Amber: Want to go see The Thunder from Down Under Tonight?
Me: How much is it?
Danika:35 to 40 bucks or something.
Spending twenty-five percent of my food stipend seemed a bit silly but hey, when in Rome…
I meet Amber and Danika in their room. Danika is tipsy and takes a swig from a nearly empty wine bottle. I think it is a Merlot. Both of them look pretty, wearing the same hair and makeup from the show before. I am wearing a hooded sweatshirt with “Get Fresh” silk screened on the left side and irremovable coffee stains on the right. I bought it from a boy I worked with at Robek’s Juice back in high school. He was a young entrepreneur. I can’t remember his name. He had brown hair and braces.
Amber, Danika and I make our way through the smoke laden depravity of the Hilton casino to meet four other girls. The other part of our party has decided to get a little more dolled up for the occasion. Mini dresses, legs, and dangling earrings.
One mini-stretch limo ride later, our group is loudly traveling through the Excalibur Hotel and Casino. I’m holding up the back, watching the girls in front make their way. One of the girls makes some retort back at a group of boys carrying hurricane cups. “You girls are fat!” one dude yells. For obvious reasons I find this extraordinarily humorous and laugh the remaining forty feet to the ticket counter.
Forty-seven dollars and forty-five cents apiece buys us stage left seats in two black vinyl booths. The view is shit. The gaggle of girls wearing silver palette dresses, birthday tiaras, and various bachelorette paraphernalia is blocking an already weak view of where the action’s inevitably going to take place. There’s an intro song that plays 39 seconds too long, it’s name I have erased from the Readily Useful Memory Bank. The boys come out together, dancing in what should technically be a synchronized, semi-nude, Britney Spears backup dancer dance. Instead, I have paid for three boys dancing in sync, one who obviously thinks he is above The Thunder From Down Under, another who routinely spins in the opposite of his comrades, and two with long hair who have passionately integrated the “Hair Flip” into their routine.
Our first solo routine is Chris “The Wild One” giving us his naked interpretation of Captain Sparrow. His nipple clips glitter like pirates’ booty under the stage lighting, gels switching from red to blue to red to yellow to blue. A fog machine goes off. Girls squeal. Boredom overtakes the room. An ass swerve revives hollering.
The rest of the show continues with the aforementioned pattern for another hour and fifteen minutes. Each “dancer” gets his own time to turn our childhood heroes into sexual desirables. A racecar driver, a greasy mechanic, a fireman, a vaguely romantic fellow in silk satin pajamas that for some reason doesn’t really resonate with the ladies. I feel exploited. The finale brings the team back together, all wearing denim chaps and white hats. I can’t see Amber, but I hear her screaming all of the lyrics from “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” at the top of her lungs. This could be heaven, but I doubt it.
It’s that time again: convention work modeling. Each time I sign up for a job like this, I can’t help but be forced to compare it to It’s a Small World. Except the people aren’t Disneyfied multi-ethnic plastic midgets, they’re dumb skinny bitches. Cuckoo clock modeling, every hour on the hour.
Las Vegas Expense Report
My boyfriend drives me to the airport. The trip obviously costs him something (i.e. time and gas money) but this is my expense report. Matter struck irrelevant.
I split the cab with three other girls. I’m usually the one to collect funds because I’m “good with numbers.” Seventeen plus three for tip to make it easy equals twenty divided by four…Gee whiz…
Aaron and I make the trek past and through the Barry Manilow store, resisting the urge to purchase Manilow Merlot and StrawBarry lip balm. We arrive at the Las Vegas Hilton General Store. I grab a 1.2 liter bottle of Smart Water. I think about getting snacks but resist. The woman rings it up. “Six dollars.” Uh, huh. No, I don’t think so. I offer to take it back to the refrigerated isle. She tells me she’ll do it. I sense that this is less an altruistic, occupational duty and more that she believes I am going to steal it out of spite. On our way back up to the hotel room with Floor 16 views of this neon wasteland, I buy a bottle of Desani from the vending machine. Ounce per ounce, this was a rather dim decision. And it’s tap water. Fuck off, Coca Cola.
Whenever I travel I realize that the two latte a day habit I have developed in the privacy of my own home translates to a very pricey business expense while traveling for work.
Twelve garbanzo beans. Four slices of processed chicken. Gorgonzola cheese that I asked for on the side after substituting avocado was deemed impossible. Iceberg lettuce with carrot strings. Definitely not homemade Italian dressing.
I break down and buy a bigger bottle of water from the Coffee Bean. The cashier tells me it’s one of the better deals in town. Ultimately, I would have been better served buying that first Smart Water. The prospect will haunt me the rest of my stay in Las Vegas.
When I find out the hotel gym costs $20 a day, my frugality kicks and screams and buries my credit card in a random pair of shorts. Four hours into some seriously recycled convention air and toxic fluorescent lighting, we decide a pricey run on the treadmill and a moment in the steam room might be just the ticket. And if you buy two days instead of one you save $2 a day! Wow. I do fill up my $4.50 water bottle four times total, an $18 value. I steal five razors with moisture strips, two red apples and three bananas. Hilton has practically paid me to exercise and sweat. Boo ya.
Margarita Grill. Aaron and I will split the same dish three nights in a row: two chicken soft tacos with a side of rice and beans (holding the cheese on nights two and three) plus the Jumbo Guacamole split four ways. By the third night we’re feeling adventurous and get two chicken tostadas and one chicken taco that we forget to specify soft or crispy. We end up with crispy.
My biggest expense but not necessarily my wisest. The Thunder from Down Under, Australia’s Hottest Export. I had never been to a male revue before. The most I had ever heard about it was back in middle school. It was rumored that Alex Mendoza’s* father was a stripper at Chip ‘N Dales. I will dive into greater depth on this subject later.
Our flight gets delayed an hour and fifteen minutes due to some reason never relayed to we passengers. I buy the Cranberry Power Mix from the Las Vegas Fruit and Nut Stand. I do not tell the cashier that there is a fly in the Dried Mango bin.
My contribution for gas and parking. I cram this into the cigarette tray of Danika’s Audi despite her refusal. Take me home. Please.
*Names have been changed to protect the most likely uninnocent