LAS VEGAS -- Who has the toughest job in Las Vegas? Is it the police officers or firefighters who put their lives on the line? Maybe the taxi drivers who have to navigate through terrible traffic jams? One nominee for the toughest job in town is a street entertainer who performs despite excruciating pain.
He goes by the name Toxic and his line of work is not for everyone.
"Half price for ladies. All day long," he yells on a pedestrian bridge overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. The foot traffic is sparse on this cold, blustery night but the street performer, known as toxic, is using his entire repertoire of come on's in hopes of drumming up some business.
"Get your nuts shots here. Get 'em while they're hot. Right here, right now, Las Vegas Strip, kick me in the nuts for 20 bucks. Don't be pansy," he yells.
Even on the Las Vegas Strip, where sidewalk hustlers offer booze, drugs, sex, or where tourists can pose with super heroes or celebrity lookalikes, this offer jumps out. For $20, a person can kick him in the groin.
"I take my kicks straight up. I'm the only one who will stand there and let people kick them straight in the balls," Toxic said.
He is a 20-year-old native Las Vegan who was homeless a year ago, before he became an entertainer. Since then, he's been interviewed by newspapers and photographed by countless cell phone cameras. The videos have made him something of an underground celebrity on YouTube. He knows how desperate it looks but his willingness to get kicked in the privates has changed his life.
"I was homeless. I was living on the streets. But now I've moved up, living in a two-bedroom apartment, looking for a woman, looking for a job."
Toxic knows this is not a long-term career. He wants to be a deejay and thinks his online exposure might lead to better opportunities. For the time being, it means he and a small circle of friends have food to eat and a place to stay. On a good night, he can earn a few hundred bucks. On his best day, he raked in $1,700. That's a lot of kicks.
"I keep telling people, you come out and kick me in the nuts, it doesn't hurt you, right? You get your entertainment. It doesn't hurt me either. You know, I was born with this pain tolerance."
There are tricks to the trade, such as the strategic placement of underwear. Toxic is proud to say he doesn't flinch or duck away from the kicks.
"No joke. No cup. Come on powder puff, give me what you've got," he said.
Most of his customers have been drinking so there are a lot of kicks that miss the mark. Toxic admits to using his talents as a thespian to make customers feel they got their money's worth. He survived an onslaught of cowboy boots when the National Finals Rodeo was recently in town. He said his most consistent customers are guys traveling in packs, including drunken frat boys, with some of his most painful kicks being administered by women.
"I had an entire bachelorette party line up to kick me about three days ago," he said. "You can tell when they line up whether it's going to be a good kick or not."
He realizes it is exploitation, but says he's the one doing the exploiting. His celebrity status has inspired imitators as well as colleagues. His pal and roommate Cowboy has been doing it almost as long.
"I average five to 20 a day," Cowboy said.
He has two kids and another on the way which suggests, so far, Cowboy hasn't suffered any permanent damage.
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