Toxic Best Friend in Vegas Part 1: Always bet on bitch

It was early 2002 and I flew from L.A. to Las Vegas for Toxic Best Friend’s birthday. I couldn’t afford it, but TBF needs so much special attention and is so vindictive, not showing up would have cost me more than a 45 minute Southwest Airlines flight.

Picture “Stassi” from Vanderpump Rules. Now add about 50 IQ points and subtract 60 pounds and every ounce of self-awareness.

I enjoyed the flight more than the 24 hours I was about to spend at my destination. People on a Saturday morning commuter flight to Las Vegas in early spring are happy people. Plus, there were peanuts.

The plan was for me to fly in Saturday morning then get a ride home with TBF and her ex-roommate Mona. I’d heard loads of shit-talking about Mona and was curious to meet this freak-of-nature. From what TBF had told me, Mona was so impossible to live with that TBF had to move out before the lease was up and leave Mona with the rent. She HAD to, you see. Mona was CRAZY. Yet somehow, she was along for the birthday bash. The parallels to Vanderpump’s Stassi are striking. Nobody seems to like this woman, but they all cater to her because it’s easier than dealing with her wrath.

The Casino was full of Chinese men celebrating the New Year and the energy was contagious. I was about nine months “sober” in a 12-step program for bulimia, so I was at my lowest adult weight. Twenty-nine years-old, feeling and looking terrific, I caught a shuttle from the airport to The Bellagio. I’d booked a room at a cheap casino off the strip, but had to pay homage to Her Birthday-ness before checking into my smokey coffin with a window that opened an inch.

Toxic Best Friend was sitting cross-legged on the king-sized bed in her suite. The friends sharing her room were in various stages of putting on full faces of make-up and flat-ironing their hair extentions. I felt self-consciously dumpy in my jeans and ubiquitous black t-shirt. Her Majesty was talking on her bejeweled pink Blackberry, scowling and arguing.

“All I know is the world fucking ENDS when it’s your birthday,” she told the caller.

I tried to make small talk with the people in the room and be introduced to the ones I didn’t know, but my co-dependence was laser-focused on Toxic Best Friend being disappointed by someone. The other women were not meeting mine or each other’s eyes.

A counselor at TBF’s high school once told me that they couldn’t enforce the dress code at the school because of the way TBF dressed: sparkly, rhinestone bra straps showing, cleavage bared, taut, tanned belly exposed, jeans so tight you could bounce a quarter off her nonexistent ass. This morning, she had a tube top stretched over her implants and a denim skirt so short I could see the crotch of her panties. She wore a gold chain around her midriff. She had a full face of make-up, including false eye-lashes, her wet hair wrapped in a towel turban-style.

It was the same skirt that had once inspired a drunken bar patron to get down on his knees in front of her bar stool, and hold two flaming cigarette lighters up to her ass. That kind of thing happened at least twice every time we went out.

To the caller, TBF hissed, “When I get back from Vegas, we are fucking done. You are dead to me. I hope that someday you realize how amazing I was to you and how you FUCKED ME OVER!” with that, she beeped her sparkly phone off, tossed it into the lush nest of bedcovers and gave me an ironic smile. “Welcome!”

“Happy birthday,” I said cautiously, giving her a one-armed hug and a kiss on the cheek. “Who were you talking to?”

“One of my T.A.s,” she curled her lips in disgust, “One of my FORMER T.A.s.”

Here, I made my first of several blunders. Ready? Here it comes.

“That was a STUDENT of yours?” I was aghast. She looked at me squarely, and something in her face closed off.

“Last month, for his birthday, I spent five HUNDRED dollars renting out a private room at his favorite restaurant. You know what he got me?”

Next blunder in 4, 3, 2…

“Why on earth would you spend $500 on a student’s birthday?” I think I heard the other women in the room cringe. It was like the scene in The Color Purple when Rae Dawn Chong is all, “Harpo, who dis woman?” then calls Oprah a heifer and all the musicians start packing up their instruments and taking off, because they know a bitch is about to go crazy.

Toxic Best Friend was genuinely hurt by this boy’s slight, so I made to comfort her. I chomped down just a bit more on the foot I’d already stuffed into my maw.

“Teenagers are so self-centered and immature. You can’t take the thoughtlessness of a teenager personally.”

TBF fixed me with a classic TBF look. It’s a tight-mouthed, no-teeth smile with dead eyes. “That’s no excuse.”

I think I blacked out for a while.

Despite a nice sushi dinner at a restaurant so expensive I should have been allowed to live in it for the rest of the month, things went downhill from there. It was my first time gambling in Las Vegas, and that beginner’s luck thing is no shit. We situated ourselves at a craps table and when my turn came, my dice were on fire. I didn’t know the rules of the game, but I could roll dice. Everytime I rolled, the Chinese men roared with excitement and the croupier pushed stack after stack of chips to them. A huge crowd gathered. I was the center of attention. Men I’d never met started putting ten dollar chips on MY “Pass Line.” I won $800 during that turn and some of the other gamblers won thousands.

TBF won too, of course. Everyone at the table did. But it was her birthday, and me being the star of the show was not what she’d had in mind for her Vegas celebration.

My heart pounded. My cheeks were red with booze, excitement, and self-consciousness. When my streak ended, the table went cold and everyone gradually wandered away. Our group ended up at a Blackjack table. This was a completely different experience. I couldn’t add in my head fast enough. I didn’t know how to bet, when to hit, or when to stay. I didn’t signal correctly for any of those things. The dealer seemed irritated by me, which Toxic Best Friend liked. I have a nervous tic where I twiddle my lower lip. A person is not allowed to have her hand on or near her face while playing Blackjack. I do it completely unconsciously, so the dealer kept correcting me and correcting me and correcting me. I got more flustered each time. As exciting and validating as the craps table had been was how stressful and demoralizing this Blackjack table was.

TBF, on the other hand, was in her element. Perched on the tall stool, sipping her vodka drink, white crotch of her panties peeking out between skinny, tanned, crossed legs, she owned the table and knew it.

She was losing, however, and it was pissing her the fuck off.

I don’t know if it was the stress, sensory overload, or I was too hungry. What I do know is that when TBF barked at me, “If you can’t fucking handle this game, then you shouldn’t fucking BE here,” I fell apart. Sniffling and blinking back tears of humiliation, I stuffed my chips into my purse and walked away from the table. I found a seat at a bar where you could play video poker and get free booze, ordered a vodka cranberry and cried my eyes out. I looked at my watch. It was just a bit after 11 p.m.

No one looks twice at a woman sobbing over her cocktail in Vegas.

To be continued…

About Mrs Odie

Like you, only funnier.
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22 Responses to Toxic Best Friend in Vegas Part 1: Always bet on bitch

  1. mamacreates says:

    awww, man! way to leave your groupies hanging, Mrs!

  2. Amy says:

    We all have one. Yours sounds insufferable. Mine slept with my first boyfriend who I’d been on/off with for five years. She later apologized and said she’d done it because she “didn’t think I’d mind.” Then she bought me french toast and I forgave her. Why is it so hard to let go of these people?

  3. Chelsea says:

    I have never once understood how TBF managed not to get fired. How can the administration put up with this?

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      I have wondered that myself. The details of this piece have been fictionalized to some extent, but I didn’t make that part worse. Just different. The dress code thing has always gotten to me, but working on a school faculty, I have discovered that some teachers are going to do their own thing, and short of the principal writing them up for it, won’t change what they’re doing.

      • mamacreates says:

        oh nuh-uh…your description of TBF’s bare-it-all clothing at school was of her as a teacher/faculty member, not a recollection of her as a student?? holy hell….

        I know you said she is lacking all self-awareness, and I guess I’ve been fortunate to never see this sort of shit in action, but I have to wonder if people like her will ever respect themselves enough to not need the constant validation, or if they will ever gain the self-awareness to see the reality of their behavior & actions – not their twisted version of reality.

  4. Cathy Cann says:

    Oh this shit is GOOD!

  5. Michael says:

    Ok. Now you’re cheating. You’re leaving us hanging in the same way that Friends became soap operaish and you wanted to see (if you cared by then) what happened to the characters next. Just spill it. Your writing stands on its own.

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      That isn’t my intention. I felt that the piece is too long. I edited it for many days and found it difficult to cut. Maybe I’m too close to it? So I was looking for an ending to this chapter of the piece and my baby woke up and started crying, so I had to make my exit. Sorry if you feel manipulated.

      • mamacreates says:

        at the risk of being a dreaded white knighter, I totally get your choice to break down your story into installments in order to tell the story in the best possible way. The details are the best part….I was right there in Vegas with you.

  6. Michael says:

    By the way, TBF sounds hot and annoying.

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      That has always been the general consensus of the male gender.

      • Michael says:

        Hmm. Maybe you’d better post a picture of her. That would settle it once and for all.

        • ? says:

          Doesn’t Michael have a wife and seven kids? Am I thinking of the right guy? If so I really like his wife and her writing. I wonder if the way he speaks here bothers her. It would bother me a bit.

          • Michael says:

            No, wrong guy. But I know who you’re talking about. His wife knows he reads and comments here, and she knows he loves her. She also knows that a lot of his comments are tongue in cheek and she’d just be rolling her eyes.

          • Mrs Odie 2 says:

            A writer with 7 kids? Wow. Do you have a link? I would like to check her out.

            • A guy who knows who Michael is says:

     She has a couple of blogs that are linked to that main one, including one of book reviews (called Turn the Page; you might enjoy her book review of Bloom by what’s her name), and a fairly new one about the value of homework at the elementary level–in fact, since you’re a teacher (I don’t recall what grade), you might find that one interesting. I don’t reall what that one’s called.

  7. Anna says:

    Dear Mrs. Odie,
    I want to email you about something. Is it possible?


  8. impatient much? says:

    {tapping my foot waiting for Part Deux}

  9. Lisa says:

    Well, Mrs. Odie. I guess you should know that I’m a little bit jealous of you:

    I see he’s still carrying on with you. Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be okay.

  10. Linda says:

    I’m a little late in reading your TBF posts, but…dang! I cannot imagine spending time beyond the first offense of someone like this. It seems you had a human relationship with this person, but not an actual friendship in the true sense of the word. She sounds borderline actually. It’s possible to spend an entire lifetime without the burden of toxic people if one is willing to walk away after witnessing or experiencing a “first offense.” Second chances are not all they are cut out to be. Immediate family members are worthy of second chances and that’s about it. Glad you took the high road and dumped the whole situation. Bravo. Do not turn back. Delete. Forever. Love your perspectives and writing style. Thank you for putting yourself out there.

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