That's when it all began.
Much has been written about the tournament trip. Better writers than I have hunted and pecked their way through it. Still, it's a bizarre enough story to bear a retelling.
In the last posting we heard about "big Mike," the whiskey-guzzling mastadon of the legendary Al crew. His best work was still to come.
After rousting Otis from his brief and, eventually, painful nap, he and I were back in the forest. When we arrived we found what must have been the entire blogger contingent. Some, CJ and Maudie for example, were in fine form. Others, the Mike-impaired, were standing like saplings in a storm.
We made our unsteady way to the front of the casino, past the cadre of cowboys who like a cold OJ and bloody breakfast steak. The stretch Excursion was already parked outside.
Now, like me, you've probably been in a limo before. But its unlikely you've ever ridden in a chariot like this. The interoir was lined with leather bench seats from the driver's cab to the "she's an ENTERTAINER" style lounge that filled the rear compartment. Above the driver's partition was a glowing multi-colored square that looked like a ruibx cube at a Phish show. The smell of cheap Champagne still lingered as if the driver had just used a stained dish rag to smooth off the seats.
Posh? Could've been.
But remember this is Al's ride. And Al, great guy that he is, has a drunken middle school taste in music. Apparantly the great Mr. Bad Blood had supplied a CD burned with his favorite in soul-killing guitar. It's the kind of music you imagine Dylan Klebold would have loved. Imagine screeching speed metal at a volume that would make your ear drums bleed. It hurt just to be alive. Death metal indeed.
It took forever to make it to the tournament. Sam's Town is a hike. But we did arrieve in style. We piled out of the ride and into the casino like the short bus to homeroom. And THEN the fun got stupid.
Our blogger convention was in an upstairs ballroom. We were already late. The pros were already there and so were our still-sober counterparts. I saw Charlie Shoten and sidled up to try and hide my crooked vision. But after telling him I would "probably buy his book," I could tell he wan't buying my act.
I sat down.
Charlie began his presentation. It was clearly ad-libbed. Ironically he wanted to tell us what he'd learned about maintaining focus. I could only 'focus' with one eye closed. Even that pretense fell apart when a lovely asian pro made her grand entrance.
Now, these details are fuzzy at best, but apparantly "Daddy" said something outrageously funny to Otis. At least Otis found it funny. I turned just in time to see his face dissolving into a pained attempt at composure just before he darted for the door. I needed out too, and followed close behind.
So our two sorry selves headed back to the bar..time 11AM (Vegas)
The next two hours went very much like this :
"Hey what time is it?"
"How about now?"
All things were crashing down. The tournament was suddenly in peril. And I was about to barf.
Stay tuned....for the good stuff..
I'm still trying to be concise.