Okay, I haven’t written one in about a month… so I got to think’n this Labor Day weekend and remembering at a particular time in my life in a particular place… Vegas!!!
I think it was Labor Day weekend of 89’ and one of my fellow shipmates, Dennis Kieren, asked me if I’d like to hit the town with him in Vegas for our Seventy-Two Hour Lib’ Fest!! Never been to Las Vegas at the time but heard it was a straight shot from I-15 at the front gate of the Naval Base on a four hour trek all the way into Nevada!! This had to beat the Monte Carlo nights of bones, dice, and betting on the odds of football scores over message traffic… anything to pump financial life’s blood into the slush fund of anchor pools onboard ship where you stood a better chance bett’n on a blind mule at the Kentucky Derby than winning anything worth more than wasting time underway!!!
But OSSN Kieren was not brought up on the social graces of your average American fella… off the cuff he seemed like an alright guy but he was pretty rough around the edges! I should’a known he was trouble when he told me how he’d been kicked outta buds training for gett’n in fights with the marines at Gator Gardens!! He said the Seals didn’t take too kindly to his aggressive behaviors!! And he was head’n home to try and patch things up with his hometown sweetheart who’d been wooed by another fine young gentleman back home who Keiren had his crosshairs planted on!! But being the young’n that I was, I wasn’t about to pass up a chance to enjoy a three day weekend!!!
But before we could head out of the Two Hundred and Fifty mile radius I had to let my Chief know what I was up too…
“I’m fucking serious Swing… b
After all… it was Vegas, the Mecca of Gambling, Liquor, & Whores and twenty-four hour marriages… everything a glossy eyed sailor could ever want in those days... It was and still is a land beyond consumer protection and moral dilemma. So, if you wanted female companionship, there was plenty to go around… and you didn’t have to pay for it neither but it definitely increased your odds of doing the horizontal mambo!!!
And in Vegas the police didn’t spend their time hassling sailors over gambling, whores, and public drunkenness! Vegas… was and still is better known as ‘Sin City US of A!!’ The only place more corrupt and malevolent would have to be Bangkok, Thailand… trust me I’ve been there as well!! This was a place to lose your money, virginity, and get your favorite pin-up tattoo all in one night under a hundred dineros!!!
The memories all started on our first night as we’d started head’n out to the Circus Circus… where they must have obtained their entire inventory of employee clothing straight from the Ringling Brothers Circus Outlet! Just as we headed up the parking garage of the casino some dumb son-of-a-bitch dressed in a blue flannel and a head band flashed what looked like a couple a birds at us and it was like Keiren just spotted the fella who’d been putt’n the ol’ beef injector to his lost love… he went absolutely gauddamned ape shit nuts! He went on a terror and started pounding away on this fella… the kid had his head buried underneath the car like an ostrich trying to hide from danger!! Never had so much fun watching somebody get the living shit beat outta them, even after the posse arrived!! It made you want to come back for more… Where else can grown men re-enact a fourth grade playground fight and get away with it???
After the posse rounded everyone up and got things under control they brought us into the Casino Security Office for some questioning and a little pep talk… Come to find out the fella Kieren picked a fight with was a local gang banger who was flash’n his gangster signs at us…but what the hell did we know? He apparently had a gun stashed in his car trying to get to it when Kieren started his little onslaught of walloping the poor bastard into the pavement!! Had we known this beforehand Kieren might have been a little less keen on the idea of pick’n a fight with some gun toting criminal gangster in the parking lot!!! We were seconds away from airing on Saturday Evenings America’s Most Wanted or ‘COPs Live’ in Vegas!!!
Lucky for us the posse was willing to send us on our way… and it wasn’t long before we ran into a couple of fine young ladies in one of the casino bars! After a couple of hours of drinks and fun we headed to a Go-Go bar giving us the assumption that these girls were ready and willing to have a good time that night!! After several hours of backseat panty elastic gymnastics the sun was just about to come up and it was time for us to head out to Lake Meade for some tub’n and party’n… let me just say, I didn’t realize how many gals party’n on the boats enjoyed going topless!! Just another memorable moment to rack up on this trip…
And if it wasn’t enough we’d been living on about zero pints of sleep from Friday evening all the way through to Monday Morning! Monday was a day of detox and rest… and on the way outta town on Monday evening we’d pulled into a gas station outbound back to San Diego!! Sooo there I was washing down the urinal in the local public restroom when in walks this short Italian look’n fella with his shirt unbuttoned exposing his chest with this huge tattoo that appeared to be some kind of open book but was blurred over the years covered in chest hair and too gaudamned obnoxious not to notice…
“What the fuck you look’n at?”
“Sorry man… I’m just noticing your tattoo…”
“You dumb fuck… you can’t be half as sorry as your Mutha was when it finally dawned on her how fuck’n dumb you really are! Quit fuck’n staring… you gotta fuck’n staring problem?? I’ll fuck’n break your neck!!”
And from there I was walk’n out the door and back to the car…
“Man, you’re all ate up like a dick in a queer bar… what the fuck has got you so spooked?”
At first I didn’t wanna answer knowing Kieren was probably ready to fight anybody anywhere, and this guy didn’t seem like somebody you’d wanna screw with!! Finally we drove off…
“There was this Italian look’n dude in the restroom back there… had a tattoo that looked like an open book on his chest and he was mean as hell! He threatened to break my neck for look’n at him!”
“Did you say an open book? That dude is Mafia!”
Never figured how Kieren could make out the correlation but some years later the movie ‘Casino’ with Robert Dinero and Joe Pesci came out and gaudamned if Joe Pesci reminded me of the fella I met in that bathroom… at that gas station… on that particular evening!! It sent chills up my spine!!!
Years later as I ponder on that weekend I can say this…
Spending Seventy-Two Hour Liberties in Vegas wasn't a good thing to base your future security or retirement plan on… but it was surely worth the trip and definitely burned a vivid neon image into the mind of this young impressionable Crackerjack!!!