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Morgan Hobbs

Vegas

Tonite I go to Vegas. Spend the big money. Roll the craps. I am on the sauce. So what. Am I soused? Yes I am. "Iíll have some more of the sauce. I donít know what that sauce is, but keep it comminí. Iíll have a sauce on the rocks." Tonite I go to Vegas, bask in the big lights, roll the craps. I wear the big white suit, the white hat, the shined shoes. I throw down my cards and say, "Read Ďem and weep." I toss chips at the feet of urchins. I wrap a string of pearls around the neck of a show girl.

I stuff the crisp bills in the breast pocket of the waiter. "Send a bottle of fine wine to the woman in the purple kimono," I say to him as I walk into the restaurant. I order everything on the menu and leave before it arrives. Iím a busy man. No time to eat. Donít worry, itís on the house.

The shuttle leaves for outer space at noon. I shake the hands of astronauts as they pile on board. "Nice to meet you," they say. I smile big as a Texas oil rig. Money drips from my teeth and makes the air all the sweeter. "Save some of that for me," says the stocky bald man, winking in reference to the statuesque platinum blonde at my side. I return his wink and usher him onto the ship. "Enjoy outer space," I say, waving. The shuttle takes off and I return to the casino.

Telly Savalas pats me on the back and buys me a drink on his diners club card. "More sauce?" asks Telly, pointing with half a finger at my empty glass. "Time to hit the tables," I say, tipping my hat, "Roll the craps." What a guy, he thinks as I walk away. He shakes his head with a smile.

I step out of the limousine, shielded from the flash of photographersí bulbs by dark sunglasses. My sword glistens in the light as I cut off the noses, ears and smiles of the paparazzi. The sidewalk is awash with blood, and I think to buy new shoes. Telly Savalas winks at me from a bar stool, and a waiter hands me a drink. "Compliments of Mr. Savalas," he says. I stuff a few clean bills in the kidís breast pocketó"Thereís a feather in your cap," I say, patting him on the ass.

The slot machines empty coins onto the floor and I wade through them like Moses. "Get my friend a drink," I say to the bartender. "Good to see you again," says Wayne. "Come by and catch my act tonite. There are some people Iíd like you to meet." Tonite, I think. "Iíll stop by your dressing room after the show," I say, "I have some matters to attend to, shit to shoot, people to kill."

"Thatís your end of it," he says, and I melt into the night.

Sun rises over the casino and for breakfast I have sauce. Time to hit the sack. I spill a bourbon onto the carpet, and the bartender freezes.

"Time to clean up my act?" I think, as the men and women turn to dust, swept away in the morning winds. "Las Vegas is an oasis? I havenít had one drop of water since Iíve been here. I donít know what Iím made of anymore. Sauce? Sauce and sand? I am the vulture, the gila monster. I drink the venoms, the dry liquids. My melanomas are cacti, and the flowers on my lapel are purulent bloom. I wish I could sleep the daylight, but I never tire."

From the nightís air I swagger into the casino. The high rollers tip their hats and the hookers purse their lips. I am into the sauce. Bourbons, Scotch, nothing in the delicate glass like the martini or champagne. The sword at my side glistens under the chandeliers. I cut off the heads of the maitre dís, lop off the tits and ass of the show girls. The slot machines empty coins onto the floor. And the fat, bald men slip and pratfall in oily laughter. I buy the casino a round of drinks. Telly Savalas salutes me from the bar. To me Wayne Newton dedicates this next song.

Through the desert night I drive the convertibleótop down, the wind through my hair. I pull over on the deserted road. I get out of the car and light a cigar, walk around, kick the sand. The full moon is a lamp. I buy the moon a drink and walk into the desert. I lie down on the sand and try to sleep. But I am not tired. The vultures and gila monsters descend on me and steal my clothes and wallet, my diners club card. I have taken off my clothes and thrown my wallet into the dunes. Tonite I will freeze and upon daylight will the skin from my flesh be burned.

I get in the car and drive back to Vegas. "Nice to see you again," says Telly. "Can I buy you a drink?" inquires Wayne. My threads are the finest silk, and the flesh of the show girls melts in my mouth. Iím at the table. Iím back on the sauce. And I will never leave Vegas.


Morgan Hobbs graduated from The University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993 with a BA in English and History. Since then he has dug trenches in Austin, Texas,  worked as a commercial fisherman in Kodiak, Alaska, and painted boats in Seattle, Washington. He
currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where he is designing a literary web site, working as a script reader for a production company and dabbling in Beverly Hills real estate.

 

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