Remember this fact.
I have a feeling it’s going to play a big part in whatever lies ahead.
Looking out the window at the dark desert landscape, I ask, “Where are we going again?”
Matthew and Jack grin at each other. Jack says, “We’re going to heaven, brother. No lie—this place is like an oasis. Top-of-the-line women who know how to take care of a man. Nothing is off-limits—T and A will be everywhere.” He kisses his fingers. “Like manna from heaven.”
I just shrug, unimpressed. But apparently Warren’s impatient. “Driver dude? What’s the holdup? I can get out and walk faster than this.”
The driver glances back at us in the rearview mirror. “Sorry, fellas. There’s a Lincoln Town Car in front of me doin’ twenty below the speed limit. She won’t let me pass her.”
I sit up and glance out the front window. Yep—it’s a grayhair. A whole clown car full of grayhairs, actually. You remember my feelings about senior-citizen drivers? In case you don’t, I’ll just say this: menace to society.
Steven holds the bottle of vodka and takes a swig. I don’t know if he’s talking to us or himself, but out of nowhere he says, “I’m going to be dead soon.”
All eyes in the limo turn to him. Matthew asks, “What the hell are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about my life is half over. And there’s so much I haven’t done. I’m not going to hold back anymore—I’m going carpe diem on this bitch from here on out.”
I scoff. “You’re just trashed. Don’t go getting depressed on us now. If you start crying, I’m throwing you out of the car while it’s still moving.”
Steven doesn’t acknowledge my warning. He leans toward the partition separating us from the driver and slurs, “I’ll give you a hundred bucks if you can get up alongside ’em.”
With no oncoming traffic, the driver crosses the double line and pulls even with the Lincoln.
Steven’s words slush together as he gets to his feet. “Crossing this one off the bucket list.” Then he unbuckles his belt and grabs the waist of his pants—yanking the suckers down to his ankles—tighty whities and all.
Every guy in the car holds up his hands to try to block the spectacle. We groan and complain. “My eyes! They burn!”
“Put the boa constrictor back in his cage, man.”
“This is not the ass I planned on seeing tonight.”
Our protests fall on deaf ears. Steven is a man on a mission. Wordlessly, he squats and shoves his lily-white ass out the window—mooning the gaggle of grannies in the car next to us.
I bet you thought this kind of stuff only happened in movies.
He grins while his ass blows in the wind for a good ninety seconds, ensuring optimal viewage. Then he pulls his slacks up, turns around, and leans out the window, laughing. “Enjoying the full moon, ladies?”
Wow. Steven usually isn’t the type to visually assault the elderly.
Without warning, his crazy cackling is cut off. He’s silent for a beat, then I hear him choke out a single strangled word.
Then he’s diving back into the limo, his face grayish, dazed, and totally sober. He stares at the floor. “No way that just happened.”
Matthew and I look at each other hopefully, then we scramble to the window. Sure enough, in the driver’s seat of that big old Town Car is none other than Loretta P. Reinhart. Mom to George; Grandma to Steven.
What are the f**king odds, huh?
Loretta was always a cranky old bitch. No sense of humor. Even when I was a kid she hated me. Thought I was a bad influence on her precious grandchild.
Don’t know where she got that idea from.
She moved out to Arizona years ago. Like a lot of women her age, she still enjoys a good tug on the slot machine—hence her frequent trips to Sin City. Apparently this is one such trip.
Matthew and I wave and smile and in fourth-grader-like, singsong harmony call out, “Hi, Mrs. Reinhart.”
She shakes one wrinkled fist in our direction. Then her poofy-haired companion in the backseat flips us the bird. I’m pretty sure it’s the funniest goddamn thing I’ve ever seen.
The two of us collapse back into our seats, laughing hysterically.
Steven snaps out of his stupor and yells to the driver, “For the love of God, man, floor it!”
We speed off into the night, howling like Mad Hatters on laughing gas. All of us except Steven. You know that saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”? I don’t think my brother-in-law is gonna be that lucky.
The name of the strip club is Paradise. The sand-colored, two-story, windowless building is surrounded with lush trees, stone statues, a pond, and several fountains. The oasislike atmosphere stands out in sharp contrast to the barren desert around it. Even though the sign glows a modern neon, I half expect to see girls in togas, carrying big palm leaves and frigging grapes, wandering around the outside.
We get to the front door. You may want to brace yourself. Don’t want anyone keeling over from the shock. Because, you have to understand—men are essentially pigs in human clothing. I readily admit it. There is no end to the perverted high jinks, fetishes, fortes, and fantasies we’re capable of dreaming up.
And this joint caters to every single one of them.
The door is opened by a fortyish-looking redhead in a dark green teddy with matching heels. She has aristocratic features—pale skin, full lips, high cheekbones—nicely accentuated by expensively subtle plastic surgery. “Welcome to Paradise, gentlemen. We’ve been expecting you.”
Cream-colored walls, marble tile, and a burning white-stone fireplace make the foyer feel welcoming and warm. Almost homey. Deep, sexy music pounds from behind a dark mahogany door on the far side of the room. “My name is Carla; I’ll be your hostess this evening. If there is anything I can get for you during your stay—anything at all—please don’t hesitate to ask.”
Warren’s mouth hangs open—like a fish who’s seen the face of God. Matthew and Jack are giggly with anticipation, while Steven still looks dazed from mooning his grandma.
But I bet he’ll forget all about that shortly. We walk into the next room. The lights are low—as they always are in places like this—but the room is huge for a strip club. A main stage sits in the center, with two smaller stages beside it, each with a standard silver pole. A large glass bar lines one wall, with two bikini-clad dancers swaying on top.