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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Las Vegas
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Las Vegas
Scroll down to the Foreward to read this book from the beginning
Alpha and Omega
How do you begin a story that starts with your own ending? “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times?” That was taken by a pretty heavy hitter and if I ran into Mr. Dickens in the afterlife I’m sure he’d be pretty pissed off. How about “In the beginning…?” I really didn’t want to tick off the Big Guy anymore than I already had in the past four years, so that’s out. This wasn’t a Colombo murder mystery. My death was purely accidental. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time when an oncoming car’s driver was falling asleep at the wheel. I died as a consequence of someone’s sleep apnea. The irony of this will become apparent later, but for now it is enough for you to know that I am dead. What I was doing over 200 miles from my apartment just days before moving to Las Vegas, was known only by two people.
Let’s just take it from the point in time where my friend Amy has the grave responsibility of going through my belongings, most specifically this unfinished book whose many chapters have traveled from computer to computer over the past few years. By now I’d told many people that I was writing a book. I know most of them took that lightly because everyone is either writing a book or thinking about writing a book. I made Amy promise that if anything ever happened to me, she would see to it that this one did not languish unfinished. Obviously, I put my faith in her and she came through for me or you would not be curled up in a comfy chair wearing your favorite _____, sipping on_____, and snacking on _____. Please feel free to insert your choice of clothing, beverage, and comfort food. Mine would be PJs, hot chocolate, and peanut butter toast, but for all I know you might be lactose intolerant or allergic to nuts. I certainly do not want you to break out the Lactaid or your epi-pen just because my comfort food selections include dairy and chunky Skippy.
Amy had the only spare key to my apartment but she did not want to be going there under these circumstances. It took a lot for her to do this for me but she knew how much it meant. She made her way through the labyrinth of packed boxes I had ready to go for my upcoming move to Las Vegas. I left Map Finder driving directions for this little last road trip on the kitchen table. It was my habit to leave a paper trail, just in case anything happened to me. I didn’t expect her to see it though. I fully expected to come back. Also on the table was a very large, thick manila envelope with her name on it in large decorative letters. I liked to use my artistic abilities to make names look special, and this was no exception. Amy was done up in an Old English calligraphy that would make a medieval monk jealous. She could tell that not only did I think she was a special person but whatever was inside the envelope was special as well.
If I had died a week sooner, my kitchen table would have been barely visible beneath stacks of disorganized paper. Luckily, I had to get my things in order because of the move. There would have been the sentimental collections that marked my life in this tiny apartment: the business cards of comics, assorted notebooks, napkins and scraps of paper scrawled with jokes or ideas for jokes, and all the drink tickets earned as “pay” from Agent Alley. Agent Alley was a local pub known for its open mike comedy show but I liked it for its provocative and secluded booths and eclectic interior. I collected the drink tickets because it proved I had gotten up on stage every week to do stand up. After 100 performances, I stopped recording every detail. I stopped counting altogether. Also recently disposed of were the silly name badges from Prankster’s Improv Club which had become a home away from home for me in the past four years. It was the place that not only healed me emotionally, but eventually changed my life completely. Tossed too were the backstage passes from Fiesta del Verano where I spent two glorious summers hanging out with other comics in between summer university classes. These were bits and pieces that meant a lot to me, but my life needed to be simplified and stowed away in boxes for the long journey out west.
Amy, who bears a strong resemblance to the really hot babe that starred with Bruce Willis in The Color of Night, was visibly shaken as she picked up the envelope bearing her name. She decided to postpone the opening.
Almost four years ago, when I first started meeting men off the internet, I told Amy where to find my password files and screen names as a precaution. This was not the same computer I had back then, but she was savvy enough to figure it out. When she turned on the computer, it automatically opened up the Instant Messenger and signed on. As she faced the screen, all she could think of was how often I sat there, night after night; chatting with men I’d met online. She sat there staring at the names on my friends list but she only knew their real names. These were screen names and she had no idea who was who. She wondered what to do next but as it turned out, that decision was made for her in the form of an instant message or IM window. She was not a chat person but at least she knew how it worked.
John: I waited for you all night. Why didn’t you come? I tried to call but you didn’t answer your cell.
Amy just looked at the message in the window and could hardly bring herself to type but she had to say something. She knew that I was going to meet a guy I’d met a couple times years ago. This must be him.
N_: Is this John?
John: well who else would it be? Why did you stand me up? You better have a really good excuse.
N_: John, this isn’t N_. It’s her friend Amy.
John: Amy? Are you at N_'s apartment? Put her on I need to talk to her.
N_: Yes John, but I have some bad news.
Amy hesitated to type what she had not even said aloud to anyone. When you give bad news to someone in person you can at least touch their shoulder and look them in the eye. When you do it over the phone, there is always some sadness in the voice that prepares you. Instant messages were not subtle. They smacked you in the face with words.
N_: John, I’m sorry to tell you this but N_ was killed in a car accident on her way to see you. She was struck head on by someone who fell asleep at the wheel and crossed into her lane. She was killed instantly, so she didn’t suffer.
John looked at the words for a long time. Amy wasn’t used to communicating this way so she didn’t know how long she should wait before typing again, especially after something like that. She looked at the words for a long time also hoping that they would disappear from the screen but they did not.
John: What kind of sick joke is this? Because I don’t think this is funny.
N_: I’m sorry John. I can’t believe it either.
John: But I was just talking to her again after all this time…I talked to her just before she left…
N_: Yes, she told me. I was surprised that she was going to see you again after all this time.
John: We had lost touch for a long time. We were going to get together one last time before she moved. This just doesn’t seem possible. She told you about me?
N_: She told me a lot over the past years even though I gave her plenty of static about meeting guys this way. She told me about her birthday four years ago and how much it meant to her. I could tell something special happened for her that day. She didn’t expect to care that much about anyone she met online
John: that birthday was the day I met her. It was special for me too. I can’t believe she’s gone…
N_: She knew it wasn’t going to go anywhere because of the age difference, but it sort of snuck up on her. She didn’t expect to have such strong feelings.
John: I know. 26 years difference is a lot but I cared about her too. You said you gave her static about meeting guys off the internet?
N_: I was always worried about her. I thought she was exposing herself to the possibility of meeting some psycho. She told me not to worry, that she was careful. I took her out the night before you met. It was supposed to be my birthday treat for her and all I did was lecture her about going off to meet you the next day.
John: I remember her telling me that her girlfriend thought she was crazy for driving down here to meet me. I guess that was you
N_: Yes. And now it turns out that it was probably one of the best days of her life.
John: This is not happening. She can’t be gone. We just found each other again a few weeks ago.
N_: I know what you mean... I never saw anyone so full of life. So enthusiastic and passionate about everything she was doing.
John: She was definitely passionate She could make me smile when I didn’t think I could and we laughed a lot.
N_: Too bad you never got to see her do stand up. You would have laughed then too.
John: She used to say she wasn’t all that funny. She said she was “mildly amusing.”
N_: I think she was funny. I was with her right from the beginning. Do you want to hear about it?
John: Yes, please. I want you to tell me everything you know about her. For some reason I really need to hear that now. We hadn’t seen each other in years and I really can’t believe this happened when we finally got the chance to see each other again even though she was moving out west soon.
N_: It would be easier on the phone. Her cell phone is still here.
John: She forgot to take it with her? That’s why she didn’t call. She was supposed to call when she was getting close.
Meeting men online came about in a fairly strange way. I had been doing some research on adult toys for my stand up routine. This is a totally true story. My routine at the time was about the fact that the only sex I got involved “mechanical implements.” I wanted more specific terminology and stumbled across Erotic Pals, the world’s largest personals directory. In order to access the information, I had to sign up. Now, I don’t know about you, but it had been one hell of a long time since I had an erotic pal, so I decided that it would be a good idea to check it out. Since it was free, I thought, what the heck. Months ago I had done a bit about the internet…
Sometimes I feel a little guilty for chasing after young guys so I turn on my computer and surf over to .... Welcome to Our Lady of Perpetual Misery, Sorrow and Unending Anguish. We’re here to serve your Catholic Guilt. Our on-line confessor is Fr. Michael Fitzpatrick. My screen name is Badgirl. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought of this, so I’m Badgirl4967. Please check through the frequently confessed sins.
Making up login handles is a lot like ordering off a Chinese food menu. In column A you have your choice of occupations, hobbies, or locations. Column B is for assorted activities. Column C is reserved for specific anatomical terminology. Column D is optional and reserved for numerals. You end up with something like IL_Toe_Sucker_4U.
When faced with having to pick a handle for this site, I couldn’t resist and signed up as BadGirl4967. Then I started filling out the profile with other tongue in cheek information and by the end of the next day my e-mail was filled with messages from guys who wanted to know how bad I really was. I spent quite a long time sifting through those first e-mails. Most got trashed right away because they did not fit what I was looking for. By July of 2000, I was out meeting my new erotic pals. The very first was a policeman who kissed so fiercely that I ended up with bruised lips! That was one enthusiastic cop!
The third person I went to meet sent me many e-mails in which he wanted to play out a teacher/student fantasy. His photo was really hot and I thought I would have no problem pretending this 25 year old guy was a shy 17 year old student in need of private instruction. He wanted me to dress in a rather proper skirt and blouse, which I did. He had neglected to tell me that the photo was 8 years old and the guy I met couldn’t look innocent if his life depended on it. That was an awkward and short evening. He gave me a few toys he had purchased but since I really didn’t know what they were, they got tossed out within a few days. Some months later I would realize that I had thrown out a rather expensive strapon. Who knew? Another guy kept telling me how kinky he was and how much he was into bondage. I knew nothing of such things and I looked forward to finding out what the rest of the world was up to. It never happened because “Mr. Kink” ended up looking like an accountant and the only thing about that night that was interesting was that I got busted by four guys from my standup class who knew exactly why I was at the Omega Cafe at midnight wearing a very short skirt.
The most spectacular thing that happened in the two months I had been meeting men online was the night I met a 24 year old businessman. He was in town for some sort of presentation and had one of the best hotel rooms I’d ever seen. Granted, I had seen very few, but this was a brand new hotel and a beautifully decorated suite done in a deep forest green interior. There was a huge bed up on a platform, and a Jacuzzi out in the middle of the room. We spent the first hour or so fondling and kissing each other in the hot swirling water. Then he wrapped me in one of those thick hotel robes and led me up to the bed where he helped me dry off a little. He was in complete control and although I was responsive, I allowed him to do as he pleased. Hands are such amazing things and his were more skilled than any I’d encountered so far. Again, I had encountered so few. It was so surprising to me that someone that young was so experienced while I was so not! He proceeded to introduce me to my g-spot, which I didn’t even know I had. The stimulation resulted in my becoming paralyzed for a full 8 minutes. The poor guy had to massage the circulation back into my body which was frozen into a fetal position after an orgasm that originated in another dimension and included so many aftershocks you could compare my vagina to the San Andreas Fault. I didn’t even know humans were capable of such things.
John proceeded to tell Amy about being in the Chat Room one night. Every time you come into the room it says “So and So has come into the room.” My computer kept crashing so he started to tease me and ask how many times was I going to come into the room. I answered back that I needed a new computer. I noticed his screen name and I wrote, “Your handle is from A Clockwork Orange, right?” Well, the fact that I knew where his handle came from led him to e-mail me with a photo. I didn’t know anything about instant messaging so we just e-mailed back and forth quite a bit for a couple of weeks but distance and schedules prevented meeting.
It turned out that the only day either of us could meet was my birthday and I decided why not spend it with someone I could have fun with. We never talked about sex, just goofy things. A few days before we were going to meet, we decided to go into the chat room so we could at least talk and not just e-mail. There were 81 people in the room that night and being one of the few females, BadGirl4967 was swamped with messages or “posts” from other men. I tried to be polite to the others, but after saying hi, I didn’t respond to anyone but him. For those of you who have never been in a chat room, it’s like an instant message shared by…EVERYONE! You must precede any post with the name of the person you are talking to. Then you have to keep your eyes peeled to watch for anyone who might be talking to you. Idiots who got on everyone’s nerves were put on ignore. This was called the “Iggy box.” The pace of the room was fast and there were also situations where the screen would go blank which were called whiteouts. “Damn whiteouts” was the phrase most commonly used.
I noticed that many of the posts were in the form of enticements. The black women could say, “The darker the skin, the sweeter the berry.” The Latina women boasted of a “caramel” sweetness. What’s an older woman going to chime in with, “Got prunes?!”
I suggested we pretend we were the only ones in the room, and although he didn’t tell me this, he thought it was weird but said ok. We had never talked about sex before, although there was graphic chat going on all over the room. Most chat rooms are not for the easily offended. Even though messages preceding ours might have very explicit sexual content, the two of us began and continued a long conversation that started out very sweetly and became increasingly erotic during the next hour. I remember telling Amy that it was an almost Zen-like experience and that his willingness to just go with it was very appealing. As things were heating up conversationally, John told me that he would like to call. We continued the conversation hearing each other’s voices for the first time. Two hours later we tried to say goodbye, but neither of us wanted to let the other go. We had made a connection that did not allow us to disconnect. We were both anxious to meet soon.
Amy was genuinely uneasy about my online activities but I always thought it was just as risky to meet a guy in a bar where alcohol might impair judgment. I reminded her that America was settled by mail order brides who took huge risks leaving Europe to meet men sight unseen, in a place unknown. Those adventurous and perhaps desperate women packed up their belongings, said goodbye forever to family, on the basis of a few handwritten letters and perhaps a grainy tintype over the course of months. I believed that you could really get a sense of someone through their writing and you also had digital photos. E-mail and instant messages allowed for far greater amounts of information to be exchanged in a matter of minutes. A two hour IM session was an entire volume compared to some flowery script on small blue paper that had to find its way across the ocean to some lonely guy scratching out a living in the middle of nowhere. Those women were the really brave ones. I was so sure that I was doing the right thing in meeting John.
John agreed. We just always seemed to be on the same wave length. When he would quote a movie, I always knew what was coming next to the point that we would simultaneously write the same quotes. I met John the day I turned 51. We both drove about halfway and were to meet at a restaurant at a large mall. I had on a two piece leopard print outfit with black thigh highs and high heels. When you are waiting to meet someone who you have only seen in small grainy photos, everyone you see might be him. You try to look nonchalant and hope no one takes you for a hooker. Your eyes dart all over the area so as not to miss the person in the crowd. I thought I saw John several times but eventually I was pretty sure. I saw him walk over to a phone and went in the same general direction. My cell rang and I answered it. He wondered where I was so I told him to turn around. That was the first of an entire day of smiles.
We walked inside the mall for a while and then decided to walk outside. We just kept looking at each other and smiling while we flirted and teased. John didn’t seem to care one bit about the difference in our ages. Except for the smile he looked a bit like a college student gone Goth. He was average height, had wavy dark hair and dark eyes that smiled as much as his mouth. He wore this really great black silk shirt that buttoned down the front and on either side of the buttons were red dragons. I could see some of his tattoos, but some would be revealed later. We walked over to a nearby hotel but we would have to wait at least an hour before we could get a room. We continued to walk and had no problem filling the hour with conversation despite the obvious sexual tension. An hour later I was having the birthday of my life. John was so passionate and the time just seemed to fly by. It was not just sexually satisfying but there was an emotional component that had been missing for a long time in my life.
Amy told John about the stand up. She was with me the very first time I went up on stage a little over a year before. We had been to dinner and were going to the weekly Agent Alley comedy show. A couple of friends of ours were beginning to go up and we were there to cheer them on. She knew that I had gotten inspired to write some material, but wasn’t planning to go up until I had lost more weight. I had lost a few pounds during a dance class that summer and just wanted to look better on stage before I began. But I had been practicing my material and was just about ready now. I decided not to wait and told the emcee that I would like to get put on the list.
Everyone we knew had to wait two weeks before getting a shot, so I thought in two weeks, I would certainly be ready. The emcee asked me if I wanted to go up that night and I freaked out on the inside while trying to remain calm on the outside. He said to think about it. I rushed back to Amy, and told her what he said. She asked me if I knew the material. I said I had been practicing as if I were going on, so yes, I thought I did know it. Amy told me to “go for it”, and I went back to tell the emcee I would. Then I sort of wandered around like a chicken with my head cut off. The first comedian went up and I was wondering how the heck anyone could remember what they were going to say with someone else up there talking. Amy tried to get me to calm down, but then decided to just let me do whatever I needed to do to prepare. She knew I had lots of experience onstage acting and at least a year of improv training and that everyone had their own ways of preparing.
You could practically see me float off the stage when I had finished. Amy could tell that the emcee had been impressed. I had no stand up training, but I had done more than 15 years of community theatre, and had taught for almost that long, so I was never afraid to be in front of an audience. When the emcee handed me the drink ticket that was the only “pay” for performers, Amy said that I beamed. She knew that I never turned in those first tickets. Those were important souvenirs for me. I could see how everyone I knew there was proud of me, especially Amy. I shared that moment with her and always told everyone that she was instrumental in getting me on stage that night. I referred to it as one of those “put up or shut up” moments in a person’s life. Either you bite the bullet and get the balls to do it, or you never do and spend your life regretting it. Nervous as I was, I proceeded to win over the audience that night. My act wasn’t as polished as a professional but they laughed at the punch lines, and I had a really good set.
The woman John met almost a year later was not the same woman who took the small stage that night. John met me after I had dropped more than 50 pounds. That night I was a size 14. He met a size 10 petite older woman who wore short black leather skirts, thigh high stockings, high heels and spandex animal print tops. The woman on stage that night wore black jeans and a heavy velour knit sweater. Amy, who was a real babe, always thought I looked nice, but knew I wasn’t a guy magnet.
John met a woman who had decided to take life head on. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone as often as possible. It had started a whole year before when I signed up for an improv class. It was a life changing moment for me. I taught theatre arts, improvisation, acting etc. as part of my fine arts curriculum, and I was taking the workshop in order to feel what my students felt when I asked them to do something. It was to gain a sense of empathy. What I didn’t realize was how much I would love performing again after so many years. I was even heavier then and I hated the way I looked. I especially didn’t want to be on stage like that but the guys in my improv class accepted me as is. They began to ask me to hang out with them after class, and before I knew it, I was “one of the guys.”
Throughout that first year of improv, I began to drop a little bit of weight, so by the time I was ready to do standup, I felt better about myself. The ironic thing about that first time going up was it was my wedding anniversary. I had spent my 32nd wedding anniversary going out to dinner with Amy, and then clandestinely doing stand up comedy which tells you how much the anniversary meant to my husband. He always went to bed early and since I was “one of the guys” I would go out and do things with them. It was three weeks before I finally told my husband that I was doing standup. Since I said a couple of things in my act that might hurt his feelings, I didn’t want him to see me perform. Our marriage was more like a brother and sister relationship. No sex. No passion. The minute I began the improv workshop was the beginning of the end of my marriage, but I didn’t know it then.
Standup was just a roller coaster ride. Some nights your energy could be low, your timing could be off, or there just wouldn’t be a good audience. The Agent Alley open mike was notorious for erratic audiences. You could have two people who were just there because they were friends of one of the comics, and the rest of the crowd were the other comics. That happened all the time at various venues. Open mikes at worst were like performing to the proverbial oil painting. At best, you had a group of tourists or people in town on business wanting to have a good time. My material was pretty blue and I usually did well when there were bachelorette parties in the crowd. When I had to face a crowd that consisted of middle aged men, my heart sank, but I got up and did my best. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but I always kept going.
Amy noticed that the battery on my cell phone was beeping. She didn’t know where my recharger was so she went back on IM. He said ok and they both hung up.
John: You there? I’m sorry but I really wish it was her
N_: I was just picturing her doing a bit from her act and the picture of her on stage was so clear that it took me by surprise. She was wearing her brown dress with the gold threads woven in and with her red hair and coloring, she looked like a copper goddess. If I had to pick out a dress for her funeral, that’s the one I’d choose. She was wearing it when she was killed.
John: The first time I saw her, she was wearing this short skirt, and I remember thinking how cute and hot she looked for her age and also how little she was. It was so easy to wrap myself around her. Sorry, I didn’t mean to talk about that
N_: It’s ok. She and I shared everything. I told her all about my sexual experiences, and she did the same for awhile. Then I think she began holding back because of my disapproval.
John: She talked about me that way?
N_: Yes, she said how amazing you were. She said you were on the same wave length and were always laughing but that you also had this wonderfully erotic side that came as a surprise. She knew you were going to be fun to hang out with, but the fact that you were so compatible sexually was phenomenal.
John: I have to tell you she was the most passionate woman I ever knew
N_: I guess I can believe that. She always gave as much as she could in every other aspect of her life. I know that sex was an important part of who she was
John: I can testify to that
N_: It’s nice that thinking about her and talking about her can make you smile.
John: She made me smile all the time. She would tease me and be waiting on IM when I got off work so she could try to make me smile even though she knew I hated my job and usually had a crummy day
N_: She said you sent her messages that would start off her day with a smile and carry her all the way through. She was so happy just to get a little e-mail from you.
John and Amy eventually said good night and Amy decided to look at the hard drive of N_’s computer. She found a folder called Book and inside the folder were many other folders. She found one labeled John and opened that. There was a file called John.doc and she opened it to find the following:
The second time we got together, I had to drive all the way because John’s car was out of commission. I enjoyed road trips and the weather was warm and clear which was always conducive to my being on the road. I didn’t really have that many sexy outfits, let alone ones that were comfy enough to wear for almost three hours behind the wheel. I would like to describe what I wore, but it’s one of the few things I don’t remember. I do remember calling John to let him know I was just about there and pulling up to find him standing on the sidewalk. He smiled and opened up the passenger side door and got in. He leaned in to meet me as I leaned over to kiss him and after a very sweet kiss he gave me directions to where we were going. I wanted to go somewhere with a Jacuzzi and although the place was not exactly what you would call, well, uh, hmmmm, let’s say coordinated, I was there with John and it didn’t matter where we were.
John is an extremely oral person. Now I’ve heard that from almost every man I’d ever met and was always happy that it was true. John spent a great deal of time looking up at me from between my thighs as I lay on the bed. After making me scream with pleasure, it was my turn to please, and then our turn. Orally spent sexually we lay on the bed laughing and although I’m not sure how, the conversation took a turn for the psychotronic. If you are not familiar with the term, you are not alone. It is a rather odd movie encyclopedia dedicated to the strange, horrific, and erotic. John and I were comparing notes on the cheesiest horror films we’d seen. My experience with such films came from triple feature drive-in movies while John’s was at the hands of his uncle whose babysitting skills were rather questionable. At any rate, wonderful sex round one aside, we lay there laughing over ridiculous movies like Bucket of Blood, Plan Nine from Outer Space, and the worst film of all time, 2,000 Maniacs. Round Two moved from bed to bath.
I loved Jacuzzis. My ex and I had one fabulous anniversary evening in a Jacuzzi suite which I had hoped would end a ten year stretch of celibacy, but the next day we were back to business as usual which meant none at all. We tried again a year later with far less success and the final time was not even worth the bother.
Although John and I were very sexually attracted to each other, and the hot water was romantic for me, it turned out to be uncomfortable for him. His work while he was in school included far too much time inside freezers and while we were kissing and getting very steamy on our own, John was covertly draining the tub. He was keeping me distracted nicely but little by little I was freezing my butt off. We sat in that empty tub for quite a while until he could no longer keep me warm, so we laughed our way back to the bed for round three. Neither of us wanted the day to end but of course it had to. It was a long drive home but I know we were both smiling for the next several hours.
After meeting more men than I would have ever thought possible, John and I connected once again and made plans for me to drive down there for a farewell reunion. Dying wasn’t part of the plan. I spent ten years trying to convince my husband that he had a sleep disorder. His snoring had always been impossible to sleep through and pushed me out of the bedroom early on, but he was always tired and complained about nodding off while driving. Of course it only took a stranger 10 minutes to convince him to be tested and it took the sleep clinic less than an hour to diagnose apnea. So I got taken out by some idiot who probably spent a lot of time ignoring his wife also. Bah!
That brings us back to Amy finding the envelope on my kitchen table. I’m sure by now you know what was inside but it wasn’t until she opened it that Amy discovered the printouts and CDs containing what I’d talked about for so long; this book.