When he turned 21, Andy's friends took him to Vegas. It was nerd road trip heaven on a Greyhound. They played Nintendo DS and cards, read science fiction and fantasy novels, and talked into the night. They arrived just in time to hit an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet.
They spent their first day in Vegas taking full advantage of Andy's ability to legally consume alcohol. They lost more money at the blackjack and 5-card stud tables than they would have spent on alcohol, but drank enough free drinks to make it feel like a wash. They laughed and spoke too loud and were throwing up in the lobby bathrooms by three in the afternoon.
They took a break around six and ate bad steak at another buffet. They began to sober up with every intention to crush their livers once again under the weight of late night drinking. They wandered the strip and explored every dark corner. Vegas was so bright that it was only in the shadows that it felt like there was any adventure to be had.
It was on one of those adumbral streets that Andy was mugged. His friends got away, but Andy didn't run. It was either his stubborn nature or his behavioral response to years of beatings but he just stood there looking almost bored at the knife pointed in his direction. When it plunged into his body just below his ribs, the sensation was almost a relief. What a novel feeling to such a familiar turn of events.