by Nick Palmisciano We need to step up. All of us....
Marines Survive Vegas
By RU Contributor Jack Mandaville
Our body is a temple. We must cherish it, harness it, and nurture it. But when Marine Corps Ball season comes around, our nation’s Soldiers of the Sea treat their temples the same way the Chinese treated temples when they invaded Tibet—by burning and pillaging the ever-loving shit out of them. It’s all about birthday season, my friends! I’m talkin’ an absolute breakdown of military fraternization policy, abundant alcohol consumption, and a complete disregard for social standards. From what I hear, this kind of behavior is also seen at other birthday balls across our varying branches of the military.
My friend, Lord Mustachio, has a hilarious ball story and I’m going to share it with you.
I typically don’t give a shit when people tell me their “super awesome” Vegas stories. All of those stories start sounding the same after a while. The reason why I found Lord Mustachio’s story so funny is because of the kind of guy he is. He’s a good person. Raised in a deep-rooted Christian home in West Texas, Mustachio grew up following the rules, abstaining from alcohol and sex, and generally just being a sweet, obedient kid.
Then he joined the Marine Corps where he found himself slugging it out as an infantryman in one of the largest and most publicized battles of the 21st Century—Operation Phantom Fury, AKA Fallujah. One second you’re going through the horrors of war—complete with dirtied uniforms, fatigue, and stress—on a murky piece of urban terrain, then the next thing you know you’re standing in a posh hotel room in a well-tailored dress uniform, putting gel in your hair and actually giving thought to your appearance.
After three years in the Marine Corps, this was Mustachio’s first ball experience… and it was in VEGAS, BABY, VEGAS!
1800 – 2300
The night started out like any other birthday ball. The ceremony included a cake cutting ceremony, the Commandant’s Message, General Lejuene’s Message, all that jazz. Then the most coveted tradition came: food and drinks.
Mustachio went balls to the wall right out of the gate, ordering drink after drink like he was working on an overnight case of cirrhosis. His company commander didn’t help the situation when he showed up and shoved a flask of god knows what in the young NCO’s face, giving him specific orders to drink. Any upstanding enlisted member of our Armed Forces recognizes the authority of his or her superiors when faced with a task, so Mustachio did as he was told and put the flask in his mouth.
Now, the actual ball ceremony doesn’t last too long. After dinner, a few hours of dance and socialization will take place, but it pretty much ends there. The true party comes during the after party. Once the place let out, these guys weren’t going to just go back to their hotel room and call it a night. FUCK NO! You’re in Sin City, you look sexy in your dress blues, and there’s more partying to be had. You go out there and get your uniformed ass on the Strip.
2300 – 0200
Lord Mustachio went out with his friends Jersey Mick, Mike the Slav, Saggy Balls and his then-fiancé, Bean. Let’s face it, when you’re in Vegas and wearing your dress uniform, you ain’t payin’ for shit. As soon as the group stepped inside their first bar, people were buying drinks for them like it was a race against time. It’s a good thing too, because Mustachio told me, “I didn’t bring a lot of money out there.”
After a few minutes of drinking and cavorting, Mustachio noticed a stunning individual in the bar. They locked eyes with each other. The magnificent creature—in what seemed like slow motion—gestured for Mustachio to come his way. He was little. He was green. He was an angel sent from the gods of fun. Mustachio approached him slowly and stood at attention once they met face-to-face. They both knew what had to be done. The signal rang and Mustachio assumed the position.
This is event would be the start of his demise.
This is what happened:
Five seconds passed, still chugging. Ten seconds passed, still chugging. At twenty seconds, Mustachio was still taking everything the oompa-loompa threw at him… LIKE A BOSS! You’d think something as wonderful as this would be the beginning of a great night. On the contrary. Getting shots from a real life leprechaun is as good as it’s going it get.
(Side note: I envy the hell out of little people. You know why? I’ll tell you why: steady employment. Since the dawn of civilization, vertically challenged people have always been able to find work in the entertainment industry. Yeah, it’s demeaning as shit when you have to dress up as a leprechaun in the middle of November and pour booze down a drunk Marine’s throat, but I bet you’ve never seen a little person begging for change on the side of the road.)
Nothing else mattered at that point. Mustachio didn’t care about all the other patrons trying to buy him drinks. He just wanted the elf man to feed him. He would get his shot, go back to his friends for a bit, and then start itching for more one-on-one time with his personal booze peddler. He went back to that little guy not once, not twice, but SEVEN more times. The night was still young and he was already stuck in the Vegas Vortex.
Mustachio’s friends were eventually able to pull him out of the bar and drag him to the next one, a honky-tonk.
0200 – ?
What happened next seems to play into every stereotypical Vegas narrative. Mustachio blacked out a bit. He does remember these key things, though:
- Rotarians with a lot of disposable income and a bad case of support-the-troops-fever continued to buy him drinks—which is good because he was almost out of money.
- Topless girls on mechanical bulls.
- Hot Latina chick was all over him.
- Hot Latina chick wanted him to leave with her.
- Ditches friends for hot Latina chick.
- Ends up in cab by himself.
“I passed out in the cab,” Mustachio tells me years later. “Who knows how long he drove me around in that thing.”
When Mustachio eventually woke up, the cabbie was screaming for money outside of a strip club far away from downtown Vegas. Like a good boy, he paid the man… all the funds he had left.
? – 0700
He made his way into the gentleman’s club and—once again—was offered free everything due to his uniform, including lap dances.
I’m sure any Soldier or Airman knows that once your dress uniform bowtie comes off, other things start coming off fast. Same thing with Sailors and that handkerchief thingy they wrap around their necks. For Marines, when the top part of your neck collar comes off, shit starts going downhill quick.
First dance) He unbuttons the top of the neckpiece.
Second Dance) He unbuttons his gold buttons, leaving the blouse wide-open and his white undershirt exposed.
Third Dance) The stripper is dancing to some heavy metal racket and knocks half of his medals off.
Fourth Dance) He looks more like a pig in a human suit than a US Marine.
By the time he was finished with his fourth dance, he had already ingested too much alcohol and plastic titties to handle. He could feel himself hitting a wall and knew that it was time to go.
0700 – Tenish
Lord Mustachio busted through the exit door with a beer in his hand and was immediately greeted by the rising Mojave sun. As he stumbled into the parking lot, all the night’s debauchery started catching up with him. His nose began gushing blood, soiling the fibers on his dress blues and white cotton shirt.
Improvise, adapt, and overcome. These aren’t just words used for combat. A good Marine must live by these 24/7. So he grabbed one of those free escort magazines sitting in a kiosk, tore the pages out, and shoved them up his nose in order to quell the bleeding.
“I looked like I just got my ass kicked,” he says to me. “For all I know, I might have.”
Left with no money, hemophiliac-like symptoms, and no sense of direction, he just started walking with beer in hand.
According to Google MapQuest, Mustachio had a 3.4 mile walk. No problem, right? Wrong.
All Mustachio had to go off of was his view of the Strip. And the only way he knew how to get there was by taking one of the main roads that looked like it would lead him there. The only problem was that road happened to be the six lane I-15 at the peak of morning rush-hour traffic.
Mustachio walked down the side of the freeway like a disheveled homeless man, stumbling and swerving as he took slow sips out of his beer. Frantic motorists were honking at him as he tried to maintain balance and bearing along the shoulder lane. He kept giving the international sign for GO AROUND as he continued to sip his beer.
Several minutes later, realizing that he was becoming a hazard to himself and others, Mustachio jumped the guardrail and decided the best thing he could was b-line it toward the Strip. In order to do this he had to cut through some residential neighborhoods. He made it through a few yard before he was met with a challenging obstacle. In front of him sat an eight foot chain link fence. At first he was going to climb it, but he realized his corframs were too big to fit in the holes.
Improvise, adapt, and overcome.
He chugged the rest of his beer, set it down, and made running start toward the fence, giving himself just enough momentum to hoist himself over. Mustachio went tumbling down the other side and rolled about ten feet before he was able to pick his drunken self up and get Oscar Mike again. After moving for a few seconds he realized that he had landed in a caliche pit, resulting in his uniform looking like someone just threw brown sugar on him.
To make matters worse, he had gathered a little crowd on his way over the fence. As he attempted to dust himself off, he looked up and saw a throng of thirty homeless men starting to surround him. Evidently, that was their territory. It doesn’t matter that Mustachio could have probably blended in with them at that point. It was their turf and he was clearly an outsider.
These men hurled incoherent insults at the Marine and chased him like stray dogs until he was able to lose them after a few blocks. (His fresh young legs clearly had an advantage over individuals who had drank their bones stale.)
Lost and exhausted, Mustachio collapsed against a crosswalk pole at the corner of a busy commercial intersection.
“I must have laid there forever,” he says in his cowboy brogue. “I think I missed like five chances to cross the street. I was just layin’ there. I gave up.”
It had become an Odysseus-like journey for him at this point. Every two steps forward resulted in four steps back. No one to trust, only enemies. Time had become a nonissue. Just obstacle after obstacle with no end in sight.
Can you imagine witnessing this? A man who barely resembles a Marine laying on your street corner in broad daylight? He had become a street urchin. The top part of his uniform was completely unbuttoned with half of his medals and ribbons either missing or hanging off. Blood was stained on his uniform from his nose to his trousers, with hooker magazines shoved up his nose. What wasn’t covered in dried blood was covered in dirt. His bloodshot eyes that barely took the heat off his day old face stubble. It must have been disgustingly hilarious.
From out of nowhere, a goddess’s voice came from the side of the road. “Young man, are you alright? Do you need help?” It was his geriatric guardian angel.
Mustachio slowly lifted his head and mustered what little energy he had left. “Yes… yes… yes, ma’am.
“Come get in the car, sweetie. I’ll take you where you need to go.”
“Thu-thu… thank you, ma’am.”
The old woman went out of her way to take Mustachio back to his hotel on the Strip. It was an extremely kind gesture from a stranger. She told him about her grandson in the Army, about her shuffleboard club, and all the other shit old people brag about.
Mustachio just nodded his head and tried to not look like a complete fuck up—which he already did.
“So, I walk into the lobby of the casino,” he tells me, “and it’s like one of those movies where everythin’ stops and people are just staring. I swear, all the slot machines and all the commotion in a casino turned into dead silence. People are stealing chips from the dealers because they’re too focused on how fucked up I look. Half of them were Marines from the battalion and I just knew I was going to get my ass chewed for lookin’ like that in broad daylight. So, I just hightailed it back to the room and started bangin’ on the doors for Mike the Slav to let me in.”
I stop him during our chat. “You went to bed?”
“Yeah, for about four hours and we got up and went back out.”
“Did you have another crazy night?”
“No. We went out in our regular clothes, so no one bought us shit.”