At the boulevard paved in lost wages and broken kneecaps, God’s nightlight cuts through the darkness like a buffet hot plate melting butter for cheap lobster, because even Jesus fears retribution in this city. He turned the host into poker chips and wine into water so as not to get gouged at the casino gift shops, where one can get a taste of Tank Girl because a paltry pint costs three dollars.
Drinks are still free if you’re willing to play, so grandmas feed dollars into one-armed bandits that lost their six-shooters to the house decades ago and would-be high rollers lose this month’s rent as the roulette wheel falls on double-zero after betting black in their last ditch effort at a payout; they loiter ’til their tonic and gin comes crawling slowly on the waitress’ tray through the oblivious crowd, her vanity, varicose vainly hidden by stockings that can’t help but highlight the buttcheeks she’s toned in ten-hour shifts in high heels, which get pinched so frequently she’s stopped resigned sighing even – just focuses on the dollar chips she’ll not get for placating the thirsts of paupers.
Tourists tumble out double doors that swing; that part on their own in deference to drunkards simply being – Red Sea miracle in circuitry that’s rote now, doors that spin and spin endlessly like galaxies working toward blissful entropy 100 billion years in the making; and into the warm Vegas summer air, the heat still hanging from the triple digits that peaked at 5pm.
The ghosts of Ben Siegel and Elvis Presley shimmer into existence through the radiation rising off the pavement in this mirage they built out of extortion and entertainment lifestyles that cost them both of theirs, their souls trapped in this purgatory they stitched out the desert sands with gunshot microphones and lounge lizard espionage, where flip-flops replace heels after the fourth uncomfortable hour, where denizens wait impatiently outside nightclubs – preying for payments, praying for kept open bar tabs, where a PBR might as well be boullion – filled past capacity.
Ben’s phantom cigarette, mouldering, threatens impotently the drapes around the dancefloor, his spectral eyes still bugging out though now it’s not in anger but the convenient eyefuls abounding; Elvis’ gyrations that threatened sensibilities might as well be ballet in comparison to the simulated fornications that ripples up to the bottle service bastions that separate the common from the corporate, the chaff from the chafed, the regular people from who can pull their green-gilded weight.
Waiting for the two-megaton pseudo-sunrise that sparkled in-between the sips of champagne and orange juice, the specters of Vegas’ past rub elbows with present patrons stumbling soberingly to their hotels; Jesus walks beside them, cross abandoned, hitting instead the Stations off the Strip – still beaten, but now by mafiosos who don’t like his odds – they’re still out of Italy, but these centurions wear suits in spades instead of shields and spears.
The fishers of men gave up grandiose visions of heaven and instead seek Pair O’ Dice on earth – its vestige is right there, just next to the Monorail that doesn’t lead anywhere but another casino floor.