Only Your $ Stays in Vegas

The Crank

So there I was, on my way to Sin City the day after hearing the great news from my Orthopedist that the slightest fall or accident could leave me with more in common with Professor Stephen Hawking than I would like. “Doc, are were talking quadrophenia?”

“The Who? …er…yes, and that headache you’ve had for over a year? …well, that’s part of it too. No cure, just don’t fall or have any kind of accident. If it gets real bad, we can do surgery that probably won’t work.”

So having lost big-time at the Genetic Wheel of Fortune, I was on my way to Sin City to try my hand at another type of gambling. You see, my lovely wife was needing a little getaway so I found that midweek there are some great deals in Vegas—booked us a hotel center strip for $57 per night. What could go wrong? Famous Las…words.

The ride was great, complete with unbelievable scenery which my wife slept through for the entire 5 ½ hour trip. I marveled at the magnificent things to behold, all the while listening to the GPS lady telling me, well, even she nodded off:

“The next 200 miles, you will find zzzzzzzzzz…”

It’s amazing what passes for a town in northwestern Arizona. Wikiup , no really, Wikiup is a group of six small mobile homes with a gas station. Northwest of that? Nuffin. Nuffin until the Hoover Dam.

My wife’s Sonata is quite nice: 41 mpg and fat man comfort at 80 mph. Oh, and by the by, at 80 mph and up, out where the buses don’t run, Chrysler 300s and the like will pass you as if you were standing still.

As we neared Vegas, the GPS awoke and led me to the Mirage. As it turned out, we weren’t alone. Nascar, the Rodeo, and the entire population of Nashville were also in town…simul-fucking-taneously.

Do you know what a football field room, filled with machines all glowing and making wonderful noises does to a certified ADHD sufferer? As I sat on an unoccupied chair in the middle of the casino, it was as if the clouds parted and the choir began singing.

You talk about “oh look, a squirrel!?” This is that on steroids. I didn’t really have to play, I just sat there drinking it all in. They bring those to you too. Bells ringing, electronic noises, flashing lights, buzzers, tumbling wheels with colorful pictures on them. It was like my home away from….look an Elvis!

The place was filled with chain-smoking, cowboy-hatted, gap-toofed shit-kickers (send your letters to And, for some reason what seemed like half the country of South Korea was also in attendance, acres and acres of them, all feeding various forms of sure loser machines. We grabbed a meal in the hotel at a Carnegie Deli—ridiculously large sandwich, but complete with real NY flavor—but soon realized that the air in the casinos was unbreathable with cigarette smoke.

We tried hitting a show, which was when I found out why it’s so cheap here on weekdays. No shows early in the week. Just Lounge Lizards and magicians—you know, people even The Discord would turn down.

As we awoke the next day, we planned our one full day in Vegas. Breakfast at the hotel buffet, then off to walk the strip and see some other hotels. It was then, when I put on the room’s TV, that I saw that it was 28 degrees outside. I was all warm and cozy in my unzippable spring jacket…NOT. I froze my fat ass off as we walked to the Caesars’ Palace.

The Palace appears to be the biggest hotel on the strip. Almost ridiculous in size, yet the casino was old, the chairs ripped, and the slot machines scratched up. Not impressed. They did have a real nice shopping mall attached to it, where the idea was to recreate a Roman era town, with arched streets with stone like pavers, where each store front was a different building complete with a curved roof painted as the sky. All of it lit as if it were dusk. Pretty cool.

Next was The Bellagio. Modern, beautiful, and very expensive, but very worth it to those who have the geld. We went to see the fountains out front, but they only work from 3:00 PM on so we played the slots a little. As we went through my mom’s stuff after she passed, I found a small jar with quarters in it that she was saving to take to ‘the Indians’ as she used to call The Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. I had saved that little jar for years and my wife had a dream where she won $23,000.00 with Mom’s quarters.

So we brought the jar, but I soon realized that Vegas was now a ‘paper-in, paper-out’ machine town, so we proceeded to try to have them converted to cash at the casino’s cashier. The Mirage casino cashier told us she couldn’t take them all, but she would take half (?), and then she came to tell us to say the coin counter was out, so she would have to hand count them. Buh-buy.

We took them the Bellagio where they converted them all for us. My wife and I each took half to a machine to bet in honor of Mom. My wife hit one for $230.00! No shit….only off a few zeroes.

After a trip through Harrah’s (not at all impressed), it was now so cold I could not walk anymore, so we took a taxi back to the Mirage to warm up, eat, and plan the evening. We decided to eat at the buffet we had breakfast at, and it was great. It had better be, at 36 bucks each. Real gourmet food. Except the shrimp’s cocktail sauce. Evil drek it was, ruined a whole pile of the little curly bastards that I had planned to devour. How do you screw up cocktail sauce Vegas? Really?

Anyway, a short taxi ride back to Bellagio, and there I was, standing in what was by now almost single digit temperatures (the lowest they have had in years). I watched the fountains dance to the theme from Titanic. Yup, that one. “Yes Honey, it was beautiful, and SO worth it!” I said as the snot froze in a solid stream straight out from my nose amidst 40 mph winds.

We then took a taxi to The Freemont Street Experience, what used to be main street Vegas before the strip, back in the mob days. Freemont Street is known for having a large blocks-long video screen above the street, which is now all pedestrian. They usually have things like running horses and such, all moving above your head. The casino hotels down there are the oldest ones in Vegas, and as such, have some of the best prices, and better odds, or so I am told. We get there to find that three Country Music concerts are being shown this very evening simul-fucking-taneously, so fully half the street is closed off for concert goers to honor the country music people. The overhead video spectacular was a video of an oak floor. That’s it, a fucking oak floor. A twenty dollar taxi ride, frozen solid, and I look up to show my wife, “hey honey, look up at the video I told you about!” A moving video of a stationary oak floor. Um, ok. So we went into some of the old casinos. They were, well old. The slots there seemed to me worse than the ones on the strip. My head is now hurting blazes, so we taxi back to Mirage, have a snack, and off to bed. The next AM we had breakfast, checked out and left.

We did stop at the Hoover Dam on the way back and took the tour. I highly recommend this to anyone going that way. Magnificent engineering feat.

Despite the bullshit, we actually enjoyed the ride and shall return again. This time I want to check out the Hard Rock and the Venetian.

“And Mr. Crank?”

“Yes Doc?”

“Above all, whatever you do, do not ever look up”.


So I did get to see the bottom half of the pole of the Stratosphere and the base of the Great Pyramid of Luxor.


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