Every now and then, I feel inclined to get a little personal on this blog. I don’t know where that inclination comes from. I know it’s dangerous to share some of your personal secrets on the internet, especially if you want a career in politics or try to argue with the wrong people on a message board. It’s a risk, I know, but it’s a risk I feel is worth taking in order to make this blog more entertaining.
I don’t feel like I’ve gotten overly personal on this blog thus far. I’ve talked about little things I find sexy. I’ve confessed to sleeping naked and loving it. I’ve even shared a story about my own circumcision. These stories may be personal to some extent, but they’re not stories that would get you kicked out of a bar if you told them out loud.
We all have stories like that. We all live crazy lives to some degree, some being crazier than most. I like to think I’ve had a healthy amount of crazy in my life. Some of that crazy has found its way into my personal life and my novels. However, there are some stories that stand out more than others and I’d like to share one.
Now don’t worry. This story isn’t so personal that you’ll need a rubber glove and some industrial strength lubricant. It’s just a little experience that stands out at a time in my life when my overall experiences were limited for reasons that are too convoluted to explain. It’s also an experience that influenced one of my novels in a very particular way for reasons that should be laughably obvious.
So what is this experience and how did it affect me so much? Well, in order to explain it, I need to establish the setting and context. This took place during my first trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. That alone should give you a hint of where this story is going.
Keep your panties on. It’s not going to be that kind of story. I save those stories for my books. This one is a different kind of story, one that requires a bit more imagination than we can afford in the era of internet porn.
It starts out with a younger, inexperienced, socially awkward version of Jack Fisher. At the time, I was 21-years-old. For some, that’s a magical age, one where fake IDs become useless and opportunities to fuck up grow exponentially. For me, it was just a number.
I did not take advantage of these opportunities. Like I said, I was socially awkward and exceedingly self-conscious. This was before I started working out, before I got my eyes fixed, and before I fully recovered from my terrible teenage acne problem. All-in-all, I was a pretty boring guy to be around.
I finally kicked my ass into taking advantage of an opportunity when a relative of mine offered to take me to Las Vegas. They had a business trip that came with a free hotel. I could tag along and all I’d have to pay for was the plane ticket. It was as sweet a deal as I could’ve hoped for and since economics tends to trump social awkwardness, I went through with it.
I didn’t know what to expect. I’m 21-years-old and still in college too so I didn’t have a lot of money to spend, but I did have a decent summer job so that helped. I ended up being overwhelmed in the best possible way when I first saw the flashy sights and spectacles of Las Vegas. It was like walking into a fantasy world where the hold boot of reality didn’t kick my ass nearly as hard as it usually did.
On my first day there, I just took in all the sights. I come from a town where a Holiday Inn is considered the fanciest hotel in town. Las Vegas made that look like a third world shit-hole by comparison. It was pretty damn amazing.
Once I started exploring the casino floors, I had to get used to the idea of people offering free drinks every couple of minutes. I’m normally not one to turn down free drinks of any kind, but the sheer volume of free drinks they offered at this place was overwhelming. I’m pretty sure I could’ve permanently scarred my liver if I were so inclined.
I managed to resist the urge to get plastered on free booze. For the rest of my first day there, I hung out with relatives and friends. We ate this awesome Italian restaurant where the waiters actually spoke real Italian. We walked the old parts of Las Vegas and met real Elvis impersonators. We even caught a concert in the middle of the street. It’s as much fun as it sounds.
Needless to say, I was pretty damn excited from all this. By the time it got late, I was too giddy to sleep. I had never been this restless before in my life. I had to see more of Las Vegas.
While everyone else in my party slept, I just walked the halls of the casino at my hotel/resort. I played some games, listened to some music, and yes, I helped myself to more free drinks. There’s only so much free alcohol I can turn down. Then, at around two in the morning, something happened that still sticks with me to this day.
As I’m walking through the casino floor, I pass by the main bar. There aren’t many people there at this hour, but one figure stands out more than most. There’s a beautiful woman just sitting at the bar alone, wearing this perfectly fitted blue dress. I swear this dress was like a second skin on her. It fit her so beautifully that I have to assume it cost at least half my tuition from last year.
Keep in mind, I’m still wearing clean jeans and the nice dress shirt that I wore to the restaurant that evening. So when she looks at me, she doesn’t see some dorky college boy whose several grades behind on his social skills. She sees a well-dressed young man wandering the floors of a casino alone, looking for new experiences.
At that moment as I’m walking by, she looks at me. Then, she smiles and lightly parts her silky blonde hair behind her ear. I may have the social skills of a brain-damaged monkey at the time, but I get the message loud and clear.
Clear or not, my brain struggled to process it. I swear, my heart jumped right up into my throat and I almost spit up all the free drinks I had over the course of that night. I manage to keep my composure and my dignity. I keep walking, but I make it clear to her I’ve noticed her glance. I acknowledge that message.
After this, things get a little blurry. My brain is struggling to process everything, but my body keeps moving. I keep on walking, although I’m not entirely sure where I’m going. I barely remember how I ended up in the men’s room next to the bar. I just remember looking at myself in the mirror, blinking a few times, and convincing myself that what I just saw wasn’t a trick or a product of sleep-deprivation.
My mind is going a million miles a minute. Should I go back to the bar and talk to this woman? Should I buy her a drink? What the fuck do I do? I’m a socially inept 21-year-old dork for crying out loud! I’m not equipped to handle this.
However, I remind myself that this is Las Vegas. This is an opportunity that I won’t get back home. So, with way more courage than I’ve dared to grasp to this point in my life, I decide I’m going to buy this woman a drink. What happens after that may or may not determine whether I die happy.
After I fix myself up and try not to look like someone still healing from the scars of high school, I leave the bathroom and make my way back to the bar. Then, in what I’m sure is karma’s way of kicking me in the balls, the woman is gone.
I walked up and down the bar for a good 10 minutes or so, looking for this woman. I never found her. For all I know, she wasn’t even real. She was just a figment of the fantasy world that is Las Vegas, a manifestation of a socially awkward young man who had yet to fully connect with the adult world.
Even so, I often find myself wondering what would’ve happened had I not hesitated the way I did. What would’ve happened if I just walked up to the bar, offered to buy the woman a drink, and go from there? Would I have ended up in bed naked with a beautiful woman? Would I have gotten a firm slap across the face for assuming way too much? Would I have accidentally flirted with an undercover cop?
I don’t know. I’ll never know. It’s one of those experiences that will always haunt me to some extent. It’s also an experience that highlighted a certain part of my life when I was woefully inept at connecting with people. While I have made progress in improving those social skills, I still have a long way to go. However, I think back to this memory and see it as a clear sign of where I was and how far I’ve come.
In case you haven’t figured it out, this experience did serve as the primary inspiration for my book, “Jackpot.” This book is not quite an accurate telling of that night. It is embellished to say the least, even by Las Vegas standards. However, it’s one of the few books I’ve written that has a genuine personal element to it.
I haven’t been back to Las Vegas since that fateful trip. I do plan to go again one day, hopefully while celebrating my success as an erotica/romance writer. When I do, I wonder if I’ll have another opportunity like the one I had all those years ago. I hope so because this time, I know I’ll be ready for it.