With most of my outings, I end up doing simple things as only I can: Make them incredibly complicated.
Case in point: In trying to drill a hole in a tree, the bit caught and snapped my wrist back, bending it in ways that it never should have been. My yelp of pain sounded remarkably like “Brother trucker”, as I loudly voiced my displeasure for all the neighborhood to hear. And I got to wear a wrist brace for the end result.
One of my old buddies from Midway had come into town, so Heath and I caught up and joked about “the old days”, and discussed “life” over lunch, the others that made up our group, and what they are doing now. “You know, after all these years, we still like the same things as we did back then”, Heath noted. “I guess you really can’t change who you are after all, when it comes down to it”, I noted, chuckling that yes, the core personalities of each of us hasn’t changed. Life has given and taken away for all of us, but who we were is who we’ve remained.
That was put to the test when we went to the Insert Coin(s), and for old times sake, played Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Those competitions were usually intense, and lasted hours, resulting in doing everything we could to beat each other, from hanging upside down off the arcade cabinet, to using steering wheel controllers to win console matches. “Come on, you used to give me quite the run for my money”, I snarked as I pound Heath’s Scorpion into oblivion with my Sonya Blade. “I don’t play video games like I used to”, Heath replied, though he finally bested me on Mortal Kombat II. The whole affair felt strangely… satisfying.
After dropping Heath back at his hotel, I went to a Yelp event, and then met my other friend, Geoffrey, who also made an impromptu trip into town. In trying to find the doorway to this dive bar, I think I stumbled into some sort of swingers club…. And I was the only white dude there. After realizing this, I smiled broadly, and excused myself graciously, while keeping my back to the wall, as I was in uncharted territory. “Have a great night, everyone”, I waved, as I sidestepped out the door and back into the real world.
And then I had a beer.
At home, I had to get the house ready as my sister was finally coming into town, so that meant cleaning the house, the yard….
And freeing Junie from under the storage shed.
She had gotten in her mind that she wanted to explore under the shed, and consequently stuck, leaving only her nose and her eye free.
So I had to grab the shovel and began to dig. And dig and dig. Bear in mind that my right hand still hadn’t healed, so this process was excruciating to me. Finally after digging, I hit solid ground with a “thud”, as said ground was now concrete. So I had to start chiseling Junie out. Finally, I made enough of a hole where Junie could poke through, and like the story of “Baby Jessica” from 1980′s era Texas, I pulled my dog out, unscathed.
Hand still on fire, I had to start sealing off every single hole with bricks and rocks to ensure she couldn’t get under there again. The next day, my efforts were met by a very guilty little dog as I caught her trying to dig back under the shed. I chased her all over the yard with a water gun, scolding her like a maniac.
Later that same day, I entered a Pac-Man tournament at Insert Coin(s), and despite my damaged hand, I scored third place. It was very old-school, as I stepped up onstage to a huge screen, and was met by cheers as I went for it. This is what I remember the arcades to be back in the day. I won a $50 bar tab, and since I did the first review of the place, the owner gave me an additional $80 to say “Thank you”. My hand was dying, but it was a good event.
And finally, after 3 years, I got my sister to come out and visit me.
It’s been years since we’ve had an adventure, the two of us. She a Mother of two, and I have gallivanted all around the West Coast. But it was great fun while she was here.
We visited casinos and the Fountains of Bellagio, Fremont Street, the Pawn Stars (my assessment of the place here), Boulder City, the Las Vegas Sign….
I coerced my sister to accept tons of hooker trading cards from the smut peddlers on the Strips, and take pictures with Elvis impersonators. We went to see Love, and before skipping merrily off to the Venetian. We even picked a water fight with tourists at the Bellagio Conservatory.
My little group was walking out of the bird area when we got drenched by this unsupervised child. The walkways have these perfect arches of water that fly overhead the walkways, and for years I wondered if perhaps some plastic tubing helped create that arch. Nope.
The sister, Missus and I were still wiping ourselves down from the water, and promptly glared at his Mother. She just looked back at us, and scoffed dismissively: “Pfft. He’s just a kid.” We were fuming, and angry that none of us got at least an apology. We walked around, and lo and behold, the kid was doing it again other other side of the gardens, with the Mom watching and not saying anything, or attempting to stop him. My sister’s jaw set and swore “Oh, it’s on now”. I continued to shake water out of my ear.
So they waited until the family went on the walkway, where my little group tapped the water flow that zapped the family with a good downpour.
The woman gasped in horror, and started mouthing “Classy. Real classy”, to which my sister gave one of her classic “die” smiles, and said “I’m sorry. I’m a Mom. I’m also a bitch.”
Oh, how I love my sister.
On Fremont Street, we saw a whole other type of show. They have their “Viva Vision” show every night, and to “celebrate” 9/11, they had a really morbid montage of photos of the World Trade Center, full of sobbing, wounded people as that country song “Where Were You” was playing. I was beyond offended by the display, watching the waving crowd, clearly into this production, and couldn’t help but notice this clearly Muslim tourist couple backing up against a wall during this song, wrapping their arms around their child in protection, looking confused and scared. 9/11 was a tragedy, but I refuse to “celebrate” it.
Despite the previous year’s outing, I decided to do another haunted house with a production company called Freakling Bros. – They paid better, and production was more considerate in ensuring that we wouldn’t be sucker punched by a bunch of drunkards, so I signed up.
Before the show began, I got invited to a pub crawl. Super hero themed, naturally.
This meant that I had to pull the old Spider-Man tights out of storage. Granted, Fremont Street is weird. Delightfully so, but wearing red and blue spandex past a group of bikers…. I could see that prematurely ending my blogging career and my proud profession of being a weisenheimer at large. And then I remembered that just a few weeks back, I saw a man dressed as Minnie Mouse hustling for cash, and realized that I had little to be concerned about.
So we went to a number of bars, and people loved us. And they definitely loved me. Back in 2007, I was hired by Marvel to do a promotion for Spider-Man 3 coming out on DVD. While I didn’t get to keep the suit, I do have one exactly like it, so it’s professional quality. So everyone wanted pictures, and I got quite a few sidelong glances at my spandexed behind. The fun part was pulling off the mask, which made a few people step back as I do carry more than a passing similarity to the comics version of Peter Parker. In a Spidey suit, it’s more than apparent.
It was fun, kicking back beverages and the like. I’m a semi regular at a place called Hennessey’s, where one waitress by the name of Sandra has been my “go to” server for years. It’s because of that we share a special rapport with each other. Back in 2008, my friend Ryan challenged her to bring him “the gayest drink she could make”, and was promptly served a tropical blend that would shame even the most robust of girly drinks. Ryan has long since moved, so I’ve kept the tradition. Each bar had a themed super hero drink, but thanks to Sandra, my “Superman” beverage was served to me with huge chunks of all kinds of fruit, little drink umbrellas, plastic mermaids hanging from the side of the glass…. I wanted to weep at its majesty. My colleagues were more than a little envious, and hey, when Spider-Man sits at the bar after a long day of crimefighting, he deserves a little plastic mermaid.
So I drank, and mugged for photos all night, and slept it off quite well to just simply be my usual irritable self at work, rather than hungover and irritable.
My birthday consisted of a group of friends who went to a “Previews Night” of the haunt, then back down to Fremont Street for drinking.
And life was good.