Escape from Circus Circus

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Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever again.

So as I noted in an earlier post, this past weekend I took my daughter Casey to Las Vegas to see the Backstreet Boys in concert.

Everything about the trip was awesome.

But, eh, we stayed in Circus Circus.

I know—you stayed in Circus Circus? Why not just sleep in the crusted innards of a dead fox? Why not spread feces throughout room six of the Motel 6 and call it home? Why not just …

I get it. But, truth be told, I didn’t get it beforehand. When I scanned Travelocity for hotel deals, and I saw Circus Circus peddling for $75 a night, I (strangely) thought, “Wow! This is tremendous!” Why? Because I just don’t know all that much about Vegas. I’ve probably been there five or six times, but I don’t gamble, I don’t seek out cheesy shows, I don’t live for buffets. So the name “Circus Circus” simply evoked a fun place where my 15-year-old kid might enjoy herself.

Eh, no.

It was gross. Like, really gross. I never told Casey this, but alongside our toilet, stuck to the wall, was a past guest’s dried bloody booger. Which was bad. But not nearly as bad as the elevators, which … well … fuck. Where to begin?

When we arrived back at the hotel after the concert, there was a 35-minute line to use the elevators to get the guest rooms. That’s because of the six available elevators, only two were operational. So we waited and waited and waited. At one point I said to the security guard, “Where are the stairs? We’ll just use the stairs.” She replied, “You can’t. They’re only for emergencies.”


So it’s the next morning. We’re on the 13th floor (only Circus Circus would have a thirteenth floor), waiting for the elevator. And waiting. And waiting. Wand waiting. Finally, after 15 minutes, one comes—and it’s filled. Well, fucking fuck. I turn to Casey and say, “We’re finding stairs.”

“But Dad,” she says, “we can’t.”

“Sorry kid—don’t care.”

We walk down the hallway to the red EXIT sign. We open the door. I’m immediately overwhelmed by the thick, pungent scent of urine. Luckily, Casey has a terrible sense of smell. We walk and walk and walk. At the eighth floor, the scent switches from piss to stale beer. There’s a can of (of course) Old Milwaukee on the concrete, open and oozing liquid. We keep marching, keep marching. At, oh, the fifth floor we reach more people. They, too, are fed up and decided to make a march for it. We’re all complaining about this awful casino hotel and its nonexistent elevator system. A bunch of folks approach, coming from the opposite direction. A man says, “There’s an exit door down there, but it says for emergencies only. And an alarm will sound.”

Casey starts to pivot back. “Oh, no,” I say. “We’re going through it.”

“Dad …”

“Sorry kid—don’t care.”

Others follow. I’m George Washington on the Delaware. I’m George Brett charging Tim McClelland. I’m Jerry Falwell, Jr. attacking a plate of cocaine and hundreds. I. Will. Not. Be. Deterred.

We reach the door.

“Dad …”

Fuck it. I push it open, awaiting the alarm. Nothing happens. No noise, just sunlight. We escape, a legitimate caravan of people on an exodus from the nastiest place in Vegas.

We are free.

People are dead inside.

People are dead inside.

1 thought on “Escape from Circus Circus”

  1. As I responded on twitter we stayed there 20 or so years ago. We did not suffer the experience you and your daughter did. Evidently things have gone down hill. It probably won’t help to complain to management. You can’t be the only person upset about what is going on there.

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