Emptying a Magnum into Saddam - no problem. But drinking in an Elvis suit...

Related Topics

I think it was the moment that the policeman slammed me up against the wall of a Las Vegas shopping centre, dressed as Elvis, that I started to think it might be time to head for home. Apparently, it was illegal - even for Elvis - to wander around Vegas with an open container. Weirdly, no one seemed to have a problem with the fact that, less than an hour earlier, I had unloaded a series of automatic weapons into Saddam Hussein.

We had been cruising around Vegas looking for a suitable place to film our drunk Elvis scene when the magic words "guns, guns, guns" loomed high over our convertibles and lured us in like trigger-happy moths to a muzzle flash. I assumed that it would take ages to go through the safety procedures and endless forms before we even saw a gun. After all, hadn't the fact that I was born in Lebanon made me almost ineligible for entry to the country? Surely handing me over a battery of guns wasn't an option? Welcome to Nevada. I walked in and a man behind the counter asked me what it was that he could do for me. I said I wanted to shoot guns, loads of guns. He simply pointed to the arsenal behind him and asked me to take my pick. Having chosen an Uzi, an M16 and a Magnum 44 for Clint's sake, I was faced with the only real problem: which target to choose. They had apparently run out of Bin Ladens, were down to three Saddam Husseins and had a special deal on a mugshot of President Chirac. The problem, he said, was that most Americans didn't know who he was, so they had plenty left.

I opted for Saddam, as I felt it might endear me to my new, heavily armed friends. Four minutes later I was in a tiny, long room, a bit like the gimp room in Pulp Fiction, watching a man firing a belt-chain-driven anti-tank gun at a picture of John Kerry. The noise was unbelievable. I was given no instruction but, thanks to my upbringing in Beirut, I coped OK. I emptied the two clips of the M16 in about four adrenalin-fuelled bursts and moved on to the Uzi for a couple of strafes from the hip. The room was packed. Everyone was keen to try everyone else's weapons. An AK47 was passed over my head to the redneck in the next booth as I loaded my Magnum with dum-dum bullets. In the corner someone with hate tattooed on his knuckles was shouting "die motherfucker, die" as he fired a Sten gun at Michael Jackson. I could have taken out the whole room in under a minute. I would have been spraying the freeway in two.

Less than an hour later, I was wandering around old Vegas, now desolate, ignored by tourists in favour of the new, glitzy strip. I was wearing a fetching Elvis costume from the deep-fried banana sandwich period and had an open bottle of beer in my hand. I was letting anyone who cared to know that I could have been a contender. I was the winner, three years running, of Bolton's prestigious Elvis Impersonator of the Year contest. Admittedly, I had been the only entrant. But, my confidence high, I had sold up everything to go find my fortune in Vegas - only to be booed off stage on my first night. Most people got the joke, but not the Vegas police. They might look harmless, riding mountain bikes in yellow Airtex polo shirts, but they kick ass. They came out of nowhere. I was in mid-flow of a rather moving rendition of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" when they grabbed me, shoved me into an arm-lock and smashed me against the wall. Luckily, one of them spotted the cameras and warned the rather violent one to cool it. He put handcuffs on me and started to search me. Here we go again, I thought, as I readied my bruised bottom. Fortunately, our very forceful American co-ordinator intervened in a very un-English manner and I was released after 20 minutes of tense negotiations - made even more surreal by the arrival of a police dog team, whose animal continually tried to pee on my suit.

Tomorrow we drive across the Mojave desert dressed as Red Indians. The average temperature will be hovering at around 50C. I'm sure everything will be just fine.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Separate lives: Boston’s streets illustrate the divide between the town’s communities  

Migrants have far more to offer than hard work and wealth creation, yet too many exist in isolation from the rest of society

Emily Dugan
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird has sold 40 million copies  

Go Set a Watchman: Harper Lee’s new novel is more than just a literary event

Joseph Charlton
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'