What can I say about driving across the desert? Interstate 15 would take me up past Mounts Baldy and Belknap before joining the 70 heading east to Denver. King of the road in my rusting 1974 Cadillac Eldorado coupé, I planned to make Vegas by evening and stop at the Tropicana overnight. Everyone should stay a night or two in Vegas, it’s mad; truly and utterly mad, Creation’s folly in the middle of the Mojave. The hotels rise from the baked earth like offerings to the gods. Along the Strip’s neon bejewelled aisle massive entertainment complexes swallow every last inch of sacred real estate, cathedral halls to mankind’s lust for all things gaudy and gambling. To enter the very depths of these pretend palaces is like a manifestation of Heaven and Hell. The slot machine cacophony and drunken crowds combine to test the soul. There is no point questioning the logic of Vegas, you just have to go with the flow of insanity, enjoy and have a nice day. Fifteen floors up, standing at the barred windows of my hotel room I listened to the sound of a distant police siren echoing through the desert night, a sad Paiute wailing that grew louder as it neared the intersection below before sweeping left to enter the unsanctified Strip in search of trouble. The siren is replaced by screams as the New York New York rollercoaster looped behind the replica Liberty and disappeared from view. I heard a knock at the door and called out for the person to enter.
‘Hi guy.’ A bleached blonde woman of indeterminate age hobbled in on painfully red high heels, a bling cross dangling from her neck with uncertain meaning. ‘Been a long time honey, what’s happening?’ ‘Hey, how’s my favourite muchacha?’ I opened my arms and she stepped willingly in, snuggling her chin in my neck like a puppy dog. The smell of her cheap perfume was momentarily overpowering. Thick ridges of sprayed hair bristled against my stubble. ‘You staying long in town honey?’ she asked. ‘Just long enough to get reacquainted with your lovely curves,’ I replied, my hands wandering across the back of her short sequinned dress to settle on the plump mounds of her buttocks. ‘I think you’ve been putting on a few pounds since I saw you last.’ ‘That’s just a little bit more for you to hold on to honey. An extra five bucks worth I reckon.’ She unbuttoned my shirt, kicked off her high red heels. I unzipped the sequins from shoulder to thigh. The outfit dropped to the floor revealing more than enough olive skin and the folds of a woman passing her prime but still holding her own, just, or should I say, still being held together, by lace frilly underwear. ‘I wore the red and black you like honey.’ She unbuckled my trouser belt and knelt down, an acolyte at the altar of the high white priest.
The morning sun reflected in the wing mirrors of the passing cars. I continued my journey to Denver wistfully thinking of last night’s pleasure. Wasn’t it all just a game, this business of life, who we expose ourselves to and choose to worship?