If you are ever in Arizona and find yourself on the Interstate-17, pay attention when traveling through a town called Black Canyon City. With a population just over 2,000, and nothing to recommend it to highway travelers but a small gas station, most people will blow right by this little community without a second glance. But if you slow down and look to the West of the highway, you may see a dilapidated, crumbling building with the simple words "DOG (C)RACK" written on the side in faded, orange lettering.
You have found the Black Canyon City Dog Track, the site of one of the worst massacres in Arizona history. The property has remained derelict and neglected since the 80's, slowly rotting away on the hilltop where it was once a thriving den of debauchery.
If you were to exit the highway and park on the corner of Maggie Mine Rd and Coldwater Canyon you could walk to the abandoned building and explore the stale, decaying ruins of a once popular greyhound track.
If you approach the side of the building with the fading orange letters you will see a silver gate standing open. If you venture through you will come to an unlocked door into the building. If, by chance, you are on the north side of the building, you will instead find a smaller doorway, this one with the door torn off the hinges. Graffiti to the left of this door reads "Why didn't you kill yourself today?"
If you then venture inside, you will find yourself in a cavernous, crumbling lobby. You will find a booth for reservations, a wall of betting windows and even a bar. Beyond that, you can explore the kennels, the private offices of the management, and even the overgrown dog track below.
Of course, one of the first things you'll see are the grandstands; rows and rows of red and yellow plastic seats, many of them still attached, while others have been torn up and thrown in an unceremonious pile nearby. This part of the building has an unsettling feeling as thousands of seats, all eerily expectant, face an empty field of weeds and a small mountain range beyond through large, broken panoramic windows. A large, metal sign hanging above tells you that the red seats cost 50 cents while the yellow seats cost 75.
If you continue to wander, you will find more graffiti such as "Who watches the Watchmen?" and "His name was Robert Paulsen". You will no doubt finish your tour feeling unsettled and ill, and with good reason.
The story of this dog track is mysterious and difficult to find, having been all but erased from history. After doing over a years worth of research, I believe I have learned enough to warrant writing this article.
Our story begins with a citrus farmer named David K. Funk. In 1942, tired of his Phoenix farm, Funk opened a successful race track in Tijuana called "Caliente Race Track", which was the first combination horse/dog track in North America.
It was enormously successful and with his new found wealth, Funk moved his wife and four young children - Albert, Charlotte, Richard and David Jr. - back to Arizona and opened several more thriving greyhound tracks.
The Funk children grew and while Albert and David Jr. followed in the family business, Charlotte and Richard showed little interest and went off on their own paths. Charlotte married a young entrepreneur named Monte Kobey and Richard became a university professor.
David Jr. and Albert moved around the country opening tracks in Florida, Oregon and Colorado. David Sr., impressed by his son's excellent work ethic, named David Jr Vice President of the Arizona race tracks, of which there were five.
David Jr., an aggressive but inexperienced businessman, decided in 1965 to open a new greyhound track in central Arizona. He choose a sleepy, rural town called Black Canyon City, less than an hour north of Phoenix.
When his father wouldn't approve the funds to build this track, David Jr. found funding through a Delaware company called Western Racing Inc., a well known mob-run enterprise on the east coast.
With their help, Black Canyon City Dog Track was opened in 1967, much to the chagrin of the locals, a devoutly religious group, who were horrified to find their pious town host to such a sinful sport.
David Jr. brought his sister and her husband to live in Black Canyon City and oversee the track's management. Charlotte's husband Monte was interested in greyhound racing and so Charlotte found herself once again enslaved to the family business. She noted in her diary that year how much she hated dog racing and how much she resented her family for forcing this life on her.
The track was an enormous success despite local protests and harassment by the town's small police force. Gamblers from Phoenix would drive up on the weekends to get out of the heat and spend time drinking and betting at the greyhound track.
In 1973 David Jr left Arizona to open a new property in Las Vegas, leaving Monte and Charlotte behind to run the Black Canyon track. Charlotte strongly objected to being "abandoned in the middle of nowhere" but Monte was excited about the chance to run the business alone.
David Jr. didn't return to Black Canyon City until early in 1982, when Charlotte called him to complain about the increased tensions between locals and track management. In the years he had been gone, the protests had turned to vandalism, death threats and finally violence after a flaming bag weighted with a brick was thrown through his pregnant sister's window.
Monte and Charlotte argued to shut the track down, citing violence and poor profit margins. David Jr. would not agree to it. He was by this time deeply in debt to Western Racing and they were no longer asking nicely for their money. The threats had grown so violent that David Jr. showed up in Arizona with his humerus broken in three places.
When her brother refused to release the Kobey's from their obligations, Charlotte begged David Jr. permission to leave, telling him about a local man who was harassing her named Brad Davidson. She said she didn't know him and had no idea why, but that he followed her when she was alone and came to the track everyday to try and speak with her. He was an alcoholic and a gambler, she said. In April, a man accosted David Jr. in the street claiming to be Brad Davidson, and pleaded with him for help, claiming he was the real father of Charlotte's baby.
In May of 1982, Monte and David Jr. got into a violent fist fight in the management offices when the latter went through the track's accounting. David Jr. accused Monte of running the track into the ground due to gross financial mismanagement. David Jr. was so angry that he told Monte about his conversation with Brad Davidson. Monte broke the cast off his brother-in-law's arm.
David Jr. was taken to the hospital to have his arm reset but the local ER staff refused to help him because he was the man who had “brought the very devil himself" to their town. Police were called and they escorted David Jr. off hospital property, roughing him up a bit. They told him that crime in their community had gone up ten fold since he had "invited all the sinners" down upon them.
The following month, David Jr. received another convincing threat from Western Racing to ruin him and decided on one last ditch effort to revive the track. Attendance had dwindled to almost nothing due to patrons being harassed and assaulted by locals as they came and left the dog track.
David Jr. bought adspace in Phoenix and Tucson and advertised the "comeback of the century" for the failing business. On July 10th of that year, all patrons of the track would not only receive $10 in betting credit but also drink for free between 11am and 1pm. Much to Charlotte and Monte's disappointment, the response was overwhelming.
When the day arrived, David Jr. and Monte had to open the track early. Though the races weren't scheduled to begin until 10am, hundreds of people showed up at the track just after 8 in the morning. Phoenix locals had organized their own buses to transport them in mass.
At 9am Monte and the general manager shared an opening-day drink down on the track, which David Jr. declined.
The morning of July 10th, 1982 was a scorcher and the decision to allow people to drink for free quickly became an expensive one. Monte opened the bar early, at 10am and by 10:30 the line for the bar wrapped twice around the lobby.
David Jr., Charlotte and another barman opened two more makeshift bars - one next to the outside grandstands and one on the other side of the lobby - to deal with the demand.
Every seat in the inside grandstand was taken and people fought for the outside seats as well. Around 150 people stood mingling around the lobby, watching the races from above and sticking close to the bar. They won money, they lost it, they laughed and cried and drank. By noon, the party was in full swing and everyone was in a boisterous and rollicking good mood.
The first sign something was wrong was around 11:45am when the lines for the bathrooms grew as long as the lines for the bar.
At around 12:20pm people in the lobby started to get sick. Only a handful at first. but within an hour people were vomiting where they stood - this quickly spread to the grandstands.
The general manager of the track, who was stuck behind the reservations desk, informed concerned patrons that it was simply a bad batch of liquor and that it would pass. When several people in the lobby began to seizure, David Jr. closed the betting counter to stop people from asking for their money back.
By 1:30pm, the first person was dead.
He was followed in quick succession by others - death spread like wildfire. Some were found to have dropped dead in the bathrooms, others simply never raised themselves out of their seats and died where they sat and yet others keeled over in the lobby, screaming in pain.
Local emergency services, who had finally been called after the first death, were slow to respond and by 4:30pm 618 people were dead and a thousand more were hospitalized. Tents were set up in the dirt parking lot and medical staff were called in from every town within a 200 mile radius. Of those that were hospitalized, another 381 people died just outside the dog track. The 999 deaths were ruled as poisonings.
David Jr., Charlotte and Monte all survived.
David Jr., the first to cast an accusation, wrote a letter to his father the following day which included a timeline of events on the day of the murders and a paragraph detailing why he couldn't help but be suspicious of his sister. Charlotte had appeared unfazed as so many people died violent deaths next to her bar, and had also gone to considerable lengths to ensure that the man called Brad Davidson was served several free drinks.
Charlotte, in turn, openly accused her husband of the murders, after every bottle of liquor in the building tested positive for Arsenic. She stated that on that day she had twice raised a glass of bourbon to her lips, only to have Monte slap it away. Peculiar, she mused, that he had suddenly become so concerned for her pregnancy when he never had before. Monte disagreed that this ever occurred.
David Jr., a seasoned drinker, was also suspected of the murders due to his refusal of an opening day drink with his manager, a tradition that David Jr. had always taken part in. In fact, no one had ever seen David Jr. turn down a drink in his life.
Monte, for his part, quietly accused Western Racing Inc., as he had started to receive threats from the east coast company the week before.
David Sr. wrote in correspondence to a business partner later that year that he
believed the towns religious zealots had organized the poisonings since they were the only ones to gain from it.
The governor of Arizona at the time ordered a hasty investigation and a purging of all mentions of the tragedy from the local media, thereby ensuring it wouldn't get picked up nationally.
Most of the families of the victims (those gamblers who even had families) were purportedly bought off and the FBI closed the investigation on July 16th. The governor was in the throes of his own scandal at the time (accusations of handing out Indian casino licenses in return for campaign donations) and didn't want more bad press for his state.
In the end, no charges were filed. The track was closed that day and abandoned until the mid-80's when Albert Funk tried to revive the property as a swap meet venue. He abandoned this venture two years later after it failed to draw vendors.
David Jr. and his brother-in-law Monte gave up race tracks and opened a successful string of portrait studios throughout the southwest. David Jr died in 2005 and Monte in 2007. Charlotte and Richard are the only Funk children still alive today. No one has ever admitted to the murders.
Perhaps one of the more confusing aspects of this case is the fact that Black Canyon City's well water was also found to be contaminated with high levels of arsenic in 1985. Today, residents of the town and local businesses are served by a private water company due to the toxicity of their ground water.
Sadly, the culprit in this case may never be known due both to the local authorities refusal to investigate the massacre and the federal government's disinterest in it. And even if someone did decide to reopen the 30 year old cold case, most of the evidence has probably decayed and been destroyed by time.
Of course, as you know, Black Canyon City Dog Track still stands today and you can even visit the bar where almost 1,000 people met their deaths. If you do decide to visit, take your time walking the grounds. You may even stumble on betting tickets with the date "July 10th, 1982" printed on them, as I did the last time I was there.
Even the bar still stands, though it is hidden beneath a pile of detritus. If you do manage to dig it out you may even find an unopened bottle of gin. But I won’t tell you not to drink it. I’ve always thought 999 was an unsatisfactory number. View from the Road Gate Inside Why didn't you kill yourself today? Reservations First floor Lobby Betting Counter Offices Bathroom Bar area Kennels Grandstands View of the Track Racetrack 1 Racetrack 2 Loading Dock Outdoor Grandstands No Admittance Who Watches the Watchmen? His name was Robert Paulsen C. W.
So, you wanna go to SHOT show? You think it's all fun and games? Get to play with guns? See Jesse James and R. Lee Ermey? SHOT show is the annual pilgrimage of the unwashed masses to Las Vegas to rub elbows with youtube celebrities, bloggers and overseas businessmen copying US made equipment and share infectious disease.
If you love guns, gambling and gonorrhea - SHOT show is for you! It is not my typical idea of a good time. I am not a big fan of Las Vegas.
However: I do attend for a few reasons. First, I do enjoy travel and I'm platinum on AA so I can usually score an upgrade. Second, industry people are in there that I do hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars with business with so it's nice to put a face with the name and see what deals are out there. SHOT for me has been a bust for the past few years. Being a value guy, I want to buy at $1000 and sell at $3000 and as of recently the gun business is more like buy for $1 and sell for $1.10 if you get what I mean.
We used to do business at SHOT and now it's just checking in on foursquare, instagram and rubbing elbows with bloggers and the like. I want to make money, not spend money so this is very annoying to me.
Anyways, onto the play by play. Monday, January 16th. One day before SHOT show. http://imgur.com/a/HoFUm
Every time I've been rejected by a woman, I move $1 from checking into savings and I take the bankroll down to the Wynn for some play. Lets do this.
The TSA line is a shitshow thanks to, well TSA.
I slog my way to the lounge, as shitty as it is to wait for my winged chariot to DFW. I have gone from being in an abusive relationship with Delta to being in an abusive relationship with AA. Although if you really want to experience the battered spouse feeling, UA is a few gates over. This trip's light reading is trying to finish "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. Such a good book as well as "Outliers" if you want a good read.
I walk up to the podium to find out that my upgrades do not clear, even as an AA Plat thanks to the addition of a FOURTH elite tier. Goddamn fucking W. Doug Parker. Asshole. I gate check my bags to make life easier for me and the rest of the folks. The gate agent calls concierge key and executive platinum passengers. I look down and realize I'm wearing a suit and board with the executive platinum folks because I do not care and I look the part. If you walk with a purpose and are dressed reasonably well, you fit the profile. I settle into my window seat and try to finish outliers. I pass out before takeoff and I'm awoken by the dulcet tones of the flight attendants preparing for landing. We land at Dallas a few minutes early and I hightail it to the Centurion for a quick bite to eat. I grab a plate and help myself to some of the excellent brisket, pecan encrusted chicken and some roasted jumbo asparagus. Yes, my pee is going to smell funny. No, I do not care. The lounge is packed. The bar is full and I grab a quick single malt as I have my meal since American's not going to feed me. They begin boarding to Mccarran as I walk out of the lounge. No time for a stop in the spa on this trip. I make it to the gate just as the call group 2 boarding.
I bypass the main line and walk up through the priority line giving no heed to the people that have been waiting there before me as I hold up my paper boarding pass with PLATINUM to the gate agent. I board and take my usual seat - the exit row without the seat in front of it. I'm aghast to see this sight. http://imgur.com/a/dygil
The savages. Literally. The savages.
I put my loathing away for a moment and look down at the exit row. I have the window. The aisle is a large middle aged man and in the middle is what I believe to be a formecurrent linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys wearing a 52 regular sports jacket. He's not a fat guy in a little coat, he's a big fucking hulk of a man stuffed in an exit row seat that is already an inch narrower due to the tray table. I grimace as I take my seat and give him the manly nod. He does not look happy about the fact that his knees are in the seat in front and I'm stretched out like a Cheshire cat in front of a fireplace on a cold January afternoon.
The boarding door closes for an on time departure and Stephanie the FA takes her seat. He leans over and asks if he can take the empty row across the aisle and she takes one look at the three of us and gives him the nod. I bail out to give him a path of egress and suddenly the trip to Las Vegas has just become way more comfortable. I finish The Tipping Point somewhere over west texas, so I pop a xanax and dr pepper and zone out for the rest of the ride. I awake to feel one of the FA's jostling me awake telling me to put my seat up. I do so and we have a ride so smooth that not even the Delta guy behind me can complain about light chop. We catch the TYSSN4 arrival and the next thing I know it the Messier Dowty landing gear of the A321 touch the paint at Mccarran for a smooth rollout down 25L.
My phone battery is approaching grim death since this seat has no power plugs and I find bartman383
has sent me a message. He has been enjoying LV with his wife and their due to bad weather they are in the city of sin for a few extra nights. He invites me to dinner. I'm still pretty full from DFW and I tell him I'll be over there once I get my bags and the car and I'll see him when I see him. He gives me the info for the hotel as we pull up to the gate.
First stop: Centurion lounge. AA's app tells me bags being unloaded. I grab a quick bite of fried chicken and brussels sprouts since they are good for you and a chocolate pudding. The brisket and pecan encrusted chicken from DFW still has me full but I'm well aware of the speed of a union baggage handlers nowadays and who doesn't like chocolate pudding? Terrorists. That's who. Want to know how to screen for terrorists TSA? Set up a table of free chocolate pudding at the airport. The people who don't take any are members of ISIS. It's just that simple.
I grab my bag and hoof it to Hertz. I'm an idiot and I am an hour late for my pickup. Oops. Will an Audi A3 suffice? I sigh and I accept my Teutonic quattro chariot. I do a burnout in the parking garage and hightail it to the exit. I flash my #1 card and my ID and the gatekeeper gives me the go ahead. I get onto the the strip and traffic is awful. I'm going to be late for dinner. I make a left onto Russell Road and hightail it up the 15. I manage to get the car up to 100 as I pass the Luxor. My phone is dead so I can't message Bart about being late. Fuck. The exit approaches quickly as I put the 4 wheel disk brakes to work and sling the car around and head south on Las Vegas Bl. I accidentally turn into the Bellagio and I'm now running even more late. Fuck. Eventually, I get the car into the garage at the Cosmopolitan and head upstairs. I cannot remember the name of the restaurant but I head up to the third floor where all the restaurants are and I see this sign that's reminiscent of my days in retail.
It says RESTAURANT - LOUNGE - PAWN SHOP.
I laugh. I walk in. It's literally a pawnshop. I look around puzzled.
FC: Is this a restaurant?
Bald Headed Guy: Yes, through that door.
He points towards a door. I walk in to find a bustling restaurant, lounge via the entrance of pawnshop. This is insane. I pass a mirror and check myself out. I adjust my tie, after all it is YSL and the ladies LOVE YSL. Remember that. I find the hostess and inform her I will be joining some friends for dinner. They probably do not have me on the reservation though but I turn on the charm and she smiles and says no problem at all. She asks if my tie is from Hermes. I say no, I'm a YSL guy. She looks impressed as I tell her I'll make a quick lap of the room to see if they're there and surprise them. She gives me a nod and tells me to go right ahead. Still got it.
I spot bart and his wife who I can only remember vaguely from gunnitlive after party video and I pull up a chair. Bart is surprised to see I made it and they are in the middle of dinner. They offer to ply me with food and beverage but I decline as I'm driving so no booze for me and no food since I am stuffed from Dallas. We chat about life and liberty over libations. Bart's wife thinks I am hysterical. She's had a few drinks and they are already into their main courses. The brussels sprouts are way too salty and we have to send it back. No bueno.
Bart invites me up to his suite on the top floor of the hotel where we are to meet Brogelicious
later in the evening. I say, when in rome......we head to the top floor of the hotel tower where Bart shows me his view from the balcony and cracks open the mini bar for some more libations. He asks if I want a drink and I say I better not. I'm driving.
Not 30 seconds after arriving, brogel shows up. Bart's wife hugs brogel. She's infatuated with him. We start shooting the shit and bart opens up the minibar and tells us to take anything we want, it's on the hotel. I laugh and I look outside as bart opens his yeti 110 for some silver bullets. Apparently he is so baller the hotel will send up a yeti 110 filled with beer to make him happy. His wife is apparently such a baller. I ball on a budget. They just ball. Hahaha.
We shoot the shit some more about guns, gun stuff and people on the reddit for a while. I get a little thirsty and I crack open bart's cooler. I ask him how long the stuff in the cooler is supposed to last and he says until Wednesday.
I look down and I am agape at what I see.
We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers... Also, a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge, and I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.
I mentally prepared my butthole and I decided to help myself to a coors light against my wishes but Bart, Bart's wife and Brogel are all drinking so I let peer pressure take hold as I cracked open a beer with them. We head out to the balcony to smoke some cuban cigars together as bart's wife takes a photo of all of us. We all look like hell. Haha.
As bart downs his second beer, he asks me a question.
Bart: ever go hunting?
Me: Ducks a little bit but not much
Bart: ever want to hunt some deadly game?
Me: Like on african safari?
Bart: No, I mean like.........man.
Me: Hahahahhahaaha you're just fucking with me. Hahahahahhaa. That's really funny.
Bart: No really, the concierge here at this hotel will set it up for us. It's amazing. I remember my first hunt......
Brogel starts laughing and I realize they've been doing a bit. I've been had.
We bullshit about SHOT and Barrett's shotguns and other things and next thing I know, it's late but bart hands me a mixed drink. I sip it a bit and I was in the middle of a tirade complaining about my customers. Suddenly, there was a terrible roar all around us, and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the city, and a voice was screaming: Holy Jesus. What are these goddamn animals? Nobody seems to understand what I'm talking about. It's cold on the balcony. Our cigars are done. We head indoors. No point in mentioning these bats, I thought. Poor bastards will see them soon enough.
Back indoors I realize Brussels sprouts and coors light is a bad choice. Seriously no bueno. I excuse myself to the bathroom and drain the vein. The asparagus funny smelling pee and the side effects of beer and brussels sprouts is a noxious combination that a defense contractor should weaponize it. It's pretty bad and not even cuban tobbaco can mask the smell.
I sit back down and continue to talk about guns and stuff with bart and the gang and bart asks who ruined the bathroom. I apologize as he sprays a bunch of febreze around and opens the balcony. I apolgize to brogel. He is not accepting my apology. (sorry :( )
Nearly 11, it's about time to pull chocks and mosey on down the dusty trail. I don't want to prompt an evacuation of the hotel due to noxious odors so I decide to leave and bart seems to be kinda mad that I've ripped ass and polluted the sanctuary of his hotel. Half a coors light and brussels sprouts are no bueno in my book now. Bart decides to party hard with his wife and I offer brogel a ride home. He seems skeptical to share a confined space with me after I have just destroyed bart's hotel room. The car has 4 windows and the Uber will cost him a few bucks he can put towards ammo. He relents as we head down to the garage to find my car. Thankfully we find it quickly and I manage to contain the weapons of ass destruction for the 16 minute ride off strip to casa de brogel.
He says I'm not that bad a dude and I agree as I hightail it to my hotel. I cannot find my hotel reservations so I call my travel agent to see.
Apparently the Wynn was not in my travel budget this year. I have come to find out I have been booked at Circus Circus, much to my chagrin. How bad could it be? I've stayed at the Wynn. I've stayed at Encore. I've stayed at the hotel that Elisabeth Shue's character got raped in in Leaving Las Vegas - but Circus Circus? Did I mention that I HATE CLOWNS? I HATE CLOWNS. Fuck.
I pull into the parking garage and the check in line resembles something straight out of the TSA line at Mccarran. 45 minutes to check in. The clerk is friendly and says he's also from Louisiana which is neat. He asks if I've stayed there before and I, being a connoisseur of old vegas history I decide to make a joke and I tell him the last time I was there, Jay Sarno owned the place. He got a laugh. I head up to my room and unpack. The lobby is clean as an old vegas casino can be, the room is clean and there's no way to plug anything in since the hotel predates personal electronic devices. I plug my phone into my external battery and collapse on the bed. I message Bart and chugbleach
instead of falling asleep about show tomorrow and I offer to pick bart up early since there is no shuttle from the cosmo. Tuesday, November 16th SHOT Show Day One
I awoke several hours later in a daze......the clock said 10AM. The show opened at 8:30. Fuck me to tears. I hurry up and get dressed and down to the sands convention center. The parking lot is FULL. The entire complex is a mess. When my man Steve Wynn built his joint he didn't build enough parking. So people would park at the Venetian and now FUCKING NOBODY CAN GET A PARKING SPACE. Holy shit. I eventually say fuck it and park over at the Wynn and walk over to the Sands. I meet up with a few of my regular suppliers and I see nothing interesting at all. Bart went to bed at 6AM after spending all night partying with his wife over at the palazzo. I joke and say that he just should have stayed there. Bart is amazed at the size of the show and we have lunch at the most disgusting place in las vegas - the convention center bistro snack bar. Bart is a wise man as he grabs a powerade and a fruit cup. I decide to try an "italian beef" and a fruit cup instead of fries to stay semi health conscious. The "italian beef" is the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. It is flat out depressing. They give me fries with it and I demand a fruit cup. The sassy black woman working the stand asks me "DID YOU ASK FOR FRUIT? CAUSE RIGHT HERE SAYS FRIES" and I channel my inner Louis CK from the "this is how I talk" bit from SNL as I shoot back "WHY YOU FRONTIN ON ME I ASKED FOR FRUIT AND YOUR ASS BETTER BACK UP AND GET ME SOME FRUIT" so she goes back and gets me some fruit.
The "italian beef", my fruit cup, bart's fruit cup and powerade comes to $81. My platinum amex comes out and I treat bart to "lunch". We bullshit about guns and stuff in the Springfield booth as we wait at the world's worst concession stand. We eat and Bart is so hungover that he thinks he is in need of physical therapy and a wheelchair. There is no way he is going to party tonight before his trip home. Or so I think. Haha.
I meander around the show a bit more and I find this, the most USELESS PRODUCT OF 2017. It's made by a company called radetec. http://imgur.com/a/GOiCB
It's a shot counter. For your gun.
A digital odometer, for your gun.
The only person that would buy this is the guy like my dad that kept a spiral bound notebook in his car where he documented how many miles he traveled per tank, gallons dispensed, PRICE, service station and whether they had a different price for cash/charge, oil consumption, tire rotations, alignments, all services - scheduled or otherwise, and a running odometer. Does anyone know the gun owner who asks for a round count when they are looking at a used gun? The question I always shoot back is "do you want to be lied at a little or do you want to be lied at a lot?" because that's what you're asking for when you ask for round count.
UNLESS YOU BUY THIS PRODUCT!
I roll my eyes so far back into my head that I nearly lose my balance. This is idiotic. I cannot fathom anyone willing to buy this. What a waste of perfectly good exhibition space.
Bart heads back to his hotel after visiting SHOT show for a few hours, not getting any swag and to get an IV of fluids since he looked like he was rapidly approaching grim death.
I wrap up visiting prime vendors and checking out the new products, or lack thereof because I have something on the schedule. At 4:30 there's a suicide prevention for retailers seminar hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. As many of you know this is an issue that is important to me and perhaps we as retailers should be doing more. The keynote was from their chief medical director talking about the accessibility of firearms and the mindset of the "typical" suicide. Mostly men. If you are a veteran you are at a significantly larger risk. The information was presented very not surprisingly and one of the things discussed was that we only spend around 21M a year on suicide prevention.
A few take away facts from the keynote:
When suicide barriers are put up on a bridge, suicide rates for the entire area drop. The key to preventing suicide is getting people to talk about their problems. Once you can get someone out of that mindset, they are statistically less likely to do it and live productive lives afterwards. There are certain terms that they are trying to get away from - for instance, they are not saying "committed suicide" they are now saying "died by suicide" in order to bring awareness and tell it like it is.
One thing that really was interesting to me was my reading on the flight in from Dallas. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell discusses how things stay the same and suddenly they all change. One of the things that he discusses is in micronesia - where teen suicide was practically unheard of became an outright epidemic. One teenager did it, for reasons passing understanding to me as an outsider and then all the other kids realized that they too could escape their pain by hanging themselves as well and suddenly the suicide rates in micronesia became so high to where it became a public health issue. I wish I could show you all the article I wrote on TTAG about my friend's death but it has been lost in the cloud and I am unable to find the last draft I sent to print, but it echoes some of the problems we have with suicide and mental health in the firearm industry.
After the keynote, the good doctor opened the floor up for questions. Her keynote posed a lot of statistics but not a lot of answers. I am a detail oriented granular data guy and I did not get a solid grasp of the AFSP solutions posed, if any.
Several firearm dealers discussed the lack of a cohesive solution and the takeaway was they're trying to develop awareness for the suicide problem. Their goal is to lower suicide rates but how they get there is yet to be determined. I didn't like hearing that and the comments from the crowd reflected the lack of a "here's what you can do TODAY to help this problem" part of the initiative.
Going around the room, one dealer who used NICS said that if a customer was just flat out acting funny - he'd lie to the customer and say there was a delay with NICS even though there was an approval just to get them to not be able to have a gun for a few days. The crowd applauded this initiative, however I'm not sure lying to customers is the best way to run a business and treat them with respect. Another dealer brought up an interesting point. When someone comes in looking to buy a gun and they don't know what kind of gun they want, what caliber, and are generally clueless - they're either buying a gun to kill themselves with, OR perhaps they are a very uneducated prospective customer - and there is no clear way of finding out which is which.
The problems presented by the AFSP are real. The solutions aren't there though. Yet. Ideally I'd like to see some change to that. However, there's some problems.
I hung around and asked the good doctor and her staff some questions and I am in no way denigrating her life's work and her dedication to preventing suicide since she has dedicated her life's work to the issue, but the conversation went something like this.
Did you do any research on the accessibility of firearms from a retailer from the legal standpoint?
"No, we haven't"
Do you know how the NICS or state POC background systems work in regard to mental health holds, etc?
One of the problems that I foresee right off the bat is that you talked about how you are fighting time, and if you can get someone out of that suicide mindset - even for a few hours, you can get them into that higher survival bracket. If we apply a one size fits all solution to it like California and put a 10 day wait on everything with the goal of protecting someone from their own life, how do we balance that with the needs of the woman who has been hiding from her abusive spouse and needs a gun right away?
"That's a good question that I don't have an answer for."
Their initiative, I admire - the lack of solutions is a little off putting however. I tell the doc about how my friend's suicide has impacted me and she seems to be sympathetic to the situation as does her colleagues. I am given her cards and told to call the next time I'm in New York so we can get together and discuss things within the industry. I'll give them a buzz in a few weeks when I'm up there on business. On my way out of the hall, I run into Massad Ayoob. Nice guy. I've admired his work over the years. Bart invites myself and chugbleach
to dinner, I can't reach Chug and even though I am beat I decide to hang out with Bart and Mrs Bart
Bart: What do you want to eat?
FC: Let's find a nice seafood restaurant and eat some red salmon, I feel a powerful lust for red salmon.
I begin vomiting.
God damn mescaline. Why the fuck can't they make it a little less pure?
We eventually head downstairs and order too much food. We are tired and not very hungry. Bart is still hungover and barely able to process food. His wife is grazing on all sorts of meat products. I am in awe of how they are both still upright after six nonstop nights of partying. I've only been here one day and I feel like I am about to die.
Dinner concludes with an awkward hug with bart's wife - I don't know how other men feel about wife hugs so I have just avoided the prospect entirely. Like flying through Denver on Frontier. Or flying on Frontier. Ever.
I drive over to the Wynn to set up my markers and the poker room is full. I draw a $2500 marker at the craps table and watch the game a bit. I have never played craps before in my life but the three people there seem to be having fun.
I look down at my phone and I realize a plane has landed. fluffy_butternut
has landed in Las Vegas on business. I had lost a bet and offered to pick him up from the airport. I cash back in my chips against my casino credit and head back to my car. I cannot find my car. Fuck. I wander the wynn garage which is covered in construction debris. I eventually find it and haul ass to the airport. Now, I didn't know this but fluffy has the WORST SENSE OF DIRECTION AT ALL. Seriously. I have no idea how he even made it to the correct city. He lands and has to get his bag and stuff and I circle the airport. He lets me know he's at door 77 wherever the fuck that was. I drive into the pickup portion and I see no sign. He then says he's coming up a level, and I tell him that I'll be there shortly. I park the car and Metro PD starts yelling.
Metro: You can't park your car here.
FC: Why not? Is this not a reasonable place to park?
Metro: Reasonable? You're on a sidewalk! This is the sidewalk!
I give the man a $20 and tell him to keep it running as I wander Mccarran screaming FLUFFY! HERE FLUFFY! I message fluffy to let him know I am the car parked on the sidewalk. I instantly figure out who he is having never seen a photo of him and I throw his bags into the car as we head for his hotel. I haul ass out of the airport and get the A3 on the highway.
Now this was a superior machine. Thirty nine grand worth of gimmicks and high-priced special effects. The rear windows lit up with a touch like frogs in a dynamite pond. The dashboard was full of esoteric lights and dials and meters that I would never understand.
We check in at the Rio where the desk clerk is friendly and flirty. I express amazement there is no line. Fluffy checks in and we take his bags upstairs and he offers to buy me food for driving him to the airport. I decline. We head to the bar anyways. He orders two beers and we decide to call chug. He's staying out in Summerlin or something because his company is apparently run by cheapskates. He asks if we want to hang out and shoot the shit. I say sure and ask if he wants us to pick up food or anything from CVS or something since I have the car and I'm able to do anything I want. He asks for some toothpaste. No problem. I may be an asshole on the internet but I have a heart of gold. We get some toothpaste get to the hotel.
Arriving at the lobby, we have no idea where he is. It turns out he gave us the address for the hotel across the street. We laugh and go to that lobby and shoot the shit till 3AM much to the chagrin of the hotel clerk. Fluffy has some beers and we plan on dinner the next day. I drive fluffy back and arrive at the hotel at 4. Fuck me to tears. Wednesday, January 18th. Day 2 of SHOT show.
Alarm goes off at 7:30 AM. I wash up, eat and get breakfast. In the garage by 8:15. Nice. I get some dillo dust and check out the new Sig 220 DA/SA and SAO legions. Daddy likey. I go to a competing firm and I piss of my state sales manager by telling him his newer designed triggers suck ass. He says the company tested them and they're the same in every way. I ask him why the triggers have two different part numbers in the catalog and how come they're not interchangeable and if that's really the case, how come there's X changes in the supposedly identical pistol parts that he's holding side by side. He gets mad at me and says I'm not an expert on their product and perhaps I should take his job since I'm so smart. I agree that I'm smart and I hold firm that if he didn't want me to complain about the shitty trigger, they should stop selling guns with shitty triggers. I am nearly kicked out of the booth.
I meet up with some of my wholesale reps and I'm mid convo when I see Itsgoodsoup
and his friend walking around the show. I yell SOUP but he does not hear me. So I grab his friend and find him and I tell him we should get together at dinner with fluffy and chug. He agrees.
The show winds down, I get some business done and nothing much else. We break for a shitty gunnit live lite and I take a few questions from the crowd in fluffy's suite at the Rio. Dinner is at 8 and we arrive at the restaurant late to find soup and his friend sitting at one table and chug and his girlfriend sitting at another. Perhaps we should have gotten here a little earlier. Hahaha. So, fluffy said the place is really good and I order a few of the specialties of the house. Apparently according to yelp they do a kickass peking duck. Soon to be mrs chug is a vegan. But we can eat meat in front of her. I wonder how it's served and Soup's vancouver raised asian friend tells me that they normally carve it tableside. Our vegan says as long as there's no head she's cool. We're not sure if they can fulfill that request. So we order and food starts coming out and we tell tall tales of shot show BS and other stuff. Sure enough, the duck comes out with the head. No bueno. Haha. But I decide to treat us to vegan donuts at the vegan bakery across the street later. Seven courses later we are full. Vegan bakery closed. I am committed to getting her some vegan donuts though. We head to Fremont street to gamble. Fluffy wanders about and we try craps and we're not impressed. We hit some slots and eventually I hit the craps table where chug explains the game to me. We start betting on dice. And somehow we start winning. I find that the house allows you to take 10X behind the line. No idea what this means so I plop $5 on the pass line and the point hits 6. I drop $50 behind it and it hits. We go a few rounds and leave ahead. It's 2:30 AM. Fuck. I drive everyone back to their hotel. I get to sleep around 4. Thursday, January 19th. Day 3 of SHOT show.
Wake up at 10AM feeling like crap. Debate whether to head straight to show and wander about. Fuck it. Went to halal guys for some halal. Delicious. Got vegan donuts. Dead drop them at the Palazzo lobby for chug and his girl. Show is a bust. Literally nothing exciting. Fluffy offers to buy me dinner. One of my customers who lives in Summerlin offers to take me to dinner. I pass on fluffy and he destroys the seafood buffet at the rio. I head to Sinatra at the Wynn for dinner with my customer. All good in the hood. Chug has been invited to the Glock dinneafter party and I'm not so we all go our separate ways. I call foghorn5950
and due to some weather, he's flying home early and our plans to hangout are fucked up unless I go tonight. I grab fluffy and we head to Whiskey Down. He orders a makers and I give him a funny look. I tell the waitress make it a bulleit. Everyone laughs. I talk shop with Jeremy also from TTAG and we shoot the shit over cigars and talk about useless products. Next thing we know, chug is out of the dinner and wandering the strip. We decide to meet up at the Linq. It takes us nearly 30 minutes to get out of Whiskey Down at MGM because the waitress was awful and messed up everyone's tab. It was a fucking disaster. To boot, MGM is now charging for parking.
FC: What a bunch of fucking jews
Fluff: You should just tailgate that lady in front of you out and screw them out of the $7
FC: I should
We pull behind her and watch as she gets flustered at the awful parking machine. Her nevada license plate says VETERAN. As the gate goes up we haul ass and screw MGM out of $7. I shout "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE" out the window as we blow right by her up to the Linq. Through fluffy's awful navigation, we wind up at the loading dock for the Linq. Eventually we find chug and gf hanging at the penny slots. They are holding vegan donuts, which she is very appreciative of. Least I could do after showing her the head. Fluffy plays the House of Cards slot machine.
He stuck $100 in, played for 6 minutes and then got really mad and hit the cash out button and $80 was left after 5 minutes.
ITS EXACTLY LIKE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!
Chug's gf asks to play a special slot machine called kitty glitter. We ask and the linq does not offer it but Harrahs next door does. So we head over there and the slot tech finds the kitty glitter machine. Fluffy sticks a C note in there and tells her to play and have a blast. So she's banging away at the one armed bandit WHEN SUDDENLY I HEAR THE SOUND.
It's PUTTIN ON THE RITZ in shitty .wav file internal speaker format. Hahah. She's just hit the progressive jackpot on the penny KITTY GLITTER machine. THIS PLACE IS AWESOME! We cash out after some play and a good time was had by all. I dump off fluffy at the rio since it was very close and drive everyone else back. It's late, I'm tired and the Palace Station oyster bar is open 24 hours......I head over there and there's a 45 minute wait.
So, I pull out my backup bankroll and using everything chug and fluffy have taught me about craps I belly up to the $3 min table where they let you take 10x behind the line. I'm still learning and the table is slow so one of the boxmen start explaining the game to me.
Box: So if you place the 6 or the 9 or individual numbers you can bet those but you gotta pay a little juice on it like a commission
Me: Like when you buy the hook? short pause
Box: Yeah! Exactly like that! You got this!
So I played a little and went up a bit and down a bit. As you do. Plunked $5 down on the pass line and took full odds and the point hit. This game is pretty cool! So I hung around and watched for about an hour and finally decided to eat my winnings. I take $5 off my stack and, drop it on the pass line and announce dealer bet - $5 to pass. It hits. The dealers love me.
Maybe Vegas isn't so bad after all. http://imgur.com/a/LGhDj
I have the pan roast at the oyster bar. No line. It is DELICIOUS. I get back to the hotel at 5AM. I don't care when I wake up. Friday, January 20th. Day 4 of SHOT show.
Wake up around noon feeling like crap. Go to show. Debate destroying milk cart with wheels with an ax borrowed from fire station. Decide against it. Gas up car and find myself out by palace station again. Played some craps, hit the buffet and went for an early sleep.
It's midnight. The neighbors in my the hotel are having sex. A LOT OF SEX. I can hear everything. I gently knock on the door. No answer. I knock slightly harder. No answer. I head back to my room and close the door just as I hear their door open. I zoom back out to find a puzzled middle aged stocky and perhaps sticky Latino man looking both ways.
I get in his line of sight.
Me: Hey. I'm next door. It sounds like you're having a lot of fun. I get it. I really do. In fact I haven't had sex since the bush administration so I'm gunning for you man I really am. But it's midnight and I have a 6am flight and a rental car to return. So trust me when I say I'm really happy for you but if you don't mind I really need to get some sleep tonight okay?
The awkward silence is deafening. He nods without saying a word and mouths okay. I give him a manly nod and thumbs up.
Me: thanks. I'd shake your hand or fist bump but well you know.....
I give him a peace sign as he goes back into his little pleasure palace and I turn to realize that I have just locked myself out of my room. I am wearing boxers, a tshirt and barefoot. I head downstairs to the lobby. The check in at the front desk resembles the TSA line at Mccarran. Normally I would not be this rude but desperate times call for desperate measures.
The line is 50 people deep. I walk past every person. Fuck your queue. I approach the desk where someone is helping a guest and I raise my right hand as if I were in a deposition to get them to stop. The staff and guest looks puzzled as the angry barefoot man clad in nothing but boxers and a "uzi does it" tshirt approaches the desk.
Me: excuse me. I don't mean to interrupt. I have an emergency. I'm up on 8 and my neighbors are having a lot of sex. I mean a LOT of sex.
(This is the same front desk clerk who actually checked me in Monday night by coincidence looks back at me very awkwardly and puzzled.)
Me: this isn't your regular sex. I'm talking this is your (I begin air humping the front desk and slapping the granite counter with my palm and grunting loudly) sex. You could hear the plan B packaging open.
At this point - the ENTIRE FRONT DESK STAFF HAS STOPPED CHECKING IN GUESTS. The people in line and are watching the show. The clerk is stunned. Speechless. Shock and awed. Crapped out and busted. The women are covering their children's eyes and ears. The men are wondering if this show requires a 2 drink minimum.
Me: now I get this is Vegas. Everyone wants a good time. It's midnight. My flight leaves at 6 which means I have to be up by 4. And this just isn't working. So I asked them to keep it down and I locked myself out of my room. So if you can make me another key or move me I'd appreciate it.
The clerk nods.
Clerk: of course. may I see your ID?
Years of ballet have prepared me for this day. I step back to make sure my genitals are still ensconced in my boxers as I pirouette and gesticulate wildly.
Me: DO I LOOK LIKE I HAVE ID?
The floor manager steps over and asks me to head down to the end of the desk where she will make me a key. I give her the room number and thank her after she offers to have security sent up to shutdown the best little whorehouse in Vegas. I tell her it may not be necessary. As I take my keys and walk away the people in line break out in raucous applause.
I take a bow and miraculously my boxer shorts don't rip. These people are my subjects and I have been crowned the the king of the three ring circus that is the circus circus lobby. Im offered a $1 tip from a kind soul but I decline.
My walk back to the hotel elevator bank is uneventful. So much so that I realize it is going too well. The other shoe, if I were wearing one felt as if it was about to drop. Suddenly a dumbass in a rascal scooter is heading toward me at flank speed as his head is turned to look at everyone BEHIND HIM. There's no way this will end well.
For you gentle readers joining us mid conversation - it's midnight and I need to be at the airport in 4.5 hours. I can just see it now. (Cue the harp noises)
Scene: Emergency room
Nurse: Allergic to anything? Me: NKDA Nurse: cause of injury? Me: what's the IC10 code for "run down by drunken buffoon on motorized wheelchair?"
I saw my life and confirmed upgraded first class seats home being given away by the Mccarran gate agent flash before my eyes and my catlike reflexes kicked in and I jumped to my left into the wall, mid 1960's Las Vegas union construction being the path of least resistance. Think "The Bodyguard" with Kevin Costner.
The buffoon barely realizes what happens. Children are amazed. "HEY MOM! Look! That guy just ran into a wall!"
Me: it was that OR GET RUN DOWN BY SOME JACKASS ON A GODDAMN SCOOTER GOING FULL SPEED DRIVING LIKE A....
I look down and a midwestern nuclear family with two children of formative age are waiting for the elevator. I change my last word.
I look over to the parents.
Me: I'm really sorry. This is a family joint and I shouldn't have cursed the drunken scooter driver like that. Sorry kids.
Parent: no big deal. They've heard fucking worse.
I crack a smile at her word choice. Fucking worse. Yeah. That sounds like my evening.
After jumping into a wall, I'm now wide awake and unable to go back to sleep. I make the plane and push on time. The 737 comes to a stop short of the runway and holds. Something is wrong. The pilots come on and say that they loaded more cargo and passengers than planned so they have to redo their numbers. We're waiting on the taxiway with both engines running as they do this and the waiting music comes on. What's the first song?
Whitney Houston - "I Will Always Love You"
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