Guy’s Vegas Diary: Act III—A Hard Landing In Palm Beach
Our Guy makes it home almost in one piece. But fortunately one piece is all he needs. Tweet
It's not the end of the road, exactly...
but after midnight, for Guy, the bridge is out. So it's time to slow down.
Father and son left a great, post-fight Mandarin dinner prematurely to head home to Palm Beach so as not to miss the 60th birthday for Guy’s hot-tub, good-time-machine-buddy “J”.
I do my best to show my respect for my friends. Flying up from DC to NYC—I took a helicopter to show another great guy—Mr. B—the love. Of course, if you read how this helicopter ride was necessitated—which I shared with him—a woman might not see the love and respect in an overt action like this—but Mr. B did. I would not have known that Blade existed, if it were not for Mr. B chartering a flight for me to join him for at dinner in Connecticut with a bespoke group of friends that he brought into the fellowship of the entourage.
If you are lucky, you’ve tasted entourage life. If you are Guy Shepherd, it’s a way of life.
Father and Son land hard in Palm Beach and we are picked up by Mrs. Shepherd. I would hate to think how fucked up we’d have been if it were not for the hangover-IV push. On the way home, we stopped at Brooklyn Bagel. Like me, the Bagelmeisters had fled New York for a better clime, but they import the water which, as it turns out, makes a better bagel. Not feeling 100 percent, I chose the the Carnegie — a half-pound of pastrami, Russian dressed, coleslaw, post-Vegas crutch-sandwich. I could have really used another IV, but it gave me the two-hour food coma nap that would get me back into the game for the birthday curtain call.
As I mentioned, I met J in a hot tub. I had just sold my house in New York, and I was squatting at my father in law’s place. This was five years ago when it was a buyer’s market. l love my father in law—and had no incentive to rush.
J had just sold a place in Jupiter and while he was in the process of building a new house there, so he bought another in my outlaw’s development to live in and then flip for a profit. We found ourselves sharing a tub with over-sized beverages served to us. I had Johnny Walker Black and he had a frozen margarita. Both of us are salesmen—cunning and affable linguists. We hit it off and I asked him for his number. Remember, I am an un-written character in Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers. Sadly, while making an ass of myself, I got his number. But I am a dyslexic and I put J’s number in my phone ass-backward.
What is a Guy to do when he is in a new town, and had just met a new friend? Go door to door in the vicinity of where he said he lived, obviously. I found J’s house in four knocks. His wife answered the door.
I ask, “Is J home?” This is a gated community and no one shows up unannounced.
She asks, “Who are you?” I told her that I met a guy named J in a hot tub and she turned around, and yelled, “J, your boyfriend from the hot tub is here!” He liked me too.
The Shepherds arrive at his party. I’m crushing it. Rising to the occasion and hiding the internal bleeding. The son is across the crowded patio room sporting Mr. K’s donated Chrome Hearts sunglasses and looking good.
I call J my manager because he has a good eye for friends. I have a tendency toward being promiscuously profligate. I am a stranger-talker. I can find something in everyone. Jay, on the other hand, just collects on face cards. I am the Joker in his deck of Royals.
This party is far from a sausage fest. As it should be, there is more beauty than balls at the party.
By 9 pm, Mrs. Shepherd was turning into a pumpkin and informed me that my chariot was leaving. (In her defense, the next day was a workday). “Honey it’s not my call. Let’s ask J if he needs me still.” J requested my continued presence. Mrs. Shepherd shook her head—as is her practice—and wisely left.
My grandmother liked to say, “Nothing good happens after 12 am.” As an older guy who is young at heart, the up-and-coming like to see if I’m still all that. I call it a title shot—and it’s my policy not to deny anyone. Sometimes it’s argument, somethings it’s drinking. Sometimes it’s a friendly choke and arm bar. Tonight was the latter. Sorry, Nanna.
J’s son—is not a small man: 6’2″, 200 pounds and 25 years old. It’s a truism in fighting that all things being equal, size matters. Fortunately for me, J’s son is not trained. For example, I would not give my son a title shot. He is trained, has cardio and some unresolved issue with his old man. My cardio is shit. I fight the way young men fuck — quickly. J’s son lunged at me sticking his head right in the pocket of my armpit. Classic rookie mistake. I looked at my son, and asked if he wouldn’t mind taking the glasses off my face—and he obliged. From there, it’s an easy wrap around the head, a step forward and J’s son made a nice noise and then gave a tap. As is the case with the young, he immediately made another attack, this time going lower. Again a classic rookie mistake. A little step back and a little push forward, his arm came under my control, and then a feeling of dislocation—which I call ripping chicken—comes over him, a little noise and then a tap.
The good news is that there was a very pretty woman there and she took him to bed for a kinder, gentler wrestling match.
Father and son took a Lyft home a little after 1am. J did an Irish goodbye and passed out after breaking a lamp. Happy birthday to you, my friend.
The next day was hard on the Shepherd. If quitting weren’t anathema to my nature, I should been whisked off to Betty Ford.
Nietzsche was a little too intense when he said “That which does not kill you makes you stronger.” In his defense, he was a little sick in the head with an illness born of syphilis. Better said: “What doesn’t kill you makes you freaking awesome.”