It hadn’t taken long for Hal to grab a quick shower in the rather large bathroom. He had been glad that he hadn’t been stuck paying for the room by himself, given the cost per night of any hotel in Vegas. He slipped from the shower stall, wrapping a towel around his waist and humming a tune as he entered the hotel room proper. "So, I aint exactly got a plan here, hope you don't mind,” he said, moving past his roommates to rummage through his suitcase. His suit was too formal, and it was too early to wear it, but shorts and a tee shirt seemed too casual.
His tail lay limp on the floor behind him as he dug through the suitcase. He nodded to himself, grabbing an armful of clothing. “Yeah, this’ll do,” he said, moving towards the bathroom. “I’ll be done right quick!” he shouted back at the pangolin, who was sitting in a chair by the window, dressed in a pair of light brown slacks and a dark grey tee shirt. A few minutes passed before the gator strode out of the bathroom in a pair of khaki slacks and a buttoned short sleeve shirt, the blue blending nicely with the green of his scales. “Aint too fancy, but aint exactly my first choice. Probably don’t wanna stride around in nothin’ but my overalls though,” he joked, gathering up he personal items. “What kinda grub you in the mood for?”
Kevin shrugged, pushing himself out of his chair, which pressed his scales tighter against the semi-loose fabric of his shirt. “I’ve never really been able to make up my mind about what I want to eat before I set my sights on the place that grabs my interest. Although, I’ve been craving some Mexican recently, haven’t had anything spicy in a while. Maybe we can find a reasonable place on the strip somewhere?”
"Reasonable? Shit this aint about reasonable it's your birthday! A late birthday but still a birthday! If you want tacos we'll get some lobster tacos or somethin'! Live it up a little eh?" Hal patted Kevin on the back before moving the pangolin out the door. “I’m sure there’s lots of Spanish ‘round on the strip.” The two continued to make idle chat in the elevator, down into the lobby, and out onto the street “I think this’ll be the first time it’s just us two, you coulda invited others along, I don’t rightly mind.” Hal gave Kevin an award winning snaggle-toothed smile. “I think it’s in this direction.” He jutted a thick thumb down the road. “Few blocks, but I aint really good with cities.”
Kevin smiled. “I'm fine with it being just the two of us. Everyone else is prepping for the start of the invitational tomorrow, and it never hurts to have a nice dinner between two friends every now and then!"
The pangolin chuckled softly to himself as the pair walked in the direction that Hal had pointed. "I do hope they have a nice drink selection. I know I snuck a beer and a glass of wine while at the combine, but I just honestly forgot that I couldn't drink in the US yet. It will be nice to do so legally this time. And at least I didn't get drunk, like some people, eh?"
Hal paused for a moment and turned to face Kevin. “Wait, it’s your 21st? Well shit, that makes this even better! We’re gettin’ smashed, bud!” Hal exclaimed, shrugging off the last part of Kevin’s comment. “So, I got drunk and may or may not have roughhoused a bit too much with that Brad guy. . . he had it comin’ for takin’ my hat!” He chuckled, putting his hands in his pockets. The two furs stuck out amidst the crowd, bight quite a bit taller and bulkier than most. “I’m thinkin’ all you can eat, and lots of drinks.” He seemed to be almost talking to himself. “Strip’s a bit further this way, guess we’ll know it by al the lights and stuff. An what’s wrong with me gettin’ drunk anyways? Aint nothin’ wrong with enjoyin’ life and good company! How was yer hike, by the way?” His voice had grown as he talked, loud enough now to carry over the crowd, the Cajun accent out of place in a city like Vegas.
Kevin suppressed a laugh. “I actually didn’t know that you got drunk at the combine. I was talking more about, what’s his name . . . Bourgeois? That reporter hyena. He did get pretty wasted, and then even managed to document the whole thing on twitter. Wasn’t the best move on his part.” He looked up at the gator, grinning. “I don’t know if I’ll let you get me drunk, but we’ll just have to see if you can convince me.”
“Hehe. Well, apparently I did a bunch of drunk tweets too, how I found out about it mostly. And the feathers later on that night.” Hal nodded once. “An as fer convincin’ you? I am –very- good at convincin’.” He gave the pangolin a knowing smirk and a bit of a wink. “Just you wait.”
“I don’t recall your drunken tweets during the combine, but you did make the draftee dating site suggestion a few days after the combine while drunk.” He smirked. “Anyways,” Kevin continued, “the hike was pretty awesome. We took the longest trail, and just like they advertised we saw some wild horses. We had a little picnic at the summit, a late brunch, before we made out way back down. Miss Quaatsch made an excellent mealworm salad.”
The night was progressing swiftly, the crowds beginning to get thicker on the sidewalk. Hal shrugged. “Me? I aint a fan of hiking, mostly. I get up close and personal with nature enough in my job away from basketball, that is. It aint no desert thought, but I think I miss the humidity. Don’t miss comin’ home every night smellin’ like mud and catfish or shrimp, though.”
As they walked, Hal kept his eyes peeled for any sign of Mexican or Spanish restaurants, pointing them out form time to time. “Probably aint gonna be any kinda Mexican buffet, but as long as I can get my fill I aint really picky. I eat a lot, though.” He patted his thick stomach and smiled at Kevin. “If’n I’m talkin’ too much, just tell me to snap my jaw, by the way.”
Kevin paused, looking thoughtfully at a few of the nearby restaurants. “I can imagine why you’d miss the humidity. I think I prefer it a bit humid as well. I may be adapted for dry, desert heat, but I don’t think I like it as much as the cold winters and wet summers back home.” He pointed across the road to the most recent Mexican restaurant that Hal had pointed out. “Let’s go to that one. Seems decently busy, and that should be a sign that the food is at least kinda good!” He shook his head and smiled at the gator. “And don’t worry about talking too much. I enjoy a good chat, and I can sometimes be a bit quiet in person. If anything, you talking will keep me talking.”
Hal scratched at the hint of his dermal work on the left side of his neck and squinted across the street. “Yeah, that’ll work. And you, shy? Never woulda guessed! Cept fer the blushin’ at the drop of a hat.” He jeered, elbowing the pangolin as he pressed the button for the cross walk. "Back home it don't get too cold at all. Too far south. But man can it get hot in the summer time. And it's a totally different kinda heat when there's a lot of moisture in the air. My Mama always used to say she was thankful gators don't sweat, or she'd have a lot more washin' up ta do, seein as I have a good many brothers n' sisters. Instead you'd just hear the whole house panting, or we'd just lay out with our mouths open."
The gator chuckled, grabbing Kevin’s shoulder, urging the pangolin across the street of waiting cars. “Quick, these lights don’t stay on very long!”
Kevin blushed, running across the street ahead of Hal. “I'm a lot different offline that I am over twitter. Twitter us easy, it's harder to be rejected when everything moves a mile a minute. But real interactions can be hard sometimes, the fear of rejection and failure much more visible and public, you know?"
He looked down at the ground as they approached the restaurant. "The summers can be decently hot up north, but dryer than where you live, most likely. Your mum sounds like a pretty fine lady, taking care of all you kids." He paused, opening the door for the gator. "How many siblings do you have, Hal?"
The large gator nodded a thanks as the door was held open for him. Quickly asking the hostess for a table for two he received a bit of an odd look and replied with a shrug and a grin. "His birthday. 21st." He explained casually before returning to the conversation at hand. "Well seems to me you gotta not be so scared about rejection or failure. Failin' is how we learn, ya know? And aint everything gonna go perfect. It's how you handle it, how you take it that matters. S'why I always try and keep a smile on. Trust me it's hard sometimes. I aint always the laid back gator everyone knows me as."
“Yer a good kid,” he eyed Kevin as the two of them sat down and opened their menus. “How many? Well, let’s see here . . .” he trailed off as if he needed time to count and remember. "We're pretty spread out age wise, I got brothers and sisters that are way older, n' some way younger. Hell Mama's lookin' after a clutch right now. So I'd say a good dozen. Only real close to five or six of em though." Hal paused to point out a few drinks to the waitress who returned to take their drink orders. Kevin pointed to a sweet wine, and the hostess nodded, leaving them with to have a few more minutes with their menus. “Let’s just say the Dufrain clan likes to keep busy, specially my mom and pops.”
Kevin chuckled. "No offence, but that is an image that I definitely didn't need in my head." He paused. "I'm an only child, so I've never really had any experience with siblings. Must be fun, and probably difficult at the same time."
He looked up, seeing the hostess returning with their drinks. "I have to admit, I'm working on getting better with rejection and failure. Barbie game me some good advice there, and I'm trying to live by it. Nothing will ever change if I remain the same. Getting rejected once wasn't so bad, doesn't mean it's ever going to get any easier to hear, though."
Hal quirked his brow and took his drink, a gin and tonic. He shrugged his broad shoulders, taking a sip of his drink. "It was hard livin' with so many, but man there were some good parts,” he said, smiling lazily. "Hard work, but good play, and even better food." he tapped his claws on the glass and considered the conversation. "As fer takin' advice from Barbie? Eh . . . He seems nice but there's some things that don't need to be on a public place ya know? I like to keep that kinda stuff private. I'm a gentleman of course!" He leaned forward and grinned, "Not to pry but, who hurt you big guy? Anyone I need to rough up?"
Kevin sighed, his mouth curling into a very slight grin. "Nobody hurt me. We're cool about it. I don't know if you were watching the game that night, but back on June 3rd, when Alaska played in Spokane and Zack Tate got injured, I talked to Zack a little bit after the game. I worked up the courage to admit that I had a bit of a crush on him. He let me down gently, though. I knew it would likely be a one way feeling, but I had to give it a try, you know?"
"Zack huh?" Hal asked, taking another, larger drink this time. He grinned and shook his head. "I guess I could see why you might be into him. He seems like a nice enough guy. But you gotta remember he's pretty far in his career, lot older, situated. We're kinda in limbo right now. An I can see why someone might be hesitant to date a draftee that could get stuck livin' a country away on another team." he mused, the tip of his tail flipping against the floor from time to time. "Just gotta keep things realistic, an that's comin' from the eternal optimist here," he pointed to himself. "But judgin' by everyone talkin', seems like this years draft is just chock full of budding romances, shit..." He sighed.
Hal fell silent for a good few minutes, examining the menu, of which most of it was in actual Spanish for authenticity. "Son of a..."He grumbled trying to decipher what it was he was reading or looking at at any given time.
Kevin took a small sip of his wine, pulling the phone out of his pocket. "I think I can decipher at least a little of this menu, but a translation will probably help." He set the phone down on the table, typing the names of each item into the online translator, reading out each to the gator. "Kinda glad I got the data plan before coming down here. There's no wifi in this restaurant, which is odd given how many signals you can normally find in Vegas."
He paused, the table silent while Hal looked over the now translated menu, unsure if he should go back to the previous topic. It seemed like something the gator wanted to be done with. "It's probably for the best. Even if I was settled and nearby, I don't think Zack's into dudes anyways. And as for the rest of our draft class," he shrugged, "it's young love. We can't even know how long it will last. I'd like to think we all have someone out there for us, we just need to find them."
"Far as life mates, I suppose I'd like to believe that. Would be nice. But I'm the type to just go with the flow hm?" Hal spoke, looking toward the other's phone and back to the menu. "Do what makes you happy in the moment, life's too short to worry so much bout the future or the past. Do what feels good then and there, live with no regrets. And if somethin' stumbles on ya that's more long-lasting, shit that's even better." He chuckled, a deep rumble in his large chest. "I couldn't tell ya anyone's persuasion really. Personally I've always been kinda bad at tellin' that. That or I just don't pay enough attention. Mama always used to say I was too lazy to do much of anything like that. Never dated much in college, don't date much now. Never had the will to go on the hunt as it were. Always busy tryin' ta make a buck." He closed his menu, having decided on a course for the evening.
"Lord knows all these trips aint been helpin' my wallet." He flagged down a server and asked for another gin and tonic, having already finished his first one rather quickly. It seemed as though Hal was experienced with alcohol, and his large size wasn’t doing any harm.
Kevin nodded. "Yeah, I can understand that. Never been good at guessing other's people's preferences, either. And I got pretty good at hiding mine through high school and university. I was afraid of others finding out. I'm past that now, it was eating me up from the inside, that fear." Kevin paused as the waitress returned for their orders, and the two players lets her know what they would be having.
"I was never really scared of that kinda thing. But I can understand bein' afraid. I guess a gator never really has much to be afraid of." Hal smiled, taking a sip from his new glass. "Was always pretty comfortable with myself, and I aint exactly picky. I find what and who makes me happy and I stick with it for however long that lasts, and I'm lucky fer however long it lasts."
The table lapsed into silence as neither knew what to say. Eventually, Kevin spoke, prefaced by a small cough. "So, I heard the Tiny Tiger came to visit, and you took him out with you to work. How did that go?"
Hal couldn't help but laugh at the question of Iver. "Ah...yeah he came to visit for about a day. I took him out on my Pa's little boat and we went swampin'. I can tell ya he aint very good at liftin' them traps out of the water! And even worse at eating a crawdad!" he broke into hearty laughter again; it seemed to be a common occurrence for Hal, to laugh as much as he did. He was a jolly gator. "It was fun though, I don't get many visitors in the Bayou. Most just laugh at that big Hal guy and call him some kinda bumpkin inbred swamp person. S'okay I got thick skin."
Kevin chuckled. "Yeah, thick skin and a rock hard hide of scales. And if you're an inbreed swamp bumpkin, I'm a penguin. Anyone who could possibly think that about you has obviously never talked to you or even paid any attention at all to you.”
"Well, I guess I can see why they might think it. I mean I went to college, I got a business degree. I like ta think I know decent amount. But uh . . . way I talk an the way I tend to act, I guess I act dumber than I am?" The gator questioned himself and shrugged.
"No, just . . . no." Kevin sighed. "You are anything but dumb. You don't act it, either. You act rather intelligently, and patterns of speech are developed. People just like to think that everyone from the south is stupid, or that gators, as big as you are, must be dumb to have all that muscle. It helps them feel better about themselves by putting awesome people like you down."
Kevin was about to continue as a waiter approached and presented them with their meals. Kevin thanked him as he left, and took a quick bite of his enchilada, followed by a sip of his wine. "I have to admit, it tastes a lot better than it looks." He paused, looking up at the gator. "We all have our trials, Hal. I do not envy yours. You will prove your doubters wrong. You are a very intelligent man, and anyone that can't see that is just too stubborn to change their bigoted views."
Hal chuckled and took another drink as he began to dig in, he couldn't help but smile at Kevin sticking up for him, "Well, I thank you for such kind words there big guy. You got a big heart, an if'n you ask me? That Zorra is missin' out." He winked once and dug into his meal. "Yeah that's the thing about Mexican...it all kinda looks like what comes out the other end....but man does it smell and taste fuckin' fantastic!
"You seem to know a lot about how people think, but on that same coin, I can tell ya some of my brothers and sisters? Shit they aint exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. But it's their own choice, and for the most part were'a pretty happy clan. You should come down some time! I'll show you around! Mama loves cookin' fer guests."
Kevin paused before responding. "Insectavores aren't the most . . . welcomed species in the world. When you get labeled as a bug eater, even when you eat other things, well, you start trying to learn how other people think so you can avoid those whose perspectives can't be changed."
The pangolin chuckled, a smile returning to his face. "I've heard that your mum loves cooking. I'll definitely have to make a trip down, sometime after Hawaii." He took a quick sip from his wine. "Weren't you supposed to be trying to get me drunk? I haven't even finished a glass of wine yet!"
“Aint drunk yet? Don’t worry neither am I! But the night’s young man!” He slammed down the rest of his gin and tonic to demonstrate his point. Flagging down a waiter, this time he ordered four shots of tequila with a grin. “Now then, you and I are gonna do two shots each alright? Seems fair ta me. An after we’re done with dinner we’re gonna find ourselves a club! Know any around here? I aint too good at dancin’ or anything like that but they always got good bartenders.” He shoved another few bites into his reptilian maw. Being a gator, and being slightly buzzed as he was, he wasn’t exactly the best with table manners. Alligators didn’t really chew per se . . . more like gobbling things down at an alarming rate.
“An as for what others may or may not think of ya?” He asked scratching the edge of the dremel work on the top of his left, scaly hand, “You just need to tell him to fuck off, or turn the other cheek and keep on smiling. Cause shit if yer drafted you’ll be makin’ the big bucks and they’ll be stuck what? Doin’ some borin’ shit the rest of their lives. You’ll be doin’ what you love to do and that’s all that matters. Fans an enemies come and go but you’ll always have that orange ball and you’ll always have friends. Remember the good not the bad you feel me?” Just as he finished blathering on the tiny shot glasses arrived, filled with a pungent smelling clear liquid. “Tequila makes me dangerous.” He said with a throaty chuckle sliding two glasses toward the pangolin with just two, thick digits. “Ready?”
Kevin sighed, picking up the shots. "I really do dislike doing shots, but fine. I'll do them, just this once. Don't expect me to do any at the club!" With a quick flick, Kevin tossed back the shots one after the other, setting the glasses down gently on the table and quickly following it with a few bites of his meal. "I don't know how you expect me to know any good clubs around here, it's my first day in the city! You got here before I did! But maybe one of the people working here might know one, they probably get asked often enough."
The Dufrain smile surfaced again as Hal watched the pangolin drink. “Atta boy, like a champ.” He teased and tossed his back too. He wasn’t as graceful setting his glasses down though, instead opting to slam them down on the table and quickly mow through the rest of his dinner. “This is my first time too! I dunno, you a city boy or something? I figure all cities are pretty much the same.” He spoke, before grabbing and tugging on the pant leg of a passing server. “Hey man, where’s a good club around here for a couple of fellas lookin’ for a good time and some good drinks?” He asked, waiting, as the server seemed to eye them both up before rattling off the name of a club. “Thanks man I’ll remember that.” He spoke turning back to the pangolin. “The Fuzz. He says.” He explained, leaning over to access his wallet in his back pocket. “And don’t you start that ‘just this once’ bull crap! This is your 21st! Yer drinkin’ with me! I won’t be drunk alone you hear?!”
Kevin chuckled, pulling his phone out once again to plug the name into the phone's map. "You really are pretty dang straightforward, Hal. A simple 'hey' would likely have gotten his attention, you probably didn't need to grab his pant leg."
Kevin paused, looking at the directions. "That club seems to be about 3 blocks from here, and there's some decent reviews." He looked up at the gator, smiling. "You're making a pretty big deal of it being my 21st. You DO know that I've been able to drink back home for the last two years, right?"
"Back home doesn't matter right now! It's your birthday and you're here in America where the 21st one actually matters!" Hal exclaimed, leaving enough money on the table to cover both their meals, the drinks, and a decent tip. “And yeah I probably just could have asked…but there aint any fun in that is there?” He blinked, looking to Kevin’s phone. “Good, yer leadin’ the way since you know where it’s at then.” He stood and patted the pangolin on the shoulder. “C’mon the night’s young!” They both left the restaurant, stares following them as they did so. “Man, it’s like we’re a couple of giants the way they ogled us.” Hal snickered, “Anyways! Back to the subject at hand, what’s wrong with bein’ straight forward?”
Hal turned and began walking backwards so he could keep his orange gaze on Kevin. “Goin’ after somethin’ you want, better and quicker than lettin’ it come to you. Sometimes it never woulda.” By now it was getting on the evening, around eight at night and the strip was starting to really come alive with neon signs, loud thumping base from some clubs somewhere, throngs of furs and scales alike, and of course, the constant din of traffic. Turning back to face where he was going with the slightest of an inebriated stumble the gator’s tail swished behind him. “S’where we goin’ now?”
A quick glance at his phone, and the pangolin pointed to the right of the restaurant's entrance. "It's two blocks down that way, then we turn left, down a block, and cross the street."
Kevin looked up at the gator, a full head taller than him as they walked down the strip. "There's nothing particularly wrong with being straightforward. It serves its purpose." Kevin left out that he was pretty sure that the furs in the restaurant hadn't stared at them for their height. "There are times and places for being straightforward, and times for being a bit more reserved. I'm pretty sure I fall into the reserved side. I could use being a bit more straightforward, and . . ." he stopped.
"It doesn't matter. We are who we are, right?"
“Nah man, of course it matters. Shit aint gonna happen if you just sit and watch the world go by, you know?” He shrugged looking over his shoulder to the pangolin. “I aint ever really been one to be…reserved. Laid back sure, go with the flow sure, but I aint the type to just sit and not do anything. Unless it’s with friends where that’s the point. Am I makin’ sense? I feel like I’m not.” He continued down the block or two until he turned left as Kevin advised them to. He was quiet for a long while, focusing on walking and finding his way, remembering the directions. He got the feeling that perhaps he was, indeed, talking too much and overloading the poor guy. It wasn’t until he had followed all the directions and looked across the street to the bar that he paused and raised an eye ridge.
“Uh…well….it’s a club. Right?” he asked turning to Kevin. It was a blue building, with equally blue neon lights. However, the windows were all blacked out with some sort of tinting film and there were a few risqué posters in said windows. It was then, all the sudden, Hal laughed, and he laughed hard. He laughed and laughed until there were tears in his eyes and he was doubled over. “Man! That guy sent us to some kinda gay bar!” He slapped the pangolin’s back. “How’s that for a 21st birthday trip eh?” he snorted and hissed, trying to catch his breath.
Kevin joined in Hal's laughter. He could feel the alcohol from the shots beginning to take an effect, and while still clearheaded, he found the situation funnier than he would have only a few minutes before. "Seriously, man? You didn't pick up on the look he was giving us when you asked him for a club for 'a couple of fellas looking for a good time'? The reviews weren't exactly avoiding the subject, either. But, then, I guess I didn't show you the reviews."
Kevin caught his breath and started across the street, turning and walking backwards once he got past halfway. "Aren't you coming, Hal? This was your idea, after all!"
After his sides finally managed to stop killing him, Hal stood up again and gave an exaggerated shrug. “How was I supposed to know that’s what he was getting’ at! It aint exactly what I was getting’ at! I mean I’ll go! I’ll take it…jeez.” He wiped a tear from his eye and jogged to catch up to Kevin. “My idea?! You’re the one who read the reviews and led us here oh ye fearless leader ye!” He panted slightly and made his way past the bouncer and into the club and blaring music. “Music is nice.” He spoke close enough to the pangolin’s ear to be heard over the crowd and dancing. And furs were dancing. “Man I feel . . . overdressed. Like . . . dressed too much.” He spoke unbuttoning a few buttons of his shirt and shouldering through the crowd, of which they stood miles over the majority. Luckily for them, most were a little too occupied with each other to stare at the draftee duo. Bellying up to the bar, he rapped on it with a knuckle to get the bartender’s attention. “What you drinkin’ Kev?” he asked before quickly responding to his own question. “Whiskey sour for me, and whatever he’s havin’.” Mixing alcohol. First gin, then tequila, and now whiskey. For a seasoned drinker these were surely the signs of disaster. “Gonna have a good time here I bet! Hell, maybe someone’ll try and get yer number Kev!” he jeered.
Kevin looked at the bartender. "We just had Mexican, so I'll get a margarita, please."
He looked around the club until he spotted the bathroom sign. "I'll be back in a moment, Hal. Just need to hit the restroom real quick."
Kevin ducked into the restroom, taking care of his business as quickly as he could. A husky winked at him as he pulled the door open to leave, causing Kevin to quickly look away. Across the club, still standing at the bar, was Hal, his drink in hand and his eye on the margarita sitting next to him on the counter. Kevin snuck up along the side of the club, approaching the bar from around the corner. He quietly flagged down the bartender, and pointed at the gator. "It's my 21st, and my friend over there is trying to get me seriously drunk. I know that he means well, but I'd rather not forget tonight, you know? If it's at all possible, anything I order or that he orders for me, can you try and make it non-alcoholic?"
He watched the bartender give him a slight nod before returning to serving customers. Kevin looped back towards the bathroom door before weaving his way to the gator through the crowd. He took his spot next to his friend and picked up his drink, taking a slow sip. "Sorry for taking so long."
By the time Kevin had managed to make his way back to the bar from his little adventure, Hal was well into his whiskey sour. Blinking once and looking to the other with a lazy grin. “Nah . . . no problem.” He was just about drunk now. His tail and the rest of him bobbing slightly to the beat of the dance music. “This beats the shit outta bluegrass and banjos.” He spoke sarcastically. Leaning forward onto his elbows against the bar he took another drink. “You dance much? I’d offer but uh…if I fell on someone out there I think we’d need an ambulance. And I’m . . . well . . . I’m fuckin’ drunk.” He licked at his large, reptilian teeth and laughed again. By now the alcohol was getting to his body, the heat in the club was too; so he rolled up his sleeves revealing a sleeve tattoo, or more like a carving, into the scales of his left forearm and dipping into his shirt. With his collar down a hint of it could be seen on the side of his neck as well. On the court in his jersey it was all clearly visible. A swirling, tribal design of a lighter green-yellow than the rest of his murky dark skin and scales.
Kevin eyed the design carefully. "You know, Hal, even though we played at the combine, I don't think I ever noticed that engraving. It's quite nice. Where'd you get it done?"
The alligator blinked and looked down to his left arm, taking another drink and setting his glass down. “This?” he spoke motioning to his arm and looking suspiciously to Kevin. “How the fuck don’t you notice it? Ain’t like I wear sleeves on the court.” Shrugging it off, he thought for a moment. “Had it fer a while, through college. It’s a thing to do if you’ve got thick scales. They don’t take a needle or ink very well so ya carve at em instead. If I remember correctly one of my cousins done it for me. Said it’s…what’s the word…” He trailed off and rubbed his broad snout, “Polynesian? Somethin’ like that.” He waved a clawed hand dismissively. “Anyway, means the flow of life or somethin’. Life giving sweet waters all runnin’ together. He figured it was good given my outlook on life. Plus I think it makes me look kinda hot.” He finished off with a wink. “You got any ink?”
Kevin chuckled. "That it does, Hal, that it does. It looks good on you!" He paused, staring out onto the dance floor. "No, I don't have any ink. Only the front of my body can take it, and I've never found something I really wanted to put on my body, you know? I've never gotten my scales carved either. Unlike yours, mine are always growing. They either wear down or I have to get them trimmed, so any carving I get done on them will only ever be temporary, a year at the most. That much money for a temporary piece isn't really worth it, eh?"
He took a long drink from his glass and set it down onto the counter. "I'm thinking I'll get Julian to carve something into me if I get drafted. If I end up traded, I can always clip the scales and they'll grow back soon enough."
Hal nodded, “Well, seein’ as it would be temporary maybe you could haggle yerself a deal! Half price or somethin’. I know this piece cost me just a few nights of cookin’ seein’ as it was family and all but they can be pricey from what I’ve heard.” Kevin looked back up at the gator, who looked every so slightly unsteady on his feet. "You never really talk about what you do for fun back home. The way you say it, it sounds like all you ever do is help with the fishing and practice. Isn't there anything you like to do to just, you know, relax?"
Hal finished his whiskey and set the glass down. His eyes were bleary, and a bit glassed over. “Fun? Shit I aint got a lot of time for fun back home…not recently anyway. I’d been away to Florida attendin’ college there for a while till I got my bachelors and entered this here draft. And this is costin’ a pretty penny so I work to earn all the money I’m spendin’ back. My family aint the type to just give handouts. You fend fer yerself in that regard. Even if they did offer to flat out pay I’d refuse that shit. Gator’s gotta have his pride!” he nodded resolutely.
“But really, that’s why I’m comin’ to this invitational and not say…fuckin’ flyin’ all the way to Hawaii. I can’t afford that, not so soon after this event.” Looking toward his empty glass he motioned the bartender to fill it up again. “But it aint like you gotta attend everything to have a chance eh? I’m hopin’ that’s the case, I’m hopin I’m not missin’ out on some golden op-opportunity.” He stuttered through his intoxication. “And for fun? I swim a lot. I go out to the swamps that we fish and just sorta…hang out. I like to fish, I like to drink beer. But what I enjoy most is cookin’ fer people. Bringin’ a smile to their hungry faces.” He said listfully. “Other than that, I like naps…and lots of em if I can get em. But with as big a family I had growin’ up. We didn’t have a whole lotta time for relaxin’. Escapin’ to my shitty run down court was a way for me to turn off to the world an just play some basketball ya know?”
Kevin nodded. "I can understand that. I . . . I probably wouldn't be here if it weren't for the help of my old team and the community back home. They fundraised . . . a lot. I wanted to turn them down, but I couldn't. Not after they went to so much work on my behalf. I'm trying to pass that on to others where I can, helping some get here."
He grabbed the gator by the arm, dragging him away from the bar and toward an open booth against the wall. He gently pushed the gator back into the seat, which was barely big enough to fit him, and then sat himself carefully on the other side. "You like to cook for people, eh? Gotta love a guy than can cook. Not enough of us learn to do it, and it's always sad to see someone who can't make themselves a good meal and just eats fast food."
“Gah! Hey I was gonna order ‘nother one!” Hal complained as he was tugged gently along towards a booth. Sitting down with his half empty second whiskey sour he canted his head and shrugged a shoulder. “Cajuns is food people, it’s that simple. Aint a’one of us that doesn’t know how ta cook. Though with all my practice, I aint used to cookin’ for just myself!” he said with a loud laugh. “I’m used to cookin’ fer an army of gators, and man can we put it away. So I like cookin’ for big groups, and man you should see my apron! Gumbo, crab boils, crawfish, catfish, roast hog, just about anything. Barbeque too! You should taste my homemade sauce!” he said lifting his glass. “My Mama taught me, I was one of the older siblings so I was incharge of helping. Though I didn’t get off biscuit duty till I was twelve.” He mused about his past and grinned happily.
"Maybe I'll get a taste when I managed to come down to visit ya!"
Shifting in the small booth he eyed the pangolin with a glint. “What ‘bout you? What do you do fer fun? It’s real nice that yer old pals got you the money to get here, mighty kind of em. You want another drink? I kin getchoo one if y’want.” He offered, his words were slurring a lot more now.
Kevin paused, uncertain. "For fun . . . I like to hike, at least when I'm at home. And no matter where I am, I swim a lot. I probably spent as much time in the water as on the court when I was a kid, and I still enjoy the water. I'm probably the most aquatic terrestrial creature you will ever see.
"I game when I can, it's an enjoyable, if expensive, hobby. And, of course, photography. Been trying to work on drawing and writing too, but I haven't made much progress." He looked at Hal as the gator slammed back the rest of his drink. "If you really want another one, I'll go get it. You're wobbly enough on your feet without getting back up. I could use a beer anyways."
“Well shit lookit you. All yer hobbies and shit. And if there’s one thing I know shit about, it’s swimmin’.” He nodded. “Rivers, swamps, bayous, can’t get enough of em. Only think I won’t do are public pools, that shit’s disgusting.” Yes it was a bit ironic that the alligator preferred a standing swamp to a chlorinating swimming pool, but it seemed he was rather adamant about it. “Yeah go get me somethin’ will ya?” he asked handing the other a wad of crumpled bills. “Getchoo a beer or something stronger you aint drunk enough yet.” He beat his meaty palm on the table top and pointed to the bar. “Maybe if I get sauced enough I’ll actually get up and dance or somethin’.” He was already beboping to the electronica music as is.
Kevin nodded, grabbing the bills and weaving his way through the crowd towards the bar. The pangolin soon returned with another whiskey sour on one hand and a tall glass of what appeared to be beer in the other. He set the whiskey sour down in front of the gator and took a long drink from his beer. "You absolutely sure that you'd want to dance, Hal? You did say not long ago that if you fell over on someone there would be an ambulance involved." Kevin took a quick look around the room. "It's a lot more crowded in here for the time of day than I had expected. I mean, what, it's not even ten yet and this place is packed. I think if either of us went down, we might take a few with us."
The large alligator shrugged his shoulders, “Yeah well…I mean we’re pretty big they’d stay outta our way. I can’t dance worth shit though, probably trip over my own tail. On second thought maybe it aint such a good idear after all.” He rubbed at the scaly side of his neck. Waiting a time before taking up his glass and sipping at hit, licking his maw with a thick tongue. “But what else are we gonna do?! You aint getting’ drunk enough! Are you having any fun at all? I hope you are . . . I’m tryin’ ta give you a good time here. There’s other shit we could do if yer . . . lookin’ for something more interesting.” He sneered and flicked his gaze to the couples around them that were, for lack of a better term, enthralled in each other. The scent of the place was thick with possible drug use and raging hormones. “You said yerself the night is young right? And it’s crowded here. Smells . . . like . . .well.” he shrugged a shoulder.
Kevin nodded. "It smells like sex in here, yes. With my nose, it wasn’t hard to pick up that smell.”
Kevin paused, looking everywhere but at Hal. "I was hoping you'd be drunk enough by now to not notice that I wasn't getting drunk. I mean, I'm tipsy, sure. I've had quite a bit. But I've never been drunk before, and I've never really wanted to be. This beer is non-alcoholic."
Kevin saw Hal's expression drop slightly. "No, no, I'm definitely having fun! You don't need to worry about that! It's been an awesome night! We can still dance if you think you're up to it, but I'm not a good dancer either.
“And as for something a little more . . . interesting," Kevin blushed heavily, looking down at the ground, "I've . . . I've never been with anyone before. In any way."
“Really? Never? Shit how old are you? Wait never mind I know that already.” He shook his head sullenly and took a drink from his own glass. He eyed the fake beer and seemed to recoil in disgust, it was a sin to him to ruin a good brew with no ethanol. “Good that yer havin’ fun, but you could be havin’ a lot more if you’d loosen up. Just loosen up man.” His voice was softer now, sticking just between the two of them as he leaned forward. His reptilian, predatorial stare leveled on Kevin. “Go with the flow. An if you aint ever been with anybody? Gotta start somewhere.” He chuckled and looked to his own glass, scooting it across the table to the pangolin, it was half full. “Drink it.” It wasn’t really a suggestion, more like a daring command. “I’m up fer some fun if you’re up for it. We can go slow if ya want. I’m real good at this sorta thing I like ta think.” And there was that Dufrain smile again, more drunk than ever, his body temperature had risen enough for him to be panting slightly, jaw agape to exhaust some heat. After all, alligators didn’t sweat.
Kevin sighed, pushing his beer to the side and accepting the much smaller class. "No, Hal, I've never been with anyone. And it's not like anyone back home knows I'm gay. Though, they will eventually. If I don't tell them, some newspaper will print it at some point, and all it will take is one of them learning for all of them to know."
He took a drink from the glass, almost gagging on the alcohol. "You are attractive, Hal, you really are. And a guy would be lucky to have their first time with you. I'm just . . . I'm not sure that I'm ready." He paused, shifting his gaze away from the gator. "I mean, I've never even had someone see me naked before, let alone had someone touch me . . . like that. There are certain things I think I could do, and certain things that, well, I don't think I'm ready for. And maybe I'm just kinda old-fashioned, or prudish, or something, but I always imagined saving that for a boyfriend or something you know?"
Hal fell silent and listened to the other as best he could. He frowned despite himself, not at the apparent reluctance of the other party, but the fact that he seemed so ashamed of himself, who he was and who he enjoyed thinking about and looking at. He did feel pretty good at the compliments though. Nodding as Kevin took a drink from the gator’s whiskey he cleared his throat with a low growl and leaned his elbows onto the top of the booth table. “Look Kev, if it’s got you so damned stressed we don’t gotta do a damn thing. Yeah I guess it’s cool to wait for a relationship if that’s really your thang. I’m the kinda guy that…I do what feels right an what feels good. Cause tomorrow I might walk out the hotel and get hit by a bus er’ somethin’ ya feel me?” He asked motioning with his clawed hand for added effect.
“It’s a big step to take.” He was trying to sound as serious as he could with his drunken haze and slurred speech. “But man, don’t you wanna spite all those fucks back home? Show em you can be happy? You need to stop worryin’ so damn much. So they find out, big fuckin’ deal. It is what it is man and you damned well better get used to it, and own up to it. Be fuckin’ proud.” He pounded a palm on the table and sneered. “I’ll be gentle, I’ll go as far as you want me ta go, an no further. One word, one stop, an I’ll stop. I think you’ll be surprised.” He waggled his eye ridges flirtatiously at the pangolin, trying to at least lighten the mood and get the other smiling. “What’s a good time between friends, hm? It is your birthday, an I aint got no other idears fer a present.”
"Hal, I . . ." Kevin smiled hesitantly, looking away from the gator. He gripped the small glass hard, drinking the remainder of the liquid in one gulp. Setting the glass back on the table, he returned his gaze to his friend. "I honestly don't know what to think. I'm not nervous because of someone else. I could care less what people who don't know think. And to do it to spite people would just be wrong.
"This is just a hard decision for me. I know you won't push me into something I don't want to do. I trust you there. But I'm nervous. Even though I barely know the guy, there's someone I care for, even if I don't think he thinks of me that way. I'll likely always be a friend of his brother's to him . . . maybe a friend. But most likely, never more."
Kevin sighed. "If you really would like to do something for me, you could get me a drink. Nothing too strong, though. And let the bartender know he can put alcohol in it again. I just . . . I need to think about what you've offered. And maybe we should dance a little first," he paused, breaking into a small grin, "and try not to crush anyone."
Hal let out a hiss of a sigh and stood up at the request for alcohol. “Na man, if you’re thinkin’ too much about it yer doin’ it wrong bud.” He said patting the pangolin’s shoulder and moving off through the crowd to the bar. He grumbled to himself and adjusted his sleeves before asking the tender for two more drinks, both alcoholic this time. Returning with two glasses, “I got myself a rum and coke, and I got you a long island ice tea, seems your style.” He said setting down the others drink in front of him. He frumped down into his booth, taking a drink from his glass. “So, got a guy you’ve been eyein’ hm? Who?” he asked leaning his chin onto a hand whose elbow was resting on the tabletop. “As fer dancin’, I got two left feet, I was just suggestin’ it to try an lighten the mood or somethin’. Some people get frisky on the dance floor, though it would loosen you up a bit.”
Kevin nodded, taking a sip of the drink through the provided straw. He hummed in delight. "This is delicious. I've never tried one before."
He shuffled in his seat as he considered answering Hal's question. "I don't know if you recall Adi. Aditya, the civet? He was in the top 24 back at the combine. I spent a day with him and his family back during the combine. His brother is . . . well, he's really sweet and I got along with him pretty well. And he made me blush, a lot. I don't know if it was because he was the first person to ever really flirt with me or what, but he really pulled at a few of my heartstrings."
Kevin took a long sip of his drink. "Okay, seriously, this is so good!"
“So a draftee’s brother. Hm.” Hal said, taking another drink from his glass and smirking at the enjoyment Kevin was getting out of the entire ordeal. “Told you you’d like it. Trust me. Hal aint gonna steer ya wrong. He don’t steer no one wrong.” Looking away from present company he turned to watch all those dancing and having a good time. By now the alcohol was really starting to kick in, and he was curious how well he was going to be able to stumble back to their hotel room. “Hope that works out fer ya though, or whatever.” He waved a hand. He seemed a bit…off now and it wasn’t just the alcohol. A guy with as big a personality as Hal, and with the attitude he had, usually he could win people over. He wasn’t used to being told no very often. “Hope yer havin’ fun though guy.”
Kevin let out a big laugh, the alcohol getting to him. "Hal, he lives halfway around the world! I could be crushing on him my entire life and nothing would likely change, even if I told him! After all, he's media, he can't just settle down. He has to be on the move, wherever the story is. And I'm a basketball player! It's not like I'll ever have much of a home life when I'm drafted!"
Kevin's chuckles faded away as he drained the rest of the drink. He glanced up, seeing the change in both Hal's expression and voice. He reached out, placing his hand on the gator's. "Come on and finish that drink. I don't care if you can't dance, I can't either, but we're gonna do it."
Hal shrugged. “Well that’s how it’s gonna be if we get drafted. If you want any kinda relationship it’s gonna be a long distance one for at least parts of the year. We’re gonna be movin’ around a lot ya know?” he asked shrugging. Looking from the dance floor back to the pangolin as he insisted they try and make fools of themselves. “Uh, you sure you wanna do that?” He said with a smirk. Checking to see how much of the Long Island Kevin had polished off he simply shook his head. “I kin barely stand up I can tell. I don’t think it’s a very wise decision.” He glugged down the rest of his rum and slammed the glass down on the table. By now he’d stopped bobbing to the music, too drunk to probably even hear and process it at the same time as the conversation at hand. Slipping from the booth he had to grab at the table and steady himself as he stood, chuckling. “Woo shit…”
Kevin moved as fast as he could on his slightly unsteady feat, wrapping an arm around the big gator. "Maybe you're right. I don't think you can dance."
He looked between the gator and the door. "Maybe we should head out. You're pretty drunk!"
The alligator gripped Kevin’s shoulder tightly to keep himself balanced, leaning his weight against the pangolin. “Yeah, sorry bud but I don’t think dancin’ is on the menu right now…There’s only a couple thangs I kin do when drunk, an that ainnit one even sober.” He looked to the door, nostrils flared. “Fresh air sounds good though right about now.” With that he put an arm around the pangolin’s shoulder and they both sauntered toward the door through the crowd. Once on the street, it turned out that of course it was much warmer outside than inside seeing as it was a desert after all. Hal snorted and quickly unfastened the rest of the buttons on his shirt. “Man it’s hot…and dry…and I think my scales are dryin’ out and crackin’…” He complained drunkenly patting his bare chest checking for scale cracks.
"You're the one that wore all those clothes. I thought you might get the hint when all I wore was a tee-shirt. This is a hot, dry city, Hal, even after dark!"
He looked down the street, more people passing by than there had been not long before, now that the nightlife had truly begun. "I don't know if you can make it back to the hotel. I'm a bit unsteady on my feet, too. Should I call us a cab?"
“Cab might be a good idea . . .” Hal spoke looking from one side of the street to the other, the traffic had increased since their time in the bar, cars whizzing by cause at least a slight breeze that fluttered his open shirt now from time to time. “Cause I don’t’ think I’m gonna be able to cross this here street.” He pointed down to it and regarded Kevin with glassy eyes. “Shoulda paced m’self man . . . this drunk and it’s only . . .”He checked the watch on his wrist, and it took a good while to actually read the hands, “Shit . . . only something past eleven!” he shrugged broad shoulders. “Call away Malka.”
Kevin typed in the number for the one cab company he had seen that day and put the phone to his left ear, holding tight to the unsteady gator on his other side. The call was brief, and Kevin shoved the phone into his pocket. "They're busy tonight. Gonna be a 15 minute wait, at least, until they can get one over here. There's a bench back against the club's wall, maybe we should sit down for a few."
“It’s Vegas . . . they’re probably always busy.” He said turning around using the other to keep him steady to look for the aforementioned bench. “Yeah that’ll work.” With that he made his way over slowly, with calculated steps so as not to make a complete fool of himself in front of the crowds of people that were no doubt sparing several glances their way. They were an odd sight being so tall among average furs. Flopping down onto the bench, Hal sort of sprawled out with both his arms up resting along the top of the bench. Sucking in a deep breath through his reptilian nostrils and sighing thereafter. It sounded like some massive tire deflating, which was then followed by the grating sound of claw scratching against scaly neck. “So, ya had a good time? Hope so.”
Kevin sat down on the remainder of the bench, looking carefully over at Hal. "Yeah, I had a good time Hal. You're an awesome person to hang out with, and good looking to boot. But . . ."
He paused, taking in the gator's posture. "You didn't really have a good time, did you? You've been . . . down for the last little bit."
Hal nodded in satisfaction at the other’s words, he was glad Kevin had a good time, and maybe even loosened up a bit, that was the ultimate goal after all. “Hm?” he asked looking over to the other male and listening. “You kiddin’? I had a good time don’t get me wrong. This shit’s about you havin’ a good time though. Don’t you worry none over me. I’m a big boy, an I’ll be fine.” He gave a reassuring grin. “Just…aint used ta someone who aint receptive to me if ya get my meaning. I like to think I provide what people need. Whatever that outlet’s gonna be I don’t rightly now until the time comes, but I like to make people happy, make em feel good in their own skin, fur, feathers, or scales, catch me?” He gestured with his hand idly.
Kevin nodded. "I'm . . . I'm sorry, Hal. I didn't mean to lead you on at all. I do . . . I do want to do . . . something with you. You're very attractive. I've just . . . I've never really thought about doing anything with someone that I wasn't dating before. It's . . . it's intimidating. Especially for the one on my end, you know?"
Hal leaned his head back and let out a loud guffaw before putting his arm around Kevin’s shoulders. “Aw man you need to fuggin’ relax!” He spoke, his snout close to the other’s ear. “If you gotta stop and think about it for this long you aint doin’ it right. Bein’ with someone . . . really with them you gotta feel, not think.” He shook his head and patted the other’s chest where his heart would be, “Right there. But debating it that much spoils the mood ya know? Then it’s all calculated and planned or some bullshit.” He looked back to the street and did a little hiss/sigh once again. “Flattered that you think I’mma catch though. And there aint nothin’ wrong with havin’ fun between friends, aint nothing has to be a relationship unless yer real sure yer wantin’ to be in it for the long haul with whoever that may be.”
Kevin sighed, looking out at the street. "I know, I know. I just have a lot of hangups."
The two of them lapsed into silence, as they waited for the cab to show up. Hal sat as he was, arm still around Kevin's shoulders, and Kevin pulled out his phone, tapping into it slowly. He stared at the screen, giving the text on it heavy consideration, before he shoved the phone unceremoniously back into his pocket and leaned into Hal's side.
Hal seemed to have dozed off slightly once there was a lull in conversation. He wasn’t in a particularly bad mood. Though it was that point of night and drunkenness where he felt his body weight more than it actually did, which was a lot to begin with. He felt tired and lethargic. Blinking his eyes open, feeling the LED light against his lids he squinted at the screen and the pangolin that had gotten closer, “Somethin’ up?” he asked, claws scratching slightly at the scale on the other male’s shoulder.
Kevin shook his head. "No, nothing. Just checking on something."
He paused, letting his head rest on the gator now. "You tricked me, didn't you? I shouldn't be this drunk if you got me something light."
The alligator gave a big, toothy grin and a tired chuckle. “Trick ya? Nah, I’d never think of it.” He said in a teasing tone of voice. Though a hissing whisper soon followed. “It tasted good didn’t it? I told you you’d like it.” He insisted, “Trust in Dufrain, he aint gonna steer ya wrong. But . . . to be fair yeah . . . yeah it was pretty hard liquor.” He shifted slightly on the bench, letting the other get into a bit more of a comfortable way of laying his head on scaly pectorals. “Sides . . . you aint too drunk yet. You can still talk good enough, no slurrin’ yet.”
"Ya, guess so. And I did like it . . ." Kevin trailed off as he watched a cab pull up in front of them. He seemed almost reluctant to get up off the gator.
“Feels like that took a lot longer than fifteen minutes….” Hal commented once the cab finally arrived. Watching Kevin stand to meet the cab he did his best to sit up and readjust everything in order to stand up.
Kevin opened the back door, and then returned to the bench to assist the gator in getting to the cab. Using the pangolin’s help the two of them flopped into the car, looking like a pair of sardines crammed into the thing as big as they were. He laughed at the ridiculousness of everything before nearly instructing the driver on their heading. He bit off his words as Kevin hushed him and canted his head. Kevin spoke just a few words, looking away from Hal. "The Furside Inn, please."
Hal raised an eye ridge and gave Kevin a questioning look. “What’s that about?” he asked quietly, nodding toward the driver. “You can’t be that drunk.” With a grin, he leaned into the back of the seat. “Big guy got plans hm?” He teased.
Kevin shook his head. "No, I don't. But . . . if anything does happen, and I don't know if it will, we can't do it back at the room, with the others there."
He sighed, leaning against the gator as much as he could in the crammed back seat. "But even if nothing happens, they don't need us coming in, drunk."
Hal laughed, “Don’t wanna subject them to my loud, drunk ass stumbling around in the dark the day before shit actually starts tomorrow? How nice of ya.” He wasn’t being rude or condescending; in truth that was probably the best decision. And if Kevin really was as apprehensive about himself and his love life as it seemed perhaps it was best that this stay between the two of them. After all, Hal wasn’t the type to kiss and tell anyway. He liked to think he was a gentleman. “Shoulda brought more clothes.” He said idly, mostly to himself and allowed his head to fall back against the seat. His eyes stayed open albeit half lidded to observe the other. “You really so nervous about it? It’s natural ya know. For the most part.”
Kevin nodded, slowly. "Yeah . . . guess I am. It's just not something I've done before . . . any of it."
He closed his eyes, trying to get himself to relax. "I know, I know. Stop thinking. Feel. It's just hard."
The alligator sat there in silence for a while, letting the taxi take them to the new hotel for the evening. “I guess for a first time. Can’t believe aint anybody got their claws on ya yet.” He said with a grin. “Just turn the mind off hm?” And at that Hal let the car ride fall quiet, simply laid there and watched the strip go by, neon lighting flooding into the car in snips and flashes of red, blue, yellow, orange, and a rainbow of other colors. The strip grew dimmer as they reached the hotel without any extravagant lighting, just a brightly lit advertising sign with a green vacancy lit up. “Looks like we made it.” With that he had a little fight with the door handle and the fact that the car door was very small before finally managing to step out onto the side walk. Digging into his pocket he looked at his wad of money in a bit of a daze before finally counting off enough for the trip and the tip, shoving it into the taxi driver’s window. “Thanks bud.” Hal turned to the pangolin, making an arching and over-exaggerated gesture to the door.
“Your room awaits.”
The next story in the pangolin's journey to the FBA. This is a long one.
Kevin's 21st birthday hits during a draftee event in Vegas, and Hal decides he needs to celebrate in style, at a bar. It's a fun night for all involved.
The original submission can be found here: http://www.furaffinity.net/view/13990060/