I wake up to the sound of the phone ringing but don't answer it. I figure if it's important enough, they'll keep calling until I'm ready to pick up. There is a wet ziplock bag on my face and I'm on the couch. Roger must have dumped me here sometime last night. Despite being soaking wet, at least he was thoughtful enough to ice this rapidly developing shiner.
Honestly though, I don't mind having a black eye. As douchey as it sounds, it makes me feel cooler, tougher even. Besides I couldn't look any uglier. The scars from the bed bugs have only gotten worse, and my 5 o'clock shadow is now a full fledged beard. I light a cigarette and sit down on the shitter before finally answering the phone. It's Roger.
"Get out of bed. We're going to Vegas, meet me at my office in an hour. Oh, and bring something nice to wear."
Usually I'd tell him to fuck off, but I could use a Vegas trip. To most people Las Vegas is a fantasy world. It's a chance to escape into the seedy underworld of scumbags and degenerates for a weekend. For guys like us it's the only place we really feel at home. We are a couple of booze soaked perverts and drug users, and in Nevada, this type of behavior is strongly encouraged.
Personally I relate to the losers in Vegas. The desperate types who lost everything they have. Leave me alone at the penny slots at Circus Circus, sucking down whiskey and I feel right at home. Not Roger, he relates to the winners. He loves the glitz and glamour of Vegas. Playing one-hundred dollar hands of blackjack at the Wynn. That's more his style. That's what I love about Vegas. No matter what breed of shitbag you are, they have something for you.
Obviously, I am immediately on board for the trip and start throwing some stuff together. Roger said to dress nice so I pull a ratty old suit coat from the dirty clothes. It's a size too small on me but it's the only thing I own that even half way resembles something nice. I stuff the rest of my shit into a plastic bag and head for the bus. I have to meet Roger at his office, and it takes close to an hour to get there on public transportation.
When you ride the bus in LA you can really feel the division of classes in this shit hole of a city. In case I forgot my place in society, the Lexus blaring it's horn at the much slower bus serves as a cruel reminder of just how shitty my life is compared to those around me. I think that's why they have windows on the bus. So successful people can take a look at the face of the losers during their morning commute to the office. Like them, the bus is the only place I can encounter people worse off than me. On this particular ride, I over hear a conversation between two young homeless guys.
"Yeah, it happened last week. It really sucks."
"Don't worry, I remember the first time I had my gear stolen too."
Something about this conversation really strikes me. The way he says it, the FIRST time I had my gear stolen. it's like its some sort of rite of passage that they all have to go through. As if after the first time, you become completely accepting of having nothing and no one. Maybe it's the way he responds to this with such normalcy that really stands out to me. Or maybe it's because I know I'm not too far away from being one of them. One bad break, one arrest and I could be sleeping on the street next to them. I decide it's best not to think about it, just ignore it. That's how the rest of society deals with all the horrible misfortunes all around them, I might as well too.
I finally arrive at Roger's office, and he's waiting for me in the parking lot. There's nothing like seeing a man in suit drinking a 40 while leaning against a Mercedes. I'm still 20 yards from him when he starts barking at me.
"Let's go asshole! We still gotta stop by the meat market and pick up some pussy!"
All class. At first, the thought of spending a four hour car ride with two women is enough to make me wish I was deaf. But the more I think about it, the better of an idea it becomes. The hardest part of getting laid while out of town is finding the girls, so if we bring them with us, we're half way there already.
We pull up to a place called "The Klassy Kat". Two girls with cheetah print suitcases are waiting outside the club. They both look like they just got done with a shift and I can't tell if their suitcases are filled with different outfits for their dance routines or clothes for the trip, but I'm sure there isn't much of a difference anyways. One girl has bigger breasts, and is clearly the alpha female in their friendship. Obviously, she gets first dibs on the man with the car. That leaves me in the backseat with girl number two.
I don't mind this one bit. She is a solid 9, and if I don't screw this up, she'll be one of the better looking broads I've ever been able to score. And besides, I usually try to avoid the alpha females anyways. They are way too confident and are usually only attracted to their alpha male counterparts, so it's not worth the effort for a man as low on the food chain as me. I'd rather go for second fiddle. They are way more vulnerable and easy to get into their panties when you don't own a Mercedes.
I notice she brought "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" for the ride and compliment her taste. I'm sure she just bought it because she thought Johnny Depp was hot in the movie, but just the fact that a girl knows how to read is a plus in my book. Roger, eager to get me laid, immediately introduces me.
"This is Chuck, he's a writer too! People say he's the next Hunter S. Thompson!"
I think about correcting him by saying my writing is more like Charles Bukowski, but that would make me an even bigger douchebag. Just because I'm a fucking loser doesn't make me Charles Bukowski. It just makes me another prick who is discontent with his slightly below average existence. I just let it go and decided to play nice, that way I wont end up sleeping alone on the floor of our hotel room tonight.
"Nice to meet you Chuck. I'm Jackie Daniels."
I think about asking her what her real name is. Maybe it will be as cool as when he asks for her real name in "Almost Famous," but I decide it'd be better to offer her a swig of the jug of wine I brought for the trip instead.
After about 2 hours on the road, and half the jug, I've got Jackie mostly figured out. She's a much more complex creature than I initially thought. I can tell at this point in her fucked up life she's had so many men treat her like a sex object, like her looks are all she's got going for her that she actually believes it herself. She cusses, talks dirty, and acts like an all around maneater, but I can tell it's just a front. She exudes this fake confidence in herself to hide the real Jackie inside of her. She's really just a broken, damaged girl who's been treated like shit by everyone. She needs to learn to love herself before she can let anyone really love her. I know this, because I'm pretty much the same way. That's what attracts me to her. That I can see myself in her. And not just in her vagina. This just may turn out to be the best Vegas trip yet.
Mike Gamms is a 24-year-old unemployed writer living in Los Angeles. Originally from Upstate New York, he occasionally writes awful things at www.mikegamms.blogspot.com.