Pam Gravy's dancing panda

Real, screw-with-your-head magic in Vegas, and Trey Parker is Neil Diamond.

Published June 2, 2000 2:39PM (EDT)

Dear Button,

It was Pam Brady's birthday last week (Pam's one of the "South Park" writers), so where else could we go but Vegas? We couldn't simply have cake and ice cream. For Pam, ultrashenanigans had to ensue. And that could mean only one thing: Caesar's Magical Empire.

The cheese factor was high as our mysterious, robed maitre d' guided us into a circular room and began speaking in sync with recorded music and cued flames. Suddenly, the ceiling began to rise, climbing farther and ... No, wait! The floor was actually dropping! They fooled us!

That's how the evening went. You never knew what was coming next. And after several carafes of vino, my eyes were even less attuned to the world around me. No matter, it made the magic much better.

After a sit-down dinner and magic show, we were led off to see several other performers. First was Sophie the fire-eater. Dressed in what would best be described as a Roman bikini, she did much to boost our morale. But then she accidentally spit her flame goo onto Kyle.

The next act was a snorefest -- a guy in a tux made apparently unbroken metal rings attach to and detach from each other. Plus, he didn't have a hot assistant. The last act, however, did.

Her name was Stacy, but I shall always call her Dream Stacy. Although she never responded (in words) to my shouted proposal of marriage, nor to my cries of warning as she climbed into various contraptions of magical apparatus with the prospect of being cut in half and run through with swords, I would like to believe she was comforted hearing my sweet voice calling from the darkness.

Needless to say, all this magic gave the group a powerful thirst. But before we could reach the Forum bar, we were cornered by Apollo, an employee of the Magical Empire who, although he had the night off, was hanging around at work. Once he found out who we were, he tagged along until after the show and then did some tricks for Pam on her special day.

Well, I had been watching the other magicians closely, and my eyes were quick enough to figure out the tricks. So I thought catching Apollo would be easy, since we were standing in a circle around him. I was wrong. Each new trick baffled us. Finally Pam shouted, "Apollo, stop fucking with my head!"

Trey Parker was also blown away and quietly asked me to get $200 out of his wallet -- a tip for Apollo. I took out two Ben Franklins and folded them in my palm. Then Apollo did some amazing trick, and we all howled in disbelief.

"Noooo!" Trey shouted. Then he leaned over to me: "Make it $300!" Another great trick. "Noooo! Make it $400!" And on and on.

Let's just say Apollo had a pretty good night.

But the chaos had just begun. After retiring to the Forum bar to recover from the mind screwing Apollo had just given us, we slowed things down with a traditional gift exchange. However, a new zenith of mayhem was just around the corner. After the last package was opened, a squeaky little song began to play over the bar's P.A. system. It started in low, then it started to grow.

It was a birthday song for Pam that Kyle had recorded and sped up so it would sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks. Pam looked around in a daze, not certain what the song was or where it was coming from, but certain from the looks on all the faces around her that shit was about to go down.

Pam scanned the room, nervously anticipating whatever it was we had up our sleeves. Then she caught sight of it, and her head fell off. From behind the bar came a dancing midget in a panda suit whom Trey had flown in from Los Angeles. Everyone but Pam knew it was coming, but no one could believe it when it actually happened. Around and around the Panda bear danced as Pam held her head in disbelief.

Well, that's where we all figured the night would peak out, and we breathed a collective sigh of relief as we dabbed away the last tears of laughter. However, Mr. Parker was just getting started.

Trey had put away some scotch throughout the evening and was feeling particularly saucy. So when someone from the band performing at the Forum bar jokingly asked if anyone in our group could sing, Trey jumped onstage and whipped out Neil Diamond's "I Am, I Said." I laughed so hard I had to turn away, only to see the entire casino floor gathered around the bar to watch.



P.S. I think I got the whole "girl, boy, dating, love, relationship" issue resolved. Trey and I were watching an HBO documentary called "Hookers and Tricks: Trick or Treat," which detailed the lives of several prostitutes and regular johns. Frankly, it was the last place I expected to find such a nugget of wisdom. But sure enough, a little over halfway through, the filmmaker is in a strip club doing some interviews and asks this big black guy in dreads and overalls, "What's the difference between love and love?

Without missing a beat, the guy replies: "Love is a motherfucker. But love, that's butt naked and a cheese sandwich!"

Truer words were never spoken.

By David Goodman

David Goodman, like Steven Spielberg before him, grew up in Haddonfield, N.J. He writes for "South Park" and is the editor of

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