The Nightfly might be cut loose from a noose, but would his brother hang him high?
The Nightfly might be cut loose from a noose, but would his brother hang him high?

Let's Get Nuts

Today, even with life's modern conveniences, we have less time for ourselves. There simply is no time to dilly-dally. Grab it and go. Drive-thru window. Minute rice. Microwave burrito. And now more than ever, there's a premium on our days off. You work hard, and the only thing worse than a bad week is a bad weekend. Your time away from the job needs to count! You need a place -- one central location -- where all your typical weekend activities (movie, dinner, dancing, drinks, something for the kids, if applicable) are within walking distance of one another. Saturday comes around only once a week, after all, and you don't want to waste such valuable weekend real estate in your buddy's car between club hops.

Luckily, the Marq*E Entertainment Center at I-10 and Silber has already taken that into consideration. Here you can one-stop-shop during your time off, and that's after playing a game of glow-in-the-dark putt-putt. It truly is an exciting time to live!

After Collateral lets out, my twin brother and I feel a bit hungry. Let's see -- we've got hamburgers at A&W All American and Red Robin. There's a Japanese buffet. New York Pizzeria. A Cafe Adobe -- nah, we always eat Mexican.

We finally decide on Wings & More, directly across from the Edwards theater. We do this less because we're in the mood for wings and more because of the Wings & More emblem above the door -- a chicken wearing sunglasses and gun holsters holding a basket of wings in each hand. That's right, the chicken is serving himself. But he tastes pretty mediocre.

Our friends Scott and Todd meet us by the waterfall that marks the entrance of the now-defunct Surfer's Paradise Bar and Grill. I called earlier in the day and told them about our plan to spend our entire Saturday night in the Marq*E, and they're here to help. We've got the movie and dinner out of the way -- no precious time wasted. So far so good.

"What do you want to do now?" they ask.

I'm thinking about having a few drinks and playing some games at adult superarcade Jillian's.

"We can watch some skateboarders."

No. The Vans Skate Park at the end of the complex has bitten the dust. The airbrushed tattoo kiosk is closed for the night, and we're too old to frolic in the fountains scattered about. Jillian's it is.

Jillian's has a $5 cover on weekends. Not too bad. We head in, get our drinks and search for games to play. I feel like skee-ball. Todd and Scott want to play Golden Tee. My brother wants to head upstairs. Local '80s radio station 106.9 the Point is doing a live remote up there, and it's piqued his interest. We head past the pool tables and bowling alley and reach the doors of Club Atlas. There's a girl out front wearing a 106.9 shirt.

"Hey, guys. We're having an air-guitar contest inside tonight. First prize is a pair of tickets to Vegas."

Oh, hell, yes. This Marq*E thing is working out just fine.

Inside Atlas are 106.9 DJ Bo Corona, his wicked mullet and a warehouse full of 106.9 swag. There's a healthy crowd, but not as many as you'd expect at a club giving away tickets to Sin City.

I ask another Point girl why there aren't more people.

"Texans vs. Cowboys."

Oh, yeah.

"We're going to start the contest a little later. There should be a lot more people after the game lets out."

My brother and I take advantage of the $2.75 drink special and sign up for what amounts to a one-in-eight chance of going to Vegas. You pick your own song. He's doing Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." I take AC/DC's "Back in Black." Air guitar!

We both vow that if one of us wins, we won't leave the other behind. Man, my girlfriend is going to be pissed.

After a few drinks, the contest begins. Twin and I bite our lips while the first few contestants demonstrate a deficit in technique and rhythm.

One girl starts stripping to Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" while her two friends dump -- you guessed it -- packets of sugar on her. The air is thick with testosterone, and this move makes my brother nervous. I'm less worried, because I assume the men in the room (among them former Rocket Robert Horry) have seen a woman's midriff before and can't be so easily bought.

I'm up. I do my best Angus Young and feel pretty good about my chances.

Twin does an incredible Prince and just happens to be wearing the $60 jacket he bought at the singer's Toyota Center performance a week prior. The crowd "goes crazy" like the song instructs. That's smart song selection!

A couple more contestants. No sweat. I'm feeling confident that one of us has this thing in the bag. Bo Corona comes to read the results.

"And the winner of the air-guitar contest and two tickets to Las Vegas, Nevada, is..."

My brother wins handily. We have another drink, consider the possibility of doing karaoke in the next room, but instead decide to go home. We've done it. We've spent our Saturday at the Marq*E without feeling like it was wasted. Hell, it's even been fun. The tickets to Vegas don't hurt. The Marq*E, it turns out, is a fine way to unwind without the hustle and bustle that's become a sign of our times.

On the way home my brother mentions he's thinking about taking a girl with him to Vegas. I tell him that if he tries to break our verbal contract he'll be introduced to another sign of our times: the lawsuit.


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