But after being here for almost two weeks (still not half way through our six week stint) you begin to look for more in Vegas. Sure there's the gambling and the free booze, but that wears off and becomes monotonous real quick. And once you get past the bright lights and you've had your fill of free Corona, you realize the real gem Vegas has to offer is the characters that it attracts; the seniors, the families, and, most notably, the degenerates. "Big" Larry is one of those degenerates.
When the first thing that comes out of a man's mouth when he passes you on his Rascal is "Seven whores in seven days!" you can only pray that you never see him again. I realize that Vegas isn't the city to be all "yay feminism" in, but really, I'm not a fan of prostitution, and I despise those who are. With "Big" Larry, Owen and I had no such luck. We were on our way to catch the shuttle from our wonderful hotel, The Gold Coast, to Las Vegas Blvd. - The Strip.
After being here for over a week, it was to be my first visit to The Strip (we're working pretty hard). I was excited and tired. Just as we arrived at the shuttle stop, joining a dude who looked pretty much our age (mid-twenties) with a baseball hat on, Larry cruised back around, pulling up right in front of us in his brick-red Rascal.
"Where are you guys from?" asked Larry. He had the worst voice. You know how professional wrestlers sound? Like, how "Macho Man" Randy Savage sounds? Yeah, I'm embarrassed I know what that guy sounds like too, but you get the idea. Larry sounded like the "Macho Man" multiplied by a lifetime of cigarettes. You could hear the tar bubbling deep down in his esophagus each time he spoke. It was gross.
"We're from Vancouver" Owen and I replied. Larry immediately asked us if we had any weed on us. Larry, by my estimation, was in his mid-forties. At least, he wasn't fifty yet.
Owen and I laughed his question off with a "we wish," or something like that. Then the kid in the baseball hat started rambling on about how they had brought some weed with them, but they used it up within the first day. Turns out these two were together, but how they were related was initially baffling. The age gap seemed a little drastic for these two to be friends. I didn't have Larry pegged as a gay man. He also didn't seem capable of ever having reared a child. Regardless, as the conversation progressed, it was evident that these guys weren't meeting for the first time at the shuttle stop.
"Big" Larry eventually introduced himself, but simply as "Larry." It was the kid in the baseball hat who corrected him, telling us that this was "Big" Larry whose presence we were being burdened with (Larry wasn't really that fat or anything, so he must have earned the name "Big" due to his large personality). Then "Big" Larry introduced us to Brian, the kid in the baseball hat - his personal assistant. "Aaaaah," Owen and I silently exclaimed. It all made sense.
For the next ten minutes "Big" Larry proceeded to brag and brag and brag. And scoot around, to and fro, on his Rascal - half the time with one leg over the handlebars. He bragged about how much money he had, he bragged about how much property he owned, and he bragged about how horrible he was at poker. While he was doing all this, he would constantly look to Brian to confirm his somewhat ridiculous claims or to answer questions that he couldn't.
Brian was the guy with all the figures. "How long have we been in Vegas?" Larry would ask, and Brian would answer. "How much money have I won?" "How long are we staying at The Rio?" "Where does my wife live again?" Brian knew it all. He spit the facts out like a pro. Like a true personal assistant. I was impressed. "Big" Larry would have been like a lost kid at the zoo if Brian hadn't been around. Thank God for Brian.
Anyways, after roughly ten minutes of nodding and smiling and pretending to be impressed or care, the shuttle finally pulled up. Brian, like a real personal assistant, hopped up the stairs and immediately informed the driver that his shuttle was about to be boarded by a Rascal, and that he had better let the access ramp down. The driver exited the shuttle and obliged. But once the ramp was down, there was a bit of a problem. "Big" Larry couldn't maneuver his Rascal onto the ramp.
Owen and I watched on from the inside of the shuttle as Larry aimlessly rammed the scooter into the ramp a few times. I felt bad laughing at the misfortune of a man with (supposed) disabilities, but this was pretty funny, and somehow very rewarding.
But then Owen and I hit the jackpot. We didn't see it coming, and we couldn't believe our eyes. It was as if the heavens opened up and shone upon us with the brightest, most radiant light of justice. Like we had done something so right with our lives, and were now being blessed with a gift from Jesus himself. If there was ever an event that made me question my devout atheistic ways, this was that event.
Larry threw his arms up in the air, declared "I give up," stood up out of his seat, safely dismounted the Rascal, casually strolled over to the shuttle bus stairs, boarded the bus with the ease of a healthy 45 year old man, and took a nice comfortable seat right up front! He left Brian to maneuver the Rascal onto the ramp for him (a scene very reminiscent of the one from "Austin Powers").
It took Brian three entire minutes to finally get the Rascal safely in place. Owen and I were both actually laughing out loud as the shuttle bus driver engaged the hydraulics and fork lifted Brian - strapped safely into the Rascal - onto the bus. Backwards. We both felt bad for the poor guy, but still, Brian handled it like a total pro. He reddened in the old face slightly, grinned a little sheepishly, but other than that, there was nothing to indicate that this was anything more than routine. It was a beautiful thing.
According to "Big" Larry, he is definitely entered in many of the events at this year's WSOP, and has already played in a few. Let's all keep our fingers crossed, and maybe even pray just a little bit, that he's not a liar, and that this is in fact a truth. Vegas attracts men like "Big" Larry like fly paper does flies. I'm very glad that having been here for such a relatively long time, I'm sober enough to remember guys like him.