Sunday, July 31, 2011

My first time in Vegas

It's 2pm on Sunday, and my associate Toby and myself are sitting in legends diner. We are just about to finish when his eyes literally light up. He says, "Do you want to go to Vegas?"

I, of course owe my bank upwards of 200 dollars and only hold 14 dollars in my pocket. I say it is a bad idea. But then I remember, when has that ever stopped me from doing anything? So I quickly inform him of my financial situation. "I’ll go, but I cannot pitch in for gas, and I will probably not be able to eat or drink. But I’ll go. Oh, and I haven't showered since Friday, so I’ll need to go home and do that too."

He seems mildly disgusted, yet excited that he has a partner for debauchery, especially a well documented lush like myself who has never been to Vegas. So I go home, shower, borrow another 100 bucks from my brother and we head out. I have a jack and coke in a legends cup (which is a boytos jack N coke i.e. half and half) as well as a vodka/cranberry, which is significantly stronger because I plan on drinking it second, which means my taste buds will be essentially useless.

By the time we hit Barstow, I'm pretty sauced having consumed both.

We get to this truck stop right about then, and enter the circle K to purchase beer. We buy 1 can of sparks, 2 tall cans of icehouse, and an 18 pack of natty light. The woman takes an extreme close-up of his ID, saying she recognizes him. When it is my turn to buy, she takes an even closer look at mine... I do what I normally do, as my drivers license picture is one of me almost 3 years ago, and I am substantially heavier in the picture, I take of my glasses and touch my nose to my chest to get the double-roll chin effect, and she smiles.

"No, it looks like you, don't worry. I just recognize you both. You ever been in here before?"

Both of us reply in the negative.

"Hm. I must have had a dream about you two. You believe in premonitions?"

Then I half-drunkenly blurt out "wow. Crazy. No. we gotta go." and we speed walk out of the store like to kids who broke a window- arms straight down and stiff, eyes forward and slightly below the horizon no talking and short, quick footsteps. We round the corner and Toby says he needs another shower because the toothless lady from the asshole of California recognizes him from a dream, I agree and light a cigarette.

We roll into Vegas around 730 and by this time I have to pee a lot. I had both the drinks I mentioned, plus a 32 oz Gatorade and a dr. pepper. We power walk through the casino to get to the room that our friends Robyn, lance, melee and Ramil have, which is on the complete other side of the property, a nice walk, unless you're carrying several gallons of beer and have the feeling that with each step your bladder tears a little bit more.

When we get to the room, we can hear screams and other sounds of hi-jinx through the door. We have to knock twice before we are let in by lance who has stepped over Ramil and Robyn, who are wrestling over the bathroom. Toby, being somewhat of a jerk, but undoubtedly in a similar situation as me, runs into the bathroom and closes the door. I do the pee pee dance while exchanging salutations with the residents of the room and cracking the tall can of icehouse.

As Toby exits the head with the 18 of natty light, I can see that my instincts were correct, and he too was holding an open beer. It’s 745pm; I’m half drunk, and just getting started. The night was young and it was my first trip to Vegas.

Las Vegas has for long been the object of much drama and heartbreak, as fortunes are won and lost in seconds, and lives are just as easily made and destroyed in the same span of time. As we sat on the two beds drinking cheap domestic beer and watching 60 minutes, I began to wonder if the 4 hour drive was worth it, after all had we stayed home, we could have consumed the same beer and watched a better TV program. It was then that I looked outside and saw the MGM and Excalibur hotel/casinos. It was then when my question was answered...

This place is a hole dug to be filled with booze and souls, and tonight, mine would be added to the take.

So there we sit in the hotel room at the Tropicana, like all good college students: with the sole intent of getting drunk and then going out to drink more. Toby is sitting at the hotel room's table/desk, which is rapidly becoming cluttered with empties, lance is lounging on the bed and I am sitting on the edge of the other one. I have now lost count of how many I have had, which is always a good sign. Toby as well has no idea. Lance knows damn straight, and we are well aware of his problem, his count is "almost 2."
This is most upsetting for Toby and me, so we give him another beer, but lance just puts it on the bed stand. "I don't want to get too drunk, I want to gamble seriously." me and Toby both finish our beers as Ramil walks out of the bathroom and gets another bud light from the cooler. The room is silent until I exclaim, "lance. This is fucking Vegas. If you don't start drinking heavily with no regard for money or personal safety, we're going to have a problem."
Defiantly, he sits on the bed and sips his natural light. I get up, walk across the room, place my empty on the table with the others and, like some type of intoxicated feral cat leap onto the bed at lance's "Hong Kong" feet. (Hong Kong is a reference dubbed by Melissa later in the evening due to the fact that lance's feet smelled like a Hong Kong sewer. I cannot speak to the accuracy of this statement, only to its comedic value)
Lance struggles when he realizes what is happening, and I feel the need to explain why I am attempting to get control of him from the knee down. "Lance, I’m going to tickle you if you don't start drinking! TOBY! Grab his legs. RAMIL, HELP us..." it was at this very point when it happened. Toby could not gain control of lance's left leg.
All I remember is hearing a crunch before the room went dark, and when I opened my eyes I was on the floor with my back up against the night stand and Ramil was trying not to laugh as he held a can of beer to my swelling skull. Toby, unsuccessful in his attempt at controlling his laughter at his fallen comrade was curled in the fetal position on the end of the bed, and lance was holding his shin, writhing in pain in an attempt to steal attention from my throbbing forehead.
The ladies come out of the bathroom; Robyn is quite drunk and is wearing her swimsuit bottoms and a shirt. I am very confused, because they are flesh colored, and I think she is naked, which made me think I was hallucinating. I motioned for Ramil to look, however I was not as suave as I thought, and Robyn turns to me. "They’re fuckin' swimsuit bottoms. Quit staring, if this were the beach you'd get beat up." she can't keep a straight face even when pretending to be mad. I motioned for her to toss me another beer, and she flipped me off. I thought that would happen, so I got my own and another for Toby.
After another 20 minutes of drinking, we head out of the hotel room. Ramil is going to dinner with his relatives, and we needed to get melee as drunk as we were. So naturally, we went down to the hotel bar in the lobby. 2 hours of solid drinking and we somehow think it is a great idea to go to the bar. Toby and I each carried 2 natty lights in our pockets while holding a third, lance was empty handed, and the girls each clutched their purses. I was not walking very well, so I decided to strut, which I was very adept at. But it made me slow, and I missed the elevator.
By the time I got to the bar, they all had 2 drinks in front of them. I lit a cigarette and began to pray, "lord. Don’t let me get blackout drunk and marry some random lady."
Then I ordered a beer. 925 pm. 5 kids. Drunk and getting drunker in the city of lights. The city of sin. The strip. Las Vegas. 930 pm and no last call... ever.
I lit another camel and sipped my Newcastle. I love Vegas.

After two or three drinks at the bar, and two or three more cigarettes, the group decided it was time to leave. Before we left, the bartender made some awkward comments with respect to the ladies we were drinking with, something to the effect of "two to one huh?" referring to the ratio of men to women, "these ladies must be some dynamos..."
I was appalled, but at the same time drunk, so I attempted to execute a hi-5, but ended up accidentally pressing the "max bet" button on the video poker machine I was playing, so I had to abort the male bonding in order to concentrate on the seven dollars that I had inadvertently bet. I lost the money, but only because I was nervously laughing at Alex's (the bartender) awkward comment, which apparently only I heard, because when I made the shifty eyes at Toby, he just drunkenly motioned for me to "hurry the fuck up we're leaving." Which is a signal surprisingly dissimilar to “come on” and in fact is more like the delta force hand signal for “look behind you.”
So we were off. Leaving the bar, walking past the in house wedding chapel, through the casino-mall which was full of the shiniest products which made my ADD, which was magnified by keystone light and sparks, go absolutely bonkers. It took us 20 minutes to walk thirty yards, and then we hit the streets of Vegas. At this point, the world looked like a photograph with an open lens, the lights were not lights, but strings and streaks of sensory information, which my mind could not process. I remember staring down at my empty beer can, and then my feet.
I kept thinking, "just be regular. You got it, keep up with everyone. Don’t get lost, you don't have a room key or know where you are. You don't know where you are going to sleep. Is that Robyn’s ass? Oh. Shit. No it isn't. Who is that? Shit. Shit. Just keep walking. They will find you."
We walked around on some tiled sidewalks, up an escalator, which I thought was strange because I had never seen an outdoor escalator. We were walking over the strip, lots of cars, all with their streaking headlights and faceless drivers. And all of a sudden we were standing in front of a hotdog stand. Melissa hadn't eaten since lunch and she was hungry. Apparently she was pulling me around because I was in drunken campout mode and did not want to move, and she wanted to make sure I did not get lost. The man who was helping us was wearing a nametag; it read "Oscar." I spoke quickly, and kept my teeth clenched. Oscar could not know that I was drunk; I forgot I was in Vegas, everyone here is drunk. Nevertheless, I spoke directly and honestly.
"Oscar! This lady needs a hotdog. She has been to the original Nathan’s. She was born there. She has a credit card. Oscar! Did you get that?" Oscar got it. He smiled and traded her the hotdog for her credit card. They did the whole: id, sign here, here is your copy, come again bit and we traveled the four feet to the bench where Robyn lance and Toby had been waiting for us, she sat down with them and ate.
Her face was very very red; almost purple, although closer to cardinal. It is the Asian glow in full and dangerous effect. Robyn wants to go into the club, but she is vetoed. Toby and I verbally agree that "it's a fuckin' old tourist club. Look at that cowboy hatted guy!"
The cowboy-hatted guy did not appreciate our commentary. We non-verbally agreed that it was in our best interest to vacate the area with quickness. After a couple hallways and indoor escalators we were on the casino floor. And melee was gone.
Quite confused, I sat down at some bizarre video poker type game and put in five dollars.
Now I am quite skilled at computers. I am even better suited to card games of all sorts. One would think that this computerized card game would offer little or no resistance. One would have thought wrong. I’ve been clueless before, usually when waking up in strange places, but that does not cost me any money. THIS video poker machine was the most insanely impossible thing to work that I had ever experienced. I pushed the buttons I thought I needed to push, and nothing happens. I touched the screen. I pushed the buttons that were not blinking, the blinking ones, and the ones on the unoccupied machine to my left... nothing. Absolutely nothing. Sometimes cards would disappear, other times they would stay; some still would be replaced with other cards.
Confused I asked another Vegas hick "sir, what the fuck IS this game"
He lied. "I don't know son."
Fucker. Drunkenly I pushed more buttons until I had had enough of the bullshit, and pushed cash out. Turns out I had won ten bucks. Vegas was treating me well. Very well. Except melee was still MIA and so was everyone else. A phone call revealed that they too, were looking for melee. I suggested the bathroom, and waited near what I thought was the entrance, but it was not, so when melee was done throwing up the hotdog she had just ate and the long island iced teas she pounded before hand on an empty stomach, they found me and we headed back upstairs.
We were now in New York New York. One hotel over from where we just were. Yet Oscar was still at the hotdog stand. All of a sudden, I was very hungry... famished even. I called out to my old friend. "Oscar!" he ignored me, but I thought he just couldn't hear me. "OSCAR! I need a hotdog! I have cash! CASH, MAN!" we completed the transaction successfully; I believe I tipped him a dollar. After all, I was up ten whole bucks.
After the Nathan’s hotdog, I re-met up with the group on yet another bench. On the way, I pulled a genuinely Boytosish maneuver. I ran into a mall employee and somehow started talking to her, proceeding to tell her everything but the truth. "Yeah, you know, me and the red one used to date, but now she's dating the one with the Mohawk."
"Oh yeah?"
"Oh yeah. Now I’m with her best friend, the Filipino one in the brown shirt. We’re getting married this summer."
"Oh? I’m Filipino. Does she speak Tagalog?"
"Only to her grandparents back in the Philippines."
"Aw, well she's pretty. Tell her this. [Inarticulate Tagalog]"
I go over to Robyn and attempt to repeat whatever the lady said, but I failed miserably. I went back to her. "She loved it, thanks for the help! Can I have a picture with you? It would make my night."
"Of course sweetie."
And of course, while lance is snapping the picture, melee needs to hurl again, so her and Robyn take off, and the guys slowly follow back downstairs. On our way we make sure to take note of all the tables we walk past. That is where we need to go, that is where the free drinks are served, and this is where las vegas’ soul is.
This is where the gamblers feel alive. This is where alcoholics sit to get their fix for free. This is the only place for people like me, we can smoke inside. As we walked past the clinging slot machines and tried to locate the bathroom, I could feel myself being pulled towards the action, towards the money, towards the dream. But after all, my fake fiancé and fake ex-girlfriend were in the bathroom.

Melee finds her way out of the bathroom, and at this point we are standing around Toby who is playing blackjack. Our plan is to win money, or lose an amount equal to the estimated cost of the drinks, which we are consuming gratis while we play. I sit in first position at the blackjack table, which is right next to the dealer whose name is grace. She is nice.
I play "according to the book" betting the minimum and conservatively. I order my first drink from the waitress, which is free, so I go for broke. I order "as much whiskey as is legal to put in a glass" and give her a two dollar tip before she leaves. I am still quite drunk and so is Toby, who orders something. Maybe a rum and coke, I don't remember. By the time the waitress comes back with a triple shot of Jamison’s I have lost the twenty dollars I bought in with. I thank her, swirl the whiskey in the glass as if it were wine, waft it into my nose, raise it to the waitress, the dealer and I ask her, "Grace, do you like your job?"
"Yes sir I do."
"Are you having fun, or are you just working?"
"I’m working."
"Grace, as I’m sure you're well aware, this is Vegas. If you're not having fun, something is wrong." the pit boss begins to wander over to the table, having undoubtedly heard my loud and slurring accusation. He stands immediately to my right. I wink at him and turn back to grace.
"Grace, let's have some fun." and I slam the triple back and down without tasting it. I place it down, and pompously ask the pit boss if he'd get me another one when he got the chance. I quickly laugh to diffuse what might have been anger and reach for my wallet. He walks back to his podium.
I buy in for a measly 40 dollars and bet 10. Blackjack. I cheer grace for hooking me up with good cards.
"You’re awesome grace"
"Thank you sir."
"Sir? Come on grace, you carded me 10 minutes ago, and now you call me sir?"
"I’m sorry sir."
"SEE? There you go again. Call me Greg. Sounds like grace, except for one syllable"
Grace laughs and deals me a 12. She is showing a 10. If you know anything about blackjack, you know I’m essentially fucked. Unless you play poker, are drunk and have no clue what is happening except that you have a stack of clay discs in front of you and two cards. "DOUBLE DOWN!"
"Sir? I mean, Greg, are you sure?" I’m laughing a bit at this point. Toby elbows me
"Dude, just hit."
"ABSOLUTELY NOT." I move the chips into the double down area. "Double down grace"
Six. I have 18, not bad, but it is nothing against the 20 that the dealer likely has. She flips her card, it's a 7. Money.
Few hands later I get another blackjack and start cheering and clapping, this, again causes concern in the pit boss who stands next to me again. I am betting twenty dollars a hand at this point and I have just about a hundred bucks. The waitress comes by and hands me another triple whiskey.
"Thanks, but I don't remember ordering this."
"Oh. It was taken care of."
"Do I just look like a lush? Or did you have a feeling?"
She nods over my head. "He called it into the bar." I turn to the pit boss, my face is getting warm, a rare feeling but for when I am embarrassed. I look down at his shoes.
"Thanks a lot mister. I really was only kidding with you."
"I know. You’re having fun that makes my job easier. Enjoy the crown." ritzy, this guy ordered me a triple crown. I didn't enjoy it; it just tasted like water that burned. I turn back to the table, and they're waiting on me. I got a 14 and the dealer is showing a 2. I ask the pit boss "what does the book recommend?" he smiles at me.
"I think you forgot how to read about three drinks ago my friend." a wry smile forms on his face.
"You’re right Ted." I have no clue what his name was. "You are very correct. DOUBLE DOWN!" I refuse to be one-upped. This time however, Toby was joined by Melissa Robyn and lance in his quest to get me to not double down. I laughed it off.
"Okay, fine, just hit me grace." 7
Seven. I may be drunk, but I am thinking that my advisors are just shitty. I tip grace 5 bucks. And the pit boss slaps me on the back for being such a crazy/lucky bastard. I am betting thirty dollars a hand. The very next hand, I am dealt the cut card, which is bad luck. But then I get an 11, which, apparently is what you're supposed to double down on. "Grace, can I triple down?"
"No Greg."
"Oh. I guess a double will do fine then." 7. Boom. I am almost invincible at this game. She busts, and I win sixty bucks. I am more excited than I have ever been at a casino, and drunker than I have been in recent memory. Well, that week anyway. I scream.
"Woooo oh YEAH grace! You are so the best person right now! HI 5!!" and I hold my hand up in an obvious invitation for a hand slap.
Grace makes a fist and offers a "dap." I respond in kind thus knocking fists like I just hit a homerun.
"Grace, I had no idea you were from the streets." she didn't get the joke, but lance knew it was time. Lance is sober, so when he says "color up, let's go!" I knew it was time to stand up.
However, lance promptly had to pee, so I was left with drunken Toby, who is like-minded. I see a let it ride table, which I am quite fond of (the Bruce lee morongologs story). I sit down, and lose 60 bucks as fast as anyone can lose 60 bucks at that game. I only have two hundred left, and I am pulled to the craps table.
I don't know how to play craps. I’m standing next to Melissa. She apparently knows craps. I lost count of the number of times I said, "Melee, what's going on. No really. What’s happening? Did I win money? Can I pick up those chips?"
I remember meeting a couple old guys who were from Ireland, and saying I was from Ireland and faked an accent. I remember when my second shot came to the craps table, I saw the waitress' nametag, she was from long island, and I said I was from New York. The old man asked me, "I thought you were from Ireland."
"Well, I was born there, county tearnin, but I grew up in Manhattan."
The waitress was uncomfortable, snatched the tip I was holding out and walked away quickly, before I could order another.
The dealer then checked my i.d. because if the tattoos and facial hair and cigarettes didn't suggest that I might be of age, the extreme intoxication might clue him in. I think he just wanted to see where I was really from. I think this because my California i.d. is not from New York or Ireland, and when he saw it he said "Ontario huh?"
I smelled the suspicion. I did what I do best in general, and what I should be extolled for while drunk: I lied. "Yeah, I go to school out here, my parents still live back east."
And that was that, but I was picking up craps rapidly.
And then the man across the table was the shooter. It was sometime after my fourth shot at the craps table. I was using the table to keep myself from falling, and the dealer kept warning me "don't spill that drink on the table." and "keep that drink on the rail or else son," which caused me to shoot them quickly, because the rail is a bad place for a drink, and I don't know why, but at the time it made sense.
But the guy was holding the dice, and he was about sixty years old, and Asian. He was bald too, and when he reached down to pick up the dice I noticed his comb over. It was bad. And not just bad because it was a comb over and that shit always looks horrible, but it looked bad for a comb over, which is definitely saying something. It looked like four fingers draped lazily over his bald scalp, and my filter had been soaked to the point where I was saying exactly what I thought.
I elbowed the guy next to me, the one from Ireland, and said "Jesus, check out dr. comb over with the dice."
The man did not laugh. He just looked at me. I stood up straight to spare myself some pride and noticed a particular shine glinting from beneath his comb over, and that is when things went bad.
I had the rest of my two hundred dollars spread across the board when dr. comb over crapped out. All my money, shit gone. All I had was the twenty-five dollar chip that Robyn made me put in her purse for "drunk insurance." good call Robyn. Because I needed that shit. I put it on the pass line, which is just about the smartest bet in the house, the best odds out of every table game in the casino.
Sparing you all the complicatedness of craps, I needed a 9 to win my money. I was chanting, "nine! Nine! Nine!" and some people were getting into it with me. Then I thought I’d be funny, knowing that a die only has six sides, I began chanting "seven and a two! Seven and a two!" and when I said it the second time, the man rolled a 7, and crapped out. I was now broke, and everyone at the table lost.
The guy next to me, who had been visibly brooding since the dr. comb over comment turns to me, as if it were my fault, and says "why the fuck were you yelling that? What the fuck is your problem?"
Such instant hostility made me jumpy and jarred my ability to diffuse situations. I stared at him blankly and realized that he was very mad. This made me mad, because, well, I was drunk and this person was sending very negative vibes directly at me from point blank rage, and this upsets me.
Apparently we were yelling so lance stepped in again, although this time more assertively. He pushed me back about four feet from the table, which left me standing at the security desk and blathering to the guards trying to explain to them what happened, but just as I got there and started talking, I saw lance with his mohawk in this old man's face and the way lance's neck moved made him look like a rooster, so I laughed, a lot.
I laughed so hard that I could not hear what anyone was saying. When I finally got control of myself, I hear the man chastising lance.
"Look at what happened to your hair!" I have no clue how the argument ended up as a cosmetic attack on my friend, but he was sober, and is always sharp. He stepped back, pointed to the top of the old man's head, where his comb over had been displaced during the yelling match and said "MY hair? Look at what happened to yours."
It was at this very moment that melee, who was sober pulled lance's arm to get us out of the trouble.
We had made it half a block and spent nearly one hundred dollars each, ignoring winnings that were lost of course. One of us (Ramil) was missing as we had forgot that he went out to eat with family, I was paranoid that security were going to chase me at the behest of the fake-Mick, and that I would be arrested.
It was now midnight, hour 4 of my Vegas experience, I was blind drunk and being pulled up escalators, across bridges, up and down escalators, past bars and gambling tables, all while begging to take a piss, but this would not happen until I got back to the room.
If this was Vegas, I fuckin' loved it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Two Brief Stories about Pee

            I was nineteen and home from college for a weekend. Home for me was always a strange place, since I had never actually lived there. My parents moved into the house during my third week in college, making the dorms more familiar and comfortable than the converted attic I shared with my brother, who lived there full time furthing my disconnect from the place.
            The night in question, was preceded by fourteen or fifteen nights of drinking, which was impressive but nowhere near the record. I don’t know what the record was, but I didn’t want to have to roll my streak back to zero, so I had my brother buy me some wine. Bums drink it, so I always pick it when I need to get drunk in a hurry.
            I uncorked it, sat on my bed and chugged. My brother barely took his eyes off the television to watch his little brother all grown up. I set the bottle down, and lied down. I was asleep instantly and dreaming.
            I was walking through an outdoor mall. It was sunny and cool and there were lots of windows and the air was crisp and tasted clean like it had just rained. I was holding a woman’s hand and it was smooth and slender. Her thumb caressed my forefinger. She tugged me in the direction of an electronic’s store. I pretended to not need to go into the store, but she knew my compulsion and dragged me in.
            It was a great store. It had silver floors and walls, all brushed steel. Monitors and LCD screens hung everywhere, blinking lights, stereo equipment, chrome framed overstuffed leather furniture everywhere; literally a dream. As we were shopping for televisions, which were all somehow within my budget, I had the sudden urge to pee. I let go of her hand and the salesman points me to the bathroom, reminding me that everything in the store is for sale.
            There are no toilets or urinals in the bathroom, just a step waterfall and several more flat panel televisions hanging at eye level on the wall. I heard a whir and tiny football players, like from the carnival game where you throw the football to a cardboard cutout with a hole in it, start running back and forth across the waterfall. I didn’t know what to do, but peeing through the hole seemed natural, so I did that.
            The screens displayed cheering crowds. The more I peed through the holes the louder and more intense the cheering on the televisions got. It was thrilling. I peed so much, more than I have ever peed in my life.
            Suddenly my crotch got very warm; suspiciously warm and in a flash I am no longer in the most amazing bathroom concievable, and am in my bed, covered in urine from the waist to the knees staring my brother in the face as he asks me, “What?” I don’t know what he means, but there’s no time to ask for an explanation. I run down stairs, use the actual bathroom, steal my dad’s sweatpants from the back of the bathroom door, throw my underwear in the trash can outside and go back to bed.
            My brother tells me I was laughing and cheering, then I yelled, “that’s not right at all!” and popped up onto my knees in my bed, then I said, “something terrible has happened,” to which he replied only to be snubbed as I ran out of the room to destroy the evidence.

            Years later, in my fifth year of college, I found a stable and fair supplier for some painkillers that were particularly enjoyable. They’re called norco, or I called them norco, some people call them yellows, I think. they’re basically a stronger form of vicodin, with less acetamenophin, which is the part that is more dangerous to your liver, I think. I’m not a pharmacist, nor have I ever acquired these drugs from a pharmacist, so I can only go on what my logic can compute.
            One night I was playing poker with friends and I popped a norco, then another a bit later, and two more before the game was done. At this point there is eight times the reccomended dosage in me and it is working. It makes me feel great, which was rare at the time, as I have a chronic gastrointestinal condition which can be very painful at times, so for an evening free of this pain, I was grateful.
            I went down stairs and got into my pajamas which consisted basketball shorts, sweatpants, socks, a thermal shirt and a hooded sweatshirt, because I lived on the bottom floor in a cement room with no heating vent and a flimsy, unsealed door between the non-insulated basement, and it was winter in the riverside desert on the top of a large hill, making it bone shakingly cold, and I was high as hell on opiates. I climbed into the  bed under my quilt and two blankets and was out instantly.
            I woke up covered in sweat. This was common, thanks to my GI difficulties I get night fevers that shake me from sleep, so this was no different. Usually I sit up, get my bearings, breathe deeply, and get back to sleep. This time, only my crotch area – from my navel to my thighs- was soaked, and I was in the middle of a sizable puddle in the middle of my bed. It was embarassing. I was embarassed to have wet the bed; but I was still high. So naturally, I rolled over out of the puddle, wrapped the blanket around me tight, shut my eyes and went back to sleep.
            I woke up at noon and washed my sheets, hung the quilt and blankets out to get hit with the hose, and tossed my pjs into my hamper. I rarely tell this story. It screams “moment of clarity,” but it wasn’t. Maybe I have a problem. Maybe this collection of stories will become my goodbye letter to drugs and alcohol; or maybe they’re a symptom of a subconcious need for another story, another notch on the belt, or another step down a path that will one day lead to twelve more, but thus far I haven’t learned shit.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A cover letter I gave up writing

Let us be honest for a moment; sales is based on the knowledge of humans in general, and who knows people better than writers?

Sunday, July 24, 2011


            There once was a pair of nun-chucks. I bought them on a trip to Hawaii I took with my marching band during the final months of my senior year in high school. The way I acquired them was fairly standard, the way I lost them was quite out of the ordinary. The wake of their loss was definitely unfortunately, however, not as bad as it could have been I assure you.
            It was April 2005, and I with my best friend Elliott had shipped off to Hawaii. At the time we had both recently left our jobs at the same sticker kiosk in the local mall, and with this in mind we had made off with about six hundred dollars each; for spending money. Of course two kids with too much time and quite a bit of money will always make you cringe, but this is not the cause for concern here.
            Like I said, their acquisition was nothing special. I bought them the same way you buy anything in Hawaii: with bullshit. The scam was this: you carry no more than 60 dollars on you at all times, in groups of no more than fifteen. What this means is you have fifteen cash in the main part of your wallet, fifteen tucked behind your license, ten in your right pocket, with a pack of cigarettes, which also contains ten bucks, and five in your shirt and left pocket.
            We approached the carts in the international market, which is essentially a permanent swap meet, and coincidentally the first one I had ever been to, so I am not totally sure if all are permanent, or just this one. First we would walk around the cart to see if it had anything we liked, if it did, we would stare at it, smile, stare at the worker, smile, and stare at it again. This method would show us as being sheepish, yet aware, and would usually illicit some type of response from the store-owner.
            The nun-chuck cart was the same as the rest. Illegal weapons, lighters, illegal weapons hybridized with weapons (I personally own a night-stick lighter, and a switch blade lighter, both considered “novelty items,” and not “potential murder weapons.”). The nun-chucks however, are legal in Hawaii, so they do not require to be mutated in such a way, although it would be pretty rad to nun-chuck the shit out of someone and then light a cigarette with them.
            The store owner (I’m still talking about carts, but out of respect for this man, I label him as the owner. Basically he was old.) Smiled a disturbing smile at Elliott and me, and walked over to us. His smile was disturbing because of his severe lack of full teeth, and the ones that were mostly there were shaded odd colors of black and grey.

“You like those?” I cannot come close to the thickness of his accent without coming off as a complete racist, but trust, this was the most butchered engrishu I have ever heard in my life.
“Yes-sir, they’re pretty sick.”
“You want?”
“How much?”
“Hm. Normal price thirty dollar.” At this I smiled at Elliott, and as planned we both inhaled sharply.
“Wow, no we’ll pass. Thanks though, have a nice day.”
“Wait wait wait!! Special price! Twenty dollar!” I looked at Elliott, and again, as planned we both inhaled sharply. The old man did say the magic words “special price” which meant that that was his lowest lowball offer. This meant that we had a bit more work to do. I reached into my right front pocket and pulled out my cigarettes.
“I hide all my money in here.” I said to the old man, and smiled, he smiled back. He looked quite confused since I am quite certain he was not listening, or was deaf. I pulled out the two crumbled five dollar bills I pre-hid in the pack. And I looked at Elliott.
“Hey man, how much you got?” he didn’t say anything, so I just looked at the man with ten dollars in my hands and smiled again.
“This is all I have sir.”
“Oh okay. Good bye now.” And he began to walk away. Just as his shoulders made it all the way around Elliott called out.
“Wait!” the man stopped, and turned back, “I got 5 more.” And Elliott reached into his shirt pocket, pulling an obsessively compulsively creased five dollar bill.
“Fifteen dollars? Cash? Okay.”
And we were in.
            That was it for the nun-chucks. They were originally not for me at all, but for my friend Douglas, who handed me twenty bucks before Elliott and I left for the islands and said in his ever so majestic timbre, “dude. Get me something tight.” It is quite hard to believe that the same person who crafted the above sentence would be able to collect a high school GPA of 4.5, but believe it.
            Douglas was second in the class, and with his extra curricular sports: basketball and golf, he was a shoe in for salutatorian. The only person ahead of him was a girl who nobody had seen on campus since our sophomore year on account of her being a certifiable genius far beyond her peers’ intelligence and being so, had to take classes at the local junior college. To be quite honest, I don’t remember her name, but her bumper sticker read “my karma ran over your dogma,” which was about the most tasteless thing any educated person could ever think since as we all know, every religion is flawed, and the ideas of karma and dogma are on completely different levels, and we all know that is a different conversation altogether.
            Fast forward 2 months to the end of May. We graduate in about three weeks, and we are all feeling very good. As was custom with our group of friends we would sprint from our 4th period classes to the parking lot, jump into whoever’s car was the closest to the exit, and leave, thus maximizing our lunch break, allowing for whatever trouble we could get in to. This day was a bit more than we bargained for along the lines of trouble.
            It started with the common Trent-esque prank of opening the car’s gas tank cover. Harmless enough, but as Douglas was a bit anal retentive, it had to be closed. Since we were moving at a high rate of speed on our way to the local greasy spoon diner we patroned on a daily basis, Douglas did not want to stop his 1996 white VW Jetta, for fear of not having enough time to eat, relax and make it back on time.
            It was Trent’s idea to use the nun-chucks to close the cover. It was not a bad one, since the nun-chucks were in the magazine holder on the back of the shotgun seat where I was sitting, and therefore were in his ADDed face, taunting him. He snatched them, undid his seatbelt, rolled down his window and began to swing for the tank cover. Success was his in a matter of moments, and after a few more flourishes at 55m.p.h. (in a 25 M.P.H. zone) he was back in the cabin of the vehicle, welcomed by hysteric laughter from Douglas, Jack and myself.
            And then it was my turn with the nun-chucks. As we were stopped on the corner of Foothill and Towne Avenue, I noticed a college aged student eyeing Doug’s sweet rims. If my memory serves me correctly, they were eight-spoke 16” rims and when purchased were silver. Since Doug refused to keep them clean, at the moment we were stopped at the light, they had been reduced to whatever color brake dust and engine oil combine to form, and when we saw this guy staring at the wheels and smirking, we knew he was mocking us.
            Not to be outdone, I planned on showing him who was boss. Armed with the nun-chucks, I slid out the front window so that the only part of me inside the car was my left hand (holding on to the oh-shit handle) and my legs. I began yelling incoherent gibberish at the laugher and swinging the nun-chucks willy-nilly around. At one point I began saying, “Huh? Huh?” over and over, but when the light turned green, I slipped back into the car, re-fastened my seatbelt and laughed along with my cronies who were almost in tears.
            The rest of the lunch break went pretty normally, we went in, stood in line, paid $2.66 for the route 66 special (a cheeseburger, fries with M.S.G. and a soda) and sat down to eat. Trent and I had our daily soda drinking contest which ended as usual in a tie, and we all poured out our cups and filled them back up with horchata (For those who are not aware of horchata, it is basically rice pudding in drink form).
            Again, bound by tradition, we piled back into Doug’s car, and sped back to campus. Winding through the residential streets at high speeds, each of us took turns pelting one car of our choosing with the horchata. Just like any other day. We laughed, sped on, parked the car and went our separate ways to class.
            Just like any other day that is, until during “quiet time” in my stoner-English teacher Mr. Bustard’s class the proctor filled the doorway with her six-foot-four-inch frame and spoke my name. I shit a brick. At the time, my grandfather was quite ill, and I was sure this was their pathetic way of making it so I did not cry in front of the class. They needed to bring me to the office. I needed to bring all of my things. I needed to hurry.
            The police were waiting.
            The police were waiting? Why were the police there to break the news of my grandpa’s death… “Oh fuck.
The police are waiting.”
            Now devoid of any color in my face or arms, I walked slowly with the silent giant to the office. I am greeted by the dean of students, former basketball coach Mr. B, Douglas, and two of Claremont’s finest, with the crackling radios and creaking too-tight leather boots. Then came the rigorous questioning, Mr. B spoke first.
“So Mr. Boytos, tell me about your lunch break.” Uh, seriously? I didn’t know where to start. Luckily, smug Mr. B thought I was playing dumb, so he brandished my buddy’s ‘something tight from Hawaii.’ I sighed.
“Oh. Those. Yeah. Uh. What about them?”
Mr. Police number one had a fit and stepped between my seat and Mr. B’s.
“Those are a felony to posses unless you are licensed as a martial artist. You don’t look like a martial artist, so you know what I’m thinking?” I knew what he was thinking. I was almost as much of a fat-ass as he was, so he must have known the impossibility of me being a deadly fighter.
“Oh. A felony? Why a felony if I have no training with them? I think it should be a…”
“I think you’re wrong. That’s the law son. A felony means a strike, two more of those and…”
“So Doug tells me these were a souvenir from your trip to Hawaii.” Mr. B thankfully interrupted the rupturing officer.
“yeah.” I admitted.
“Is that the marching band trip?”
“Yeah. But…”
“Well… you know this is pretty serious. Doug’s not getting these back unless his mom comes to pick them up. We’re going to have to call your mom as well.”
Douglas and I smirk a bit, because neither of our parents would have given half a shit except for being interrupted at work. And the cop took particular offense.
“Funnnnnnny, huh guys?” his lame condescension was met with silence from all other parties present. Mr. B just looked at the two officers, smiled and spoke.
“Thanks guys, I think I will take care of this one.” and they left with their too-tight leather boots begging to be loosened all the way out of the office. Thankfully they never thought to check the trunk of Doug’s car, which at the time contained two pony-keg shells, two air-soft guns, two pellet rifles, a bong, about an eighth ounce of pot, and one of the most disgusting porn magazines any one of us had ever seen, but none could bare to throw away.
            Mr. B made the calls, Doug’s mom told him to keep the nun-chucks, my brother pretended to be my father and told Mr. B I’d be in a lot of trouble as soon as I was done with my studying, and Mr. B turned to us, took our off campus passes away and assigned us to a week of lunch-time trash pickup. Being the wise-ass Douglas is, he told Mr. B that he had an AP test on Tuesday, so it got knocked down to four days. Being the opportunist/con-artist that I am, I told Mr. B that I had one on Tuesday, and he knocked it down to three.
            All in all, going from at worst (had they searched the vehicle) prison time and 1 strike on our record, to three days of trash pickup, I would admit we got off easy. Well, I did. Douglas got knocked out of his salutatorian spot, so at graduation, when we should of heard wisdom from the brain of “get me something tight” we heard some pseudo-intellectual stumble words that were too big and too quiet into a wind-buffed microphone. Thankfully, Douglas smoked enough pot to not be mad at me about it, although Jack and Trent don’t let me off so easily. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Query Letter that Worked

I wrote this query letter last year when I was trying to get the project I mentioned in it some representation. I would say it had a fairly high rate of return, about a dozen reads from less than 100 emails vs only three angry "HOW'D YOU GET MY EMAIL?" emails. But also a hundred percent "liked it  but not for me," which says more about the script than the query letter, but that's a whole different post. The script is currently shelved, but took second place at the Ventura Film Festival's teleplay competition in 2010 and is going to hit a couple more contests / fests this summer.

My name is Gregory Boytos. I am a product of UCLA’s School of Theater Film
and Television and based on your client list I believe you would violently
enjoy my half hour comedy pilot "Realtors." It's had nothing but shining
feedback from everyone who has read it, except my mom. My mom hated it.

Realtors tracks two boutique real estate firms each headed by one side of a
recently messily divorced couple in California's Inland Empire, and staffed
by a pack of misfits and screwarounds.

Realtors combines the best parts of Community and 30 Rock - the quick wits
and snappy dialogue of believable human characters - with the off the wall
humor and irreverent attitude of shows like It's Always Sunny in
Philadelphia and Archer in a way that is fresh and appealing to the sharp
young audiences of 2010 and beyond.

I'd be happy to send you a copy of my script - I also have another half-hour
comedy pilot on the shelf - and of course, the obligatory It's Always Sunny
in Philadelphia spec script.

I thank you for your time and consideration

Best Regards,

Gregory Boytos

Monday, July 18, 2011

Freelance News Writer Application for Onion News Network

Story/segment ideas
  1. Tech watch segment on EA games new sports game titled “The Playground,” rated E for everyone, where you build a character and lead him or her around a playground.
  2. Human Interest piece on a Nobel Prize winning mathematician who devised a formula to equate the height of someone’s truck, their MPG and penis size.
  3. Failing Actors hold meeting in West Hollywood to discuss whether or not acting in herpes commercials will benefit their career to the point where it outweighs the damage done to their sex lives.
  4. Union representatives go on strike ending public relation campaign regarding current teamster strike, workers confused.
  5. Barack Obama… boxer BRIEFS!
  6. Meth addicts march on Washington demanding legalization.
  7. Old satellite long thought lost rejoins earth’s orbit with strange bumper stickers.
  8. Parking officer tickets himself to set an example.
  9. Carpal Thumbal syndrome: one of the many hidden dangers of text messaging.
  10.  Storm hits, leaves levee standing in rural Mississippi: Army Corps of Engineers baffled.

Rachel Ray Endorsement Proves Frighteningly Important.  Rachel Ray has endorsed a candidate and immediately that candidate's popularity surges a shocking amount. The power of Rachel Ray has some frightened about the state of American politics.

Food Network megastar Rachel Ray finally declared her support of Presidential Candidate Barak Obama this morning on Regis and Kelly, we join Onion News Network Political Editor John Torey live from the Race 2K8 desk , John?

That’s correct, Superstar Rachel Ray made the promise today on Regis and Kelly that, quote, “I am die hard Obama! In fact, if McCain wins, I’ll retire from public life completely and without a fight,”

As you can see this monumental promise has caused incomprehensible numbers of people to register to vote at local post offices, libraries and college campuses. Leader of the Rachel Ray  (go away!) coalition Travis Langness said it best at their news conference earlier.

(SOT – Travis Langness – Rachel Ray (go away!) coalition leader: If it takes four more years of awful leadership, lies to the American people, countless unnecessary deaths and an unfathomable national debt to get this soul leaching waste of social security off of our airwaves, we are for it!)

We’ll stay right here at the downtown courthouse and monitor this situation closely, back to you in the studio.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mexico 2004

Freshman year of college, I was about 275 lbs and about 6'2''. I drank a lot; it was the way to go. One day in January I get a call from Toby.
Toby: “Greg?"
Me: "yeah"
Toby: "it's Toby. From high school."
Me: "uh, you mean Toby from Claremont high?"
Toby: "yeah, I think we were pretty much best friends for like two years."
Me: "yeah."
Toby: "yeah."
Me: "uh, what's up dude?"
Toby: "a bunch of us are going down to Yo's at UCSD, and then TJ, you down?"
Me: "I guess, I mean, yeah, I’m down."
Toby: "catch a ride with the Eastons; they're leaving at like 7."
Me: "ok"
    so that was that. Mexico by way of UCSD, only I had a half a tank of gas, no passport, and 3 dollars to my name. It was Wednesday; I had until Friday to really figure things out. Step 1: psychology experiment. Two hours of sitting in front of a beat down Macintosh computer pushing the "up" arrow if the letters on the screen formed a word and the "down" arrow if they didn't. I’m not sure if the test measured my ability to discern words or my willingness to care, because after about 45 minutes I had my eyes shut and would just push randomly. That was 14 bucks of easy money.
    14 bucks would probably pay my way into the club and a good tip for the bartender, but nothing else... no meals, no drink'n bread, no cigarettes, no bus ticket, no bail money. I decided I had to take drastic action. I sold my math book; truth be told I never went to class, and the girl who was in my class who lived in my hall had her own book. Plus I sold it to my roommate, so I could always borrow it if I needed to. Bam, that 85 bucks brought the grand total to 99 dollars.
    Next stop: San Diego
    we get there about 8pm and hang out at Yo's place with his crazy suitemates (who are now inconsequential mainly because they were “partied out” and did not have the money to go to Mexico (because who has money after filling up the gas tank on an Escalade?)) and we decide to catch a bus to the border. Out to the parking lot, we get in line and chill when the bus of all busses pulls up. It’s a school bus, or it was a school bus, but it had been converted to a puke-trap on wheels. the bench seats inside were the hard plastic you see on city busses, and the large trashcans strategically placed throughout the bus made it perfectly clear that nothing was to hit the floor or the seats.
    I try and strike up some sober conversation on the bus, but every time I talk to a girl, or smile at her, some meat-head is either holding her hand or glaring at me. Not one for (sober) confrontations, I would move on, until there was no one left to move on to, then I just looked down at the floor. even if there were a girl within ear-shot of me who was willing to be yelled at, the bus was loaded down with unnecessary sound equipment, enough to make the windows mysteriously drop down a step at some particularly loud moments of a song.
    By the time we got to the border, I was thirsty, deaf, and craving cheap cigarettes. It would have to wait, because I was not about to pay 5 dollars for a pack of smokes when I could walk 100 yards and buy one for 2. so we walked across the border; for all intents and purposes, it was myself, my buddy jimmy (who by this point I had known for 15 years), Toby, Nathan, and a plethora of people who will escape mentioning and description (partly because I forget, and partly because I don't give a shit).
    Before I continue, I must describe the guys in question.
    Jimmy-aka dimesack- 5'11'' skinny, white, republican, heavy drinker. HEAVY drinker.
    Nate-aka Steadman- 6'4'' brick house type of guy, we refer to him as our idiot savant because despite having a 4.4 GPA in high school he once said, "if we're gonna bone, we should prolly go out." drinks and smokes like a champ.
    Toby- aka Toby- 5'10'' regular sized, glasses could drink his fair share, but usually showed restraint (except on his 21st birthday, which will have to be another story all together.) he had a girlfriend who brought some friends with her.   (keep that in mind)
    So there's about 10 of us all together on the first bus, and another half dozen or so on the second bus, we decide not to wait, because Mexico is fucking sketch to begin with and no I don't want to buy any goddamn cheeklay. we saw some Mexican guy who was dressed almost dapper and was yelling "club safari" which is apparently where we were going to be headed that night, so we all walked with him to his cab.
    he gave us this look like, "uh, shit." but we were like "fuck it, it's Mexico, we wont get the ticket" and just like that 10 college kids standing on the curb became 10 college kids crammed inside a taxi. I refused to ride up front, because I hate riding shotgun with people I don't know, so Yo and Ryan jumped up there leaving me, Toby, Nate, Jimmy and all the girls for the back. We had 5 on the canvas bench seat sans seatbelts and 3 on the laps, and we were off.
    To say his driving was bad would be an understatement. It didn't help that I had a girl on my lap who was almost my size (truth) and who must have enjoyed my constant yelling "ow my balls" every time we hit a fucking pothole. By the time we hit the cab stand by the club, I was sure that my dick was dead. Thankfully it wasn't as I quickly relieved myself in a dark almost-alley crevice between two buildings.
    The ten of us got in line at the club and I bought a pack of Marlboro lights off this girl on the street who couldn't even have been 10 years old. I gave her 3 dollars and she smiled. The club manager came out and yelled some shit in Spanish, and the girl got scared and left with her mom and her sister. And my dollar.
    The club was empty when we got there, but we didn't care, we roll so deep that as long as we have some liquor, we'll be the spot. I jimmy and Nate and a couple others got two tables and we began drinking. Two beers at a time from the bar which was about 7 feet from the table I was sitting at.
                So we're sitting within a combat roll of the bar and drinking beers hand over fist as fast as we can pour them into our mouths. I take breaks every couple beers to smoke a cigarette or three and the college kids begin packing the place slowly as I get more and more drunk. Understand: I do not dance sober, and even though I do "dance" after a lot of booze, it only seems like dancing, that said, I was the designated table guardian.
I just sat there drinking beer after beer for at least two hours. I never had to wait in line, since when we first got there I put a five dollar bill in the guy's shirt who was pouring the Pacifico from the 40's in the ice chest into the college kids' cups. he was the first man I had ever purchased, because when he saw my giant head in behind one of the many sluts or bros in front of him he'd call me (almost by name) "gringo" to the front of the line for another two cups full and when I tried to put more money in his tip jar, he just said "no" and patted his chest pocket where Abe Lincoln sat alone.
By the time everyone got there from our little crew I was about ten beers deep and done with my first pack of cigarettes. One of the girls was tired, so I told her to "chill the fuck out. ima go find some cigarettes, you want anything?" but I left before she could answer, I didn't really care and would have either forgotten her drink or my cigarettes by the time I got to wherever the fuck I was going, and I was NOT prepared to give up the smokes. I started walking towards the chick-drink bar (aka bitch bar) where they were serving watered down jack and cokes to sorority girls, because it looked promising.
I made it to the bar and started making the universal sign for "smoke" with my hand, because I never took Spanish in high school or college and was, at this point probably too drunk to fake it. The bartender watched me for a good 10 seconds and says "we don't sell cigarettes inside, down the street."
Fuck that.
But God Damnit! I needed a cigarette, I made my way to the door when a guy in a yellow sport coat put his hand on my chest.
Guy: "heya, where you heading?"
Me: “cigarettes! Down the street!"
Guy: “come on, you serious? I’ll get you a pack; I wouldn't leave if I were you."
Me: “whatever, Marlboro lights dude."
The guy goes to the bar, walks behind it and comes back with a pack of Marlboro lights. I am now aware that he is a club manager or something like that and apparently college kids getting mugged or arrested would be bad for business, so he pulled some strings and sold me "the last pack." I paid him four bucks said thanks and walked back towards the table. of course I had to walk past the lying bartender, and I was drunk, and I like to shoot off at the mouth when I’m tipsy, but the club was too loud so I didn't waste my time. I stopped right in front of the bar and threw the wrapper on the ground, lit a cigarette and looked right at the guy who lied to me a 3 minutes before. I flipped him off, and returned to the table.
Fast forward to an hour later, because I don't really recall anything interesting besides a half dozen more beers and a cigarette with each one. I decide I want to go rub my crotch on some strangers, so I hit the dance floor. I was not easily missed, especially in my "club shirt." it was bright blue. Sky blue. I’m that guy. I was fat, but at least I wasn't the guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt and cabana hat making everyone dance and sing to stupid songs. You’re all welcome.
I walked around the club waiting for a decent looking lady to look at me and not giggle to her girlfriends. I saw a girl standing by herself on the other side of the floor, and I thought it'd be a good idea to go talk to her. She was wearing a bus bracelet like me, so I thought I’d strike up a conversation with her using that as an "in."
Me:"so's, yer wearin the bracelit for the bus?"
Her: "yeah." she smiles… interesting.
Me: "I realize my words are heavily slurred and I’m about 10 inches taller and easily 170 pounds heavier, but when I’m drunk I’m light on my feet."
Her: "are you asking me to dance?"
Me: "does that mean you won’t say no?" I grin, and she giggles. I grab her hand with my non-beer hand (I had switched from 2 to 1 so I could walk the floor.)
We dance for a bit in the middle of the floor and it's getting pretty hot. She is basically trying to fuck me through my clothes, and I don't mind. I finish my beer and toss it onto the ground, I’m really not caring about mother earth at this point, and it’s Mexico, so the litter bug song was not exactly ringing in my ears. Apparently she was really into me, and I was, well... drunk. She could have been hot, there is no certainty, but she was helping herself, and I dared not protest.
Until she unzipped my pants. Say what you will say about scoring, but having my dick out on the dance floor in a foreign nation with 500 of my closest and drunkest friends is definitely not my idea of a good time.
me:"hey hey hey. Hold it now."
Her: "what? You okay?"
Me: "dude, we're in a club"
Her: "no one’s going to see, come on, I don't mind..."
Me:" how about I get your number, I go get another beer, and we finish this back in the states after we get off the bus?"
Her: “ok."
She gives me her phone number, but I give her the phone to type in her name, since I don't know it... and she hands it back to me as I zip up. I head back across the dance floor and see Toby and Nate hanging out at the table with Toby’s girlfriend and one of her friends. I wink at them as I walk to the front of the line and get two more beers and bring them back to the table. I plop one down in front of Nate, who by this point is sweating like usual. Dancing with him was probably like having him guard you in basketball, except with a boner, I’d rather not think about it, but the ladies seemed to dig it, so more power to him.
It was at this time that I caught wind of a doings. “A doings” is how we refer to shady shit, usually perpetrated by myself or jimmy. Toby’s girl brought her friend to be set up with jimmy. Jimmy is an asshole, and I mean that in the best sense of the word. He has this charm about him that allows him to tell a girl that she's useless and ugly, and then inside of ten minutes be making out with her. (As an aside, I would like to point out that no one ever brings a friend to set up with me, which is fine, because I am an asshole in the bad sense, where I tell them they're useful and pretty, hook up and then tell them I lied.)
Jimmy finally stumbles back to the table, and by this time I’m dancing for fun with Toby’s girl because he is tired or sloppy drunk as is often the case; the real reason is for him to monitor the situation between jimmy and the girl, but jimmy is doing just fine, so Toby gets up and takes his girl back, leaving me to dance with another buddy's girlfriend while he is in the pisser. Which reminded me that I had to piss, and apparently so did my buddy's girlfriend. I didn't know where the bathrooms were, so I made her lead me across the now packed dance floor. It was trouble, a man of my size being pulled by a 5'0'' Japanese girl, and by trouble, I mean hilarious. She could fit through gaps I couldn't even see and not think anything of it, thus pulling me into unsuspecting people with each shoulder.
One guy had something to say about it.
Guy: “what the fuck man, I spilled my..."
Me: “they’re fucking free get over yourself." and I was gone, slipping in between more poor victims. it wasn't until we were halfway across the floor that she stopped pulling, and by the time I caught up to her I noticed her standing toe to toe and nose to tits with a black chick who easily went 5'9'' and a good deuce and dime. I could not exactly hear the words, or make them out in the darkness of the club and the haze of my intoxication, but all of a sudden, my friend let go of my hand and one punched this girl to the ground. I almost broke the seal in my pants, but instead I saw the door to the bathroom about 10 yards away and a pretty big hole, so I played fullback.
I grabbed her hand and jumped over her victim and pulled her to the bathroom line, which was about two or three girls long, but as we came up the bathroom door opened and I slingshotted her in.
Girl in line:"hey, we were in line! The fuck is that?"
Me: “she was going to shit her pants, she'll be out in a minute." and with that I ran into the men's bathroom. Or should I say the drain room, since the floor was sticky with piss and the flies buzzed like Japanese zeros in Pearl Harbor. I didn't wait for a position in the trough to open up, because frankly there was no fucking point. It was either get everyone's piss on my legs from the trough-splash or get mine on my shoes from the ground splash, and at this point pissing on my shoes was looking pretty good. I didn't even wash my hands, it wouldn’t' have done any good to touch those sink handles.
I ended up back at the table with another round of beers and saw jimmy making out with the girl. I turned to my left to hand a beer off to Toby, when I saw the girl to be set up with jimmy staring at him in awe. Apparently while I was taking a piss, jimmy had found his ex-girlfriend and began making out with her in front of his new friend. I looked at Toby who sat three feet from the brooding pair and he had his head in his hands, while his girlfriend stood behind her friend and rubbed her back.
This is when I hit scavenger mode. I tapped the girl on the knee.
Me: "hey don't worry, he thinks she is you, you should be happy."
Her: "thanks, but that really doesn't help."
Me: "after I finish this beer, let's dance; it'll do you no good not to watch, unless you're into that."
Her:" hurry."
I pound the beer and light two cigarettes, one for me and one for my dance partner. She doesn't smoke, so I end up having to tag team them both while trying to distract this girl from captain smooth and his ex. I look at Toby’s girl, and I give her the nastiest wink and smile I have ever given any human ever as her friend backed her ass up into me and stepped on my piss covered shoes. She half smiled and started talking to Toby again. Then it happened. (As I mention this, please note that this could be the first of the escape acts perpetrated by jimmy.) Jimmy jumped up and ran out of the club to the streets of Tijuana. It’s time to go. I look at my watch, it's 130 in the morning, and it’s fair to leave now after consuming so much alcohol. I smack the girl I’m dancing with one on her ass and grab my last beer. She grabs my wrist as I am leaving, but when I turned and looked at her, she was looking away, so I shook her off and kept walking.
We made it out of the club and were waiting for a taxi cab while jimmy sat on the curb un-digesting his dinner and desert. The club managers came out in the inconspicuous yellow sport coats and were begging us to come back inside until the cab got there. Jimmy, being the tough guy he is declined in very colorful language between purges, and we stuck by him. Our cabbie was nervous about letting us in his cab but I kept using my 20 beer Spanish
Him:"[Spanish Spanish Spanish]"
Me: "esta okay, no megusta, anda-lay"
Him: "Como"
Me: "anda-lay, speedy Gonzales, vroom vroom." I waved my hands about like I was aware of what I was trying to say, but I kept a straight face, so he believed me, or something, either way, we got into the cab, and after one and a half rosaries we were back at the border.
All the good friends were too drunk to remember to pay the cabby of course, so I got stuck with poor guy who no espeeka, and me who no comprendeme Espanol. I reach into my pocket and find my license and my cell phone but no cash. I yell at my fleeing friends but no one responds. It is at this point where I know what I have to do, and this is what makes me feel bad to this day. I began to cough violently in the back seat of the cab and stall while my friends got farther and farther away, and I got out, still coughing and double over in the gutter. He gets out and I wave him away, when his back is turned, I take one deep breath and let it loose.
By the time he turned around I was about 15 feet in front of the double-parked cab. He would be stupid to leave it there, running, with the keys in it, but he chased me for about fifty yards until I turned the corner and was in sight of the border area. By the time I got there, he was either tired, dead or pissed off and had given up. I caught up to my friends just in time for jimmy to regain consciousness and attempt to cross the border on his own accord. He stumbled, presented his ID to the immigration officer, and held onto the counter for dear life.
Guard: "reason for visiting Mexico."
Jimmy: "under aged drinking!"
Guard: "well, are you drunk right now son?"
Jimmy: "no, however I did puke after watching the donkey show." I and Toby were in stitches watching this, even though apparently it’s a pretty serious offense, or something.
Guard: "alright son, take it..." before he could finish talking, jimmy fell face down on the ground.
Jimmy: "U.S.A! U.S.A!" his chant echoed throughout the office and roused the sleeping marine in the customs office about a hundred yards into America. Of course Toby and I joined and the stunned customs official gave jimmy his i.d. back while he kissed the ground and kept the chant going. When I crossed I told the guard I had been fishing, he smirked. Toby, being half Mexican and fully drunk pretended to lose his license, but promised he was an American citizen. The guard did not find this very funny, especially since the chant was still going as strong as ever with an Indian family still on the Mexico side joined in briefly. Toby and I picked jimmy off the ground and firemen carried him to the bus past a laughing marine and an obviously scared detainee.
Jimmy wasn't done puking, but since it took place in America, it doesn't matter to the story. Just know that he never made it to the toilet, but the bag for his sleeping bag is surprisingly able to hold partially digested whiskey. I woke up next to the girl he was supposed to be with, spooning with her hair in my mouth. Needless to say nothing happened, we now refer to her as snaggletooth; not one of my finest moments. I never called the girl I met from the bus, who we dubbed the Club Hand Job Queen, or for short “hjq,” truthfully I still don't know her name because I lost my phone the next weekend and couldn't recover any numbers. Any girl who I talk to after a dozen beers is probably nothing to lose sleep over, so I just forgot about it.
And that is why I can never go to Mexico again, and why I hate it, and it hates me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A cover letter where I actually got a phone interview

None of us have time for well-crafted nonsense, so I will skip it and get down to the brass tacks. I would be an asset to the page program. I have been in the industry for almost two years and have realized that time on the job is no match for experience. Currently as a production assistant in on air promotion I am regularly exposed to a side of the business I did not know existed before I showed up one morning as a temp, and while the network has been very good to me, I now realize that I need to make a step toward the experience that I need to realize my full potential.
Promo production is a delicate art. It is to the entertainment industry what poetry is to the literary world: under appreciated and painfully difficult. To be successful you need a natural set of abilities as well as a place to foster their growth. I have found the latter, which has shown me the absence of the former. A terrible shame, indeed but topping out early is not a bad thing. Time wasted is not time wasted if you emerge with a lesson. My lesson: move on.
The page program is set up for people like me; nose to the grindstone types with a ton of energy, discipline and determination to succeed no matter what obstacles lie ahead. I am a finisher, a go-getter, a smiling face and a kind heart, just waiting to be given an opportunity to show exactly how high I can soar. So much for leaving out the well-crafted nonsense, but aside from the border-line cliché, I genuinely feel like I will be an invaluable resource to any team, group or organization that cuts the leash and lets me run with the tools I have developed throughout my life.
I appreciate your consideration and hope to hear from you soon.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dollar Beer Night

Applebee’s dollar beer night: Sunday through Thursday, from 9pm until midnight. Four good, young men descend from the other side of the tracks, the side of the tracks where the college kids live on their parents’ dimes. Four good, young men step out of the tan 1997 Volvo station wagon, walk slowly to the door and take seats at the bar. It’s dollar beer night.
            Even at such a bargain price, it is easy to run a sizable bar tab in just three hours; if you are dedicated; especially easy when you consider than none of the four young men are thinking clearly or rationally about how they intend to get home safely, or if.
I lost count at double digits. By then the beer foam has flooded my mathematical intuition. I am not even certain how much the bar tab was, I just took it, looked, wrote down a series of numbers, showed it to the bartender and asked what she thought. She nodded yes and pulled her head back quickly, so I figured that the tip I left would suffice. Normally, I would wake the next morning, still in my clothes from the night before and search my pockets to find, with surprise, a receipt. But this night was different. Upon leaving the restaurant, I lit the paper on fire and tossed it at one of my cohorts as he walked to the car.
It sank like a feather, eventually landing between his foot and his flip flop, sending him jumping off of the curb in shock, while at the same time causing our designated driver to full onto the asphalt nearly in tears from laughter. The “sober one” now rolling into and around an old oil stain, gets up, still laughing and brushes himself off. This is when we all realized the awful truth.
We were all too drunk to walk without laughing or talk without fighting. From the door to the car was only a distance of ten yards, and already three punches were thrown (one from the flaming paper incident, two more from an argument about “Carmen Elektra or Pam Anderson) and our DD was covered in parking lot motor oil.
We all sat on the curb: three smokers and a man trying to convince himself that he was “totally alright to drive.” After about two minutes, he conceded. “forget it, ya’ll can smoke in my car.” None of us were in any condition to protest, so we complied; back into the car and up university, over the tracks and out of trouble.