Fear and Loathing in Mohegan

It was another straight shot up 95. We shared the road with people who seemed to know where they were going, but didn't know why they were going there. Our destination, a playground for the American dreamers, Mohegan Sun. This glacial palace, filled with replicas of Mohegan culture, sits on a bluff above the majestic Thames River in southeastern Connecticut. "We're here on assignment," I said to the valet as the car jumped up onto the curb, "keep her close." My attorney, who had already arrived, was waist deep in handling the check in. "What's the score here?" I asked. "This is no time for interruptions, I advise you to order cocktail and sit by the waterfall until this is sorted," he replied. Sound advice, and who was I to argue with sound advice.

Room key and drinks in-hand, we headed to the elevators, one step closer to the safety and comfort of our room. "Are you here for the BBQ festival?" Ask a perky young lady once the elevator doors slide shut. How did she know? Was it our bacon jam tee shirts? Or the crazed look of men driven to the edge of bacon mania in our eyes. "You see we are doing a piece for a... TV show on the BBQ fest... What do you cook?" She drilled deeper into him. "Who me? I cook bacon jam, big pieces of bacon," he says holding his hands out wide. "We're with the Bacon Jams Black Shadow Team," I explain as we escape from the overcrowded elevator.

In the room we assess our supplies and determine a second refrigerator is necessary to accommodate our snack table. It's not that we needed all of it, but once you get locked into a serious snack collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

We headed to the pool side to bask in the remaining sunlight that the day had to offer and to fortify ourselves with the sustenance . One burger with extra bacon jam, grilled vegetable plate, two whole grapefruits, and three cups of ice. The waitress was confused but obliged. The rest of the night was a blur of explaining bacon jam and playing poker.

The next morning, a bright Mohegan sun ripped through the shades like a hungry wolf. Did I miss the event? I guzzled a pot of coffee while trekking through the casino floor enroute to the BBQ district. Upon exiting the building, a vast parking lot with columns of smoke rising from a multitude of BBQ pits lay before me. This was it. Some of this country’s best competing for smoked meat glory. The coffee had kicked me into high gear by the time I got the bacon jams tent. "You drank coffee?" My attorney asked scornfully, knowing that it is not something I normally do. "I did, to no fault of my own," I replied. He saw the twitching in my eyes, "too much, you drank too much." No matter, we had a mission. We had to sling the bacon jam to the good people of Connecticut. They came like a beautiful bacon-crazed wave and I think now, 5 days later, you can climb up a steep hill outside of Mohegan and with the right eyes you can see where that wave broke and rolled back.

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