McCormicks go to Vegas

I've been to Vegas many times, but the trip I was about to go on would be one of the most memorable, defined by the birth of the McCormick family, bold saxophone playing and a hypnotizing experience. That morning I woke up in Flagstaff, at the time I knew Vegas was the day's destination, but it wasn't yet clear as to who else would make it and how we'd all get there; some of us could possibly fit into a car, others may hitchhike.

Molly and Kirby came over to Mary's where I'd spent the night, his car was packed pretty tight. Mary was still waiting on word from her friend Keith. I'd met him at a bar earlier in the week and he'd instantly agreed on the Vegas trip, but now he was apparently riding up from Phoenix, the idea was for him to hitchhike from Flagstaff to Vegas with Mary.

Mary took off on foot, going to pick up some acid for the trip, I figured if we didn't hear from Keith then I'd be hitching with her while Molly and Kirby rode in his car. Molly made a trip to see Tanya at her work to collect some money she was owed, Kirby and I waited. After all the shuffling and loose plans, we finally got word that Mary had heard from Keith and they were going to drive his car once he got to town, and I would squeeze in the tight car with Molly and Kirby.

Kirby and I met up with Molly at Tanya's restaurant for some wings before we hit the road, then managed to shift some bags around in the car, squeeze in and get moving. Molly and I traded seats in Kingman, I moved to the more cramped backseat for the last leg of the trip.

We rolled up to the hoover dam where they have a security checkpoint, I've rolled through loads of times, they usually just waive you through. Kirby's driver side window doesn't work, which cause just a tiny amount of confusion, but they waived us through anyhow saying, "Go on ahead to your left", but Kirby lackadaisically drove instead straight into the inspection lane. He started to back up, but another officer came over stopping him, perhaps thinking he'd been instructed to go to the inspection lane and was trying to bail. The window caused confusion again, the guard asked several questions along the lines of, "are you on anything?" and "do you have anything you shouldn't?".

Somehow they let us go, despite Kirby's goofy behavior. It was good we didn't get searched too, because I was currently sitting on a small bag of weed, of which we'd smoked part of just an hour or so earlier, so they wouldn't have had to search very hard.

We cruised over the dam and into Las Vegas there, laughing at what could have been a sketchier outcome. We checked into the Bellagio, at which time Kirby taught me a nice trick. We said we needed a fridge "for medicine", so free of charge they brought up an additional mini-fridge, which was really "for beer".

We munched on some food in the room and poured some wine to start. I took a bath in the big fancy tub, Molly and Kirby lounged themselves into a nap, I rested on the other bed as we waited for Mary and Keith to arrive. I met them down at the elevators when they came, once we were all in the room we popped the bottle cap candies in our mouth, the acid, and some more showers and so forth went on until we were out of the room and into the night.

We set out first for the fountain hoping to catch a show, but it was late enough already that they'd stopped for the night. We started marching down the strip in search for whatever was next. Kirby had hurt his ankle a while back, it was bugging him at the moment, the CVS pharmacy became our destination so he could pick up a brace of some kind. On the walk over a tweaker began flirting with Molly, "You're my right-now kinda girl", he told her, this got all of us laughing at his poor attempts in picking her up.

After Kirby picked up his brace we continued our wanderings, going around the City Center area to explore, hoping to see the security guard from the last time we were in Vegas, he wasn't there. We used the bathrooms there, we used the bathrooms everywhere, it became part of being a McCormick - ranking bathrooms.

We stopped on a walkway for "Family Time", which meant sitting in a circle and relaxing for a bit. We were all delirious with laughter and smiles, contagious from each other's glances which snowballed into more of this. After family time, we kept our walking, hearing a guitar playing on the overpass. Molly was the first on the scene, bounding up and down in a dance in front of the street performer. We camped out there for family time again, the guy asked is any of us played the guitar. Keith did, the guy passed it to him, then grabbed a saxophone from another case, this excited us all.

They began to jam, catching on to each other, the saxophone was hitting the spot perfectly. People walked by, sometimes pausing for a moment. Keith started singing lyrics like, "Molly's so fat!", "Gimme your wristwatch, and your sunglasses!", things like this as people passed by.

Mickey was the street performer, he'd just moved to Vegas. After a while of our show on the overpass we got to walking in search of the next thing, Mickey said there was probably a hotel party going on somewhere, we'd soon find that the party was in our room.

We marched down the strip, still playing the instruments. Mickey would catch the beat of the bumping music coming from speakers along the sidewalk, playing his sax along with the pop hits. We passed a guy cleaning the sidewalk with a pressure washer, we started vibing with him, he blasted his washer on beat, trip-kicking to the casino music, saxophone and the guitar as we passed.

The Bellagio came in view, "Oh by the way, we're staying here" we told Mickey, which probably seemed unlikely coming from a group of disheveled lunatics who were just sitting on the street demanding by-passers' wrist watches. We continued our march into the lobby, Mickey still blasting the sax, Keith still strumming. A security guard quickly approached us, holding back a grin, he told us we couldn't be playing. Keith kept strumming with lyrics like, "Security wants us to leave, fuuuuck that", his tone and our determined happiness made this all ok.

I lead our band of tripping McCormicks through the casino floor towards the elevator, the sweet sound of the saxophone blaring through the casino as dealers and gamblers turned from their vices towards us. I was near certain a swarm of security guards was mobilizing and ready to surround us, but we made it clear to the elevator and piled in, along with one guy from Texas who couldn't decide if he was entertained or bewildered. His floor came first, he let the door open and shut, "I'm partying with you guys!".

We got up to our floor, still blasting music all the way down the long hallway to our room, Keith's lyrics now sounded something like, "This is a fire drill, wake the fuck up!". We made it to the room, a bit more jamming went on, some drinks were poured, some beers were cracked open. Texas was asking social norm questions that none of us had the thoughts for, anything that had anything to do with a moment other than the one we were in seemed far out of place, things like "Where you guys from?". Basically we were worthless for conversation, every sentence we could put together was a trigger for laughter, quick observations and joking around.

Texas didn't last long, he was likely expecting a roaring drinking party, but we were all giggles, twisting around in spirals firing from thought patterns he'd never know. After he left, or maybe before, Mickey started talking about hypnotism, something he'd been practicing. At some point the five of us McCormicks lounged out on the bed and Mickey switched into full on performer mode, attempting to hypnotize us. We couldn't focus very long, a hint of a chuckle from any of us resulted in us all breaking down.

The first thing Mickey did was tell us to all close our eyes and put our hands out in front of us. "In your right hand, you have a bunch of balloons", he started describing the balloons, how light they were and that our hand was slowly rising up. "Now, in your right hand, you have a a big bag of heavy encyclopedias", he went on and described this in detail, just how heavy they were and so on.

I got into this one in particular, it was one of the only ones we were able to maintain focus on for more than a minute or so. It gave me a new take on hypnotism, which I always considered was some sort of trance you were put in and soon forgot; I realized it could be a way of giving you an experience in your mind, sort of like an in depth movie or alternate reality. Of course, the more we could commit to giving in to the idea of this, the more real it would seem, we could only go so far for so long on this night.

He continued with these to varying degrees of our commitment, we often tried to convince him to relax and get on the level. "How much did you pay this guy?!", the others joked, it seemed unreal. At one point he mentioned being a magician and pulled silk handkerchiefs from nowhere, our outburst of laughter and excitement was unmatched. He did several magic tricks, mostly slight of hand stylings such as disappearing cigarettes. Molly disappeared in her sleeping bag at one point, then all the way into the bathroom where I suppose she took a shower, unwilling to tolerate the incredible discrepancy in our chilled our laughter mood and Mickey's performance, which was really just a way for him to practice his trade with a willing group of trippers.

This went on for quite a while, eventually Mickey packed his sax and took off. As he left we released in something between a collective sigh and admiration of our own disbelief in the magnitude of our own madness. The night wasn't over, we were aware of the sun's impending arrival to our part of the earth, we wanted to see it. That and the fountain show.

We motivated out the door in what I believe was even more ridiculous fashion, and that is to say our dress. I wore my airplane shirt, a good times classic. Molly wore goggles and a fluffy bright pink hat with ear flaps, and of course her beer belt holster, Kirby wearing a Bellagio bathrobe. We scattered down the elevator and through the casino, well aware of the stares we were receiving, mostly for our energy and laughter that seemed to be unique in this setting for this time of barely morning.

The moving walkways took us from the Bellagio to the strip, from here we watched the sun peak above the horizon of casinos. We made our way to a spot in front of the fountains and waited for the show to start. What we didn't know at the time was that the fountain show would not start until mid afternoon. We shouted at joggers as they ran by, demanding their wristwatches for example.

A drunk in sun glasses came stumbling by, we shouted one thing or another at him and caught his attention enough to start a conversation. He was in town for a friend's wedding, "I'm gonna find a way to stop it, big mistake!", he was drunk enough that we figured he'd never remember us. We fed him more whiskey from a flask we had to keep him going. At one point we demanded his wristwatch. And his sun glasses.

I headed up to the room with Kirby and Mary eventually for a quick nap. We awoke and headed to the pool at some odd hour, dipping in and lounging for a bit. We landed in the room again for a longer nap, waking some time after the sun was down in the next day. We relaxed in the room, gin and tonics were flowing, I watched the Lakers game as they beat the Suns, a disappointment for the Arizona folks in the room, good times for me.

Kirby took off, he had obligations back near San Diego, work. We finally caught the water show at the Bellagio fountain, the remaining four of us McCormicks. From there we headed for the Rio, but half way there we decided to turn back and aim for the volcano show at the Mirage. We went inside first, passing the Revolution bar we decided this was the thing. Mary and Keith were turned away for the reason they had backpacks, they were pointed in a direction of somewhere they could check it. Molly and I were able to get in, despite a short delay involving the verification that my shoes were proper enough to enter.

The place wasn't that jumping, but Molly managed to dance with some girl and get a free drink out of her which she shared with me. We'd been there long enough, still no sign from Keith and Mary, we went searching for them. We found them walking, they'd just checked their bag after some non-sense. We went and got it back, it was there we ran into Mickey along with a friend of his. His friend instantly caught on to who we were, apparently Mickey had told the story of the wild night from before, his friend was excited to meet us.

We split off and continued our wandering, the volcano show was done for the night. We passed by Caesars Palace and then on to Harrahs where Molly, Keith and Mary explored a closed off bathroom that was under construction, one of the more interesting bathrooms explored by the McCormicks. We attempted to get cheap margaritas at Bill's Casino, then headed to CVS again, now the main hub for the family.

From there we went to the staircase entrance to Monte Carlo where we had family time, beers and energy drink shots. Mary soon headed to the room, we joined her shortly. The three of them passed out, but my energy was at a helpless boil. I paced the room, ran a bath and afterwards considered packing my things and going, but I wasn't sure where to. I eventually settled myself in a nook on the floor and passed out.

In the morning I heard the other three stirring, they all left the room, I'm not sure to where. I got up shortly after and headed for the door myself. I walked a ways down the strip, around Caesars Palace for a while, sitting around and poking around. After a while I came back to the room, cracked a beer and sat by the window staring out into Vegas and the cars racing down the freeway. I guessed at where they could be going and which ones would pick me up if they were to see me on the road with my thumb out.

Soon we'd be checking out of the hotel, but my next move wasn't yet established. The others would be heading back to Flagstaff, there would be room in that car. I'd wait and see.