The neon lights of Las Vegas are so loud they always threatened my eyes with headaches. Eventually Patrick, Jess, Chris, and I found the comfort of rainbow-flagged bars a cab ride away from our Riviera.
The Double Down Saloon was recommended by a friend, a local, as a ‘must’. But as soon as we arrived, I realized my wallet was left back at our hotel.
Not wanting to make the voyage back, I approached the ginormous doorman, standing alone with prickly spikes.
I smiled. He sneered. I stuck out my hand, looking him in the eye.
“Hi. I’m Kerri.” He looked at my hand with some hesitation and then gave it a modest shake.
I considered the lack of irony and continued with my decided speech: “There’s no reason why you should trust or believe me, but I accidentally left my wallet with identification and whatnot at our hotel. If you would like to quiz me, I can tell you anything about the day, month, and year I was born…”
I started to rattle off years of graduations, zodiacal sign, and any other relevant fact I could think of. He eventually gleamed a smile and said, “ Go head,” pointing at the door.
Patrick approached the bar and ordered us all it’s specialty – Leprechaun Piss – a fine mix of the kind of liquor that makes you check you chest for hair in the morning.
The rest of the night blurred into a mix of leprechauns, human pyramids, and laughter. Somehow, we befriended the only other non-natives in the dark bar. They were the “light and sound” crew for a well-known diva of a pop star – they referred to her as “the big lady” - but all of this failed to make them any more interesting.
“So do you know THIS song by THIS artist?... I was there for that…”
“No, but I think my HUSBAND may know that.”
“Have you ever been to THIS city at THIS time of year?... I sure have some stories about it…”
“No, but I am pretty sure my HUSBAND has been there…”
I noticed Cactus circling our collection of tables occasionally, looking on and laughing at times. The night eventually poured to an end, and we parted ways with “the big lady’s” crew.
Patrick, Jess, and Chris exited the bar. As I followed close behind, Cactus appeared, an unexpected obstacle between me and the cab. With the grace of Fred Astaire and a Patrick Swayze look in his eyes, he swept me off my feet, spun me around and sat me back on the ground.
“I don’t know if you’re really married or not… But I promise you… I would love you forever.”
I was startled and confused.
“Thank you, Cactus. That’s very kind of you.” I gave him a hug and headed to my friends and the waiting cab.
I don’t care for Las Vegas. Casinos are sad and lonely places, and I’m not really a fan of anywhere I leave with my hair and clothes smelling of smoke. But when I got home from this trip, I had a story for Michael, my HUSBAND.
“Do you realize?… If you don’t treat me right... I now have a back-up plan…” I tease with a smile. “His name is Cactus.”