Sunday morning in Las Vegas, day four of seven. The only people out this early are the runners and the homeless, waking up on the sidewalk as the sun cuts through the gaps between the hotels.
Friday night: a midget standing on a bar-top with a Mexican costume and a plastic jug of Tequila, waving people into the bar. Girls dancing behind him in the background; the music from the bars leaks out and blends with the smoke and the hot breeze. We’re watching a girl with a fake white afro and office glasses DJ to a line dance that’s themed around butts or booty: everyone else knows the words and the dance steps; she tears off her pants at the chorus and starts wiggling.
We leave our rental in the parking garage with my backpack, full of healthy alternatives I bought at the Von’s (hard-boiled eggs, celery, avocados), but we wind up leaving it in the garage overnight because we have to take a cab home instead.
It’s my colleague’s birthday and we’re both north of 40, so this feels like a special opportunity. We show up in the Fremont district under a large metal canopy where they run a zip-line above. The street is barricaded and a crowd is forming: it’s an antique car show, with B-actors inside each of the cars. The actor who played Lurch, the actor who played Eddie Munster, the first James Bond, the two cops from Dukes of Hazzard, it goes on and on. It culminates with the actor who played “Meat” in Porky’s. They each get on the microphone and recite well-known lines, but you can’t hear them and no one applauds. Awkward.
We’re drinking cans of beer to fit in, and then we start the bars. We make it to two, and never get around to dinner. Instead, a paper cup full of fries and a side-dish of edamame. My colleague buys the bartender shots and she does two rounds with us. I sip, but they knock them back and slap the glass on the bar. We spend Saturday in the hot, stuffy convention center overseeing the installation of our booth, and the union guys who break or eat lunch every two hours.
I find cash on the floor: $65 in 20’s and 5’s. I ask the union guys if any of them dropped it, and they all look surprised that I’d say anything. I use it to buy lunch for the sales guy and the designer, and tip the girl who’s making our salad, who asks if we want our chicken hot or cold.