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“I’m getting a free tattoo at the new Levi’s store in the Forum Shops. They have an open bar!”

We received the above text upon our arrival in Las Vegas for our friend’s birthday celebration weekend. This announcement was simultaneously hilarious and horrifying. First of all, the phrase “free tattoo” usually doesn’t end well. Secondly, there was not only an open bar at the grand opening of this Levi’s store but also a DJ mixing tunes in the front window. Welcome to Las Vegas!

Tatiana, the Russian ballerina, and Grizzly Adams, her bearded husband, are the dear friends we were searching for among the denim on the dancefloor. They had started the party early, i.e., on the plane, and had kept the frivolity flowing once their wheels touched down. As experienced drinkers from the wilds of North Idaho, and fellow graduates of Bee’s high school, these people are well versed in maintaining a buzz for extended hours. However, the buzz of the tattoo gun was about to ink our intoxicated Idahoan.

While tattoo artists are not supposed to work on the inebriated, I imagine that the number of sober clients in Las Vegas would be a business killer. The tiny tattoo motivation was to commemorate the family bond with his sister-in-law, so I resisted dragging Grizzly out of the store in a headlock. However, when the tattoo artist wrapped the 15-minute artwork in plastic and told him to leave it for three days, I vowed to protect my friend from infection while giving the guy a disgusted look. With extensive mobile art canvasing my skin, I knew a bit about proper tattoo healing. Tatiana wrangled the drunken cats back to our hotel to rally before dinner.

We stayed at the Las Vegas Marriott, located within walking distance of the main strip and other hotels. Our room, located on the 33rd floor, was accessed by an express elevator that skipped stories 1-25. The speed at which the elevator accelerated and decelerated was enough to make your ears pop and knees wobble. I could just imagine the number of drunk people who had been found on the elevator floor when the doors opened. Since members of the Marriott time-share also use this hotel, our room had a complete kitchen and living room. I was quite surprised to find a soaking tub in the spacious bedroom. You can see a full walkthrough on YouTube with this link. Above all else, it had a beautiful glass shower with double showerheads. Be still, my happy mermaid tail!

While walking from the Marriott to the other hotels on the strip, I enjoyed people watching at a whole different level. I passed a father and son duo keeping rollerblading alive. Blades! There were several women in the CVS drugstore shopping while toting large glasses of wine. We passed a bridal party seated around an outdoor table of a Taco Bell. Grizzly must have looked like either a big-spender or long-haul trucker because multiple strangers offered to sell him cocaine or set him up with hookers. Whether taking pictures with costumed showgirls or watching the Bellagio fountains, there was plenty of attractions all along the central Las Vegas Strip.

Stand-up comedy is one of our favorite Las Vegas attractions, and we wanted to share those professional laughs with our friends. Tatiana and Grizzly introduced us to their friend, whom we will call Slappy, for reasons later revealed. Our party of five got excellent seats at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club in the MGM Grand Hotel. Brad Garrett was the older brother on the Everybody Loves Raymond TV Show, and was also the voice of Eeyore in the live-action Christopher Robin movie. The show’s headliner was Quinn Dahle, featuring Kermet Apio, and hosted by Ken Garr. All three were hilarious, making the expensive drinks and $20 popcorn go down easy. By the time the show ended, everyone had finished several alcoholic beverages. I stopped by the merchandise table and bought a plush Eeyore autographed by Brad Garrett. All of the proceeds from club merchandise are donated to the Maximum Hope Foundation. With my Eeyore and purse tucked under one arm, I made my way to the line outside the ladies’ restroom.

No stranger to the long lines at women’s restrooms, our slightly tipsy group slowly made our way into the busy bathroom. Suddenly, I hear Slappy exclaim from her stall, “That b@#*h in the heels in front of me peed all over the seat!” Public restrooms are bound to have patrons that don’t seem to care about the next user. Typically, you’re disgusted, but it’s not a big deal. Slappy had not looked at the seat before she sat, and now it was a huge deal.

She found Miss Inconsiderate bathroom heels standing outside the exit and asked if she had peed all over the seat. Miss Heels foolishly exclaimed, “Yes! It was disgusting in there!” Alcohol was involved, so Slappy gave her an open hand smack to the side of the head. Not the mature option, but it should have ended there.

Meanwhile, the rest of our group came out of their respective bathrooms and decided it was time to leave. We had escorted Slappy up to the lobby of the casino when two guys, Miss Heels, and another version of Miss Heels came running up behind us.

The guy was yelling about how he was going to kick Slappy’s ass for hitting his wife. First, the guy bounced off Bee in the most comical impression of a ball off a brick wall. This guy was short and barely half my weight. He tried to go around me and then through me, but I held up my forearm to keep him out of my face, telling him “No!” multiple times. He kept bouncing off my arm like a demented moth. As if I were lecturing an ill-behaved toddler, I kept telling him “No” and pushing him away. Finally, he yelled, “Don’t touch me c*#t! I’m going to kick your ass!” I gave the little guy a pitying look, and he stood there impotently, having expected more reaction from his foul language. I’ve known Drill Sergeants that could tear you apart with language alone and never use a single swear word. I was not impressed or even rattled. Although Bee witnessed the whole exchange, he later told me that I looked like I had it handled.

Taking the opportunity to jump into our dead-end exchange, Miss Heels got in my face and said, “Your friend slapped me!” Apparently, I was now the recess monitor who would be doling out punishment for misbehavior. I continued in my bad-toddler-voice-lecture-voice, “Call security. You don’t chase someone down in a casino.” Miss Heels and her friend were like little chihuahuas in heavy makeup, the way they kept jumping up at me. Luckily, I was wearing my White’s boots to keep the ankle biters at bay.

Little did I know, Slappy was laughing historically behind our human wall of protection. Security arrived and allowed us to leave since we were not the aggressors. I wonder if it took them so long because they were busy laughing from the security room. I hope they saved the tape for training purposes.

Moral of the story: don’t pee on the seat and don’t try to come through me when I’m in protective mode. I maintained the hold on my purse and Eeyore throughout this whole event.

The following day was much calmer with a trip to the Mirage Secret Garden of Siegfried and Roy. I’m a sucker for domestic felines. Giant cats are ten times as cute, despite the ability to rip your throat out. Just ask Roy. Many were sleeping like adorable housecats, but another was playing with a giant ball in the pool. We all watched as the playful cat worked out the best way to get his ball out of the pool and even cheered when he got his paws around it from one side. Although we only spent an hour in the garden, it was enough time to see all the cats and even caught the dolphin feeding at the adjoining garden. It’s a good thing I don’t work there because all the dolphins would be fat due to constant feeding. I couldn’t say no to those cheeky dolphins. I couldn’t be trusted to ration out steaks to the cats either. Fat cats, fat dolphins, and I’m fired. Perhaps I could still find work as a bouncer. Safe travels, my friends!

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