FILLING IN THE BLANKS” • chapter one

The following is not going to change the world. It’s just a short excerpt from a current work in progress; a “real-ish” collection of short stories. It’s therapy for me and I know, is a by-product of my turning fifty soon – one more thing I have to do. So, if you’re not this “old” yet, don’t be afraid of changing. This happens. You think you’re self-important just while you’re in your youth?  Just wait. I’ve spent the first half of my life talking about all the “brilliant” ideas that tended to float in and out of my noggin on a daily basis, and now, I’m attempting to spend the next fifty, or more, putting feet to prayers and pen to pad to make  maybe one or two come to fruition. As for any of them being “brilliant,” well, what’s the odds right?  In the end though, you just have to enjoy the play, and let that be enough.

“Filling in the Blanks • Copyright © 2010 • David Vaughan

Chapter one: “VEGAS’LY FAMILIAR”

Las Vegas has one of the most unique gravitational pulls on the planet. People are drawn there for (of course) the gambling and (naturally) the imbibing that seems to pickle and touch all demographics equally, but if you’re not one of the locals who make their living from tourism, then you’re likely just a tourist-slash-convention goer, whom this town means to eventually bend over and have its way with.

How this works is, the second your DNA enters Vegas airspace, all of that which you hold precious, whether it be in the form of plastic, coin, or bodily fluid, will immediately begin ebbing out of you. Money will continuously dart out of your pockets, like ticked off crickets that got in there by mistake. Ultimately, all you possess will land in the hand of everyone – and in the crack of everything – around you. From bellhops and beggars to hallway vending machines and maniacal robbing robots – you will be taunted from all sides all the time you’re there. I believe it’s a city ordinance that this happen.

Zombie-like, yet still un-undead, I watched those who'd not taken my path of sobriety in Vegas, leave like lifeless, empty pocketed ghouls. Whatever glowing persona that folks entered the casino with was gone from nearly every person I observed.

This unique local hospitality will continue on up until the point at which your plane, cab or bookie demands that you leave while you still have a pulse. You’re no good to “them” if you’re dead weight, so it’s best to either leave on foot and die somewhere in the desert (much less expensive), or simply make your scheduled departure, recoup and return at some later date to enact your “revenge.” Good luck with that by the way.

You may have gotten to Vegas via the best damn deal of your life, but it’ll still cost you in the end, one way or another. No question. The one exception I know of personally is when you’re caught locked in your hotel bathroom on whatever smoke-filled tacky floor your Hooters Casino room lands, on your knees, giving back to the town’s underworld every penny of buffet food and drink you paid too much for in the first place. In that scenario, it’ll cost you at both ends, both ways.

That was my fate last visit, as well as this vile town’s way, I suppose, of mocking my recent decision to sustain a certain level of sobriety which I’d committed to since the first of the year, just six weeks earlier. Now, I found myself precariously poised at the epicenter of Sin City for one of those humongous industry-related conventions which the college I worked for wanted me to attend. So I decided to see what a town like this would feel like if I were completely straight during my stay, something I’d never experienced in all my couple dozen prior visits.

Unless you count the time when I was 11 years old…

(to be continued)