What I Learned About Women in Las Vegas – Calvin Atwood

This kid in my tennis clinic named Waltzy Doubleheader claimed his mother had gotten him a prostitute in Las Vegas for his 13th birthday, but this seemed unlikely since Waltzy’s mother was friends with my grandmother and therefore insanely religious. There was no way my father would buy me a prostitute for my 13th birthday. He had a low opinion of anyone who had to hire a prostitute, which was easy for him to say, since he could get laid whenever he wanted. He wouldn’t even buy me a new tennis racquet. Not that I was much of a tennis player. Sure, I enjoyed dominating younger players or anyone new to the game, but I found true match play uncomfortable. So, when I asked my father for the racquet, he told me I already had one and that he was part Scottish and therefore cheap and not to ever charge on the club account. He told me this every month when the bill came. Apparently, I wasn’t allowed to charge because when he was a kid he was forced to bring a sack lunch to the club, which was humiliating and, according to him, humiliation was something I needed practice at. He never even provided me a sack lunch, although sometimes my stepmother gave me a Pop Tart or a Nutra-Grain bar, which I threw away and ordered a cobb salad with chicken, lightly dressed. Maybe if my father had been the sort of person who actually cared enough to prepare my sack lunch I would have felt looked after and not behaved like a desperate maniac.
I used to think my father was a principled sort of person who had a low opinion of anyone who took gambling seriously. But then he got sick and we couldn’t play tennis like we used to. So we went to Las Vegas, just the two of us, father and son.
The week before we left I began wearing small amounts of makeup. I started wearing the makeup to conceal my acne but to say I enjoyed applying it would be one hell of an understatement. I figured, once the acne was concealed via the makeup, I’d be contacted or ideally beckoned into a shadow world of toilet sex and backroom blowjobs, a world that existed in long-abandoned locker rooms and on rusty construction sites. I was uncertain as to how this beckoning would play out, but I could feel them watching me. I was being considered. My makeup wearing would be a sign of my readied urgency. Makeup wearing to get in with the sex-crazed crowd gave me a purpose until later in life when I got into very heavy marijuana smoking.
I’m no makeup expert. All I know is the beige bottle said CHANEL. I was on my way to school the first time I applied it, and for some reason, I needed someone to witness my suffering. My mother, a corporate raider, was driving her red 560sl. I was at her side in that German vehicle when I emptied half the bottle into my palm and splashed it on my face. It was more fluid than I expected, hardly lotion at all, and the burning spoke to its effectiveness. It soiled my clothing. I noted the marked change in the vanity mirror. My skin had darkened. My mannish eyebrows caked; the acne had faded.
“How do I look?” I asked my mother.
She suddenly appeared very focused on her driving. “Oh, my darling,” she said, “You’re so very handsome but you need to follow through on something, just one thing, please. It doesn’t matter what it is just stick with it and see it through and somehow you’ll end up all right.”
But in my own way, I knew I was following my Mother’s instructions. I was certainly seeing something through. You don’t always get to choose what that something is.
My classmates at the Protestant Middle School brought my makeup wearing to my attention. “It’s terminal skin cancer,” I countered, hoping to put the topic to rest. “If you have cancer you shouldn’t be at school,” countered Lindsay Hancock, the beautiful girl who did everything right and had, up until that point, been my only defender, but even she couldn’t defend this. It was asking too much. She looked at me funny, and I could tell she doubted my cancer. But then, she’d probably never heard of anyone lying about cancer. The other kids were all focused on my makeup. There was no relief in sight because I knew I’d never follow through on my plans to commit suicide as soon as possible, and by doing so, teach my classmates to be just a little more open-minded or at the very least, expose them as behind the times. But really, I lacked the courage to commit suicide, which made sense because follow through has always been my primary issue, like my mom had just been saying.
“I’ll make a beautiful corpse,” I jested striving for laughs and/or sympathy but it was a different time. Magic Johnson was in the news. One of my classmates called me a faggot and asked if I’d contracted AIDS. I found this line of questioning arousing. Back in those days there was a lot of misinformation about how anyone got AIDS, but I was pretty sure it involved actual sex, and I secretly held the belief that it would be worth it to cut my life short in a sexually satisfying fashion.
The Kansas City International Airport American Airlines Platinum Lounge had a powder room that was the ideal setting for the application of makeup, with soft natural light, a built-in vanity hutch and ample counter space. We arrived early so my father could make small talk with a female lounge agent. The flight departed in two hours, so I had all the time in the world. I was nervous about wearing makeup around my father, so I got on my knees in the Powder Room and prayed. I wanted to put on the makeup before we boarded which meant, more than likely, my father would take notice and confront me. I was preparing for the worst. I told myself it didn’t matter what he thought because upon arrival in Vegas, I’d be fucking a lot and going my own way and I wouldn’t need him. But for that to happen, I needed to get on that plane wearing the makeup. It felt like the start of the brand-new me. And I wanted the brand-new me to start being brand new as soon as possible.
I was only in 7th grade, so I wasn’t into drugs yet; but still,when I got recklessly horny in that powder room I sought spiritual refuge because I was terrified of prison. I knew the spiritual consequences of my actions, but once the makeup was applied, the enemy would be at the controls, which meant God would let me off the hook and I could do whatever I wanted because I was still a child and, according to some interruptions of the Bible, the Lord doesn’t ask children to account for their sins at the gates. But I also knew, that by knowing this, I was taking advantage of my child status. So, I’d be held to account because he was listening to my thoughts. But sometimes, a man just has to do certain things, so I gently placed the Channel concealer on the vanity counter and masturbated myself with bathroom soap and warm water. Then I fell asleep on the floor. I was awaked by my father’s knocking. It was time to board.
My father put himself in first class and had me riding several rows back, probably to give me more humiliation practice, but at least I had my independence.
Once we were safely at cruising altitude, I went into the airplane lavatory to check the water pressure. I had realized that my father, upon seeing my makeup, might ask some questions. Questions, that might limit my ability to let whatever happen happen as I roamed the seedy part of the Vegas Strip unsupervised. I decided I couldn’t risk it with my father, so I thought I should at least practice putting on the makeup in the lavatory, then take it off again before landing. That meant I had to test the water pressure, but airport lavatory water pressure is weak, and I wasn’t 100% certain that it would remove the makeup. I tried fitting my head into the sink as it was circular in shape, but it wouldn’t fit which meant I wouldn’t be able to get the makeup off and I should come up with a good plan B.
Plan B was to incite an in-flight sex frenzy by starting a controlled fire in the lavatory sink. I didn’t want the fire to spread all through the plane. I just wanted to set off the smoke alarms. I had some matches in my pocket. I’d use the toilet paper as fuel. Once those alarms sounded, a spiritually sick female passenger would smell smoke. Then she’d stand up, light a cigarette and ask if there were, by chance, any male virgins aboard. It was one hell of a plan, but I knew even if I somehow managed to contain the fire to just a little smoke, I lacked the courage to allow the spiritually sick woman or anyone to see me as the perverted sex maniac I was. Additionally, even if that worked out, even if I stood and she approached, and we proceeded and the plane landed safely, there would be an investigation. The Federal courts deal with individuals suspected of lighting fires aboard commercial aircraft. My classmates would catch wind of my legal predicament. The prosecutor would make a compelling case for why I should be tried as an adult. If they didn’t make an example of me they’d be opening the floodgates since there were would be rumors of copy-cat attacks in the works. The trial would bring my mother and father together. They’d realize they hadn’t been the best parents and it was time to set a better example by making some hard choices. They’d both admit under oath that, for me, this wasn’t a one-off. So, given my history, all would be agreement that I’d do anything for sex and I’d be tried as an adult. But God works in mysterious ways. He had a plan for my life. Free of my parents and classmates I’d find out who I really was in prison, like the incarcerated Malcom X. I’d find a purpose that would, by way of spiritual exploration, make me famous on my terms.
So I was on the fence in that airport lavatory. I had the matches in my hand, but my penis was hanging out, so I decided to split the difference and settle my dilemma by masturbating myself with the concealer. I was ejaculating hard when someone knocked. In retrospect I should have ignored the knocking, slowed down and make whoever was knocking wait while I carefully washed the makeup off my penis. But I didn’t know who was knocking. It might have been the Captain or my father, but it wasn’t.
Seated and buckled, I realized some quantity of concealer was entering my urethra. The pain was overwhelming but the last thing I wanted was to attract attention. I began to stomp. A Midwestern motherly type seated to my right asked if I was alright.
“5 blankets straight away, stewardess,” I shouted.
I stomped as I spoke but managed not to shout too loud as I feared alerting my father up in first class. The stewardess informed me that we were beginning our descent into Las Vegas and to calm down. I repeated my request and this time I tried my best to sound pathetic and polite. Again, she denied my request. I grabbed her wrist, yanked her toward me and whispered my request into her little ear. She threatened to involve the captain, so I informed her of my dying father’s platinum level status, and she gave in. Beneath my blanket tent, I bent my erect penis into a plastic cup of mild soda water, which provided instant relief as we touched down in Vegas.
I thought I’d get my own hotel room in Vegas where I could privately view porn before applying my concealer and hitting the strip, but my father got a good rate on a sexed-up honeymoon suite with a heart shaped shower/tub beside the bed. According to my father we needed to “get ready” for our big evening on the town which meant it was time for me to bathe in the heart-shaped shower/tub.
My father was on the bed reading some cheap airport novel. I tried to get undressed fast and casually, so he wouldn’t see me, but even still, he noticed my penis with all the makeup. Then there was this quiet moment. It was a weird moment, a father-son moment, and definitely humiliation practice.
That night, we dined beneath an exact reproduction of the starlit sky that had inspired and, according to some astrologists, controlled a young Julius Caesar. Our waitress was exceptionally versed in dealing with cheap, demanding individuals like my father, but he ignored her and suddenly seemed very focused on me. I sensed something terrible was about to happen. I suspected the school or someone aboard the plane had alerted him to my activities, but then I decided it didn’t matter because, after dinner, I was going my own way for good. My great decline had finally begun, and I was going to make the best of it. I knew I’d probably end up in some kind of specialized institute where I’d be observed and contained. Probably, it would be a sex addiction institute that combined the latest brainwave therapy with old fashioned Bible-based recovery. Really, I was looking forward to this new life. I felt a calmness come over me. I’d finally get the help I needed, and my enthusiastic compliance would be rewarded with a stack of brochures. I’d be an active participant in my recovery. My ability to create the reality of my choosing by-way of prayer would reunite my father and mother. In the initial intake my unapologetic transparence regarding my history would raise more than a few eyebrows. I wouldn’t have to worry about interfering with the general population as faith-based sex clinicians from across the nation gathered. Christian College Department Chairs and women in lab coats who thought they’d seen it all would witness my boundless lechery and find themselves painfully aroused so that all-night prayer sessions would quickly turn into clinched-fist solo bangs.
I was anxious to come clean, confess and then some, and we wouldn’t hesitate; my father would stand, throw a twenty on the table and find a rental car. We’d drive all night to get me checked in by daybreak. By 9am I’d be spilling my beans over biscuits and gravy, seated across from a heavy-set Christian man, clip board and dog-eared Bible opened to the book of Daniel.
“Daniel also had his troubles,” he’d whisper, eyes closed.
I was about to tell my father everything. I was anxious to hit the road, but he spoke first. “Jasper, I know your body’s changing, and you might be having some strange feelings. I noticed you painted your penis brown. I’ve engaged in similar activities. You have nothing to be ashamed of.” The waitress approached and tried to take our order again, but he sent her away. “Do you have any questions about sex or anything?” he asked and suddenly I didn’t want to go away forever to a religious sex institute. I just wanted to stay with my father.
“Can we order?”
He smiled. “Of course, we can order. Do you want to go to the casino after this? Play some blackjack?”
“Sure. Ok.”
When we got there, a muscular security guard with a shaved head came over and told him that because of my age I had to stay 16 feet from the table. My father tried to explain that he was just trying to teach his son to play cards, but the guard just repeated himself, so my father called him a filthy meathead who couldn’t get laid in a million years, so would never know what it was like to have a son he wanted to teach to play cards. I didn’t care about blackjack. When he humiliated that security guard on my behalf it seemed like we were the same. Then I got to bet on televised horse racing while my father chatted up a cocktail waitress from Texas. Back in the room he told me waitresses were alright to hit on but mostly trouble.