Longform

72-Hour Party People

Page 6 of 7

And here Marcus goes into the voice of the moth, rendered high and reedy, as if he had just inhaled helium: "We get bored with routine and crave beauty and excitement. Fire is beautiful, and we know that if we get too close it will kill us, but what does that matter? It is better to be happy for a moment and burned up with beauty than to live a long time and be bored all the while."

"Hell, yeah!" Bonnie says emphatically.

Marcus picks through the shards of Shabu on the dresser, chooses one the size of an almond sliver and drops it into the hole in the bulb. He asks for a lighter. Then he continues the poem, again in the voice of the moth.


"We wad all our life up into one little roll, and then we shoot the roll. It is better to be a part of beauty for one instant and then cease to exist than it is to exist forever and never be a part of beauty. We are like human beings used to be before they became too civilized to enjoy themselves."

"No, wait, I fucked up."

He dances the flame of the lighter over the bulb. The Shabu inside bubbles, and smoke collects in the chamber of the bulb.

"I can only remember the last line, but before that, the moth flies into a lighter and dies, and the last line of the poem is the guy thinking to himself, I wish there was something I wanted as badly as the moth wanted to fry himself.'"

Marcus inhales the smoke from the hole in the lightbulb. Moments pass in silence. He exhales sickly sweet.

Bonnie: "Wait, are you saying we're all moths?"


HOUR 48

Vegas, baby, Vegas. Cab rides and showgirls and the midway at Circus Circus. Free drinks and bungee jumps and the light show above Fremont Street. Hits of speed smoked ghetto style in alleys off the Strip.

Ike breaks away from the pack to walk up and down both sides of Las Vegas Boulevard, practicing his border-town Spanish on the scores of Mexican men and women lining the sidewalks, wearing bright yellow shirts with black letters that read "A Naked Girl in Your Room in 30 Minutes!" The Mexicans are holding stacks of hundreds of garish cards advertising the services of prostitutes that they thrust before passersby. Ike begins feverishly collecting hooker cards. By night's end, he will have so many that they will spill from his pockets when he walks.


HOUR 52

Heather and Sasha have developed a compelling interest bordering on obsession with the current novelty club hit "Cameltoe," by the bubbly all-girl trio FannyPack.

So many vehicles on the Strip are blasting the song from open windows that Heather and Sasha come up with what seems to them a perfectly sane endeavor. They sprint into a strip-mall store and buy two pads of paper and two pens. Then they take up a post on the sidewalk by the fountains outside the Bellagio and declare their intention to remain there until they have heard and recorded the entire four minutes of "Cameltoe," played in snippets from passing cars.

First they catch two lines from the second stanza of lyrics, percolating from a rented Corvette:

She walked right by, the poor woman didn't know.

She had a frontal wedgie, a Cam-el-toe!

And then, twenty minutes and one fountain show later, a jackpot: the entire first stanza, coming from a red, open-topped Jeep:

Walking down the street, something caught my eye,
A growing epidemic that really ain't fly.
This middle-aged lady, I gotta be blunt,
Her spandex biker shorts were creeping up the front.

When, nearly four hours later, they finally put in place the last piece of their surreal sonic puzzle — the line Girls don't sleep, don't let your pants creep — they hop up and down and clap, celebrating, as if a million-dollar slot had just come up three cherries.


HOUR 57

The party train is derailing.

The group gathers around a roulette table at Caesars Palace, betting twenty dollars each spin on red and black, until inevitably the ball lands on the green double zero, a house number, wiping them out.

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David Holthouse
Contact: David Holthouse