In a dark alley between Harrah's and the Wynn, a school bus waits. Throughout the night, cops lead scrawny teenage hoodlums with cocked hats onto the bus in handcuffs. The black and yellow bus isn’t taking anyone to school; it will haul them away to a detention center at the end of the night.
A few yards down is an ambulance, where paramedics attend to a steady stream of stretchers. A few steps more and two boys are pissing in two corners. A few steps further and I'm at a big Mickey D's, with golden arches opening onto the Strip, crawling with people.
Suddenly, a catfight erupts.
- New Year's 2008
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- New Year's Eve 2008
Continuing down the Strip this December 31, I notice that crowds are gathered at the police barricades, the faces all turned in the same direction like a parade is about to pass. So I stop to watch the spectacle, too. It is a model-esque girl in a short, tight white dress and sky high heels, with long dark hair and a Kardashian-sized ass, suggestively bent over a cop car. What her offense was, I'll never know. When a male cop grabs her from behind and roughly bends her over the car hood, the crowd cheers and whistles at the soft porn sight.
When it is five minutes before the big countdown, a gothic gentlemen, sporting eyeliner, a goatee and a tie, yells "I'm PCP-ed out!"
Someone adds to the open conversation, "I smell doobage."
A black man in a stylish argyle sweater vest and beret starts dancing and tells a random, "You're beautiful. I'm so fucked up."
He’s not alone.
Right next to me someone doubles over and hurls. I overhear men discourse on fucking and a babble of several languages and swear words. A few religious folks hoist red and white signs that read "Repent." They are mocked.
Around 2 a.m., the Strip is covered in miles of disgusting filth. The crowds are gone, but the cops remain.
"You missed a stabbing at the Wynn and tons of fights down at O'Sheas, one involving fifteen people," one tells me when I ask if anything interesting had happened.
Next year I’ll settle for a couch, champagne and Dick Clark. I'll skip the 10-mile hike to my car, the standstill traffic and my hair reeking of smoke. As long as I get a midnight kiss, I'll have all the excitement I need.