For those of you just joining us, you've joined in the middle of our regularly scheduled program. This is part four of the epic journey undertaken sometime in mid-March of 2002. A detailed explanation of the background, reason, and mission of this amazing romp through the western desert is told below...please read from bottom up.
Prologue: I fear both the moral and metaphysical implications of having this much fun on the clock. As much as this little diatribe is being passed around the internet, I fear that at some point, I'll get that dreaded call from Houston that I receive on a weekly basis:
(I pick up the phone:) "Marines, Captain Adams," I say, wincing every time I answer.
"Hey, Larry," comes the reply from a voice that turns my testicles to granite peas, "have you lost your ever-loving-fucking-mind?..."
It's only a matter of time. It'll happen as sure as I'm sitting here in my skivvies, in this darkened room, with an open liter bottle of rum clinched between my thighs. But I fear nothing. The tale must be told. This thing has taken a life of it's own that I am powerless to control. I have seen things that would make most men question their very existence, and, by God, you too must know what I have witnessed.
Gentlemen, welcome to:
Fear and Loathing in Bridgeport
Part IV: Beatty (The Sequel), the Shady Lady, and Gomorrah
2000 14 March, US 95 Western Nevada
We conquered the big empty in almost total silence. Now we must have beer, and if possible, weather-beaten, hardened, naked women bouncing in our general vicinity. We came to an unspoken agreement as we approach civilization that we must stop at the first opportunity. It just so happens that the first opportunity was an establishment called Cottontails. We identified it from the horizon by its flashing red light, a light that called us like some sick fucking drunken dog whistle. Hell, as soon as Kirk saw the damned light he howled and asked me to rub his stomach.
Anti-lock brakes, my dyin' ass. Lucifer's henchman waited until we were directly in front of the fucking place before he decided to come out of warp and pull into the parking lot. My spine looks like a fucking paper clip. Kirk kept hooting "doitagain doitagain doitagain", until Chief slapped him. Chief doesn't want to do this, he's got his heart set on getting to some Motel 6 and watching rent-a-porn. Guns is actually pretty happy. I guess feeling what that guy was thinking in the Tonopah MacDonald's pepped him up considerably.
This place looks like an utter dive. There are no actual white lights anywhere around. Every light is red, making everyone's face look like something out of an Edgan Allen Poe story. I keep thinking about that line in High Plains Drifter, you know, where Eastwood has everyone paint the town of Iago red. "Hey mister, this place is gonna look like hell"...
2015 14 March, In the parking lot...
For the record, this is complete and utter horseshit. I cannot fucking believe this. We work ourselves into a thirst for beer and well traveled booty looking at this flashing red light, we stop, we park, and the whole thing turned to shit in our shoes.
We walk up to the door of this place, grinning like we discovered teeth, open it and see another door inside with a sign that says "ring bell for pleasure". Shit, that even made Chief happy. Being the highly trained warfighters that we clearly are, we recognize a gap that needs exploiting when we see one, and buddy, this was a french Defensive position waiting to be taken. I reach for the bell....
Another sign, written by someone who must have gone to school in Louisiana hung over the button:
"No girrls tonit
Sorry for the incnvenience
com bak soon"
Amidst cries of "what is this horseshit?", "what? was there a union meeting?, and "hey, I'll strip", we get back in the car. Chief is livid. I mean upset in that special way that only Latinos can truly approximate. "Thees is fucking booolshit, main", "man...what de fuck," etc., etc., etc. I think Maj V understands the pressure that Calley experienced at MyLai 4, because these guys are ready to burn this fucker to the ground. However, displaying his impressive memory, and his propensity towards quick thinking and utter bullshit, he pulls it outta his ass:
"Hey, the Shady Lady is only 50 or so miles down the road..."
2020 14 March, The Shady Lady, The tenth ring of hell
Crisis averted. Top paused to grin as he accelerated past the point of cognition. We pulled ten or twelve Gs for at least ten seconds before we reached cruising velocity. This wasn't speeding, this was flying at fucking escape velocity. If Top had hit a bump we'd have visited the Hubble telescope. It was a quick trip.
When we pulled up, I mentioned that this did not look like a bar. It's a couple of yellow double-wide trailers that are sitting perpendicular to one another, with red lights strung all over the place. The only white light was over a sign that read:
"No fone, no ride.
Go to station 2 miles down"
It was like something out of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, except Guns looked nothing like Susan Surandon. "Hey, this ain't no bar," I said.
Maj V agreed. "Uh, you might be right. Hmmmm, Kirk, go reconnoiter that establishment."
Kirk's head raised slowly. Eyebrow cocked. Face set. Lips pressed flat. "roger that, SIR". You could just see Kirk's thoughts in the reddened darkness : "Motherfucker, I would have to be the only SSgt on this Sombitch"
He opened the door, clenched a knife between his teeth, and slipped out, low crawling to the gate of this nice white picket fence that surrounded the house of ill-repute. We lost sight of him until about 35 minutes later, when we dimly spotted someone knocking on the front door. Now, I'm sitting here trying to think of how many bars that I've been to where it was necessary to knock, actually rap on the fucking door. I was flipping through my mental rolodex for at least five minutes, when the door to the trailer/bar finally opened. Kirk speaks. Kirk nods. Kirk shakes his head. Door closes. Kirk Escapes & Evades on his stomach to the Expedition. Car door opens.
"Nope, that tweren't no fuckin' bar. Some old guy who was four feet tall and had maybe seven teeth in his haid opened up and asked me what I wanted. I asked him if he had any beer. The guy had soap on his hand, or some shit. Anyway, he said no and asked if I wanted in anyway. That's when I left. You know, I just knew there was gonna be some big fuckin' dawg inside that goddamned gate. It figures that I'm the only SSgt on this trip, goddamnit."
Again, Chief begins to bemoan the fate of this cursed band. Suddenly, the fifty pound head in the passenger seat speaketh true: "Hey, wasn't there another place like this like 50 miles up the road?"
It had to be. Just had to be. We'd hit nothing but surfaces all night. There had to be something soft that we could conquer with little loss of life and dignity.
2055 14 March, The Slap and Tickle, eleventh ring of hell
This is fucking intolerable. We didn't need to send out Recon & Surveillance to check out our options this time. A) It's another trailer; B) There's a Pepsi Machine clearly visible through the window. Okay, I can almost buy a trailer as a bar, but vending machines are a pretty distinct fucking sign that no bartender is in the employ at that particular establishment.
In abject humility, and with blue radioactive balls, I fucking surrender. Murphy has won the field. All we wanted was beer and naked, hardened women. One place had booze and no women, the other two had hardened women, but no booze. The head speaketh again: "Well, there's always that fucking casino in Beatty."
2100 14 March, That Fucking Casino in Beatty, Nevada
This is surreal. I keep expecting to look down and see french subtitles under my feet. It's almost like a Tarantino movie, except we haven't killed anyone in hours. The lounge singer in this place has no dentures in and might not be singing in English. His shirt, though is of some color off of the visible spectrum that has caused my eyes to bleed and a buzz in my inner ear. Maj V asks me what I'm going to write about this little escapade, I tell him to stand by, 'cause it may win an award.
Meanwhile, In Accordance With Naval tradition, Chief is already up a hundred on the slots, and we haven't been here twenty minutes. I won forty bucks on a slot, and traded it for chips. I'm at a five dollar blackjack table with a servant of Sauron named Mike. Mike looks pretty well used. He tells the lady next to me, who was probably a real looker during the Hoover administration, that he's on the patch now that he's trying to stop smoking three packs of non-filtered smokes every revolution of the fucking earth.
I ask for a hit on ten while he's got a five of hearts showing. I bust, and this fucker actually giggled. Resisting the urge to punch him in his red little nose, I put another five dollars down. He deals me fourteen while he's showing ten of clubs, and then actually tells me, as he looks me in the eye, what the bust card is that he just dealt me. He did this twice more before I bowed to the power of the all-seeing eye and left the table.
We're gonna need a harpoon and a wench to get Chief away from the slots, he's up another hundred, and everybody's ready to kill him. Kirk has sidled up next to an impressive young bovine named Lolita, (It's on the back of her belt, which has got to be twenty-five feet long). Apparently, the butt sniffing has already occurred, because Lolita looks like she's ready to be mounted. We lasso Kirk and hit the road.
2200 14 March, The Vegas Strip, Gomorrah
This would actually be cool were it not for one fucking thing. This SSgt next to me has been hanging out the side window for the past two and a half miles taking pictures of every lean-to, hovel, shanty, house, apartment complex, and casino in the Las Vegas area. He keeps rambling about having seen this shit on the discovery channel and just wants to capture the moment for his old lady. He takes pictures of folks in other cars, people standing at corners waiting to cross, at people waiting for the bus. At one red light he actually yelled out the window at one group of incredulous onlookers: "HEY, YA'LL SCRUNCH UP SO'S I KIN TAKE A PICTURE OF YUH." I get enough of this shit from my aunts and uncles in Copperas Cove, Texas. I don't need this shit. I feel like Jack Nicholson taking those crazies out fishing in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Everyone else in the vehicle has the exact same look of smiling anticipation on their face: Money, booze, money, booze, money, booze...
And there I shall leave us till tomorrow. This last piece is 97% fact. I wouldn't bullshit you. I've broken promises two nights running now, so I won't promise anything for the next bit. Suffice to say that I stopped sleeping about this point, Chief never stopped drinking after this, and every soul that has a mailing address in Lubbock visited the MGM Grand on 14 March.
Immundus saecula saeculorum,
Fear and Loathing in Bridgeport, Part Five