The following is a “mostly” non-fiction account of a recent trip I took to Vegas with Daryl 1 and Tristen over the weekend of 4/8, presented in short-story form. Credit to Meem for an earlier version of the story title. For the more knowledgeable of you, there are “Easter Eggs” hidden throughout this entire short-story, can you find them all? [Hint: There are a lot of them]
Vegas – A Tale of Two Brothers (and a Dinosaur)
Our story begins long ago, at least 14 years ago, if not many more. There was a Meem, named Meem, who had two boys, named Taco and Daryl, these were good names, and they were nice boys.
One of Meem’s favorite bands was a band called Guns N’ Roses (GNR), which she also shared with her two chillruns. Unsurprisingly, both chillruns grew to like Guns N’ Roses, despite not understanding all the lyrics to their songs until they were older, which was probably a good thing since it’s so easy to make an impression on the young mind.
The problem with GNR was that the band members, at least a few of them, largely hated each other, so the chances of them playing another concert for Meem’s chillruns to attend were at best, one in a million. However, Meem told the boys that if GNR ever returned, that she would make sure that her chillruns were able to go.
And so the world moved on, time went by and the chillruns grew, they didn’t always think about GNR, as they were pretty tied up with other aspects of their lives and didn’t really have the patience to spend every day wondering about a reunion that might never be.
But one day it was.
You see, a few of the band members of GNR decided they were tired of the reckless life and that it would be nothing short of perfect crime if they didn’t get back together at least one last time, maybe it was for their egos, maybe it was for their pocket-books, but whatever the reason, they were tired of being viewed as little more than dust n’ bones. So, they announced a series of shows and were ready to get in the ring again for their fans.
Upon learning of this, Meem, with a bit of an anything goes sort of attitude decided to try to get tickets to one of GNR’s first reunion concerts, to be held in none other than Las Vegas. And sure enough, being the industrious mama kin that she is, Meem got tickets.
Now, originally Meem had thought that she and Daryl would attend the show out in paradise city, which would undoubtedly have been a lot of fun. But at one point, Meem couldn’t help wonder to herself, “What about that other sweet child o’ mine?” While Taco was far away, having made the move to the city in order to attend law school, Meem had a feeling that Taco might like to attend the concert as well. So Meem, without a bit of the shotgun blues, gave her ticket to Taco. From that point forward, it was to be an adventure for her chillruns.
After Daryl had a bit of a breakdown from excitement (he kept telling himself, “don’t cry”), and Taco’s own dinosaur child Tristen also managed to obtain a ticket, the boys were headed like a locomotive to the Nevada’s own sin-ridden version of the Garden of Eden.
Of course, airlines being as they are, and weather being weather, all three chillruns found themselves dealing with flight delays. Now, this was Daryl’s first solo flight, and he was a talkative type, so he found a fellow traveler to speak with. Many, many hundreds of miles away Taco and Tristen weren’t fairing so well, they were prone to getting unnecessarily angry. At one point, Taco and Tristen had had enough of the airline’s double talkin’ jive and pretty much felt like they were right next door to hell. However, just about when Taco thought to himself “fate is definitely out ta get me when it comes to airports,” the airline brought out free drinks and snacks, instantly placating both Taco and his dinosaur.
Many hours later, Daryl touched down, and shortly after that Taco and Tristen followed. Tempers had long since cooled, and there had been no civil war or anything even close to it. By and large, everyone was just happy to be on the ground. After meeting up with each other, they headed to their shuttle pickup area.
Unfortunately the shuttle took a long time and was very slow, so everyone had plenty of time to realize that it was much warmer here than it had been in both of their departure cities. Coupled with all the palm trees, neon lights, fancy cars, and flashy people, Tristen couldn’t help but think to himself, “welcome to the jungle, I’ve got kingdoms to build.”
After a needlessly long shuttle ride, everyone arrived at their hotel, the Luxor.
Once they got checked into their room, which included 40$ worth of credit because they had to wait a bit for a fussy computer, the chillruns checked in with Meem to let her know they had arrived. Meem was glad to hear from them, and they were glad to touch base with Meem, “this whole trip is born from the shadow of your love after all” they told her.
While the boys were checking in with Meem, Tristen was already surveying the lands, the time for conquest was at hand.
See, Tristen had a bit of a bit of a bad obsession with conquering anything he saw as a threat, or even just something he didn’t like – there would be no bad apples in his domain. Of course Tristen wasn’t always in a live or let die mood, sometimes he just liked admiring his own manliness.
“So fine” Tristen thought to himself as he admired his raw power. If nothing else, this dinosaur had attitude.
Around this time everyone decided that they were extremely hungry and all of them had a fierce desire to eat themselves into a food coma. Fortunately their hotel offered up an extensive, and very expensive, buffet.
They slid into the buffet just 30 minutes before it closed, but that was plenty of time for hungry boys. It was near 10pm and the crowd in the buffet was quite a mix, everything from people wearing black leather, to suits, and now, most – recently, the crowd also included at least one dinosaur. Of course, as Tristen pointed out, “Being a human being isn’t required, the only requirement is that you have money.” In fact, it looked like most of the crowd was gearing up to go out rather than turn in, it was Vegas after all, where everyone sort of has a “don’t damn me” attitude about them.
Of course these boys were a bit estranged from the wild nightlife, and rather than go exploring the garden that is Vegas at night, the three of them headed back to get some much needed sleep after a long day of travel and timezone changes.
The next morning Tristen was up early and ready to begin his mission. He was not one to dwell on yesterdays, and was instead ready to spend the new day conquering the Vegas strip, which he was quickly coming to think of as “my world.”
As part of his mission, Tristen knew he needed to recharge in the sun. However, at one point a female employee, holding a clipboard and looking very official, tried to stop him from getting into the VIP zone of the pool area. Tristen shot her a glance which said nothing sort of “back off bitch, you ain’t the first to try to stop me.” And sure enough, he got where he wanted to go.
Once Tristen was done staking his claim in the immediate area, the trio headed south on the Vegas strip towards the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign.
Tristen was not usually one to make friends among the common masses, yet this time he met another dinosaur, an ankylosaurus named Louis.
While Taco and Daryl talked about a variety of human things, Tristen and Louis discussed dinosaur things, and both of the dinosaurs agreed that “sure ain’t it fun to be here in Vegas!” After a bit of talking the dinosaurs parted ways – as dinosaurs are busy creatures after all – though both of them said to one another that “I will definitely think about you.” After that, the trio finally made their way to the front of the line and got some photos.
But, as nice as it was to meet Louis and see the sign, the trio had much more to see.
And so they were off, now walking northward. They decided to make a quick stop at a Harley Davidson store so Daryl could pick up some gifts for people back home.
Though Tristen didn’t waste any opportunities to tout his manliness.
An employee by the name of Buick Makane came over and asked what Tristen was up to and if he was old enough to be riding such a motorcycle. Tristen didn’t much care for that (being 65 million years old after all), and he was quick to tell Makane “I don’t care about you, you big dumb sex.” No one really knew what Tristen meant by that, but it was clear he was getting mad. Trying to ameliorate the situation, Taco told the employee that that were just visitors from a simple place, and that Tristen probably thought he was still just down on the farm. Of course Tristen would have none of it, and before too long the trio found themselves evading the authorities after Tristen’s bloody rampage.
Fortunately the three of them play video games, and so they knew how to properly evade the police. Still, it was a close call, and they all knew that they’d just just barely escaped by the hair of the dog. “You’re crazy Tristen, you know that right?” said Daryl, to which Tristen responded by looking around as if he knew nothing of what had just happened, which was oh so typically Tristen.
After they’d put some distance between themselves and Tristen’s most recent crime scene, they started walking back up the strip again, pausing from time to time to take in some of the scenery.
They even popped in and out of a few casinos along the way, though Daryl was still to young to partake, so they didn’t actually play at that time.
And while Tristen was happy to be out of the rain, the fact that the temperature of Vegas had dropped so quickly bummed him out a little. Apparently his desert queen wasn’t always toasty warm, so he couldn’t help but feel that while he used to love her, that his affection was a bit more placid now that it was raining. That said, he was back to love soon after when he saw a picture of a knight.
And while this definitely wasn’t any cold November rain, it did cool things off quite a bit, as well as flood the streets.
After the rain let up, the trio found a magical land made of chocolate, or at the very least, a magical land selling a great deal of chocolate and other candies.
After the chocolate kingdom was behind them, our adventurers continued northward.
After much traveling, they all eventually decided that they were quite hungry, so they settled in for some lunch (and a beer, but not for Daryl).
After consuming some burgers, it was time to continue the Vegas tour, and while it was no longer sunny, it wasn’t really raining on them that much at that point either – which of course was very much ok with Tristen.
After some time they came to the famous Fountains of Bellagio, which play music alongside their cascades. Tristen was pretty adamant that Daryl take his photo with the Fountains, since he had to prove that he had conquered them, and you can’t put your arms around a memory after all.
Tristen even made a wish on the Fountains, “Since I don’t have you here with me Grandma Meem, I hope some slaves let you watch the concert with us.”
Little did Tristen know, but his wish sprang forth like a new rose in spring, and Grandma Meem would end up getting to watch the concert in her own small way after all.
Around this time it started to rain harder again, and Daryl had left his umbrella back at the hotel, so they decided to start power-walking back southward on the strip. Tristen dove back into Taco’s backpack, since resisting this on-and-off rain had started to feel like beating a dead horse to him.
Once back at the hotel, Taco and Daryl dried themselves off and lounged for a bit. Tristen took the time to gather his new collection and prepare himself for the evening’s GNR concert. He also had a beer, if there was ever a dinosaur ready to board the nightrain it was Tristen, though he did find it ironic that the sun came out once they had all already gotten wet and were inside.
Before too long it was dinner time, and the boys went with a deli inside the Luxor before heading out to the trip’s main event.
After they all arrived at T-Mobile arena, they could all feel a growing buzz of excitement in the air. And while Daryl was waiting 3000 years in line for a 500$ shirt, Taco and Tristen meandered around in the growing crowd, just taking in the atmosphere.
The light at the top of the Luxor shown bright in the night sky.
The Luxor’s light could easily be mistaken for the moon, or perhaps not.
At one point a woman, a bit of a rocketqueen if you will, approached the two and tried to sell them some drugs. Tristen didn’t like the fact that acquiring the drugs required giving the woman money. As a King he was entitled to free mind altering substances after all, and before too long she too was knockin’ on heaven’s door. So Taco and Tristen hid in the bushes for awhile, and luckily by the time that the Vegas police department left the scene Daryl had reached position 7000 in line, so everyone knew it wouldn’t be much longer. As Daryl neared the front, Tristen took his newly acquired drugs and sold them – a businessman just like his older brother Clifford – because he didn’t really want to use the drugs, he just didn’t want to pay for them either. So, using sweet talk that only a dinosaur King can muster, he told some random attendee to “Look at your game, girl you need some magic pills,” and so Tristen added drug dealing to his Vegas rap sheet. Of course just about this time the girl’s very large boyfriend moved out of the crowded and approached them. “My Michelle, what in the world are you doing buying drugs?” Tristen, being Tristen, then took offense to this, thinking that something was wrong with his drugs – though he wasn’t even really sure what drugs are, to be honest. Fortunately, Taco got them separated before anything really problematic went down. Even more fortunately, it was about that time that Daryl obtained his 500$ shirt, and so everyone headed inside to see the concert.
The concert started with a show by Alice in Chains.
And after they were done, the stage crew came out and started preparing for GNR – and if anyone who is familiar with GNR knows, they have a tendency to start sometime between late and never. During the intermission between shows, Taco noticed a few things. Namely, that T-Mobile Arena, like many venues, no longer trusted you to not throw your bottle caps.
Additionally, they boys also noticed that the place was really filling up, it was a sold-out show after all. They could tell that Ms. Jane was in attendance, and there were even a few murmurs that Mr. Brownstone might show up at some point, but these were good boys, and they were just here for music, and boy what I show they had!
Of course all of the photos were taken from Taco’s phone, so they aren’t of exceptional quality – and since Daryl’s phone had temporarily ceased functioning, it meant that Taco was the sole photographer of the group, so he took a lot of photos (and even a few videos) knowing that Daryl would appreciate it.
Now, as for Grandma Meem, thanks in part to a stranger doing a bit of not-so-legal streaming of the concert and Tristen’s wish, she was able to watch the concert on a very small screen. Sure, it wasn’t quite like being there in person, it was more like watching the concert through a cruddy telescope, but it was still better than nothing. And while we can all rest assured that Tristen’s wish helped, what we will probably never know is who he made the wish too, after all, this is a boy with more than a little sympathy for the devil.
After the concert was over, the trio headed out along with the masses (or plebs, as Tristen may say). It had been raining again, and was now quite cool, but fortunately the rain had ebbed away to a mist.
All in all it was a very big day for the chillruns.
The next day they slept in quite a bit – thanks in no small part to the hotel’s amazing blackout curtains, but also due to having been up until nearly 3:30am by time it was all said and done the night before.
After some breakfast they mostly lounged around for the day, aside from getting some lunch and doing some last minute hotel exploring, made all the easier by the fact that they were able to secure a late checkout time of 3pm.
Before they knew it, it was time for Daryl to head to the airport. Daryl was leaving Vegas much earlier than Taco and Tristen, as the latter pair had made the “noble sacrifice” as Tristen might say, of changing their flight schedules around to accommodate an easier schedule for first-time solo flier Daryl.
After Daryl was safely on his way, Taco and Tristen finally decided to hit up the slot machines, something that hadn’t been able to do with Daryl. Turns out it was a good time to do so. After carefully looking over a series of machines – not because they knew what to look for as far as odds go, but rather because they had no idea how to play any of them – the pair set down and put 5$ in a machine. A few turns later they had won nearly $50.
Not the kind of people to give up “free” money, the pair immediately cashed-out, and then headed to the nearest hotel bar to use part of that 40$ credit they’d gained the day before. You see, this credit was divided between two single-use 20$ cards, but you could only use one card per bar visit. “Not a problem” they thought to themselves, “we have plenty of time and there are many bars in this hotel.”
And after having two beers at the sports bar, they headed to another bar and had a frozen margarita and some water.
Once they’d done a fair amount of reading, and a good bit of drinking too, Taco told Tristen that it was time to leave Luxor behind and head over to Excalibur, the adjacent hotel. Tristen knew what this meant, it was time to go to a tournament of kings, to be held in Tristen’s honor, no doubt.
No backpacks were allowed, so Taco checked his bag at the bell desk, and then he and Tristen were “off to the races” so to speak, except the races were knights fighting – though they did a bit of horse racing too.
While only a true King can recount all the details of the heroic tale that followed – and your dear narrator is no such thing – the basic elements of the story unfolding before King Tristen involved the Grand Wizard Merlin and King Arthur holding a tournament of kings from kingdoms such as Ireland, Russia, Norway, Spain, Austria, Hungary, and France. However, in the midst of the merriment the evil wizard Mordred summons his “Dragon Knight” to do battle with the knights and King Arthur! In the midst of the chaos, King Arthur is eventually struck down and killed by the Dragon Knight, though his son claims Excalibur and eventually rises to defeat Mordred’s evil warrior. In order to properly record all of the action, Tristen
asked ordered Taco to take ample photos and videos, though Tristen wasn’t pleased that Taco only had a camera phone that doesn’t perform well in low-light conditions. Still, the pair were anxiously awaiting the tournament.
Making the show more enjoyable, is the fact that attendees are placed within various sections, each corresponding to one of the kingdoms – that way a visitor has a personal connection to a knight! But lo’ and behold, one may also sit in the dreaded Dragon Knight’s section and play the role of an evil King! Naturally, Grandma Meem knew that this is where Tristen would want to be, and she was quite right. So, both Taco and Tristen settled into their front row seat and prepared for glory.
After dust had settled, Tristen was able to ensure that the knights understood that he was now their liege lord and King, and obtained proper photos as proof.
After that, it was time for the battle-weary duo to head to the airport for the first stage of their overnight flights home. As they headed out, Taco couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that the main road as you headed away from the strip and towards the airport required you to pass a large church.
And as they entered the airport, the pair realized that Taco had left his phone behind him in the car that had taken them to the airport. There was a good deal of panicking about then, but thanks to an extremely helpful airport employee named Justin – who asked for nothing in return (though Taco later paid it forward), Taco was able to track down his driver and reclaim his phone. It was a scary moment, but one benefit of having a late flight is that the pair had time for such mini-emergencies, though Tristen was none too thrilled about the delay, or the fact that his Proof of Lordship photos might have been lost.
Well, that is what they had hoped for, but Taco struggles to sleep anywhere, let alone sitting upright on a plane, and Tristen, well, Tristen found that the darkness, coupled with the noise from the engines, made for good hunting. What the boy hunted, we may never know, and probably don’t want to.
After that flight landed, they caught another in Minneapolis St. Paul.
They then proceeded to take what they thought would be a quick nap around 12:45pm, but so exhausted were these boys, that Taco fell asleep with the light on, his clothes and shoes still on, and his phone in his hand – alarm not yet set. So, the pair ended up missing everything they had scheduled that day as they slept until almost 6pm. That was rather unfortunate, as they had important events to attend, but Tristen was quick to add that “a King does what a King wants,” which did little for Taco, as he was no King.
Once the lady of the house, SB, had returned home, Tristen was able to brand his passport with another conquered state – adding to his growing pile – as well as deposit some of his new coinage into his treasury vault.
Everyone feel into slumber quickly and easily that evening, and as Daryl had also made it safely home – long before Taco and Tristen in fact – the Tale of Two Brothers (and a Dinosaur) and their “not in this lifetime” adventure in sin city came to a peaceful conclusion.
And they most assuredly lived happily ever after, and according to Tristen, Louis did too.
Until next time,