Hotel The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas – HOTEL DE
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I really like this sub and just want to make a quick little post regarding a Egyptian style Hotel I stayed at in Las Vegas. So my wife and I were doing a grand Four Corners tour of the US and our launching point was Las Vegas Nevada. We were only there for a night just to take in the sights, hit a casino, eat a fancy dinner, and have a little fun on our anniversary. We had a lovely night and went back to our hotel room for a little "Couples time", mind you this is about 9 or 10 at night. The wife and I were both getting changed so we can jump into the hot tub when suddenly there's a knocking at the door and the simultaneous sound of the door knob clicking. I'm butt naked in the middle of the room when the door opens and who should it be but hotel cleaning staff. Petite little blonde girl from somewhere in Eastern Europe or Russia walks into the room, the whole time I'm saying something like "whoa whoa whoa!". My wife squeaks and runs into the bathroom and this cleaning lady doesn't say anything but just stares at me for what felt like an eternity but was probably only 5 or 10 seconds. I just look at her and, arms open palms up, I'm like "hello?!" and finally she mumbles some kind of apology and exits the room. Now I don't care about somebody accidentally coming into the room and seeing me naked but I did have a problem with the hesitation. If I walked in on someone getting dressed or somebody using a bathroom or whatever I think I'd have about a half second reaction time where I would immediately close the door and skedaddle. This young lady did not have the same reaction. So upon checking out the nice woman at the front desk asked us how our stay was. I said we had a nice time but you know like the hot tub jets didn't work, the AC was out of wack, but most importantly I told her about my experience with this young Russian girl. I explained to her the same thing I told to you that it wasn't a big deal that she walked in the room but it was the hesitation that bugged me. We both had a chuckle, made a couple innuendos, then she apologized and I ended up getting a free night stay for the inconvenience. I never ended up using it but it was still kind of a funny experience I thought I would share. On another note, 10/10 the national parks between Southern Utah, Western Colorado, and the Grand Canyon are incredible. Truly some of the brightest jewels on the crown that is the US National Park Service.
List of Las Vegas casinos that never opened Over the years there have been several casinos and resorts planned for the Las Vegas Valley that never opened. The stages of planning may have been just an announcement or groundbreaking. Asia Resort and Casino Where the Palazzo Casino and Resort currently stands (adjacent to the Venetian Hotel and Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center), an Asian themed casino was proposed but was rejected for the present Palazzo project. Alon Las Vegas A proposed luxury hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip on the former site of the New Frontier Hotel and Casino, announced in 2015. The project was put in doubt after Crown Resorts announced in late 2016 it was suspending its involvement in the development. Crown announced in December 2016 that it was halting the project and seeking to sell its investment. The remaining partner Andrew Pascal announced he was seeking other partners to proceed with the project. However in May 2017, the land went up for sale. The land was later purchased by Steve Wynn. Beau Rivage Steve Wynn, who had purchased and demolished the Dunes hotel-casino, had originally planned to build a modern hotel in the middle of a man-made lake. He later built the Bellagio with a man-made lake in the front of the hotel. The name was later used by Wynn for a resort built in Biloxi, Mississippi. Caribbean Casino In 1988, a sign for a proposed casino was erected on a fenced vacant lot on Flamingo Road. Standing near the sign was a scale model galleon. For several years, that was all that stood on the property. The empty lot was the source of many jokes by the locals until the ship, which was later damaged by a fire started by a homeless person, was torn down in the 1990s and the lot became the site of the Tuscany Suites and Casino co-owned by Charles Heers, who has owned the property since the 1960s. Carnival In 1990, the Radisson group proposed a 3,376-room hotel next to the Dunes, with a casino shaped like a Hershey's Kiss. Cascada A proposed resort that was to have been built on the site of El Rancho Vegas. The parcel is now partially taken by the Hilton Grand Vacations Club and Las Vegas Festival Grounds. City by the Bay Resort and Casino A San Francisco-themed resort was proposed for the site of the New Frontier Hotel and Casino. The project was rejected in favor of the Swiss-themed Montreux, which was also eventually cancelled. Countryland USA A country music-themed resort was planned for construction of the site of the former El Rancho Hotel and Casino. For some years, the El Rancho sign stood with the words "Coming Soon - Future Home of Countryland USA." Craig Ranch Station Main article: Craig Ranch Station A Mediterranean-themed hotel-casino for North Las Vegas, proposed by Station Casinos in March 2000. The project faced opposition from nearby residents, which led to the proposed location being changed to a vacant property on the nearby Craig Ranch Golf Course. Residential opposition to the new location led to the project being rejected by the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee in March 2001. Station Casinos still had the option to develop the project on the initial site, but the project was cancelled entirely in July 2001, following a weak financial quarter for the company. Crown Las Vegas Main article: Crown Las Vegas Formerly known as Las Vegas Tower, the Crown Las Vegas was to have been a supertall skyscraper built on the former site of a Wet 'n Wild water park. In March 2008, the project was canceled and the property was put up for sale. Desert Kingdom In 1993, ITT Sheraton purchased the Desert Inn casino, and had announced plans to develop the large parking lot into a Balinese themed resort to complement the Desert Inn. The project was never developed and the site is now the location of Wynn Las Vegas. DeVille Casino After building the Landmark Hotel and Casino on Convention Center Drive and selling it to Howard Hughes, developer Frank Carroll built the DeVille Casino across the street from the Landmark at 900 Convention Center Drive in 1969. Chips were made for the casino (and are sought-after collectibles), but the casino never opened. The building was renovated in 1992 as a race book parlor named Sport of Kings which closed after nine months. It became the location of The Beach nightclub, which was demolished in 2007 to make room for a planned 600-unit tower that was never built. The land sits currently empty. Echelon Place Main article: Echelon Place An announced project by Boyd Gaming planned to have a hotel built on the property of the former Stardust Resort & Casino. Construction was suspended on August 1, 2008 due to the Great Recession. In March 2013, Boyd Gaming sold the proposed site for $350 million to the Genting Group, which is redeveloping the project as the Asian-themed Resorts World Las Vegas. Fontainebleau Las Vegas Main article: The Drew Las Vegas Located on the Las Vegas Strip and originally known as Fontainebleau Las Vegas. Construction began in 2007, and the resort was to include a casino, 2,871 hotel rooms, and 1,018 condominium units. Construction on the $2.9 billion project ceased in 2009, the year of its planned opening. Investment firms Witkoff Group and New Valley LLC purchased the unfinished resort in 2017. In 2018, Witkoff and Marriott International announced a partnership to open the renamed project as The Drew Las Vegas in 2020. The resort will include a casino and three hotels totaling nearly 4,000 rooms, with the condominium aspect removed from the project. Harley-Davidson Hotel and Casino A resort themed after the motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson was proposed, complete with hotel towers shaped like gigantic exhaust pipes, but was never built. Jockey Club Casino The Jockey Club is a condominium and timeshare resort at 3700 Las Vegas Boulevard South. It was planned to have a casino, and chips were made for its use, but the casino was never opened. Kactus Kate's By April 1994, Gold Coast Hotel and Casino owner Michael Gaughan was interested in building a hotel-casino in North Las Vegas, at the northeast corner of North Rancho Drive and Carey Avenue. In January 1995, the city planning commission approved the rezoning of the land for use as a hotel-casino. The resort, to be named Kactus Kate's, would be built by Gold Coast Hotel/Casino Limited. The hotel would include 450 rooms, and the casino would be 105,000 sq ft (9,800 m2), later decreased to 102,000 sq ft (9,500 m2). The resort would be located directly north of the nearby Fiesta and Texas Station resorts. In December 1998, Coast Resorts, Inc. received approval from the planning commission for a use-permit relating to the undeveloped property. In November 2000, the planning commission unanimously approved a two-year extension on the permit, giving the company more time to decide whether it would build Kactus Kate's. Because of a 1999 Senate bill that placed restrictions on casinos in neighborhoods, Coast Resorts had a deadline of 2002 to build the casino. The hotel would measure over 100 feet (30 m) high, and Coast Resorts was required to notify the Federal Aviation Administration of its final plans, due to the site being located less than 1,000 feet (300 m) from a runway at the North Las Vegas Airport. In January 2001, Station Casinos purchased the 29-acre (12 ha) site for $9 million. Coast Resorts president Harlan Braaten said, "As we saw the competitive nature of that area intensify, in terms of the size of competing facilities, we just felt we would have to build something much bigger than we had intended to compete with Texas Station and Santa Fe Station. It was just going to be a very expensive project, and we didn't feel the returns would be that good." Station Casinos planned to sell the property as a non-gaming site. Las Vegas Plaza Main article: Las Vegas Plaza Not to be confused with the Plaza Hotel & Casino. This was to have been modeled after the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The project was announced shortly before the demolition of the New Frontier Hotel and Casino, where the new hotel would be built. Las Vegas Plaza was cancelled in 2011 due to the Great Recession. London Resort and Casino This announced project was to have been themed around the city of London, and featuring replicas of the city's landmarks. The project was to be built on land across from the Luxor Hotel and Casino. A second London-themed resort was to be built on the former land of the El Rancho Hotel and Casino. Neither project ever began construction. London, Las Vegas This was a proposed three-phase project using London as its design inspiration. When completed, the 38.5-acre (15.5 ha) property would have featured 1,300 hotel rooms, a casino, a 500-foot-tall (152.4 m) observation wheel named Skyvue (partially constructed), and 550,000 square feet (51,097 square meters) of restaurants and shops — all of which would be architectural replicas of various British landmarks and neighborhoods. The project was to be constructed on land across from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, where — as of November 2019 — the partially-constructed Skyvue still stands. The wheel was to be "Phase I of London, Las Vegas". Montreux Resort This Swiss-themed resort was to have been built on the property of the former New Frontier Hotel and Casino, but was ultimately cancelled. Moon Resort and Casino Proposed by Canadian developer Michael Henderson, this is a planned 10,000-room, 250-acre (1.0 km2) lunar-themed casino resort. Gaming experts doubt it will ever be built in Las Vegas, simply because the space planned for it is too large for the Las Vegas Strip. NevStar 2000 Further information: Craig Ranch Station § NevStar 2000 Proposed by NevStar Gaming in 1998, the NevStar 2000 entertainment complex in North Las Vegas would have included a hotel and casino, but the project faced opposition from nearby residents who did not want a casino in the area. The project was cancelled when NevStar Gaming filed for bankruptcy in December 1999. North Coast/Boyd Gaming project In May 2003, Coast Casinos had plans for the North Coast hotel-casino, to be built at the southwest corner of Centennial Parkway and Lamb Boulevard in North Las Vegas. The project would be built on approximately 40 acres (16 ha) of vacant land, surrounded by other land that was also undeveloped. At the time, the North Las Vegas Planning Commission was scheduled to review requests for zoning changes and approvals for the project. The project was not scheduled to be built for at least another four years, after completion of a highway interchange at Lamb Boulevard and the nearby Interstate 15, as well as the completion of an overpass over nearby railroad tracks. Bill Curran, an attorney for the land owner, said, "We're going through the zoning changes now so everybody knows what's going to be out there." The North Coast would include a casino, a 10-story hotel with 398 rooms, a bowling alley, movie theaters, and a parking garage. In June 2003, the Planning Commission voted 6 to 1 to approve preliminary applications necessary to begin work on the North Coast. Boyd Gaming, the owner of Coast Casinos, announced in February 2006 that it would purchase the 40-acre site for $35 million. Jackie Gaughan and Kenny Epstein were the owners at the time. Boyd Gaming had not decided on whether the new project would be a Coast property or if it would be similar to the company's Sam's Town hotel-casino. At the time, no timetable was set for building the project. In March 2007, the project was put on hold. At the time, Boyd Gaming had been securing construction permits for the project but decided to first review growth in the area. Construction had been scheduled to begin in mid-2007. In August 2013, Boyd Gaming sold the undeveloped property for $5.15 million. Palace of the Sea Resort and Casino This was to have been built on the former Wet 'n Wild waterpark site. Conceptual drawings included yacht-shaped towers that housed suites, a casino resembling the Sydney Opera House and a 600-foot (180 m) tall Ferris wheel-type attraction dubbed a "Sky Wheel". It never left the planning stages. Paramount Las Vegas A casino and hotel and condo resort with more than 1,800 units that was planned by Royal Palms Las Vegas, a subsidiary of Royal Palms Communities. The project was to replace the Klondike Hotel and Casino at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, beside the Las Vegas welcome sign. The resort was approved in October 2006, but an investor pulled out of the project in August 2007, and the land was put up for sale in May 2008. Pharoah's Kingdom Pharoah's Kingdom was planned as a $1.2 billion gaming, hotel and theme park complex to be built on 710 acres (290 ha) at Pebble Road and Las Vegas Boulevard, five miles south of the Las Vegas Strip. Construction was approved in October 1988, with Silano Development Group as the developer. The project would have an Egyptian theme, including two 12-story pyramids made of crystal, with each containing 300 suites. The hotel would have a total of 5,000 rooms, making it the largest in the world. The 230,000 sq ft (21,000 m2) casino would include 100 table games and 3,000 slot machines, while an RV park, mini-golf, a bowling alley, and a video game arcade would be located beside the casino area. Three of the project's various pyramid structures would house the 50-acre (20 ha) family theme park. Other features would include sphinxes, man-made beaches, waterways resembling the Nile river, an underwater restaurant, a 24-hour child-care facility, a 100-tenant shopping promenade, and a repertory-style theater that would be overseen by actor Jack Klugman. Additionally, the resort would feature an 18-hole PGA Championship golf course, and a monorail located within the theme park. The project would have one mile of frontage along Las Vegas Boulevard. Frank Gambella, president of the project, stated that financing was in place, with groundbreaking planned for March or April 1989. Gambella said the project would be financed by several entities, with the money coming from a Nevada corporation, suggesting the entities would be grouped together as an umbrella corporation. Gambella stated that the project could be opened by Labor Day 1990. The resort was expected to employ 8,000 people. Following the completion of the resort, Gambella said a complex of 750 condominiums would be built on the land along with 900 retirement-care apartments. The project was cancelled shortly after it was announced, as authorities became suspicious of developer Anthony Silano's fundraising efforts for the project. It was discovered that Silano and his associates hacked into the Switzerland bank accounts of Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos following his death in 1989. Silano pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges. Another Egyptian-themed resort, Luxor Las Vegas, would open on the south Las Vegas Strip in 1993. Planet Hollywood Resort (original plans) Not to be confused with the current Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Originally planned to open in the late 1990s on the site of the Desert Inn, it was to be one of the largest hotels in Las Vegas. Because of the bankruptcy of Planet Hollywood Restaurants, the hotel was never built. However, in the 2000s, a group of investors bought the new Aladdin Hotel and Casino and remodeled it with a modern Hollywood theme. Playboy Hotel and Casino A proposed casino resort themed after Playboy magazine was rejected in favor of a nightclub and suites built at the top two floors of the new Palms tower. The planned location for the Playboy Hotel and Casino, on the Las Vegas Strip, was later used for the Cosmopolitan resort. Santa Fe Valley Main article: Santa Fe Valley Santa Fe Gaming, which owned the Santa Fe hotel-casino in northwest Las Vegas, had plans for a second Santa Fe property in 1996. The Santa Fe Valley would be built on a 40-acre (16 ha) lot in Henderson, Nevada, adjacent to the Galleria at Sunset mall. The start of construction was delayed several times because of poor financial quarters for Santa Fe Gaming, and because of the company not yet receiving financing for the project. Site preparation started in July 1998, with an opening date scheduled for December 1999, but construction never began. In 1999, the property was sold to Station Casinos, which sold the land a year later for use as a shopping center. Shenandoah Hotel and Casino A project by Wayne Newton. Although the hotel operated for a short time at 120 E. Flamingo Road, the management was unable to get a gaming license. After years of floundering it was sold to a Canadian company and became Bourbon Street Hotel and Casino. Silver City proposals By January 2000, Luke Brugnara was planning to build a San Francisco-themed resort on the site of the closed Silver City Casino. Brugnara intended to give Silver City a multimillion-dollar renovation, with plans to have a fully operational hotel-casino by 2002. In March 2001, Brugnara's request for a gaming license was rejected. In May 2002, it was announced that Brugnara had sold the casino while retaining six acres located behind the building. In 2003, Brugnara was planning to build a 24-story, 304-room hotel and casino resort on a portion of the Silver City property. The resort, to be named "Tycoon", was to be designed by Lee Linton, with an expected cost of approximately $100 million. Starship Orion International Thoroughbred Breeders (ITB) announced plans to demolish the El Rancho and construct Starship Orion, a $1 billion hotel, casino, entertainment and retail complex with an outer space theme, covering 5.4 million square feet (501,676 square meters). The resort was to include seven separately owned casinos, each approximately 30,000 square feet (2,787 square meters). Each potential casino owner was to contribute up to $100 million to own and operate a casino within the complex. The complex would have included 300,000 square feet (27,871 square meters) of retail space, as well as 2,400 hotel rooms and a 65-story hotel tower. ITB hoped to begin construction later in 1996, with a planned opening date of April 1998. Sunrise This was to have been located at 4575 Boulder Highway. Property developer Michael Mona Jr. built the hotel-casino and stated that he was going to break tradition by starting a "casino without a theme". He failed to get an unrestricted gaming license when suspicions arose concerning his associations with alleged organized crime figures. Chips were made for the casino, but were never used. The building was opened as Arizona Charlie's Boulder. Titanic In 1999, Bob Stupak was planning a 400-foot-high (122 m) resort themed after the RMS Titanic, to be built on a 10-acre (4 hectares) property he owned near downtown Las Vegas. The resort would have included 1,200 rooms, 800 of which were to be used for timeshares to help finance the project. That year, planning commissioners rejected Stupak's request to change the zoning to allow for a hotel. The project was later planned for the former site of the El Rancho Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip, but was rejected by the Las Vegas City Council. W Las Vegas Main article: W Las Vegas W Las Vegas was proposed in August 2005, as a $1.7 billion joint project between Starwood and Edge Resorts, with a scheduled opening in 2008. The project would include a 75,000 sq ft (7,000 m2) casino and approximately 3,000 hotel, condo hotel, and residential units. The project was cancelled in May 2007, after Starwood pulled out of the deal. Wally's Wagon Wheel Wally's Wagon Wheel was to be developed by Walter Weiss through his company, Magna Leisure Partnership. The project was proposed for 2200 South Boulder Highway in Henderson, between Wagon Wheel Drive and Roberts Road, near Henderson's Old Vegas western theme park. Manga Leisure Partnership purchased the 15.5-acre property in late February 1988. Weiss, at that time, had tentative plans for a western-themed, 112-room property known then as the Wagon Wheel Hotel and Casino. The Wagon Wheel was expected to cost $15 million, and financing had yet to be obtained for the project, which Weiss expected to open in early 1990. The project, which would include a 55,000 sq ft (5,100 m2) casino, was to be built in two phases. By October 1991, Wally's Wagon Wheel remained unbuilt due to difficulty obtaining financing. That month, the Henderson Planning Commission voted to give Weiss more time to make progress on the project. At that time, the project was to include 204 hotel rooms and would be built on 13.30 acres (5.38 ha). Weiss noted that the nearby successful Sam's Town hotel-casino opened with 204 rooms, and he believed his project would be successful if he opened with the same amount of rooms for good luck. By the end of 1992, Weiss had still not acquired financing for Wally's Wagon Wheel. At the time, the project was the largest of five casinos being planned for Henderson. The three-story project was to include 200 rooms, two restaurants, a theater lounge for country and western entertainment, and a large bingo room. Weiss stated that groundbreaking was scheduled for May 1993, with an expected opening in June 1994. The hotel-casino would employ approximately 600 people upon opening. Weiss met with nearby residents to discuss the project, and he had the original design changed to include a larger buffer zone between homes and the hotel-casino. In November 1994, the Henderson Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of Weiss' requested zone change as part of the redesign. The project, at that time, was to include a one-story casino and a four-story hotel with 400 rooms. In December 1994, the Henderson City Council rejected Weiss' plans for a 200-foot (61 m) buffer. In July 1997, the unbuilt project received its sixth extension from the Henderson Planning Commission for a use permit and architectural review. In August 1997, the Henderson City Council approved the sixth extension, but denied Weiss' appeal for a one-year extension, instead giving him six months to make progress on the project. Up to that time, $1.7 million had been invested in the project by Magna Leisure Partnership. As of 1998, the project was expected to cost $80 million and employ at least 1,200 people, and the proposed site had increased to 19 acres (7 ha). At that time, Weiss stated that he was close to obtaining financing for the project from a casino operator. The project was never built. Wild Wild West Not to be confused with Wild Wild West Gambling Hall & Hotel. As of 1993, Station Casinos owned a 27-acre (11 ha) site on Boulder Highway with the potential to be developed as a casino. The site was located across the street from Sam's Town hotel-casino. In January 1998, Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. announced plans to purchase Station Casinos, which had intended to sell the land prior to the announcement. By March 1998, Station Casinos was planning to develop a hotel-casino complex on the land, which was occupied by a vacant strip mall. The complex would be known as Wild Wild West, with local residents as the target clientele. Crescent's purchase of Station Casinos failed in August 1998, and Station Casinos subsequently slowed its plans to build the project. By the end of the year, the project had received approval from the Clark County Planning Commission for a 273,000 sq ft (25,400 m2) casino and a 504-room hotel. No timetable for construction was announced, and Station Casinos had already decided by that point not to start any new projects prior to 2000. Station Casinos sold the undeveloped land for $11.2 million to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in April 2004. World Port In 2000, Howard Bulloch, David Gaffin, and their partner Tom Gonzales transferred ownership of the Glass Pool Inn property to their group, known as New World, with plans for a megaresort. New World purchased several other nearby motels to accumulate a 77-acre (31 ha) parcel located on the Las Vegas Strip and east of the Mandalay Bay. In January 2001, plans were announced for World Port Resorts, a megaresort consisting of hotel-casinos, a convention center and a fine arts facility. The project was to be built on the 77-acre (31 ha property, a portion of which was occupied by the Glass Pool Inn. World Trade Center To have been located at 925 East Desert Inn Road. Leonard Shoen, co-founder of U-Haul truck rental, purchased the property of what had been the Chaparral Hotel & Casino in 1996, renovating it into the World Trade Center Hotel. A gaming license was applied for, but when it was discovered that two of Shoen's closest partners were convicted felons, the application was denied in 1998. He withdrew his application, and died in a car crash in 1999 that was ruled a suicide. Cards and gaming chips were produced for the World Trade Center Casino, but were never used. The property has since been demolished and is now a parking lot, part of the Las Vegas Convention Center Annex. World Wrestling Federation A casino resort themed after the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) was proposed for a property near the Interstate 15 freeway across from Mandalay Bay. The project never went past the proposal stage. The land where it would have stood is now Allegiant Stadium. WWF also proposed to open the project on the property once used by the Clarion Hotel and Casino, which was demolished in 2015 to become a parking lot. Xanadu In February 1976, the Clark County Commission approved the 23-story Xanadu resort, to be built on the Las Vegas Strip at the corner of South Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue. The resort would include approximately 1,700 hotel rooms and a casino, as well as convention facilities, a showroom, dining, and indoor tennis courts. The resort was to be developed by Tandy McGinnis – of Bowling Green, Kentucky – and his Xanadu Corporation, and would be built on 48.6 acres (19.7 ha) owned by Howard Downes, a resident of Coral Gables, Florida. The Xanadu would feature a pyramid design, and was expected to cost $150 million. It would have been the first themed mega-resort. Much information and many artifacts of the project are housed at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas library. The Excalibur Hotel and Casino ultimately opened on the property in 1990. See also Category:Defunct casinos in the Las Vegas Valley List of Atlantic City casinos that never opened
Hey, you're going to Las Vegas for RLCS LAN? Here's a quick run down for what you need to know if you are not a regular.
I'm a Vegas regular. I travel there for work and play between 6-10 times a year. I've been to Vegas somewhere around 70 times. Here are some tips, in no particular order. Orleans Arena is "off strip". It is part of the Orleans Hotel and Casino. If you choose to stay at The Orleans, you will have a 10 minute ubelyft back and forth from the strip. The Strip is the part of Vegas that you always see when you think of Vegas. It's called Las Vegas Boulavard. Orleans is a property that basically has nothing around it, and there is not really much to see without a 20 minute walk to the Palms, or a 20 minute walk to the Rio. If you are only going to eat, drink, and breathe RLCS, staying at the Orleans is probably a good idea. But if you want to experience Vegas, you want to stay on the strip. Lodging can be had for cheap, up to more expensive. The cost of hotel rooms is usually based on the property location on the strip, as the more central hotels are the nicer ones. Bellagio, Aria, and the Cosmo are the best places to stay that are in the middle. They will cost anywhere between $250-$400 a night. A great central location hotel that is more economical is Planet Hollywood, which is right across from the Bellagio. Rooms can be had here for closer to $150 a night. If you go to the end of the strip, you can have rooms for under $100, such as treasure island, Park MGM, NYNY, and Mandalay Bay, and if you really want to live economical on strip, you can go somewhere like Luxor (far end of strip) The Linq (more middle) and The Mirage. Any of the places listed above are on strip, and you can get the full Vegas experience. Hotels such as the Palms, Gold Coast, the Rio, Stratosphere, and the Hard Rock are so far off strip that they are extremely isolated from walking distance to most of the action in Vegas. Weather.... You're going to the Western US in the Desert, the Western US in the Desert is not what you would expect in November. You will be lucky to see temperatures above 70F, and at night it will drop down into the low 40's. Bring warm clothes! Walking around vegas: DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT purchase a single thing from a street vendor. They will try selling you drink coupons, VIP tickets to shows, discounted show tickets, and just about any drug imaginable. Do not give any of these people money for any reason. While I do not any drugs, some of my friends do, and now that marijuana is completely legal in Las Vegas, everyone raves about going to Essence Cannabis Dispensary. I've been there, and it is amazing, but I can't really speak for their product. Skanks.... DO NOT be taken advantage of the "street walkers" and "casino crawlers" that are trying to be your friend, will want to go to your room, and after "the deed" is complete, will extort you for money. The rule of thumb, if a girl approaches you in a casino, or on the strip and is acting over friendly, they are probably a hooker, and their pimp is probably within shouting distance. You can drink on the strip, but you CANNOT have glass. It is usually cheaper to purchase liquor or beer from one of the many CVS stores on strip. All casinos will give you free drinks while you are playing, but sometimes the waitresses are few and far between. If you are going to be at a craps table or a slot machine for a long time, it is always a good idea to tip them very well and they will come by often. I stay at the Bellagio the most, but my favorite places to gamble (I don't play slot machines) is a place called O'Sheas in The Linq. It is a total party atmosphere with live bands, beer pong, bean bags, and tons of table games. I think there are close to 50 tables. I'm a sucker for 3 card, and can play there for 10 hours straight. McCarran international airport (LAS) is a nice place. Do NOT play slot machines there, as the odds are the worst of any place in Nevada. If you have an Amex Cent/Plat card, they have a Centurion lounge which has a full bar, and huge food selection, all for free. Do not take a Taxi if you don't have to. Taxi drivers in Vegas are notorious for taking "the long way home" and you will be taken advantage of. There is a huge amount of Lyft and Ubers in the city at all times of the day. DO NOT rent a car in vegas. Parking is expensive and driving is pure gridlock. Last but not least, if you have time, go to the "old strip" which is called Freemont Street. Old vegas is amazing, and there are a bunch of places that should be seen. You can go to the heart attack grill and get spanked for not eating your bacon cheeseburger with 50 strips of bacon, or you can go to the D Casino and have dealers in underwear. Street performers are everywhere, and it is just a good time. WATCH OUT FOR PICK POCKETERS! Food is expensive in Vegas. The days of "cheap buffets" are gone. A burgefries will set you back somewhere around $20 in the casinos, and the chain restaurants have heavily inflated prices. The best place to eat on the strip is the miracle mile mall that is attached to planet hollywood. A bunch of the restaurants in there offer amazing drink specials and very affordable food. I hope I covered some basics, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask, and I'll help you out the best I can.
Just finished watching The Weekly (it’s kind of a Vice rip-off by the NYT) on Hulu where they went into detail about their story published this week about a « hacker » named Patrick Kessler who claimed to have tens of thousands of hours of Epstein’s private videos. Turns out, Patrick did not released the videos and there is a lot of questions with his credibility, nonetheless, he clearly exposed two lawyers (Bois and Pottinger) for attempting to profit by offering to reach large settlements in which they would take 40%. The article is here: Jeffrey Epstein, Blackmail, and a Lucrative Hotlist Even though it sounds like this guy Kessler is full of shit, I REALLY wish that he wasn’t and at some point these troves of photos and videos get released and a bunch of rich and powerful people get what they deserve for abusing these women. For those who need access to NYT- it is a long article, but here’s the full text: By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Emily Steel, Jacob Bernstein and David Enrich Nov. 30, 2019 Soon after the sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein died in August, a mysterious man met with two prominent lawyers. Towering, barrel-chested and wild-bearded, he was a prodigious drinker and often wore flip-flops. He went by a pseudonym, Patrick Kessler — a necessity, he said, given the shadowy, dangerous world that he inhabited. He told the lawyers he had something incendiary: a vast archive of Mr. Epstein’s data, stored on encrypted servers overseas. He said he had years of the financier’s communications and financial records — as well as thousands of hours of footage from hidden cameras in the bedrooms of Mr. Epstein’s properties. The videos, Kessler said, captured some of the world’s richest, most powerful men in compromising sexual situations — even in the act of rape. Kessler said he wanted to expose these men. If he was telling the truth, his trove could answer one of the Epstein saga’s most baffling questions: How did a college dropout and high school math teacher amass a purported nine-figure fortune? One persistent but unproven theory was that he ran a sprawling blackmail operation. That would explain why moguls, scientists, political leaders and a royal stayed loyal to him, in some cases even after he first went to jail. Kessler’s tale was enough to hook the two lawyers, the famed litigator David Boies and his friend John Stanley Pottinger. If Kessler was authentic, his videos would arm them with immense leverage over some very important people. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger discussed a plan. They could use the supposed footage in litigation or to try to reach deals with men who appeared in it, with money flowing into a charitable foundation. In encrypted chats with Kessler, Mr. Pottinger referred to a roster of potential targets as the “hot list.” He described hypothetical plans in which the lawyers would pocket up to 40 percent of the settlements and could extract money from wealthy men by flipping from representing victims to representing their alleged abusers. The possibilities were tantalizing — and extended beyond vindicating victims. Mr. Pottinger saw a chance to supercharge his law practice. For Mr. Boies, there was a shot at redemption, after years of criticism for his work on behalf of Theranos and Harvey Weinstein. In the end, there would be no damning videos, no funds pouring into a new foundation. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger would go from toasting Kessler as their “whistle-blower” and “informant” to torching him as a “fraudster” and a “spy.” Kessler was a liar, and he wouldn’t expose any sexual abuse. But he would reveal something else: The extraordinary, at times deceitful measures elite lawyers deployed in an effort to get evidence that could be used to win lucrative settlements — and keep misconduct hidden, allowing perpetrators to abuse again. Mr. Boies has publicly decried such secret deals as “rich man’s justice,” a way that powerful men buy their way out of legal and reputational jeopardy. This is how it works. 7 men and a headless parrot The man who called himself Kessler first contacted a Florida lawyer, Bradley J. Edwards, who was in the news for representing women with claims against Mr. Epstein. It was late August, about two weeks after the financier killed himself in a jail cell while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges. Mr. Edwards, who did not respond to interview requests, had a law firm called Edwards Pottinger, and he soon referred Kessler to his New York partner. Silver-haired and 79, Mr. Pottinger had been a senior civil-rights official in the Nixon and Ford administrations, but he also dabbled in investment banking and wrote best-selling medical thrillers. He was perhaps best known for having dated Gloria Steinem and Kathie Lee Gifford. Mr. Pottinger recalled that Mr. Edwards warned him about Kessler, saying that he was “endearing,” “spooky” and “loves to drink like a fish.” After an initial discussion with Kessler in Washington, Mr. Pottinger briefed Mr. Boies — whose firm was also active in representing accusers in the Epstein case — about the sensational claims. He then invited Kessler to his Manhattan apartment. Kessler admired a wall-mounted frame containing a headless stuffed parrot; on TV, the Philadelphia Eagles were mounting a comeback against the Washington Redskins. Mr. Pottinger poured Kessler a glass of WhistlePig whiskey, and the informant began to talk. In his conversations with Mr. Pottinger and, later, Mr. Boies, Kessler said his videos featured numerous powerful men who were already linked to Mr. Epstein: Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister; Alan Dershowitz, a constitutional lawyer; Prince Andrew; three billionaires; and a prominent chief executive. All seven men, or their representatives, told The New York Times they never engaged in sexual activity on Mr. Epstein’s properties. The Times has no reason to believe Kessler’s supposed video footage is real. In his apartment, Mr. Pottinger presented Kessler with a signed copy of “The Boss,” his 2005 novel. “One minute you’re bending the rules,” blares the cover of the paperback version. “The next minute you’re breaking the law.” On the title page, Mr. Pottinger wrote: “Here’s to the great work you are to do. Happy to be part of it.” Mr. Pottinger also gave Kessler a draft contract to bring him on as a client, allowing him to use a fake name. “For reasons revealed to you, I prefer to proceed with this engagement under the name Patrick Kessler,” the agreement said. Despite the enormities of the Epstein scandal, few of his accusers have gotten a sense of justice or resolution. Mr. Pottinger thought Kessler’s files could change everything. This strange man was theatrical and liked his alcohol, but if there was even a chance his claims were true, they were worth pursuing. “Our clients are said to be liars and prostitutes,” Mr. Pottinger later said in an interview with The Times, “and we now have someone who says, ‘I can give you secret photographic proof of abuse that will completely change the entire fabric of your practice and get justice for these girls.’ And you think that we wouldn’t try to get that?” A victim becomes a hacker Mr. Pottinger and Mr. Boies have known each other for years, a friendship forged on bike trips in France and Italy. In legal circles, Mr. Boies was royalty: He was the one who fought for presidential candidate Al Gore before the Supreme Court, took on Microsoft in a landmark antitrust case, and helped obtain the right for gays and lesbians to get married in California. But then Mr. Boies got involved with the blood-testing start-up Theranos. As the company was being revealed as a fraud, he tried to bully whistle-blowers into not speaking to a Wall Street Journal reporter, and he was criticized for possible conflicts of interest when he joined the company’s board in 2015. Two years later, Mr. Boies helped his longtime client Harvey Weinstein hire private investigators who intimidated sources and trailed reporters for The Times and The New Yorker — even though Mr. Boies’s firm had worked for The Times on other matters. (The Times fired his firm.) By 2019, Mr. Boies, 78, was representing a number of Mr. Epstein’s alleged victims. They got his services pro bono, and he got the chance to burnish his legacy. When Mr. Pottinger contacted him about Kessler, he was intrigued. On Sept. 9, Mr. Boies greeted Kessler at the offices of his law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, in a gleaming new skyscraper at Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side. Kessler unfurled a fantastic story, one he would embroider and alter in later weeks, that began with him growing up somewhere within a three-hour radius of Washington. Kessler said he had been molested as a boy by a Bible school teacher and sought solace on the internet, where he fell in with a group of victims turned hackers, who used their skills to combat pedophilia. Kessler claimed that a technology executive had introduced him to Mr. Epstein, who in 2012 hired Kessler to set up encrypted servers to preserve his extensive digital archives. With Mr. Epstein dead, Kessler boasted to the lawyers, he had unfettered access to the material. He said the volume of videos was overwhelming: more than a decade of round-the-clock footage from dozens of cameras. Kessler displayed some pixelated video stills on his phone. In one, a bearded man with his mouth open appears to be having sex with a naked woman. Kessler said the man was Mr. Barak. In another, a man with black-framed glasses is seen shirtless with a woman on his lap, her breasts exposed. Kessler said it was Mr. Dershowitz. He also said that some of the supposed videos appeared to have been edited and cataloged for the purpose of blackmail. “This was explosive information if true, for lots and lots of people,” Mr. Boies said in an interview. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger had decades of legal experience and considered themselves experts at assessing witnesses’ credibility. While they couldn’t be sure, they thought Kessler was probably legit. A chance to sway the Israeli election Within hours of the Hudson Yards meeting, Mr. Pottinger sent Kessler a series of texts over the encrypted messaging app Signal. According to excerpts viewed by The Times, Mr. Pottinger and Kessler discussed a plan to disseminate some of the informant’s materials — starting with the supposed footage of Mr. Barak. The Israeli election was barely a week away, and Mr. Barak was challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purported images of Mr. Barak might be able to sway the election — and fetch a high price. (“Total lie with no basis in reality,” Mr. Barak said when asked about the existence of such videos.) “Can you review your visual evidence to be sure some or all is indisputably him? If so, we can make it work,” Mr. Pottinger wrote. Kessler said he would do so. Mr. Pottinger sent a yellow smiley-face emoji with its tongue sticking out. “Can you share your contact that would be purchasing,” Kessler asked. “Sheldon Adelson,” Mr. Pottinger answered. Mr. Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate in Las Vegas, had founded one of Israel’s largest newspapers, and it was an enthusiastic booster of Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Pottinger wrote that he and Mr. Boies hoped to fly to Nevada to meet with Mr. Adelson to discuss the images. “Do you believe that adelson has the pull to insure this will hurt his bid for election?” Kessler asked the next morning. Mr. Pottinger reassured him. “There is no question that Adelson has the capacity to air the truth about EB if he wants to,” he said, using Mr. Barak’s initials. He said he planned to discuss the matter with Mr. Boies that evening. Mr. Boies confirmed that they discussed sharing the photo with Mr. Adelson but said the plan was never executed. Boaz Bismuth, the editor in chief of the newspaper, Israel Hayom, said its journalists were approached by an Israeli source who pitched them supposed images of Mr. Barak, but that “we were not interested.” ‘These are wealthy wrongdoers’ The men whom Kessler claimed to have on tape were together worth many billions. Some of their public relations teams had spent months trying to tamp down media coverage of their connections to Mr. Epstein. Imagine how much they might pay to make incriminating videos vanish. You might think that lawyers representing abuse victims would want to publicly expose such information to bolster their clients’ claims. But that is not how the legal industry always works. Often, keeping things quiet is good business. One of the revelations of the #MeToo era has been that victims’ lawyers often brokered secret deals in which alleged abusers paid to keep their accusers quiet and the allegations out of the public sphere. Lawyers can pocket at least a third of such settlements, profiting off a system that masks misconduct and allows men to abuse again. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger said in interviews that they were looking into creating a charity to help victims of sexual abuse. It would be bankrolled by private legal settlements with the men on the videos. Mr. Boies acknowledged that Kessler might get paid. “If we were able to use this to help our victims recover money, we would treat him generously,” he said in September. He said that his firm would not get a cut of any settlements. Such agreements would have made it less likely that videos involving the men became public. “Generally what settlements are about is getting peace,” Mr. Boies said. Mr. Pottinger told Kessler that the charity he was setting up would be called the Astria Foundation — a name he later said his girlfriend came up with, in a nod to Astraea, the Greek goddess of innocence and justice. “We need to get it funded by abusers,” Mr. Pottinger texted, noting in another message that “these are wealthy wrongdoers.” Mr. Pottinger asked Kessler to start compiling incriminating materials on a specific group of men. “I’m way ahead of you,” Kessler responded. He said he had asked his team of fellow hackers to search the files for the three billionaires, the C.E.O. and Prince Andrew. “Yes, that’s exactly how to do this,” Mr. Pottinger said. “Videos for sure, but email traffic, too.” “I call it our hot list,” he added. Image The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan. The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan.Credit...Stephanie Diani for The New York Times A quiet table at the back of Grand Sichuan In mid-September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger invited reporters from The Times to the Boies Schiller offices to meet Kessler. The threat of a major news organization writing about the videos — and confirming the existence of an extensive surveillance apparatus — could greatly enhance the lawyers’ leverage over the wealthy men. Before the session, Mr. Pottinger encouraged Kessler to focus on certain men, like Mr. Barak, while avoiding others. Referring to the reporters, he added, “Let them drink from a fountain instead of a water hose. They and the readers will follow that better.” The meeting took place on a cloudy Saturday morning. After agreeing to leave their phones and laptops outside, the reporters entered a 20th-floor conference room. Kessler was huge: more than 6 feet tall, pushing 300 pounds, balding, his temples speckled with gray. He told his story and presented images that he said were of Mr. Epstein, Mr. Barak and Mr. Dershowitz having sex with women. Barely an hour after the session ended, the Times reporters received an email from Kessler: “Are you free?” He said he wanted to meet — alone. “Tell no one else.” That afternoon, they met at Grand Sichuan, an iconic Chinese restaurant in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The lunch rush was over, and the trio sat at a quiet table in the back. A small group of women huddled nearby, speaking Mandarin and snipping the ends off string beans. Kessler complained that Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were more interested in making money than in exposing wrongdoers. He pulled out his phone, warned the reporters not to touch it, and showed more of what he had. There was a color photo of a bare-chested, gray-haired man with a slight smile. Kessler said it was a billionaire. He also showed blurry, black-and-white images of a dark-haired man receiving oral sex. He said it was a prominent C.E.O. Soup dumplings and Gui Zhou chicken arrived, and Kessler kept talking. He said he had found financial ledgers on Mr. Epstein’s servers that showed he had vast amounts of Bitcoin and cash in the Middle East and Bangkok, and hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold, silver and diamonds. He presented no proof. But it is common for whistle-blowers to be erratic and slow to produce their evidence, and The Times thought it was worth investigating Kessler’s claims. The conversation continued in a conference room at a Washington hotel five days later, after a text exchange in which Kessler noted his enthusiasm for Japanese whiskey. Both parties brought bottles to the hotel, and Kessler spent nearly eight hours downing glass after glass. He veered from telling tales about the dark web to professing love for “Little House on the Prairie.” He asserted that he had evidence Mr. Epstein had derived his wealth through illicit means. At one point, he showed what he said were classified C.I.A. documents. Kessler said he had no idea who the women in the videos were or how the lawyers might go about identifying them to act on their behalf. From his perspective, he said, it seemed like Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were plotting to use his footage to demand huge sums from billionaires. He said it looked like blackmail — and that he could prove it. ‘We keep it. We keep everything’ Was Kessler’s story plausible? Did America’s best-connected sexual predator accumulate incriminating videos of powerful men? Two women who spent time in Mr. Epstein’s homes said the answer was yes. In an unpublished memoir, Virginia Giuffre, who accused Mr. Epstein of making her a “sex slave,” wrote that she discovered a room in his New York mansion where monitors displayed real-time surveillance footage. And Maria Farmer, an artist who accused Mr. Epstein of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in the 1990s, said that Mr. Epstein once walked her through the mansion, pointing out pin-sized cameras that he said were in every room. “I said, ‘Are you recording all this?’” Ms. Farmer said in an interview. “He said, ‘Yes. We keep it. We keep everything.’” During a 2005 search of Mr. Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate, the police found two cameras hidden in clocks — one in the garage and the other next to his desk, according to police reports. But no other cameras were found. Kessler claimed to have been an early investor in a North Carolina coffee company, whose sticker was affixed to his laptop. But its founder said no one matching Kessler’s description had ever been affiliated with the company. Kessler insisted that he invested in 2009, but the company wasn’t founded until 2011. The contents of Kessler’s supposed C.I.A. documents turned out to be easily findable using Google. At one point, Kessler said that one of his associates had been missing and was found dead; later, Kessler said the man was alive and in the southern United States. He said that his mother had died when he was young — and that he had recently given her a hug. A photo he sent from what he said was a Washington-area hospital featured a distinctive blanket, but when The Times called local hospitals, they didn’t recognize the pattern. After months of effort, The Times could not learn Kessler’s identity or confirm any element of his back story. “I am very often being purposefully inconsistent,” Kessler said, when pressed. A Weinstein cameo On the last Friday in September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger sat on a blue leather couch in the corner of a members-only dining room at the Harvard Club in Midtown Manhattan. Antlered animal heads and oil paintings hung from the dark wooden walls. The lawyers were there to make a deal with The Times. Tired of waiting for Kessler’s motherlode, Mr. Pottinger said they planned to send a team overseas to download the material from his servers. He said he had alerted the F.B.I. and a prosecutor in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan. Mr. Boies told an editor for The Times that they would be willing to share everything, on one condition: They would have discretion over which men could be written about, and when. He explained that if compromising videos about particular men became public, that could torpedo litigation or attempts to negotiate settlements. The Times editor didn’t commit. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger later said those plans had hinged on verifying the videos’ authenticity and on having clients with legitimate legal claims against the men. Otherwise, legal experts said, it might have crossed the line into extortion. The meeting was briefly interrupted when Bob Weinstein, the brother of Harvey Weinstein, bounded up to the table and plopped onto the couch next to Mr. Boies. The two men spent several minutes talking, laughing and slapping each other on the back. While Mr. Boies and Mr. Weinstein chatted, Mr. Pottinger furtively displayed the black-and-white shot of a man in glasses having sex. Both lawyers said it looked like Mr. Dershowitz. ‘You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that’ One day in late September, Mr. Dershowitz’s secretary relayed a message: Someone named Patrick Kessler wanted to speak to him about Mr. Boies. “The problem is that they don’t want to move forward with any of these people legally,” Kessler said. “They’re just interested in trying to settle and take a cut.” “Who are these people that you have on videotape?” Mr. Dershowitz asked. “There’s a lot of people,” Kessler said, naming a few powerful men. He added, “There’s a long list of people that they want me to have that I don’t have.” “Who?” Mr. Dershowitz asked. “Did they ask about me?” “Of course they asked about you. You know that, sir.” “And you don’t have anything on me, right?” “I do not, no,” Kessler said. “Because I never, I never had sex with anybody,” Mr. Dershowitz said. Later in the call, he added, “I am completely clean. I was at Jeffrey’s house. I stayed there. But I didn’t have any sex with anybody.” What was the purpose of Kessler’s phone call? Why did he tell Mr. Dershowitz that he wasn’t on the supposed surveillance tapes, contradicting what he had said and showed to Mr. Boies, Mr. Pottinger and The Times? Did the call sound a little rehearsed? Mr. Dershowitz said that he didn’t know why Kessler contacted him, and that the phone call was the only time the two men ever spoke. When The Times showed him one of Kessler’s photos, in which a bespectacled man resembling Mr. Dershowitz appears to be having sex, Mr. Dershowitz laughed and said the man wasn’t him. His wife, Carolyn Cohen, peeked at the photo, too. “You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that,” she said. Data set (supposedly) to self-destruct In early October, Kessler said he was ready to produce the Epstein files. He told The Times that he had created duplicate versions of Mr. Epstein’s servers. He laid out detailed logistical plans for them to be shipped by boat to the United States and for one of his associates — a very short Icelandic man named Steven — to deliver them to The Times headquarters at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3. Kessler warned that he was erecting a maze of security systems. First, a Times employee would need to use a special thumb drive to access a proprietary communications system. Then Kessler’s colleague would transmit a code to decrypt the files. If his instructions weren’t followed precisely, Kessler said, the information would self-destruct. Specialists at The Times set up a number of “air-gapped” laptops — disconnected from the internet — in a windowless, padlocked meeting room. Reporters cleared their schedules to sift through thousands of hours of surveillance footage. On the morning of the scheduled delivery, Kessler sent a series of frantic texts. Disaster had struck. A fire was burning. The duplicate servers were destroyed. One of his team members was missing. He was fleeing to Kyiv. Two hours later, Kessler was in touch with Mr. Pottinger and didn’t mention any emergency. Kessler said he hoped that the footage would help pry $1 billion in settlements out of their targets, and asked him to detail how the lawyers could extract the money. “Could you put together a hypothetical situation,” Kessler wrote, not something “set in stone but close to what your thinking.” In one, which he called a “standard model” for legal settlements, Mr. Pottinger said the money would be split among his clients, the Astria Foundation, Kessler and the lawyers, who would get up to 40 percent. In the second hypothetical, Mr. Pottinger wrote, the lawyers would approach the videotaped men. The men would then hire the lawyers, ensuring that they would not get sued, and “make a contribution to a nonprofit as part of the retainer.” “No client is actually involved in this structure,” Mr. Pottinger said, noting that the arrangement would have to be “consistent with and subject to rules of ethics.” “Thank you very much,” Kessler responded. Mr. Pottinger later said that the scenario would have involved him representing a victim, settling a case and then representing the victim’s alleged abuser. He said it was within legal boundaries. (He also said he had meant to type “No client lawsuit is actually involved.”) Such legal arrangements are not unheard-of. Lawyers representing a former Fox News producer who had accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment reached a settlement in which her lawyers agreed to work for Mr. O’Reilly after the dispute. But legal experts generally consider such setups to be unethical because they can create conflicts between the interests of the lawyers and their original clients. ‘I just pulled it out of my behind’ The lawyers held out hope of getting Kessler’s materials. But weeks passed, and nothing arrived. At one point, Mr. Pottinger volunteered to meet Kessler anywhere — including Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. “I still believe he is what he purported to be,” Mr. Boies wrote in an email on Nov. 7. “I have to evaluate people for my day job, and he seemed too genuine to be a fake, and I very much want him to be real.” He added, “I am not unconscious of the danger of wanting to believe something too much.” Ten days later, Mr. Boies arrived at The Times for an on-camera interview. It was a bright, chilly Sunday, and Mr. Boies had just flown in from Ecuador, where he said he was doing work for the finance ministry. Reporters wanted to ask him plainly if his and Mr. Pottinger’s conduct with Kessler crossed ethical lines. Would they have brokered secret settlements that buried evidence of wrongdoing? Did the notion of extracting huge sums from men in exchange for keeping sex tapes hidden meet the definition of extortion? Mr. Boies said the answer to both questions was no. He said he and Mr. Pottinger operated well within the law. They only intended to pursue legal action on behalf of their clients — in other words, that they were a long way from extortion. In any case, he said, he and Mr. Pottinger had never authenticated any of the imagery or identified any of the supposed victims, much less contacted any of the men on the “hot list.” Then The Times showed Mr. Boies some of the text exchanges between Mr. Pottinger and Kessler. Mr. Boies showed a flash of anger and said it was the first time he was seeing them. By the end of the nearly four-hour interview, Mr. Boies had concluded that Kessler was probably a con man: “I think that he was a fraudster who was just trying to set things up.” And he argued that Kessler had baited Mr. Pottinger into writing things that looked more nefarious than they really were. He acknowledged that Mr. Pottinger had used “loose language” in some of his messages that risked creating the impression that the lawyers were plotting to monetize evidence of abuse. Several days later, Mr. Boies returned for another interview and was more critical of Mr. Pottinger, especially the hypothetical plans that he had described to Kessler. “Having looked at all that stuff in context, I would not have said that,” he said. How did Mr. Boies feel about Mr. Pottinger invoking his name in messages to Kessler? “I don’t like it,” he said. But Mr. Boies stopped short of blaming Mr. Pottinger for the whole mess. “I’m being cautious not to throw him under the bus more than I believe is accurate,” he said. His longtime P.R. adviser, Dawn Schneider, who had been pushing for a more forceful denunciation, dropped her pen, threw up her arms and buried her head in her hands. In a separate interview, The Times asked Mr. Pottinger about his correspondence with Kessler. The lawyer said that his messages shouldn’t be taken at face value because, in reality, he had been deceiving Kessler all along — “misleading him deliberately in order to get the servers.” The draft retention agreement that Mr. Pottinger had given to Kessler in September was unsigned and never meant to be honored, Mr. Pottinger said. And he never intended to sell photos of Mr. Barak to Mr. Adelson. “I just pulled it out of my behind,” he said, describing it as an act to impress Kessler. As for the two hypotheticals about how to get money out of the men on the list, Mr. Pottinger said, he never planned to do what he carefully articulated. “I didn’t owe Patrick honesty about this,” he said. Mr. Pottinger said that he had only one regret — that “we did not get the information that this liar said he had.” He added, “I’m building legal cases here. I’m trying not to engage too much in shenanigans. I wish I didn’t, but this guy was very unusual.”
Martingales Part One: Something Wicked This Way Comes Part Two: Instruments of Darkness Part Three: Absolute Zero Part Four: All Sevens Part Five: Whale-Watching Part Six: On the Shores of Oblivion Part Seven: Ante Up Theme “Okay, what the hell is this?” Martin’s confusion is evident in his tone as he takes in the sight before him, slowly stepping out of the elevator as he does so. Rather than the sumptuous yet gaudy building he’s been used to, here it looks like he’s entered into some ancient Greek temple. Worn columns reach to support a supposed ceiling, and rather than carpet, colorful flecks of tile make sweeping images that spread across the floor. The walls are stone as well, daubed in paint and carved with expressions of stern individuals, and of others kneeling before the banks of a snow-white winding path. No, not a path, a river, Martin notes as, upon closer inspection, he sees hands reaching into the depths, and others raised before mouths. “Welcome to the Executive Level, Mister Gale,” A smooth voice says from beside him, causing the boy to jump a solid foot. An immaculate looking man in black suit and tie stands beside him, his face masked with an inscrutable mask of tragic woe. “Your friend mentioned that you were having troubles with your memories; please, allow me to be of assistance.” Martin turns to look for Anthony, but only an elevator door is to be seen, the lift hidden behind twins doors of steel. “Come now, Mister Gale, let’s have a conversation, you and me. Are you thirsty, hungry?” The masked figure saunters deeper into the room. Beyond a fountain of oily black water and that looks like its offering liquid snow, there sits a stone table, a pair of chairs on opposite sides. Well, a throne and a chair; the one beside the fountains is tall-backed and imperiously proud compared to its counterpart. Settling into his throne, the man gestures to the chair across from him. Martin’s teeth gnaw at his lip in concern, but he gradually makes his way into the room. As he does so, he notes the ceiling, where two figures are coiled overhead. Each is the mirror of the other, one dressed in white and with platinum tresses, while one is dressed in the inky coils of night. They stare down from overhead, neither lesser than the other. “There we are.” The man says as Martin settles into the chair across from him. A gloved hand sweeps across the table in a casual grandness. What Martin thought was just a stone table bears second inspection, as it turns out to be tiled with squares of obsidian and some white stone- Howlite, his mind supplies, though he hadn’t had a clue the word existed until that moment. -Obsidian and howlite. On the table, a richly lacquered box rests. The figure across from Martin opens the lid, and begins to pull piece after piece from within. A chessboard, with pieces of onyx and moonstone. “Do you play, Mister Gale?” the man asks. “I- uh, I don’t know, but I-!” The confusion of this situation is all encompassing; whatever Martin had expected up here, it was not a chess game with a masked individual in what looks like a forgotten ruin. He begins to protest, but is cut off by one gloved finger being raised. The figure, whomever they are, commands authority to silence with even just a gesture. ”Right, I should’ve guessed. Well, let’s see what you remember, then. I find it easier to talk while my hands are distracted. Memory goes first, and the House responds.” The gloved hand goes from interdiction to encouragement. Martin looks down to the pieces, but his gaze lingers for only a moment before he’s back and focused on the stranger across from him. Another stranger and place he doesn’t understand, again! “I don’t even know who you are,” Martin glowers at the tragic mask sitting opposite. “Why should I play?” “You’re right, you’re right of course, Mister Gale. How about this then; we’ll include an ante for each piece taken. With each successful capture, the loser shall answer the question of the claimant, and do so truthfully. And as a show of good faith, I’ll give you an answer unbidden.” The woe-struck mask leans across the table, looking at Martin with a misery that he can feel deep within his chest. Pinpricks of red light can be seen within the depths, but anything remotely passable as eyes cannot be seen. “You may call me Stamatios the Tragic,” a sibilant hiss of a sentence comes from behind the mask. It takes all of Martin’s effort to avoid shivering, but the displeasure must be clear on his face as Stamatios leans back into his throne. “And now that we’re acquainted, Mister Gale, let us begin the game.” Black 1; White 0 “First piece to me, Mister Gale,” Stamatios notes as a bone-white pawn goes back into the box. It was bound to happen, Martin figured. It had to be done to succeed down the road. “How is your head feeling? Anthony had mentioned that you were still dealing with one doozy of a migraine when we talked.” “It’s… better,” Martin says guardedly. He’ll play by the rules of the game, even the added ante, if it means getting some iota of knowledge from the stranger across from him. “But I still can’t remember much.” “Well, I’ve always found that a little bit of knowledge can be a most dangerous thing…” Black 1; White 2 “Well done, Mister Gale,” Stamtios says approvingly, “in just a few moves, you’ve claimed a pair of pawns. Have you had time to think of your questions?” “What is this place is my first one.” “Good, good. This room is a penthouse suite for my brother and myself to reflect and separate ourselves from the world. Just as the Lotus is a place of refuge for some, we need that ourselves.” “A brother… Do I have any siblings, then?” “A sister, that I have been told of; my brother would know better,” Stamatios sighs. Martin is hooked though. What he couldn’t get from Anthony in the terms of answers has been claimed here in just minutes! And what’s more, that proves the dream was right! A sister, a father and mother, cousins and uncles; a whole family is out there waiting for him! “Can I-” He begins to press his advantage, but a warning finger is raised again. “Questions, questions Mister Gale. If you want answers, you must play better.” Black 3; White 3 A pair of white pieces return to the box soon after, along with an ebony as well. “Two for me, and one for you, Mister Gale. You seem to have come off a little rougher on this exchange. I think I will hold onto my questions for now; feel free to ask yours, though.” “Can I talk to your brother?” “I certainly believe you could, yes. But he is not in currently, and I have no way of contacting him that you can use, I am afraid. Do not worry though, Mister Gale. If he wishes to talk with you, he will make himself known to you.” Black 4; White 3 “”Mister Gale, what do you think of Anthony?” Stamatios the Tragic asks as he a white rook finds its way into the box. “I… I don’t trust him. I think he’s lied to me about a lot of things here. I think I trust you more than I trust him,” Martin admits. “At least you didn’t try buddying up to me as a friend.” “Hmm, I see… It’s a shame that some people have such disreputable motives. Taking advantage of someone’s memory lapses like that; simply boorish behavior.” Black 6; White 3 “Mister Gale, you simply need to play sharper, you won’t get any answers at this rate.” The pieces are definitely looking lopsided in their box, with ivory outnumbering ebony by a significant amount. “How does it feel, knowing nothing of yourself?” “It’s… it’s not something I like. I feel like someone took five different puzzles and tossed all of the pieces together. Just when I think I’ve got the frame completed, someone goes and messes it up. “Truly unfortunate to hear; it sounds miserable.” “I… I wouldn’t say that,” Martin muses. “There’s nowhere to go but up, isn’t there?” “Isn’t there?” Stamtios echoes. If a mask hadn’t been between them, Martin would swear that an eyebrow was being raised with the mirrored question. Black 6; White 4 “Did I know Anthony before he found me?” “No, I highly doubt it. He’s been a long-term resident of the Lotus for quite some time, and it’s a shame to hear that he’s being… casual in his approach to things. I take it he didn’t offer you anything to eat, did he?” “I- Wait, you didn’t take a piece here, I don’t have to answer,” Martin retorts. The synapses in his head went into overtime now, dealing with that bit of information. Anthony had never known him, and he had stayed at the Lotus for a while. Nothing he said is true, nothing. So… Where does that leave him? “You’re right of course, Mister Gale,” Stamatios inclines his head in a slow nod. “Shall we continue?” Black 6; White 6 “Is my name Martin Gale?” Martin asks. “My answer will be a history lesson for you, Mister Gale.” Stamatios begins, as Martin takes another pair of pieces. The board has thinned considerably, with roughly half the soldiers and nobility on each side of the board. “In eighteenth-century France, gambling parlors were home to a particular theory of betting, and by extension, probability. Do you know what that is?” “No…” “I’ll tell you, then. If you bet fifty dollars on a hand of poker and lost, how would you go about recouping said loss?” “I’d bet again,” Martin notes, wondering where this is going. “But would you bet the minimum, or fifty dollars? How safe would you be, and how brave would you be in going past a point of safety?” “I, uh…” “Enter the Martingales; those supremely brave and supremely foolish gamblers who, when faced with loss, doubled their efforts. If you lost fifty dollars, you bet one-hundred. Down one million, you’ll bet two million; so on and so forth. I doubt you need more explanation than that.” “That’s a terrible idea though, why would anyone do that?” “Well, if you win, you aren’t out anything at all, of course. Someone can go from serfdom back to their lordship.” “And a lord could be made a pauper,” Martin counters. “I don’t know how this connects to me, though.” “Well, Mister Gale…. You may not be the Martin Gale, but you are certainly a Martingale, at least in our eyes.” “What does that even mean?” “Questions, Mister Gale. I have answered what you have asked. Keep playing.” Black 4; White 7 “Why do you think I’m a Martingale?” “Because Mister Gale, I know you.” Black 8; White 8 “Here we are, on the crossroads; halfway between existence… and oblivion,” Stamatios intones as Martin rolls his eyes. “A bit melodramatic, huh?” He asks, and Stamatios shakes his head. “Not at all, Mister Gale. There’s a tipping of the scales that one can only see when they’re perfectly balanced; your cousins know that better than most, I’m sure.” “Wait, you know my cousins?” “Only by reputation; and no, I won’t tell you their names. Focus on the game, Mister Gale.” Black 9; White 10 “How can I get my memory back?” “There’s several ways, I’m sure. Time would probably be the most effective method, I would say. Certainly the safest.” “What happened to me?” “I cannot say, for I was not a witness. I can only offer a guess, but that would not help your situation, I fear. Mister Gale, how does that make you feel?” “Why are you trying to psychoanalyze me?” “I’m not; I’m trying to understand you. If you want help, you need to be understood. And unfortunately, there’s not much for me to understand yet. Like you eloquently said, you’re like a bunch of puzzles put together. We can each put together a different picture, and what I think you are may be very different than what you think you are.” Black 12; White 12 “And now we’re in the endgame, Mister Gale. May I say, this is a most admirable game. I daresay you could even give my brother a run for his money as well; we’ve had ample time to practice together, and it seems like you would fit in quite well.” “What do you mean?” Martin asks. “Well, quite simply, you would be a natural fit to join my brother and myself in our day to day operations. The Tragic, The Comic… The Cynic?” He offers in a lilting voice. “It’s not like anyone except for me has given you the truth so far. The Lotus-Eaters down below hardly care about you, Anthony is a tool that I would leave to you to take care of as you’d like, and you’d have quite a bit of autonomy to pursue your own endeavors.” “That’s… what’s the catch?” “Hmm… ask a different question for now, I’m not sure how to properly answer it for you yet, and don’t want to lead you astray. I’m not a proverbial snake.” “Then what is Camp Half-Blood?” “...I see you are recuperating more than Anthony would have led me to believe.” Stamatios’s voice is guarded, for the first time since the game of chess and questions began it actually sounds like he is on the defensive. “I am bound by my word though, Mister Gale. It’s a Camp, one for training people such as yourself to fight and survive a world that would have you dead. A Camp that you left of your own volition, I might add.” “Why would I do that?” “Because you’re a Martingale, Mister Gale. First for a claim, then for family, then for fraternity. And everytime its cost you something more; your normalcy, your innocence, and now, your memories. Eventually you won’t be able to pay the costs… and what then?” Black 14; White 13 “One minute from doomsday, Mister Gale,” Stamatios notes. “And with myself right behind.” Martin’s eyes scan the desolate board. If this were a literal battlefield, it would be clogged with blood and corpses. Here, on immaculate howlite and obsidian, it’s an austere representation of the battle of questions between them. “...Why did this happen to me?” He asks as the seconds transform into minutes of silence between them. The question had been building for some time in him, and now seemed as good a time as any to ask, with an onyx bishop and ebony rook, staring down the gleaming bastion that his own rook provided against, as Stamatios had put it, oblivion. “I mean, why me? Out of everybody in the world, why am I the one who has this lot?” “Because we needed someone like you. Someone intelligent, and enduring. Those qualities are rare to find together, and even rarer when you look for the other conditions as well. Not many people would be willing to play a twenty-hour game of chess for answers.” “Twenty hours?!” Martin exclaims. It had hardly felt like twenty minutes, let alone twenty hours. No twinge of hunger, no parched throat; nothing to indicate that this had been going on for the better part of a day. “Well, in here, I suppose it seemed a little faster,” Stamatios admits. “I can only imagine how it went outside of here… But yes, you have the patience to see something through to the end, that’s another thing.” “I- I don’t care about that, I just- I don’t want to be a toy to you, or to anyone else!” Martin protests, pushing his chair away from the board. “Mister Gale, I do have an alternative for you, if you’ll hear me out? ….Good, thank you.” He adds as Martin, halfway to his feet, settles back into his chair again. “You’ve been hurt by everyone you know, and forgotten everyone else you knew. You don’t even know what your life was like before the Lotus Casino took you in… So why risk the outside being worse?” Stamatios asks. From within a pocket of his suit jacket, he pulls out a small earthenware bottle with a wooden stopper. “I can make the pain stop for you, in all ways. You just need to drink of the Lethe, Mister Gale. One mouthful, and you’ll forget everyone that’s wronged you, every pain that’s hurt you, everything that’s happened to you; just let the River consume it all.” With a free hand, he points up to the ceiling. Martin’s eyes follow his hand, and he stares up at the figures, astounded to see them slowly revolving around each other. More shockingly, they each look wounded, hurt. Cuts, scrapes, and bruises mar their body and clothes, looking as if they spent the past twenty hours on the chessboard’s battlefield rather than the pieces. “Existence is a terrifying thing,” Stamatios continues. “And I can offer you a reprieve. Think of it, oblivion. You don’t have to worry about knowing anything, you just get to be! There’s no expectations, no obligations, you will just get to exist, in the truest sense of the word! This is a brand new start, Martin; very few get an opportunity to travel this particular road.” Martin’s eyes drift to the clay bottle. It looks so plain, how can it do what he’s promised? There has to be a catch. “There has to be a catch,” Martin echoes, an observation which Stamatios rewards with a nod. “Astute. With this option, we would like you to become one of us; a Brother of Oblivion, a member of our dear little cult. And no-” he stops the protest. “I won’t tell you who or what we serve; it’ll be a waste of my breath if you do choose the option, and I do hate repeating myself.” “And if I don’t take your option? Am I free to go?” “I don’t know about free, but you will be able to leave, yes.” Stamatios muses. “We’ve found you before, we will find you again. I doubt you’ll like what happens when we find you again. I daresay you’re running out of limbs and friends to save, at this rate. We won’t kill you, but everyone else… well, if Peleus didn’t hate dogs so much, we would have already solved this problem.” “I… are you-” “Yes, that’s a threat, Mister Gale,” Stamatios sighs. “I rather thought you’d pick up on the inference, honestly. You were much sharper with all of your memories, you know.” DWOOOOoooooom- With a droning noise being the only alert, the lighting of the room vanishes in a trace. Martin’s eyes dart from side to side, looking for the source. His own eyes widen as they settle in on Stamatios’s eyes glowing red in the depths of his mournful mask. ”Please do not be alarmed, guests. We are currently on emergency power due to an unscheduled power outage. Concierges, please guide guests back to floors ten and up and explain the compensation package at their convenience. Also, inform them that any damage due to flooding on floors one through nine is covered by our comprehensive insurance plan. Mister Dhark, to the basement level ten. I repeat, Mister Dhark to basement level ten, please.” “Damn it…” The expletive drips like poison from behind the mask. Stamatios rises to his feet, staring down at Martin and their board. “Stalemate it is, Mister Gale. You have a choice before you now. If you are here when I return, we will welcome you into the Brotherhood. If you are not, then my brother and our agents shall plan our next move. This elevator is set to run on emergency power, so your escape will be guaranteed in these conditions; I doubt my brother or I shall have time to hunt you for quite the foreseeable future…” “But when we do, I shall see you skewered on a dozen spears and force-fed the waters of the Lethe, so you only can remember the agony of pain without the reason why… Keep that in mind during your thinking process. I shall return within the hour.” And with that, the pair of red eyes vanish. Martin stands from his chair, looking around the room. The only measure of light comes from the elevator’s readout, otherwise the room is in complete darkness. Martin looks down at the chessboard, his eyes looking for any sort of answer that may be hidden in the battlefield. It’s a stalemate game; neither of us would have won this. Just where this innate knowledge of chess comes from, he has no idea. The same thing happened with the game of Mythomagic on the main floor, though… Just a sense of how things work in terms of logic and tactics. That’s neither here nor there, though. What matters now is the impasse that Martin finds himself in the twixt of. If I drink the vial.. I lose sight of who I am, but the people I left behind will be safe… But I’ll never remember them again. He grabs the vial from the table and bounces it experimentally in his palm. It’s such a light object, to hold such weight in his mind. “But if I go without, I put everyone in danger… But I could remember who everyone is… maybe,” his thoughts turn into words as he weighs the option in hand. Which is better to choose? Should I be turned into one of them to protect others? Or should I be myself, and live with the consequences and dangers that such a choice brings? “What would Father do?” He asks aloud, with only the babbling of the fountains available for reply. He sighs, looking down at the phial in his hand. Slowly the gears begin to turn in his head, as a plan begins to form. Thank you for your patience, Lotus Hotel and Casino Patrons. We are now pleased to announce that our temporary power issue and flooding has been corrected. You are now free to return to the lower floors, where we will be offering free games for the next two hours! No risk, only reward as our way of thanking you for your patience! Thank you, and remember, when you stay at the Lotus; a weekend stay is like a year’s vacation! Hundreds of people slowly return to the lower main floors of the casino. Bell-bottoms, poodle skirts, three-piece suits; all walks of life push against each other, eager for the opportunity to let their wallet’s feast on fortunes that they cannot understand… or care to, for that matter. Waitresses flit from table to machine with serving trays filled to the brim with ambrosial lotus flowers, ensnaring their prey just as surely as a spider pounces on the fly already ensnared within its web. Martin notices none of this as he pushes out from the crowd, shoving his way through to a direction that nobody else seems to care to go; the exit. “Excuse me sir! The game floor is-” The woman behind the check-in counter begins, but her words die in her mouth as she sees him effortlessly walk through the revolving door. In the past year that she’s worked the welcoming counter at The Lotus, she’s only seen two other groups do that. One pair with a lawyer towing them out, and the others after causing a scene and leaving after a few minutes. Never someone just by themselves. “Have a-” She can’t even remember what she’s supposed to say when someone leaves the Lotus, it’s such an intermittent occurrence. Instead, she presses a button on the phone resting on her desk. She knows what she's supposed to do when it happens though, the laminated sheet of paper by the phone ensures that A few seconds of ringing, and a click is heard as the second line connects. “Mister Dhark, the House has went bust. I repeat, the House has went bust.” “So, both of you have lost your shirts in this little thought experiment, I see.” A man dressed in an impeccable charcoal suit and a mask miming comedic joy. Before him kneel two other individuals, each wearing masks of tragedy, one with hunched shoulders and a cloak, while the other wears a suit that is a twin of his comedic twin. “Dear brother, it is not our fault; Anthony threw the game before we even had a chance to turn him to our side,” the Tragic protests. “And who is Anthony’s handler, kind brother?” The standing Stamatios asks, being rewarded with a slumping of his twin’s shoulders. “But, Lord Stamatios, we aren’t… aren’t done yet.” The hunched figure wheezes. “He’s… he’s hardly left…. Left Vegas. I can, with Skilos… I can catch him.” “No.” The word is absolute, a glacier that signals the finality of all life that dares defy its passage. “He beat the pair of you, as I thought he would. He deserves the reprieve. I take no satisfaction in taking a piece off the board when it’s broken.” Stamatios the Comic turns from the kneeling figures, crossing back to the stone chess board where his Tragic brother and Martin had played their game. Kings and rooks and bishop still stand tall upon the board. Idly, he flicks the ebony king, sending it toppling to the floor with a clatter. “And he managed this without only instinct… He did not know of Athena or his gifts, and he still put you to a stalemate, kind brother? Surely, you were humoring him?” “...No, dear brother. I played my best game. We took twenty hours, which the Casino took as twenty weeks. The House always-” “Don’t you dare say that tiresome cliche, kind brother, or else you shall find yourself as a fountain ornament before the month is out.” the smiling Stamatios notes. “Though, you did well enough to stall for time. My agents have found several leads that we have been looking for for some time. We shall prepare to move when we are able.” “And what of us, dear brother?” “You, kind brother, will see to the Casino. Make sure that there is no lasting damage from the power outage. And see to the rainwater that poured in; I swear we’ll have to get that carpet torn out and replaced. It absolutely reeks of seawater, dead fish, and failed ambition down there.” “And me… Lord?” The Oathbreaker heaves the question. Stamatios the Comic turns to him with his forced smile. “You, my loathsome abomination, will be going to New York. If our Martingale ups the ante, then take him out, but not before. Skilos is yours. And if you fail or kill him before his time… You’d best hope he remembers how to kill someone like you first. His mercies will seem like a mother’s compared to what will await you should I get my hands on you.” “...Yes, Lord.” He gasps his assent as he rises to his feet. From within the depths of the cloak, he draws a crystalline whistle. Pulling the mask up to his nose, he brings it to his exposed mouth and blows. Nothing happens for a heartbeat, then two. On the third, a bounding hellhound leaps from the shadows. “Skilos… bring me to New York.” The Oathbreaker commands as he clambers up the monster’s back. Once he is firmly seated, the pair bound into the shadows and vanish once more. “Dear brother, I do not trust him… I believe we were rash in elevating him,” the Tragic intones. “I do agree, kind brother. Consider this our third test of Mister Kaufmann. If he finds a way to remember that he is in fact Mister Kaufmann, then he will be rechristened in blood.” “I remember our game on Tetepare, when you thought Mister Cleary would be Mister Kaufmann’s equal. Do you stand by that?” “No,” the Comic smiles, and based on the tone, a genuine one hides beneath as well. “I do not believe we’ve met his equal in many, many years, dear brother… We will either enter true existence once more, or final oblivion. We stand-” “At the Crossroads.” “At the Crossroads, yes. And Mister Kaufmann shall dictate the path. Now, go get that carpet dried. Oh, and have a long talk with Anthony about his… thoroughness when it comes to preparing our guests.” “...Yes, dear brother.” Rather than rising to his feet, Stamatios the Tragic sinks into the shadows pooled around his feet. Stamatios the Comic looks up at the slowly spiraling image of the mirrored women on the ceiling and sighs. “You really only have one hope, you know.” He pauses, then adds. “Each of you, I mean. Either I shall win, or Mister Kaufmann will… Best of luck to both Memory and Oblivion, may the true grandmaster win.” The world is dark outside the bus depot, as dark as Vegas can manage with all of the neon and gaudiness. By contrast, the depot is threadbare and boring; Martin can’t think of the last time he’s been somewhere that’s felt half as comfortable. The light up display board he has been watching updates, with the second bus listing ratcheting up to the top of the board. A screech goes up through the building’s speaker system, followed by a scratchy voice.
Now boarding, Las Vegas to New York City. Please have your boarding ticket ready, and begin forming to board. Now boarding, Las Vegas to New York City.
Martin settles near the front of the bus, a small bag filled with toiletries by his feet. The card that had been handed to him by the concierge in the Lotus seemed to have a few uses outside of the casino, it seemed. Beyond the necessities, there were just a few other items; two to be exact. The first, the logo of the shirt he had found in the suite’s hamper. And two, wrapped within the cloth, a stoneware bottle that sloshes ever so slightly when it is moved. Wait, what? A third item, a box the size of a pencil case stamped with a Caduceus stares up at him. Curiosity getting the better of him, he gingerly opens it. Nestled on a fitted interior rests a bronze ring, and a matching bracelet. Tucked into the side of the box, a small note is hidden. Unfolding it, his heart begins to tap away at a faster speed as he reads the contents, one part typed, the other handwritten on the bottom.
Dear Mister Gale, We at the Lotus Hotel and Casino wanted to say we appreciate the opportunity to cater to you, and hope you enjoyed your stay with us. Please find enclosed a lost item that was recovered in the flooding, as well as a token of esteem from one of our patrons. We do hope that you will consider the Lotus in the future for all of your celebration and relaxation needs. The Lotus Hotel and Casino
Well done, Mister Gale. Enjoy your reprieve before the game begins anew. Olly olly oxen free. “You got cleaned out too, huh kid?” A man in his late forties settles into the spot behind him. Peeking over his shoulder, he shakes his head good-naturedly. “How much did they take you for?” “...Everything.” “Damn, at least you thought ahead enough to have your ticket home and souvenirs prepared. Me? I had to call up my wife and ask her to wire me some money. I’m just glad we have a comfy couch; I’ll be sleeping on that for a while, I think. Fuck Vegas.” Regardless of the expletive, he still seems in good spirits as he laughs at the thought. “Fuck Vegas,” Martin echoes, though no laugh follows. The air brakes hiss as the bus lurches forward. Turning his gaze to the window, Martin watches as the bus garage is left behind, and soon enough Vegas itself fades away. Before his eyes drift closed, he sees one last thing. “WELCOME TO FABULOUS LAS VEGAS, NEVADA” the iconic sign greets the departing demigod. “...Fuck Vegas.” [Storymode] Total Time in the Lotus: 28 Hours (6 on the casino floor, 2 unconscious, 20 in the Executive Level) Total Time Elapsed: 26 weeks.
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During the past 70 years, researchers and historians have identified dozens of safety violations that contributed to that fire. https://preview.redd.it/wtr8uycm0mz31.jpg?width=236&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=49f5a0c3eb744f6ca98b65bd54b727ab1afca90f Industry Changes for Artificial Trees It was a turning point in the artificial decoration industry, and manufacturers were asked to begin using non-flammable materials. By the mid-1970s, new fire safety regulations were in place. They prevent commercial properties from placing specific non-IFR decorative elements indoors. In 1989, The Mirage Resort and Casino opened in Las Vegas, Nevada. The excellent features of this brand are new, proprietary, IFR, Preserved Palm Trees and a new chapter in the indoor artificial tree industry began. The company set a new criterion for elegance and safety, both of which remain to this day. How Are IFR Trees Made? 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Small & Large Artificial Outdoor Trees This company has a collection of eye-catching of artificial and preserved outdoor trees sets us apart because they consistently exceed the industry standard for quality. With the help of our UV-inhibiting UltraLeaf-X foliage, fabricated fake outdoor trees like our mystic Banyan, Phoenix Dactylifera Palm Tree and Mediterranean Olive stand up to just about any climate. They effortlessly retain their shapely beauty and natural colors in the face of: ● Extreme temperatures, ● Sunlight and humidity, and ● The rigors of rain, wind, ice, and snow https://preview.redd.it/rg13uo4p0mz31.jpg?width=275&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=53e321407650ee84f9a77509e3f0b65df981b854 Artificial Trees for Every Environment The company has 70-foot tall palm trees and 30-foot broad oaks, and banyans are undoubtedly impressive, but at TreeScapes, our artisans and engineers continuously strive to infuse new excitement into our artificial trees. We children tree houses, unique hand-carved Tikis, and even our version of an indoor cat tree – a whimsical combination of climbing tower and cat home in one. But that’s just the beginning of what they can do with the most extensive array of custom-made artificial trees on the market.Their glorious fake indoor trees grace the interiors of casinos, airports, hotels, and shopping centers around the globe. They’re equally at home, though, in your local school, library, or museum. Meanwhile, their fake outdoor trees are ideal for giving rooftops, patios, and cafes that touch of life-like greenery. They also introduce an element of fantasy, which can increase the excitement of theme parks, artistic spaces, and cruise ships. https://preview.redd.it/9ualpxsq0mz31.jpg?width=276&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d0b4a101e038f578c17abbecbf834f6b6b494c8d
General running information: We normally run on sidewalks and sometimes on the shoulder of the road. On the Strip, run only on the sidewalk. You take your life into your own hands if you run on the road. Downtown (Fremont Street), stick to the sidewalk. There are some bike lanes, but they’re not used often and therefore not always respected by drivers. It's also technically illegal to run in a bike lane. This guide is written for tourists by a local who lives on the west side of town and focuses exclusively on road running. It's not complete by any means, but a good start. WeatheConditions: Las Vegas is in a desert. There is limited shade, few clouds, and the sun is brutal. Always apply sunscreen and lip balm, wear a visor or sunglasses, and hydrate more often than at home. Summers are hot, obviously, so you’ll want to run early, before 8 AM, or after dark. Due to the extreme heat, running in just a sports bra is fine, as is running shirtless for guys. Winters bring large temperature swings. Daytime temps can be quite pleasant, and nights get downright cold. There is a monsoon season around springtime, but 99% of the time, you won’t have to worry about precipitation. More important than the temperature is the humidity. There is none. You will sweat more and therefore need more water and more electrolytes than running at home. Bring water with you when you run, no matter where or how far you’re going. Also note that Las Vegas is at approximately 2000 ft/600 m elevation. If you’re coming from a coastal area, you may see slightly slower times. If you’re coming from a mountainous area, enjoy the extra oxygen! Safety: Las Vegas is a city of tourists. Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. The tourist areas are pretty well policed, but personal responsibility will reduce your likelihood of being a target. Avoid the northern end of Las Vegas Blvd, north of Neon Museum, and the area east of Atomic Liquors. Also, hydrate well after a night of drinking. Running Groups: Las Vegas Runners Red Rock Running Company Performance Footwear Miscellaneous: Weather forecast here Strava Heatmap Major Races
The Strip Most folks stay on the Strip, so you can access this route from your doorstep. The route is simple: exit your hotel onto Las Vegas Blvd. Run either north or south on Las Vegas Blvd. The south end of the Strip is the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, just south of Mandalay Bay. Be extremely careful if you cross to the sign, as you’ll be going across four lanes of highly annoyed traffic. The north end is a toss-up between the Wynn and the Stratosphere hotels. The distance between the Las Vegas sign and the Stratosphere is approximately 7 miles, and you can turn around at any point. If you get a late start or want to avoid the overpasses, head to Flamingo, then turn east. Run 1 mile east to the Howard Hughes Corporate Center. The area is low traffic, wide streets, grass and palm trees. Run north on Howard Hughes Parkway to Sands, then turn and run back to Flamingo, unless you’re done, then turn west on Sands to the Strip. Continue east on Flamingo to Maryland Parkway. Head south on Maryland Parkway to run past the University of Nevada - Las Vegas campus. Feel free to veer off and run through the campus. There are plenty of winding paths. The athletic facilities, including a track, are on the west side of campus. I’m not sure about access to the track. Continue south to Tropicana or Russell and turn west to return to the Strip. If you went as far south as Russell, you’ll have to follow Paradise north, then Tropicana west to the Strip.
Start your run around 5 or 6 AM. By 10 AM, there won’t be room for you to run.
Run only on sidewalks, and please use the overpasses.
There’s plenty of busses, taxis and ubers to get you back to your hotel.
Fun fact: The Strip is not within the Las Vegas city limits.
Downtown Downtown encompasses the Fremont Street entertainment district, the home of classic casinos and the world’s largest video screen; Fremont East, an area of recent renovation and hipster bars; the Arts District, an area with starving artists, secondhand stores, and a fun retro vibe; and Symphony Park, home to the Smith Center and the Frank Gehry-designed Lou Ruvo Brain Institute. I haven’t personally run in this area, but here’s a potential 5-mile loop that takes you through the highlights. If you want to add mileage, extend south from Charleston on Casino Center into the heart of the Arts District. Turn onto Wyoming or Oakey and head back up Main Street to Charleston to resume the route. This extension isn’t the prettiest side of town but does pass by two fantastic ice cream shops.
If you want to run under the Vivavision (video screen), you’re probably fine to start any time before 3 PM. This area doesn’t really get crowded until dark and is pedestrians only.
Bike lanes are available downtown, painted green. Since they are only downtown, not all drivers are aware of them or respect them, so run cautiously.
There are quite a few homeless folks in the area. Usually harmless, but don’t be surprised at seeing them.
Fun fact: The Golden Gate is the oldest casino in Las Vegas.
City and County Parks Sunset Park is just 5 miles east of Mandalay Bay. Run south on the Strip to Sunset Rd, then run east to Sunset Park itself. The park has miles of paved trails, both in a manicured park with playgrounds, basketball courts, etc., and in a more natural desert setting. Plenty of bathrooms (which may not have doors) and water fountains here. Craig Ranch Regional Park/craig_ranch_regional_park.php) is in North Las Vegas and would require transportation from either of the tourist hubs. There's a farmer's market on the weekends, and a 5k would take about 1.5-2 laps around the park exterior. Clark County Wetlands Park on the east side of town is a fantastic getaway from desert landscapes. 14 miles of paved trails pass through ponds and reeds, providing plenty of bird-watching opportunities. Red Rock Canyon & Western Beltway Red Rock Canyon is a dramatic sandstone respite away from the bright lights of the Strip. The 13-mile paved loop is perfect training for marathons and includes 1500 feet of elevation gain in the first 5 miles. There’s a second tough uphill around mile 6.5 as well, and then the trail flattens out, with mild rises. You’ll pass by sandstone cliffs and Joshua Trees. Be careful of the traffic, as you share the road with both cars and cyclists. The loop is one-way, so be careful, especially on the tighter turns. If 13 miles isn’t enough – or if it’s too much – there’s a great multi-use trail that parallels the 215 beltway. The paved trail starts in the south at Peace Way and runs about 12 miles total. There’s one intersection at Flamingo, and then underpasses for the rest of the trip, at least until Sahara. Charleston Blvd, the road to Red Rock, is directly in the center. You’ll continue west for another 6 miles or so to the loop entrance.
No water once you leave the visitors center, so come prepared. Bring more water than you think you’ll need. If you’re not sure, err on the side of too much. I recommend 2L for a half-day hike, so adjust according to your distance and pace. Water is available at Red Rock Visitor Center & the Albertson’s on Charleston shortly before the park.
Bathrooms available at Albertson’s on Charleston, the Visitor’s Center, and some of the pullouts in Red Rock.
Admission to Red Rock is $7 for a car, $3 for a cyclist or pedestrian. Cash or cards accepted. These rates are currently under discussion to double.
I highly recommend having your own transportation for these runs. While uber & lyft have great coverage in the western suburbs, phone reception out at Red Rock itself is spotty.
Fun fact: Red Rock is home to Mojave Max, a desert tortoise used to predict the start of spring.
It’s too damn hot and I can’t stand the treadmill. Help? Run in air conditioned bliss at the Las Vegas Athletic Clubs (LVAC) gyms’ indoor tracks. They are for locals and therefore require a traditional monthly gym membership, but they do have a one-day pass to try them out. Oh, and I'll be here for a week. UNLV’s Student Recreational Center is open to “the Community” and has an indoor track. Nevada residents can get a monthly pass, not sure about out of state folks. More info: Further from the Strip, the indoor track at the Henderson Multigenerational Center is available to non-residents. If you’re military, the gym at Nellis Air Force Base has an indoor track as well. ETA city & county parks 8/28/17 ETA major races 9/28/17
Going to Vegas in July - I've been doing my research so hope this can help others.
I'm going in July and have done some research. Plenty of this is from the sidebar, but other notes are from many of other sources. The Vegas Degenerate Tour ( . ) ( . ) Things to do:
Bellagio Fountains (free)
Mirage Volcano Show (free)
The lounge at the top of the Mandarin Oriental - Super Classy with amazing night time views, sexy patrons and great cocktails
Wet Republic - Rent cabana 2 months in advance
Las Vegas Helicopter Night Flight with VIP Transportation £65pp
Grand Canyon Skywalk - Apparently Expensive and not that good - you have to take a bus to get there and it is $30 each. Go to Grand Canyon south instead.
The Strip Gun Club Range
Sapphires pool party - strippers pool party!!!
Fremont Street Experience at night.
Container Park, which is a few blocks east of the Freemont St. Experience, a 2 foot recycled steel praying mantis (acquired from Burning Man) spits giant fireballs to the beat of music A LOT. Lots of half naked men and women. LOTS (free)
Ghost Bar at the Palms has amazing views. Check Groupon for deals. Happy hour 8-10pm
Stratosphere bar at the top. Happy hour 2 hours after open
High Roller observation wheel. Get a car with the open bar.
Monte Carlo minus 5 Ice bar. Everything is made out of ice! Bar, glasses, seating - everything
RiRa Irish bar with live music and good Guinness after 9pm
The Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay, live music and amazing strip views
Strip clubs: Spearmint Rhino, Hustler Club and Crazy Horse--those are our top 3 Rhino and Horse are high end and classy
Top Golf location, just behind MGM. 5 levels of golf driving range, mixed with music, food and drinks. There are also 2 pools, free to use.#
Dig This drive diggers and bulldozers.
Spa in the ARIA is amazing with good treatments.
Alibi show http://alibitheshow.com/ This experience throws the audience into an exciting adventure around the streets, restaurants, bars and other real-life locations on the Las Vegas Strip.
There is so much free stuff going on up and down the strip though that you can just do all the free stuff and not spend a dime. From street dancers, people singing, or pictures with a grown dude wearing a diaper.
Eclipse cinemas downtown for an over 21s only luxury cinema experience with cocktails and good food.
Have the clubs pick you up in their limos because all the cab/ubelyft/limo drivers get a kick back on anyone they drop off to the clubs and same with the VIP card guys! So if you don't use the free limo ... THE CLUB HAS TO CHARGE YOU A COVER!!! If you use the clubs FREE limo service they can sometimes wave that cover charge!! (that's like $20 a person!)
Check for Groupon deals.
Make sure you all download the Uber and Lyft app. Both offer new user signup credits. Free rides.
A $400 Pre-Authorisation charge for resort fees and ‘amenities’ was taken as expected upon check in. I would recommend UK visitors to take a Cash Passport MasterCard (available in Thomas Cook and other travel agents)
é by Jose Andres inside Jaleo inside Cosmo. Only 8 seats, reservations by email only ([email protected]) starting 3 months prior to the res date, 23 courses. $190/person(?) without alcohol pairing
Raku in Chinatown does amazing 8/12 course tastings for $70/100 a person
The tasting, or "seasonal discover menu" at L'Atelier is up to $165 per person
Eiffel Tower restaurant is a Must for dinner!!!!!!!! Fantastic view of the strip
Good steakhouses serve food at the restaurant bar and the bartender has seen some shit. So much more fun for a party up to three and the service is over the top.
Delmonico's in Venetian at the bar. The cocktails and food were amazing.
Mushashi's dirty show (Japanese steak with a naughty show for the girls.) Midnight to 4am happy hour.
Secret Pizza. A secret pizza place. Needs research! Inside the Cosmopolitan
Bachi Burger – also to reunite with a previous memory. I still think this is one of the top 3 burgers I’ve ever had. The oxtail chili cheese fries are recommended by others to be a “must”, but I personally prefer the truffle fries.
Monta Ramen – I’m a huge ramen fan and I understood this was the –best- ramen place in Vegas.
Sweets Raku – in the same complex as Monta Ramen. They have some neat desserts that they make right in front of you, lovely experience.
Wicked Spoon Buffet at the Cosmo. Everything was really good and the deserts were awesome.
Brunch @ Bacchanal Buffet, Caesar’s Palace – This was awesome! We had the groupon deal and it was impressively cheap. Midway through our meal they switched to their lunch menu so we got the best of both worlds there.
Gordon Ramsey’s Burgr – onion rings were incredible. The burger was pretty good as well.
Earl of Sandwich - I could seriously eat these every day.
Studio B Buffet @ M Resort
The "Heart Attack Grill" lets you eat free if you weigh over 350 pounds.
Marriage Can Be Murder - This is a dinner / theater / murder mystery / whodunit show at the D downtown. Includes tasty food, extreme audience participation and likely embarrassment. You may be called upon to dance, or play a character in the murder mystery. Comes with tasty food, cocktails available.
For dinner, I highly recommend BLT Steak House in Ballys Hotel and Red8 in The Wynn - if you are a food lover, BLT’s is particularly worth the extra!
Sex/Swingers Clubs (Or; no, you filthy pervert - what's wrong with you?)
So, you wanna go to SHOT show? You think it's all fun and games? Get to play with guns? See Jesse James and R. Lee Ermey? SHOT show is the annual pilgrimage of the unwashed masses to Las Vegas to rub elbows with youtube celebrities, bloggers and overseas businessmen copying US made equipment and share infectious disease. If you love guns, gambling and gonorrhea - SHOT show is for you! It is not my typical idea of a good time. I am not a big fan of Las Vegas. However: I do attend for a few reasons. First, I do enjoy travel and I'm platinum on AA so I can usually score an upgrade. Second, industry people are in there that I do hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars with business with so it's nice to put a face with the name and see what deals are out there. SHOT for me has been a bust for the past few years. Being a value guy, I want to buy at $1000 and sell at $3000 and as of recently the gun business is more like buy for $1 and sell for $1.10 if you get what I mean. We used to do business at SHOT and now it's just checking in on foursquare, instagram and rubbing elbows with bloggers and the like. I want to make money, not spend money so this is very annoying to me. Anyways, onto the play by play. Monday, January 16th. One day before SHOT show. http://imgur.com/a/HoFUm Every time I've been rejected by a woman, I move $1 from checking into savings and I take the bankroll down to the Wynn for some play. Lets do this. The TSA line is a shitshow thanks to, well TSA. I slog my way to the lounge, as shitty as it is to wait for my winged chariot to DFW. I have gone from being in an abusive relationship with Delta to being in an abusive relationship with AA. Although if you really want to experience the battered spouse feeling, UA is a few gates over. This trip's light reading is trying to finish "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. Such a good book as well as "Outliers" if you want a good read. I walk up to the podium to find out that my upgrades do not clear, even as an AA Plat thanks to the addition of a FOURTH elite tier. Goddamn fucking W. Doug Parker. Asshole. I gate check my bags to make life easier for me and the rest of the folks. The gate agent calls concierge key and executive platinum passengers. I look down and realize I'm wearing a suit and board with the executive platinum folks because I do not care and I look the part. If you walk with a purpose and are dressed reasonably well, you fit the profile. I settle into my window seat and try to finish outliers. I pass out before takeoff and I'm awoken by the dulcet tones of the flight attendants preparing for landing. We land at Dallas a few minutes early and I hightail it to the Centurion for a quick bite to eat. I grab a plate and help myself to some of the excellent brisket, pecan encrusted chicken and some roasted jumbo asparagus. Yes, my pee is going to smell funny. No, I do not care. The lounge is packed. The bar is full and I grab a quick single malt as I have my meal since American's not going to feed me. They begin boarding to Mccarran as I walk out of the lounge. No time for a stop in the spa on this trip. I make it to the gate just as the call group 2 boarding. I bypass the main line and walk up through the priority line giving no heed to the people that have been waiting there before me as I hold up my paper boarding pass with PLATINUM to the gate agent. I board and take my usual seat - the exit row without the seat in front of it. I'm aghast to see this sight. http://imgur.com/a/dygil The savages. Literally. The savages. I put my loathing away for a moment and look down at the exit row. I have the window. The aisle is a large middle aged man and in the middle is what I believe to be a formecurrent linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys wearing a 52 regular sports jacket. He's not a fat guy in a little coat, he's a big fucking hulk of a man stuffed in an exit row seat that is already an inch narrower due to the tray table. I grimace as I take my seat and give him the manly nod. He does not look happy about the fact that his knees are in the seat in front and I'm stretched out like a Cheshire cat in front of a fireplace on a cold January afternoon. The boarding door closes for an on time departure and Stephanie the FA takes her seat. He leans over and asks if he can take the empty row across the aisle and she takes one look at the three of us and gives him the nod. I bail out to give him a path of egress and suddenly the trip to Las Vegas has just become way more comfortable. I finish The Tipping Point somewhere over west texas, so I pop a xanax and dr pepper and zone out for the rest of the ride. I awake to feel one of the FA's jostling me awake telling me to put my seat up. I do so and we have a ride so smooth that not even the Delta guy behind me can complain about light chop. We catch the TYSSN4 arrival and the next thing I know it the Messier Dowty landing gear of the A321 touch the paint at Mccarran for a smooth rollout down 25L. My phone battery is approaching grim death since this seat has no power plugs and I find bartman383 has sent me a message. He has been enjoying LV with his wife and their due to bad weather they are in the city of sin for a few extra nights. He invites me to dinner. I'm still pretty full from DFW and I tell him I'll be over there once I get my bags and the car and I'll see him when I see him. He gives me the info for the hotel as we pull up to the gate. First stop: Centurion lounge. AA's app tells me bags being unloaded. I grab a quick bite of fried chicken and brussels sprouts since they are good for you and a chocolate pudding. The brisket and pecan encrusted chicken from DFW still has me full but I'm well aware of the speed of a union baggage handlers nowadays and who doesn't like chocolate pudding? Terrorists. That's who. Want to know how to screen for terrorists TSA? Set up a table of free chocolate pudding at the airport. The people who don't take any are members of ISIS. It's just that simple. I grab my bag and hoof it to Hertz. I'm an idiot and I am an hour late for my pickup. Oops. Will an Audi A3 suffice? I sigh and I accept my Teutonic quattro chariot. I do a burnout in the parking garage and hightail it to the exit. I flash my #1 card and my ID and the gatekeeper gives me the go ahead. I get onto the the strip and traffic is awful. I'm going to be late for dinner. I make a left onto Russell Road and hightail it up the 15. I manage to get the car up to 100 as I pass the Luxor. My phone is dead so I can't message Bart about being late. Fuck. The exit approaches quickly as I put the 4 wheel disk brakes to work and sling the car around and head south on Las Vegas Bl. I accidentally turn into the Bellagio and I'm now running even more late. Fuck. Eventually, I get the car into the garage at the Cosmopolitan and head upstairs. I cannot remember the name of the restaurant but I head up to the third floor where all the restaurants are and I see this sign that's reminiscent of my days in retail. It says RESTAURANT - LOUNGE - PAWN SHOP. I laugh. I walk in. It's literally a pawnshop. I look around puzzled. FC: Is this a restaurant? Bald Headed Guy: Yes, through that door. He points towards a door. I walk in to find a bustling restaurant, lounge via the entrance of pawnshop. This is insane. I pass a mirror and check myself out. I adjust my tie, after all it is YSL and the ladies LOVE YSL. Remember that. I find the hostess and inform her I will be joining some friends for dinner. They probably do not have me on the reservation though but I turn on the charm and she smiles and says no problem at all. She asks if my tie is from Hermes. I say no, I'm a YSL guy. She looks impressed as I tell her I'll make a quick lap of the room to see if they're there and surprise them. She gives me a nod and tells me to go right ahead. Still got it. I spot bart and his wife who I can only remember vaguely from gunnitlive after party video and I pull up a chair. Bart is surprised to see I made it and they are in the middle of dinner. They offer to ply me with food and beverage but I decline as I'm driving so no booze for me and no food since I am stuffed from Dallas. We chat about life and liberty over libations. Bart's wife thinks I am hysterical. She's had a few drinks and they are already into their main courses. The brussels sprouts are way too salty and we have to send it back. No bueno. Bart invites me up to his suite on the top floor of the hotel where we are to meet Brogelicious later in the evening. I say, when in rome......we head to the top floor of the hotel tower where Bart shows me his view from the balcony and cracks open the mini bar for some more libations. He asks if I want a drink and I say I better not. I'm driving. Not 30 seconds after arriving, brogel shows up. Bart's wife hugs brogel. She's infatuated with him. We start shooting the shit and bart opens up the minibar and tells us to take anything we want, it's on the hotel. I laugh and I look outside as bart opens his yeti 110 for some silver bullets. Apparently he is so baller the hotel will send up a yeti 110 filled with beer to make him happy. His wife is apparently such a baller. I ball on a budget. They just ball. Hahaha. We shoot the shit some more about guns, gun stuff and people on the reddit for a while. I get a little thirsty and I crack open bart's cooler. I ask him how long the stuff in the cooler is supposed to last and he says until Wednesday. I look down and I am agape at what I see. We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers... Also, a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge, and I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon. I mentally prepared my butthole and I decided to help myself to a coors light against my wishes but Bart, Bart's wife and Brogel are all drinking so I let peer pressure take hold as I cracked open a beer with them. We head out to the balcony to smoke some cuban cigars together as bart's wife takes a photo of all of us. We all look like hell. Haha. As bart downs his second beer, he asks me a question. Bart: ever go hunting? Me: Ducks a little bit but not much Bart: ever want to hunt some deadly game? Me: Like on african safari? Bart: No, I mean like.........man. Me: Hahahahhahaaha you're just fucking with me. Hahahahahhaa. That's really funny. Bart: No really, the concierge here at this hotel will set it up for us. It's amazing. I remember my first hunt...... Brogel starts laughing and I realize they've been doing a bit. I've been had. We bullshit about SHOT and Barrett's shotguns and other things and next thing I know, it's late but bart hands me a mixed drink. I sip it a bit and I was in the middle of a tirade complaining about my customers. Suddenly, there was a terrible roar all around us, and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the city, and a voice was screaming: Holy Jesus. What are these goddamn animals? Nobody seems to understand what I'm talking about. It's cold on the balcony. Our cigars are done. We head indoors. No point in mentioning these bats, I thought. Poor bastards will see them soon enough. Back indoors I realize Brussels sprouts and coors light is a bad choice. Seriously no bueno. I excuse myself to the bathroom and drain the vein. The asparagus funny smelling pee and the side effects of beer and brussels sprouts is a noxious combination that a defense contractor should weaponize it. It's pretty bad and not even cuban tobbaco can mask the smell. I sit back down and continue to talk about guns and stuff with bart and the gang and bart asks who ruined the bathroom. I apologize as he sprays a bunch of febreze around and opens the balcony. I apolgize to brogel. He is not accepting my apology. (sorry :( ) Nearly 11, it's about time to pull chocks and mosey on down the dusty trail. I don't want to prompt an evacuation of the hotel due to noxious odors so I decide to leave and bart seems to be kinda mad that I've ripped ass and polluted the sanctuary of his hotel. Half a coors light and brussels sprouts are no bueno in my book now. Bart decides to party hard with his wife and I offer brogel a ride home. He seems skeptical to share a confined space with me after I have just destroyed bart's hotel room. The car has 4 windows and the Uber will cost him a few bucks he can put towards ammo. He relents as we head down to the garage to find my car. Thankfully we find it quickly and I manage to contain the weapons of ass destruction for the 16 minute ride off strip to casa de brogel. He says I'm not that bad a dude and I agree as I hightail it to my hotel. I cannot find my hotel reservations so I call my travel agent to see. Apparently the Wynn was not in my travel budget this year. I have come to find out I have been booked at Circus Circus, much to my chagrin. How bad could it be? I've stayed at the Wynn. I've stayed at Encore. I've stayed at the hotel that Elisabeth Shue's character got raped in in Leaving Las Vegas - but Circus Circus? Did I mention that I HATE CLOWNS? I HATE CLOWNS. Fuck. I pull into the parking garage and the check in line resembles something straight out of the TSA line at Mccarran. 45 minutes to check in. The clerk is friendly and says he's also from Louisiana which is neat. He asks if I've stayed there before and I, being a connoisseur of old vegas history I decide to make a joke and I tell him the last time I was there, Jay Sarno owned the place. He got a laugh. I head up to my room and unpack. The lobby is clean as an old vegas casino can be, the room is clean and there's no way to plug anything in since the hotel predates personal electronic devices. I plug my phone into my external battery and collapse on the bed. I message Bart and chugbleach instead of falling asleep about show tomorrow and I offer to pick bart up early since there is no shuttle from the cosmo. Tuesday, November 16th SHOT Show Day One I awoke several hours later in a daze......the clock said 10AM. The show opened at 8:30. Fuck me to tears. I hurry up and get dressed and down to the sands convention center. The parking lot is FULL. The entire complex is a mess. When my man Steve Wynn built his joint he didn't build enough parking. So people would park at the Venetian and now FUCKING NOBODY CAN GET A PARKING SPACE. Holy shit. I eventually say fuck it and park over at the Wynn and walk over to the Sands. I meet up with a few of my regular suppliers and I see nothing interesting at all. Bart went to bed at 6AM after spending all night partying with his wife over at the palazzo. I joke and say that he just should have stayed there. Bart is amazed at the size of the show and we have lunch at the most disgusting place in las vegas - the convention center bistro snack bar. Bart is a wise man as he grabs a powerade and a fruit cup. I decide to try an "italian beef" and a fruit cup instead of fries to stay semi health conscious. The "italian beef" is the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. It is flat out depressing. They give me fries with it and I demand a fruit cup. The sassy black woman working the stand asks me "DID YOU ASK FOR FRUIT? CAUSE RIGHT HERE SAYS FRIES" and I channel my inner Louis CK from the "this is how I talk" bit from SNL as I shoot back "WHY YOU FRONTIN ON ME I ASKED FOR FRUIT AND YOUR ASS BETTER BACK UP AND GET ME SOME FRUIT" so she goes back and gets me some fruit. The "italian beef", my fruit cup, bart's fruit cup and powerade comes to $81. My platinum amex comes out and I treat bart to "lunch". We bullshit about guns and stuff in the Springfield booth as we wait at the world's worst concession stand. We eat and Bart is so hungover that he thinks he is in need of physical therapy and a wheelchair. There is no way he is going to party tonight before his trip home. Or so I think. Haha. I meander around the show a bit more and I find this, the most USELESS PRODUCT OF 2017. It's made by a company called radetec. http://imgur.com/a/GOiCB It's a shot counter. For your gun. A digital odometer, for your gun. The only person that would buy this is the guy like my dad that kept a spiral bound notebook in his car where he documented how many miles he traveled per tank, gallons dispensed, PRICE, service station and whether they had a different price for cash/charge, oil consumption, tire rotations, alignments, all services - scheduled or otherwise, and a running odometer. Does anyone know the gun owner who asks for a round count when they are looking at a used gun? The question I always shoot back is "do you want to be lied at a little or do you want to be lied at a lot?" because that's what you're asking for when you ask for round count. UNLESS YOU BUY THIS PRODUCT! I roll my eyes so far back into my head that I nearly lose my balance. This is idiotic. I cannot fathom anyone willing to buy this. What a waste of perfectly good exhibition space. Bart heads back to his hotel after visiting SHOT show for a few hours, not getting any swag and to get an IV of fluids since he looked like he was rapidly approaching grim death. I wrap up visiting prime vendors and checking out the new products, or lack thereof because I have something on the schedule. At 4:30 there's a suicide prevention for retailers seminar hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. As many of you know this is an issue that is important to me and perhaps we as retailers should be doing more. The keynote was from their chief medical director talking about the accessibility of firearms and the mindset of the "typical" suicide. Mostly men. If you are a veteran you are at a significantly larger risk. The information was presented very not surprisingly and one of the things discussed was that we only spend around 21M a year on suicide prevention. A few take away facts from the keynote: When suicide barriers are put up on a bridge, suicide rates for the entire area drop. The key to preventing suicide is getting people to talk about their problems. Once you can get someone out of that mindset, they are statistically less likely to do it and live productive lives afterwards. There are certain terms that they are trying to get away from - for instance, they are not saying "committed suicide" they are now saying "died by suicide" in order to bring awareness and tell it like it is. One thing that really was interesting to me was my reading on the flight in from Dallas. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell discusses how things stay the same and suddenly they all change. One of the things that he discusses is in micronesia - where teen suicide was practically unheard of became an outright epidemic. One teenager did it, for reasons passing understanding to me as an outsider and then all the other kids realized that they too could escape their pain by hanging themselves as well and suddenly the suicide rates in micronesia became so high to where it became a public health issue. I wish I could show you all the article I wrote on TTAG about my friend's death but it has been lost in the cloud and I am unable to find the last draft I sent to print, but it echoes some of the problems we have with suicide and mental health in the firearm industry. After the keynote, the good doctor opened the floor up for questions. Her keynote posed a lot of statistics but not a lot of answers. I am a detail oriented granular data guy and I did not get a solid grasp of the AFSP solutions posed, if any. Several firearm dealers discussed the lack of a cohesive solution and the takeaway was they're trying to develop awareness for the suicide problem. Their goal is to lower suicide rates but how they get there is yet to be determined. I didn't like hearing that and the comments from the crowd reflected the lack of a "here's what you can do TODAY to help this problem" part of the initiative. Going around the room, one dealer who used NICS said that if a customer was just flat out acting funny - he'd lie to the customer and say there was a delay with NICS even though there was an approval just to get them to not be able to have a gun for a few days. The crowd applauded this initiative, however I'm not sure lying to customers is the best way to run a business and treat them with respect. Another dealer brought up an interesting point. When someone comes in looking to buy a gun and they don't know what kind of gun they want, what caliber, and are generally clueless - they're either buying a gun to kill themselves with, OR perhaps they are a very uneducated prospective customer - and there is no clear way of finding out which is which. The problems presented by the AFSP are real. The solutions aren't there though. Yet. Ideally I'd like to see some change to that. However, there's some problems. I hung around and asked the good doctor and her staff some questions and I am in no way denigrating her life's work and her dedication to preventing suicide since she has dedicated her life's work to the issue, but the conversation went something like this. Did you do any research on the accessibility of firearms from a retailer from the legal standpoint? "No, we haven't" Do you know how the NICS or state POC background systems work in regard to mental health holds, etc? "No" One of the problems that I foresee right off the bat is that you talked about how you are fighting time, and if you can get someone out of that suicide mindset - even for a few hours, you can get them into that higher survival bracket. If we apply a one size fits all solution to it like California and put a 10 day wait on everything with the goal of protecting someone from their own life, how do we balance that with the needs of the woman who has been hiding from her abusive spouse and needs a gun right away? "That's a good question that I don't have an answer for." Their initiative, I admire - the lack of solutions is a little off putting however. I tell the doc about how my friend's suicide has impacted me and she seems to be sympathetic to the situation as does her colleagues. I am given her cards and told to call the next time I'm in New York so we can get together and discuss things within the industry. I'll give them a buzz in a few weeks when I'm up there on business. On my way out of the hall, I run into Massad Ayoob. Nice guy. I've admired his work over the years. Bart invites myself and chugbleach to dinner, I can't reach Chug and even though I am beat I decide to hang out with Bart and Mrs Bart Bart: What do you want to eat? FC: Let's find a nice seafood restaurant and eat some red salmon, I feel a powerful lust for red salmon. I begin vomiting. God damn mescaline. Why the fuck can't they make it a little less pure? We eventually head downstairs and order too much food. We are tired and not very hungry. Bart is still hungover and barely able to process food. His wife is grazing on all sorts of meat products. I am in awe of how they are both still upright after six nonstop nights of partying. I've only been here one day and I feel like I am about to die. Dinner concludes with an awkward hug with bart's wife - I don't know how other men feel about wife hugs so I have just avoided the prospect entirely. Like flying through Denver on Frontier. Or flying on Frontier. Ever. I drive over to the Wynn to set up my markers and the poker room is full. I draw a $2500 marker at the craps table and watch the game a bit. I have never played craps before in my life but the three people there seem to be having fun. I look down at my phone and I realize a plane has landed. fluffy_butternut has landed in Las Vegas on business. I had lost a bet and offered to pick him up from the airport. I cash back in my chips against my casino credit and head back to my car. I cannot find my car. Fuck. I wander the wynn garage which is covered in construction debris. I eventually find it and haul ass to the airport. Now, I didn't know this but fluffy has the WORST SENSE OF DIRECTION AT ALL. Seriously. I have no idea how he even made it to the correct city. He lands and has to get his bag and stuff and I circle the airport. He lets me know he's at door 77 wherever the fuck that was. I drive into the pickup portion and I see no sign. He then says he's coming up a level, and I tell him that I'll be there shortly. I park the car and Metro PD starts yelling. Metro: You can't park your car here. FC: Why not? Is this not a reasonable place to park? Metro: Reasonable? You're on a sidewalk! This is the sidewalk! I give the man a $20 and tell him to keep it running as I wander Mccarran screaming FLUFFY! HERE FLUFFY! I message fluffy to let him know I am the car parked on the sidewalk. I instantly figure out who he is having never seen a photo of him and I throw his bags into the car as we head for his hotel. I haul ass out of the airport and get the A3 on the highway. Now this was a superior machine. Thirty nine grand worth of gimmicks and high-priced special effects. The rear windows lit up with a touch like frogs in a dynamite pond. The dashboard was full of esoteric lights and dials and meters that I would never understand. We check in at the Rio where the desk clerk is friendly and flirty. I express amazement there is no line. Fluffy checks in and we take his bags upstairs and he offers to buy me food for driving him to the airport. I decline. We head to the bar anyways. He orders two beers and we decide to call chug. He's staying out in Summerlin or something because his company is apparently run by cheapskates. He asks if we want to hang out and shoot the shit. I say sure and ask if he wants us to pick up food or anything from CVS or something since I have the car and I'm able to do anything I want. He asks for some toothpaste. No problem. I may be an asshole on the internet but I have a heart of gold. We get some toothpaste get to the hotel. Arriving at the lobby, we have no idea where he is. It turns out he gave us the address for the hotel across the street. We laugh and go to that lobby and shoot the shit till 3AM much to the chagrin of the hotel clerk. Fluffy has some beers and we plan on dinner the next day. I drive fluffy back and arrive at the hotel at 4. Fuck me to tears. Wednesday, January 18th. Day 2 of SHOT show. Alarm goes off at 7:30 AM. I wash up, eat and get breakfast. In the garage by 8:15. Nice. I get some dillo dust and check out the new Sig 220 DA/SA and SAO legions. Daddy likey. I go to a competing firm and I piss of my state sales manager by telling him his newer designed triggers suck ass. He says the company tested them and they're the same in every way. I ask him why the triggers have two different part numbers in the catalog and how come they're not interchangeable and if that's really the case, how come there's X changes in the supposedly identical pistol parts that he's holding side by side. He gets mad at me and says I'm not an expert on their product and perhaps I should take his job since I'm so smart. I agree that I'm smart and I hold firm that if he didn't want me to complain about the shitty trigger, they should stop selling guns with shitty triggers. I am nearly kicked out of the booth. I meet up with some of my wholesale reps and I'm mid convo when I see Itsgoodsoup and his friend walking around the show. I yell SOUP but he does not hear me. So I grab his friend and find him and I tell him we should get together at dinner with fluffy and chug. He agrees. The show winds down, I get some business done and nothing much else. We break for a shitty gunnit live lite and I take a few questions from the crowd in fluffy's suite at the Rio. Dinner is at 8 and we arrive at the restaurant late to find soup and his friend sitting at one table and chug and his girlfriend sitting at another. Perhaps we should have gotten here a little earlier. Hahaha. So, fluffy said the place is really good and I order a few of the specialties of the house. Apparently according to yelp they do a kickass peking duck. Soon to be mrs chug is a vegan. But we can eat meat in front of her. I wonder how it's served and Soup's vancouver raised asian friend tells me that they normally carve it tableside. Our vegan says as long as there's no head she's cool. We're not sure if they can fulfill that request. So we order and food starts coming out and we tell tall tales of shot show BS and other stuff. Sure enough, the duck comes out with the head. No bueno. Haha. But I decide to treat us to vegan donuts at the vegan bakery across the street later. Seven courses later we are full. Vegan bakery closed. I am committed to getting her some vegan donuts though. We head to Fremont street to gamble. Fluffy wanders about and we try craps and we're not impressed. We hit some slots and eventually I hit the craps table where chug explains the game to me. We start betting on dice. And somehow we start winning. I find that the house allows you to take 10X behind the line. No idea what this means so I plop $5 on the pass line and the point hits 6. I drop $50 behind it and it hits. We go a few rounds and leave ahead. It's 2:30 AM. Fuck. I drive everyone back to their hotel. I get to sleep around 4. Thursday, January 19th. Day 3 of SHOT show. Wake up at 10AM feeling like crap. Debate whether to head straight to show and wander about. Fuck it. Went to halal guys for some halal. Delicious. Got vegan donuts. Dead drop them at the Palazzo lobby for chug and his girl. Show is a bust. Literally nothing exciting. Fluffy offers to buy me dinner. One of my customers who lives in Summerlin offers to take me to dinner. I pass on fluffy and he destroys the seafood buffet at the rio. I head to Sinatra at the Wynn for dinner with my customer. All good in the hood. Chug has been invited to the Glock dinneafter party and I'm not so we all go our separate ways. I call foghorn5950 and due to some weather, he's flying home early and our plans to hangout are fucked up unless I go tonight. I grab fluffy and we head to Whiskey Down. He orders a makers and I give him a funny look. I tell the waitress make it a bulleit. Everyone laughs. I talk shop with Jeremy also from TTAG and we shoot the shit over cigars and talk about useless products. Next thing we know, chug is out of the dinner and wandering the strip. We decide to meet up at the Linq. It takes us nearly 30 minutes to get out of Whiskey Down at MGM because the waitress was awful and messed up everyone's tab. It was a fucking disaster. To boot, MGM is now charging for parking. FC: What a bunch of fucking jews Fluff: You should just tailgate that lady in front of you out and screw them out of the $7 FC: I should We pull behind her and watch as she gets flustered at the awful parking machine. Her nevada license plate says VETERAN. As the gate goes up we haul ass and screw MGM out of $7. I shout "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE" out the window as we blow right by her up to the Linq. Through fluffy's awful navigation, we wind up at the loading dock for the Linq. Eventually we find chug and gf hanging at the penny slots. They are holding vegan donuts, which she is very appreciative of. Least I could do after showing her the head. Fluffy plays the House of Cards slot machine. He stuck $100 in, played for 6 minutes and then got really mad and hit the cash out button and $80 was left after 5 minutes. ITS EXACTLY LIKE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT! Chug's gf asks to play a special slot machine called kitty glitter. We ask and the linq does not offer it but Harrahs next door does. So we head over there and the slot tech finds the kitty glitter machine. Fluffy sticks a C note in there and tells her to play and have a blast. So she's banging away at the one armed bandit WHEN SUDDENLY I HEAR THE SOUND. It's PUTTIN ON THE RITZ in shitty .wav file internal speaker format. Hahah. She's just hit the progressive jackpot on the penny KITTY GLITTER machine. THIS PLACE IS AWESOME! We cash out after some play and a good time was had by all. I dump off fluffy at the rio since it was very close and drive everyone else back. It's late, I'm tired and the Palace Station oyster bar is open 24 hours......I head over there and there's a 45 minute wait. So, I pull out my backup bankroll and using everything chug and fluffy have taught me about craps I belly up to the $3 min table where they let you take 10x behind the line. I'm still learning and the table is slow so one of the boxmen start explaining the game to me. Box: So if you place the 6 or the 9 or individual numbers you can bet those but you gotta pay a little juice on it like a commission Me: Like when you buy the hook? short pause Box: Yeah! Exactly like that! You got this! So I played a little and went up a bit and down a bit. As you do. Plunked $5 down on the pass line and took full odds and the point hit. This game is pretty cool! So I hung around and watched for about an hour and finally decided to eat my winnings. I take $5 off my stack and, drop it on the pass line and announce dealer bet - $5 to pass. It hits. The dealers love me. Maybe Vegas isn't so bad after all. http://imgur.com/a/LGhDj I have the pan roast at the oyster bar. No line. It is DELICIOUS. I get back to the hotel at 5AM. I don't care when I wake up. Friday, January 20th. Day 4 of SHOT show. Wake up around noon feeling like crap. Go to show. Debate destroying milk cart with wheels with an ax borrowed from fire station. Decide against it. Gas up car and find myself out by palace station again. Played some craps, hit the buffet and went for an early sleep. It's midnight. The neighbors in my the hotel are having sex. A LOT OF SEX. I can hear everything. I gently knock on the door. No answer. I knock slightly harder. No answer. I head back to my room and close the door just as I hear their door open. I zoom back out to find a puzzled middle aged stocky and perhaps sticky Latino man looking both ways. I get in his line of sight. Me: Hey. I'm next door. It sounds like you're having a lot of fun. I get it. I really do. In fact I haven't had sex since the bush administration so I'm gunning for you man I really am. But it's midnight and I have a 6am flight and a rental car to return. So trust me when I say I'm really happy for you but if you don't mind I really need to get some sleep tonight okay? The awkward silence is deafening. He nods without saying a word and mouths okay. I give him a manly nod and thumbs up. Me: thanks. I'd shake your hand or fist bump but well you know..... I give him a peace sign as he goes back into his little pleasure palace and I turn to realize that I have just locked myself out of my room. I am wearing boxers, a tshirt and barefoot. I head downstairs to the lobby. The check in at the front desk resembles the TSA line at Mccarran. Normally I would not be this rude but desperate times call for desperate measures. The line is 50 people deep. I walk past every person. Fuck your queue. I approach the desk where someone is helping a guest and I raise my right hand as if I were in a deposition to get them to stop. The staff and guest looks puzzled as the angry barefoot man clad in nothing but boxers and a "uzi does it" tshirt approaches the desk. Me: excuse me. I don't mean to interrupt. I have an emergency. I'm up on 8 and my neighbors are having a lot of sex. I mean a LOT of sex. (This is the same front desk clerk who actually checked me in Monday night by coincidence looks back at me very awkwardly and puzzled.) Me: this isn't your regular sex. I'm talking this is your (I begin air humping the front desk and slapping the granite counter with my palm and grunting loudly) sex. You could hear the plan B packaging open. At this point - the ENTIRE FRONT DESK STAFF HAS STOPPED CHECKING IN GUESTS. The people in line and are watching the show. The clerk is stunned. Speechless. Shock and awed. Crapped out and busted. The women are covering their children's eyes and ears. The men are wondering if this show requires a 2 drink minimum. Me: now I get this is Vegas. Everyone wants a good time. It's midnight. My flight leaves at 6 which means I have to be up by 4. And this just isn't working. So I asked them to keep it down and I locked myself out of my room. So if you can make me another key or move me I'd appreciate it. The clerk nods. Clerk: of course. may I see your ID? Years of ballet have prepared me for this day. I step back to make sure my genitals are still ensconced in my boxers as I pirouette and gesticulate wildly. Me: DO I LOOK LIKE I HAVE ID? The floor manager steps over and asks me to head down to the end of the desk where she will make me a key. I give her the room number and thank her after she offers to have security sent up to shutdown the best little whorehouse in Vegas. I tell her it may not be necessary. As I take my keys and walk away the people in line break out in raucous applause. I take a bow and miraculously my boxer shorts don't rip. These people are my subjects and I have been crowned the the king of the three ring circus that is the circus circus lobby. Im offered a $1 tip from a kind soul but I decline. My walk back to the hotel elevator bank is uneventful. So much so that I realize it is going too well. The other shoe, if I were wearing one felt as if it was about to drop. Suddenly a dumbass in a rascal scooter is heading toward me at flank speed as his head is turned to look at everyone BEHIND HIM. There's no way this will end well. For you gentle readers joining us mid conversation - it's midnight and I need to be at the airport in 4.5 hours. I can just see it now. (Cue the harp noises) Scene: Emergency room Nurse: Allergic to anything? Me: NKDA Nurse: cause of injury? Me: what's the IC10 code for "run down by drunken buffoon on motorized wheelchair?" I saw my life and confirmed upgraded first class seats home being given away by the Mccarran gate agent flash before my eyes and my catlike reflexes kicked in and I jumped to my left into the wall, mid 1960's Las Vegas union construction being the path of least resistance. Think "The Bodyguard" with Kevin Costner. The buffoon barely realizes what happens. Children are amazed. "HEY MOM! Look! That guy just ran into a wall!" Me: it was that OR GET RUN DOWN BY SOME JACKASS ON A GODDAMN SCOOTER GOING FULL SPEED DRIVING LIKE A.... I look down and a midwestern nuclear family with two children of formative age are waiting for the elevator. I change my last word. Me: LUNATIC! I look over to the parents. Me: I'm really sorry. This is a family joint and I shouldn't have cursed the drunken scooter driver like that. Sorry kids. Parent: no big deal. They've heard fucking worse. I crack a smile at her word choice. Fucking worse. Yeah. That sounds like my evening. After jumping into a wall, I'm now wide awake and unable to go back to sleep. I make the plane and push on time. The 737 comes to a stop short of the runway and holds. Something is wrong. The pilots come on and say that they loaded more cargo and passengers than planned so they have to redo their numbers. We're waiting on the taxiway with both engines running as they do this and the waiting music comes on. What's the first song? Whitney Houston - "I Will Always Love You"
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