Every Saturday we ask some of our favorite writers to fill in for us. Today, we have former Cracked.com writer Anthony Layser, who is now the deputy managing editor of Asylum.com and the recent lab rat in the cruel psychological experiment that is Las Vegas ...

When I recently contacted two old buddies who live in Los Angeles to tell them I was coming to town, we made the completely irrational decision to relive old times by spending an evening in Las Vegas.

"It'll be like 'Swingers' but without Favreau."

The following is a point-by-point breakdown of how that evening became a nightmarish ordeal far more troubling than the events depicted in the Ashton Kutcher film What Happens In Vegas. If you plan on visiting this viper's nest sometime in the future, please take note.

Travel Fatigue

Months prior to the Vegas trip, I proposed a deeply idiotic plan. Rather than book a hotel room, my friends and I would simply fly from Burbank to Las Vegas in the evening and fly back early the next morning. The only hitch to this badass, yet thrifty jaunt was that my five-hour flight from Philly to LA would occur prior to our flight from Burbank to Las Vegas. That meant that with the three-hour time difference, my internal clock read approximately 1 AM when I sat down with my friends -- let's call them "Claus" and "Heinrich" -- for dinner at a sushi restaurant in the Hard Rock casino. The time issue never occurred to me while making my itinerary, mostly because I am bad at math.

My Miscalculation:

As I stared into my raw fish with blurry eyes, already awake for more than 16 hours, I was beginning to feel the sensation of being that rare long-haul trucker who doesn't snort crank. There was only open road as far as the eye could see. Claus and Heinrich looked at me and snickered. "Dude, you're fucked."

Wow, 'guy sleeping in sushi' couldn't have been easy. Good work photo research!

How I Could Have Avoided This:

I should have chosen an in-flight nap over the complimentary presentation of Babylon A.D. I definitely got the short end of that trade-off.

Like sleep, but less memorable, and with worse acting.

Drinking Caffeine and Alcohol Concoctions

After having some post-dinner sake bombs, we moved to the Hard Rock's casino floor for craps. The game makes as much sense to me as a nuclear reactor schematic, so I decided to use the time to slowly lose money on the pass-no pass line while ordering as many Jack and Cokes as they'd bring me. Three were great. The forth felt innocuous. It was time for the vile grog that is Red Bull and vodka.

My Miscalculation:

Not even two hours in, I was desperately chugging caffeine as if it were some sort of miracle elixir. Meanwhile, it never crossed my mind that cola or Red Bull might be available without 80-proof liquor.

How I Could Have Avoided This:

If I were ever going to try cocaine, this would have been the time. Granted, it would've opened me up to an array of other pitfalls, my ability to speak on trivial topics would've been off the charts!

"Remember kids, when in doubt, just ask yourself: WWQTD?"


Around midnight PST, I was beginning to get my second wind, albeit an artificial wind created by a cocktail-fueled internal turbine. At the same time, Heinrich had gone on a tear with the dice. A crowd had formed around the craps table, cheering him on. Claus and I kept glancing at one another, confused by the changing shape and color of his stack of chips (we'd almost never seen one expand).

The blue things are either crackers, or those things that vibrate when your table is ready at The Outback Steakhouse.

My Miscalculation:

Throughout our craps run, the cocktail waitress knew exactly where the three of us were on the casino floor, due to our consistent tipping rate and refusal to turn down service. This, combined with the spoils of victory, destroyed any notion of pacing. We were all riding high, but by the time Heinrich cooled off, it was only I who displayed the motor skills of a toddler. My drunk, but well-rested friends observed this, and promptly announced it was time to go to a dance club.

How I Could Have Avoided This:

Next time, I will play slot machines from time to time. There's nothing more sobering than "gambling" on a piece of equipment that essentially operates like a broken vending machine while surrounded by compulsive slot jockeys who are cautionary tales personified.

"It takes a full hour to blow your college loan at the slots!"

Prowling Club Cougars

The next stop was a club called Tao, where Heinrich and I lost Claus in a soup of strobe lights and vibrating bass. Eventually, he was spotted gyrating on the catwalk between two go-go dancers. He waved us over. With no discretion left in my being, I promptly climbed up to the perch and joined him. Giant orc-like bouncers soon converged. They ordered Claus and I down, and told us this would be our last warning. As soon as they left, a small group of 40 to 50-year-old women approached. They were made over as though they had just posed for Glamour Shots at the mall.

My Miscalculation:

These women were nearly old enough to be my mother, so I figured they might have some motherly advice. "We like your moves," said one with a husky voice, thick glossy lipstick and augmented breasts seemingly implanted by Dr. Seuss. "Why don't you come to the VIP section and dance with us?" Before I knew it, I was double fisting bottle service vodka and being manhandled by what the good doctor might have referred to as a Tuzzle-Topped Twiddler.

How I Could Have Avoided This:

Despite what MILF porn may lead you to believe, in the real world, flirting with a cougar usually involves accusations of not knowing "what the word regret really means."

Enthusiastic Bouncers

These particular older ladies seemed to possess a fascistic determination to dance. They saw us as trained monkeys, and constantly demanded we be in motion. Having little in the way of cognitive function left, I was, at some point, goaded into dancing on a table. It didn't take long until I was pulled to the floor.

My Miscalculation:

Being dragged out of the VIP section and across a packed night club by two cartoonishly jacked security staff members wasn't exactly the way I had planned to leave, but in retrospect, it was about time for me to step out and get some air. On the other hand, it did smart a bit when they slammed me into a metal exit door and rolled me into a concrete hallway.

Either Jazz weighed 15 lbs or Uncle Phil was a superhero.

How I Could Have Avoided This:

This one is fairly simple. A solid way to steer clear of bouncers is to refrain from climbing on bar furniture when you are shit-canned.

Spontaneous Napping

It's unclear when exactly my body shut down. I suppose that like Jack Torrance in film version of The Shining, I descended into complete madness, hobbled around the casino's maze until I got outside, found a place to sit down and waited to freeze to death. Since Vegas autumns are in the 60s at night, the hypothermia never set in, but I, nonetheless, awoke in the Venetian parking garage very confused. I was out of plain sight, seated against a concrete girder between two cars. My watch read 7:12, which meant my flight was taking off in 33 minutes.

Our photo researcher, Randall, is suspiciously good at finding pictures of people sleeping in odd places. He's just sleeping, right?

My Miscalculation:

My brain throbbed as I raced down the garage stairwell, and arrived at street level. I ordered the first cab driver who stopped to get to McCarran Airport as fast as possible. At that point, I checked my pockets -- driver's license: gone; cell phone: gone. Unbelievably, I still had a wad of cash, credit cards and my boarding pass. I scanned my memory as to whether the TSA took Visa.

How I Could Have Avoided This:

If you don't go to sleep voluntarily, it will happen anyway.

OK, Randall. This man is clearly dead. We don't know whether to call the cops or admire your determination.

Racing Against Time to Escape

The cab driver, to his credit, drove as though I was in labor, and I, to my credit, cursed and sweated as though I was giving birth. It was 7:35 when I rushed up to airport security, manically babbling the words no ID, I was led to an area where a TSA official looked me over. Now had I entered any other airport in this state, I suspect I would have spent the night in the drunk tank. Not in Vegas. It was as though the TSA agent saw this sort of thing everyday. He gave me clearance to continue on, and I took off through the terminal, darting between travelers, who were visibly frightened. It was 7:43 when I spotted my gate, made a hard right and slammed through the closed entry door to the boarding ramp.

My Miscalculation:

At the end of the tunnel, a huddle of flight attendants turned and looked at me with wide eyes. One stepped toward me blocking any further advance. "Sir, what are you doing?" he yelped. Panting I gasped, "I've got to get on that plane." "Sir, the flight hasn't boarded yet. There's fog in Burbank." He sternly continued, "You smell like alcohol and if you don't return to the terminal, I'll call security." I nodded, backpedaled slowly and returned to the gate to find the flight's passengers lined up. In my hurried state, I failed to see them, but by their expressions it was obvious they had seen me. I scanned the area and eventually found Claus and Heinrich. They were lying at the foot of check-in kiosk, sleeping.

How I Could Have Avoided This:

I will now make it my duty to arrive at the airport two hours before boarding time, and never give the impression that I may be planning to commandeer an airliner. If I stick to those guidelines as well as the others I've discussed, I will likely survive my next trip to Vegas, even though I may never completely understand why I keep taking the risk in the first place.

Check out more of Anthony's work at Asylum.com.

All images (including the ones that didn't require any murder) courtesy of one man Photoshop powerhouse Randall S. Maynard.

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