It has often been said, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” What follows is one man’s mission to break that mantra and share his story, and the Las Vegas lessons he learned along the way.
At 3am on New Year’s Eve I got on a bus that would take me to a train that would take me to another bus that would drop me off in fabulous Las Vegas in time to celebrate the start of 2015. It was a long, tiring journey, but I eventually made it, and upon my arrival I was filled with the same anxious joy that Sin City always inspires within me. I got off of my bus and began walking, knowing that I would eventually need to grab a cab to get to my hotel.
After a few blocks I flagged down a taxi, and that is where our story begins.
My driver is Rico from Romania, and he immediately refers to me as “My friend…” I ask him to take me to the Residence Inn by Mandalay Bay. He knows right where it is and suggests getting on the freeway so as to avoid the major traffic caused by the shutting down of the strip. I thank him for being honest with me.
He asks me if it is business or pleasure that brings me to the city. I tell him it is pleasure, explaining that I just graduated and that some family members had decided that that achievement warranted giving me money, resulting in my possession of $300 to do with what I pleased. I continued, explaining that this was not money I was afraid to lose; it was fun money, game tokens necessary in order to ride the glorious rides that Vegas has to offer. I say this to Rico, my friend, more in order to vocalize my intention than anything else, as Rico seems to be a friendly ear willing to listen. He congratulates me on graduating, and turns to shake my hand while we are stopped at a red light. He says that graduating is important and good for my future.
We continue our pleasant rapport, laughing at those foolish enough to camp out for New Years Eve in Times Square. He had been a cab driver for eighteen years before transplanting to Vegas for his past eleven. As we go on, he mentions other crazy nights in Vegas. I ask if Halloween is crazy, as I imagine a ton of people are out for it. He says it is great because of the way the women dress.
He then begins describing the dumb kids that get in his cab, asking where they can find a massage parlor who will give them a happy ending. “These kids are crazy! They want to pay for it! Do you know why women come here? They know what happens here stays here.” I laugh and try to hide my discomfort in it, while also knowing that the main cause of my shame in this conversation is the fact that I might eventually write about it. If this were a moment only shared between our two souls, in the greater scheme of things, it’s really no harm. But Rico continued.
There is a club, he tells me, the Ghost Club. “Young men go there and buy a drink and then simply wait. The cougars…will approach.” According to him, they will make you offers, and pay you to have sex with them. They are beautiful women he assures. Older, usually early 40s, but beautiful and from LA and with tons of money to spend on a one night fling with a strange young piece of prey in the city of sin. I say thank you for the tip, thinking that that might be the end of the conversation.
But Rico continued.
At this point I take a moment, wondering if our kinship has found some new footing and I have gained a new degree of relationship with this Romanian man. But no, he’s talking about his actual son. He reveals that his son went to this club, at his recommendation, and was paid $7,000 to carnally please a beautiful older woman. “That is a lot of money.” I say, as neutrally as possible, still not knowing where this was going. He continues, “Well, for the man with the big dick, it is $5,000, $6,000, $7,000. 8 to 10 inches. That is what they want.” That is what is needed to please a women so good its worth five grand, apparently. “But over ten, too much. They do not want. You still can, but it is not necessary to enter all of the way.”
Lesson Learned #1: I am not anatomically worth $5,000 by Los Angeles housewife standards.
Good to know. I guess.
I assure him that I would not be in the business of making five grand at this club, but thank him again for his recommendation. We continue making small talk about his displeasures with having cameras in his cab. “I do not need protection. I do things the right way. I follow the rules. The cameras are for the companies protection, not mine.” And air other small grievances of this nature. He drops me off at my hotel and I tip him 30%. He thanks me and I thank him back, much more for the story than the ride, although I doubt he realizes how brilliant I find his story.
Tonight I will not be going to the Ghost Club.
Lesson Learned #2: Never miss a chance at getting a story from your cab driver.