My 9-11 story

My sister Autumn hates what happens on September 11th.  She shares the feelings of millions of people across the country and the world, it was a terrible tragedy and one of the saddest events of our lifetime.  But Autumn has a deeper hatred of that day because she shares a birthday with that dreaded event.  It pisses her off that for her whole life, September the 11th was her day and now those fucking terrorists stole it.  Anytime she is asked for her date of birth, the response is always pretty much the same “Oh, 9-11 huh?”  She is pretty sure her birthday was years before the attacks but now she forever has a link to it.

The event at the time was surreal and the epic nature was lost on us while being in Vegas.

The event at the time was surreal and the epic nature was lost on us while being in Vegas.

I know everyone has a story about where they were when the towers were hit.  Just the same as the day OJ Simpson rode wildly through LA in the white Bronco.  Those are events that hit us and leave us wondering “What the fuck just happened?”  For me I remember it like it was yesterday.  It is hard to believe that it happened so many years ago, it has been almost 14 years to be exact.  Holy shit!

Keep in mind that I hardly fly on airplanes.  I hadn’t been on a plane until I was well into adulthood, with the exception of a flight my Uncle Doug took me on when I was around 11 or 12 in his private airplane in Eureka, California.  I hardly think of that as the same because there are so many variables when you add 200 passengers to a flight.  It just so happened a bunch of friends of mine happened to fly out of San Francisco on September 10th, 2011 on a late flight.  We went to Las Vegas for Brian’s bachelor party.  I remember getting off the plane and into the walkway that led into the airport and turning to Jason and saying “Dude, it is soooooooo hot here!”  It was like midnight and the temperature was over 100 degrees.

We got a cab over to the condo we had rented.  There were six of us:  Brian, Jason, Victor, Vince, Renee (Jose), and myself.  We dropped off our bags and were ready to hit the casinos and we did just that.  We ended up going back to the room at about 3 or 4 am and caught a couple of hours of sleep because that next morning on 9-11 we had a scheduled ATV tour across the Las Vegas Desert.  I will post about this adventure in a future post because it really was cool and a lot of funny things happened, including me almost killing myself when I flipped my ATV that our guide said “could never be flipped”

So we drug ourselves out of bed and had to meet at one of the casinos.  I remember I was with Victor because we all kind of split up.  A couple of the guys stayed up gambling all night.  We had to meet at 6 in the morning and I was half asleep walking around the casino just looking.  I decided I wasn’t going to gamble because I had to pace myself.  I needed to save my money for important things, like taking Brian to the strip club, eating at the Rio all you can eat Buffet, ATV trip, golfing, etc. etc. etc.  So I told Victor we should go sit at the bar until 6 AM came around.  I ordered a bloody Mary and yawned.  I looked up at the TV behind the bar and I got my first glance of the twin tower smoking.  I told Victor to look and we speculated what could have happened, but really it didn’t seem like that big a deal to us at the time.  The ticker underneath said that the twin tower had been hit by an airplane.  I started to get the feeling that it was a big deal because as I looked around the crowd grew.  Suddenly people were right behind my chair trying to get a better look at the TV.  The rest of our party met us and we proceeded outside to the hotel drop off and pickup to meet our ATV tour guide.

He rushed us into the van and had the radio up loud playing news of the crash.  “Crazy shit I tell you!  How does a plane hit a building?”  The drive to our destination was about 45 minutes and all we did was listen to the broadcast get more and more urgent until we realized that America was under attack.  We had no intention of cancelling our ATV tour but started to wonder if we were in danger.  If we were terrorists we would hit an area concentrated with people, maybe somewhere like……. VEGAS.  We kind of laughed it off, but I know that I had a lot of anxiety because I believed it to be very possible.

After our tour we got back into Vegas.  News was everywhere, people were glued to the TV.  We went on with our trip like the world wasn’t in turmoil.  It was almost surreal because being in Vegas we were kind of detached from reality.  We gambled, took Brian to a strip club (maybe more than once), we went golf, and we ate like fat kings at numerous buffets.  At the Rio, Victor gained $10.00 when he got dared to eat a heaping spoon of Wasabi and did just that.  I personally thought we had a visit to the ER coming.

The real reality set in later when we were watching the news on night and they talked about all the flights in the country being cancelled or delayed.  We called the Las Vegas airport and found out that our flight was delayed for an unforeseen time.  We all panicked because we had jobs that we had to get to.  We had no options except renting a van and driving back.  It was a long 10 hour drive back to Rohnert Park.  We called rental places for a big enough car to hold all of us and all of our luggage.  There wasn’t much available because everyone was doing the same thing, desperate to get back home.  We were able to get a Uhaul (I believe) van.

We left on Sunday.  The guys thought it would be fun to check out a brothel on the outskirts of the city.  Victor and I were not interested.  For one we thought hookers are nasty, and secondly we had no money left and wouldn’t spend money on something that skeezy.  They all claimed they just wanted to go there and check it out.  We get to this little house looking building in the middle of the desert and walk in.  In the lobby there was a pool table.  Victor and I immediately started playing a game of pool while the others went to the desk.  They told the desk lady that Jason was cousins with Jett Lee and was just visiting Vegas, they also pointed to me and said I was Reggie Miller (Even though I am 6 inches shorter, this theme worked all weekend in Vegas.  I even signed autographs!).  Right away the older, weathered woman at the desk got a sparkle in her eye and told them that they would probably want the upper class options.  You guys would really love the VIP fantasy suite with the full works.  The cost for that was about $500.00.  Me and Victor kept playing pool but looked at each other and started laughing.  These dudes didn’t realize by trying to act important the cost of this excursion for them had doubled.  LOL.

The woman at the desk looked over at Victor and I playing pool.  What about them?  What do they want?  I ignored her and kept playing but well aware that her gaze was sternly set upon me.  Jason and Renee snarkily replied “Oh, those two are gay lovers and not interested”  I was keeping a straight face but dying of laughter on the inside and also pissed that they had said that about me.  We all hung out in the lobby, and they talked about the encounter with the woman while we continued to haphazardly knock pool balls around the table.  A few minutes later a door opened and about 12 very undressed women walked out and lined up across the floor for us all to look at, and I assume take our pick.  Some were cute, but all were caked in make-up.  A few were obviously rough and belonged in a whore house in the middle of the desert.

Victor and I kept playing and every time I glanced up the girls were staring intently at me like I was a piece of meat and they were hungry wolves.  One of the girls looked at me and said “Hey sweetie can I help you?”  Before I could answer Jason let her know that I was gay and Victor was my gay lover.  I turned red and shook my head because, surprisingly, that was the least awkward thing to do.”

The girls walked our party back to the back to check out the rooms and the different packages.  They also visited the VIP room.  Everyone emptied the lobby except Victor and I and followed the girls back to the rooms.  We laughed and kept playing, just shaking our heads at what idiots our friends were.  Only about five minutes later they came back out looking dejected “Alright guys lets go.”  They told us.  They were in a hurry to leave because even if they wanted something, the cost was way over what they had left.  They were embarrassed and ready to leave quick.  I looked at Victor and told him I wanted to finish our game.  They pleaded with me to leave and I said “So sorry, these homos want to finish this game of pool”  They sat around in the chairs waiting awkwardly for our game to finish while the woman at the desk stared at them irritably.  Our game took a long time because we both really suck, plus we weren’t in a hurry.

So we drove back to Rohnert Park, sleeping much of the way and telling Vegas war stories on our voyage.  9/11 had come and gone but it had never really gone.   Though it happened years ago I will never forget that day when our country was attacked.

I was going to post pictures of the brothel we visited but I can’t remember the name of it.  Maybe if one of my partners in crime can recall I will post pictures because it really is quite fascinating.

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