On our last night in Las Vegas, I sat at the bar getting in one last session of video poker. A young gentleman in his twenties with a beard and half black hair and half blue hair sat down at the end of the bar and ordered a beer. The bartender set down the beer, and they started chatting like they knew each other.
Blue: Just got back from dinner on top of the Stratosphere.
Bartender: Yeah? How was it?
Blue: Alright. I didn't know fancy dinners took so long. We were there 4 and a half hours! I wasn't paying so I figured I'd stay til the end.
Bartender: Took my girlfriend there once. Was good but probably not worth the price.
Blue: Yeah, I had the sirloin. Better than Golden Corral but you know, a sirloin is a sirloin. You can get them anywhere. Anyway, I'm expecting some friends, can I start a tab?
(A few minutes later, a guy in his mid fifties showed up and sat next to Blue.)
Blue: English Dan! How the hell are you? (They shake hands) How was your flight?
Dan: A flight's a flight.
Blue: Tell me about it. I'm wiped. Just got back from dinner on top of Stratosphere. Didn't want to go but Dad woke me from my nap and insisted.
(Me thinking: He's there with his dad. Interesting.)
Dan: Stratosphere? What you doing up there?
Blue: Oh man, I'm sorry. Geno called this afternoon. Said he wanted to meet the whole team but his only free night this week was tonight. So he took us up there. Man, I told him you couldn't make it but he said that's his only night and he'd make it up to you.
Dan: Yeah? How so?
Blue: He'll probably buy you lunch or a drink sometime.
Dan: Yeah? On top of the f*%$ing Stratosphere?
Blue: Geno's good for it. I saw the bill. Over two grand. And Geno's a good tipper.
(Me thinking: Okay, so these guys work for Geno in some capacity along with Blue's dad. And I can tell by looking at English Dan, he's been around the block a few times. He's not bought into this company and wonders if he's going to get paid while Blue is the young idealist thinking he's going to score big.)
Blue: The food wasn't very good anyway. You didn't miss anything.
Dan: Where's everyone else?
Blue: I think they're still at the Stratosphere. Geno took everyone up top to ride the rides. He paid for everything. (pause) Don't worry, Geno's gonna make it up to you.
Dan: How? Take me on a f*&%ing rollercoaster ride?
(another guy, Ray, in his twenties with short brown hair sat down with them)
Ray: English Dan! Good to see you!
Dan: Yeah, you go to the Strat too?
Ray: Just got off the rollercoaster. Geno woofed his dinner on it! Chunks of tenderloin flying out his mouth at 75 miles per hour and falling 150 stories!
Blue: Yeah, they still there?
Ray: The man can't be stopped. Went to the bar, had a shot, then did the sky jump. Unbelievable. Man, this is a long walk from the Stratosphere. How'd we end up staying here? (Main Street Station)
Blue: Because last year we were at California Club. Dad got drunk and trashed the room. We got banned for life so Mom booked us here.
(Me thinking: Getting weirder. He's here with mom and dad and apparently they like to party pretty hard.)
Dan: So how was your dinner Ray? Blue said not so hot.
Ray: Fantastic! Best salad I ever had. Dressing was amazing like a cool ranch blue cheese thing. And it just got better after that.
Dan: F*&% you.
Blue: Come on Ray. Wasn't English Dan's fault he missed the dinner. I was just telling him Geno promised to make it up to him.
Ray: He's right English Dan. I sat next to Geno and Geno said, "who's not here?" And I said English Dan. And he's asking me how he can make it up to you. And I said it's gotta be something good like a big ol Po'boy or something.
Dan: F*&% you.
Ray: Aw, English Dan, I'm just bustin' your balls. Geno's good for it. I don't know what he's gonna do but he's gonna make it up to you.
(Me thinking: Why do they keep calling him English Dan? Can't he just go by Dan? And why don't I have a tape recorder. From now on, I need to bring a tape recorder to Vegas.)
Ray: So where's mom and dad?
Blue: Mom's in bed already. Tired after all the traveling. Last I saw Dad was at Stratosphere. He got pretty lit up then walked down the stairs from the top of the Stratosphere. Can you believe it? What's that, like 300 stories? Anyway, hostess sees him come out of the stairwell, and he's drenched in sweat. She's like, "what happened to you?" And he says, "I was looking for the restroom." She points across the lobby and he says, "Oh don't worry, I found one on the 50th floor."
Ray: Oh man, I love Dad.
(Me thinking: Okay, so mom and dad must not really be their parents because they're definitely not brothers. Some sort of code name.)
Blue: Anyway, we meet Mom and Dad at 9:00 for breakfast. Then we set up shop at 2:00. Geno's gonna be in and around. He's got meetings all week.
(Me thinking: I started to get the picture. Geno is the head of a pyramid scheme. Mom and Dad are the local bosses of the team while Blue, Ray and English Dan are at the bottom of the pyramid. Blue and Ray are the suckers while English Dan knows it's going nowhere. I just can't figure out what they're selling. But the whole conversation reminded me of the film "Glengarry Glen Ross" except without the suits and without the real estate and less profanity. My best guess was that they're selling vitamin supplements. But I also realized I had now spent an extra $20 on the video poker that I wasn't planning on spending just to keep listening to them. But it was worth it.)
Ray: What do you say we hit that Fremont Street experience. Supposed to be pretty cool.
Dan: I'm going to bed.
Blue: Lighten up English Dan. I told you Geno's gonna make it up to you. Hey Ray, did I tell you I saw the check at the Stratosphere? Over 3 grand!
Ray: Yeah and I bet Geno left a big tip too. English Dan, when Geno buys you a beer, hold out for something better than a Miller Lite. Like a Guinness or Stella Artois or something.
Dan: (flips off Ray)
Ray: (to bartender) Hey, can I get a cup of coffee?
Me: (I hit the cash out button on the machine and stand up.) Coffee? Coffee is for closers!