hijacked by BigMike just around the time I had passed out three hours earlier. He didn't look like he was going to make it as he slumped back on a stool at the bar. Within seconds, I had a shot of SoCo in my hand. Before I could consider the circumstances, like Pavlov's frothing dog and in a worldly Zen moment, the edge of the glass automatically hit my lips as the nectar of the Gods struggled to make its way into my queasy stomach, into my reluctant liver, and into my starving soul.
It was 9:20 AM on a Saturday morning in Las Vegas. I had just inhaled a shot of SoCo with AlCantHang and BigMike before I’d even had a bite to eat or a sip of water. What a start to the day. What could I do to top that? A second shot, of course. That one went down much smoother. G-Rob was super tipsy and EvaCanHang was impressing the peanut gallery with her ability to knock back tequila at 9 AM with the same grace as Willie Mays shagging down a rope into the gap at the Polo Grounds. When Otis appeared, I thought we were going to have to call a doctor. His face was the same shade as the olive green jacket he wore.
"Otis, my man, do you need a doctor or something?" I said in my most serious tone of the entire trip.
"I thought you were one, Dr. Pauly?"
I paused and let my short term memory collect itself.
"You betcha. This doctor says you need a second opinion from Dr. Hang."
I have never lost a patient before and I would be damned if we lost Otis on the operating table. We were lingering at the bar when BigMike assured us that he was renting a stretch limo, a SUV Excursion, to whisk away to our poker tournament at Sam's Town. Ah, we were with royalty. We were hanging with rockstars. Who takes a taxi in Vegas? Peasants! That's who.
The ride was rowdy. Bad Blood had given AlCantHang a mix CD of various metal bands. The driver was blasting it for a while before I begged him to turn on the radio. Of course, he puts on a metal radio station despite Maudie’s pleas for some Frank Sinatra. At that point, when Otis looked his worst, I mentioned something to G-Rob and he admitted, "There was an 80% chance of Otis puking."
"I'll take that action!" I shouted.
I lost another side bet. Not the first and not the last. My head should be struck off with a blunt object for making foolish bets like that one. I finally caught a glimpse of Sam's Town. It looked pretty cool. As we all de-limoed, a group of young kids from a church or school group were getting onto a bus. They all stood in awe as AlCantHang exited.
"Hey what band are you in?" one of the youngsters shouted at AlCantHang.
"The AlCantHang Experience," he said as he scribbled down a few autographs. The kids thought they were meeting a rock icon.
Rockstar wasn't too much of a stretch when you’ve got long hair and stumbled out of a limo with an inebriated entourage the size of a baseball team.
Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.