72-Hour Party People

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The next hour is spent fruitlessly searching for Club Utopia, the after-hours electronic-dance music spot famed for its cage dancers, laser lights and a party that never stops — except, it seems, when the club is closed in the summer for remodeling.

Another hour disappears into the fog of an equally futile quest to find nickel slots on the Strip. The crew settles for a bank of quarter video-poker machines at a bar inside Harrah's, where the bartender pours the free drinks with a loose wrist and isn't too much of a stickler on the $10-an-hour play rule. Their goal is to get drunk for the plane ride home. But no matter how much they drink, the speed kills the relaxing effects of the alcohol. They lose coordination and slur their speech but claim to never feel a buzz. They're hollow-eyed, stinking of sour sweat, limbs trembling slightly from the fatigue their minds still cannot register, wasting quarters by trying to fill inside straight after inside straight. They frequently fall asleep in mid-conversation, then snap awake a few minutes later and pick up where they trailed off mid-sentence.

Depleted of lightbulbs and either unwilling or unable to head out to the Strip at dawn to buy more, they resort to snorting lines of crushed Shabu off the metal toilet-paper dispensers in the casinos restrooms. On the plane ride home, Nick, Ike and Bonnie all bleed from the nose.


Back at Nick's house, there are Otter Pop wrappers everywhere. Otter Pop wrappers on the hardwood floors, on the kitchen tile, on the toilet seats in all the bathrooms, in the sinks, on the turntables, on the couch cushions. They are hard, plastic, sticky, omnipresent evidence that something very strange and very wicked went down in this place.

And then there is Emile, passed out on the love seat in the parlor just inside the front door, shirtless, with what looks to be dried bright-blue goo smeared all over his bare chest. Judging by the Otter Pop wrapper dangling from his fingertips, he fell deep asleep mid-pop and then failed to wake as the blue ice melted on him, drip by drip.

The doors to the TV room are now open. The big screen displays the DVD menu for Gang Bang Angels.

Realizing that one hit isn't going to do much for them at this point, the Vegas vacationers each take three in quick succession.

Then the women spend the next three hours choreographing an elaborate and vaguely obscene dance routine to "Cameltoe" while Nick obligingly spins the single over and over and over and Marcus and Ike sit and watch and giggle.


Gang Bang Angels has been replaced by the Clint Eastwood spaghetti Western A Fistful of Dollars.

For a Few Dollars More is on deck.

Subdued by forty milligrams of Valium each, the fellowship of the pipe is splayed around the TV room on beanbags and cushions, listlessly eating soggy fruit like a bunch of drugged monkeys.

Ike, who is slowly building a three-tiered house of hooker cards, says, "Yo, that was fun while it lasted."

Heather: "Was it?"

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David Holthouse
Contact: David Holthouse