Saturday, July 02, 2005

Nevada Blues

Sometimes late at night the loneliness sinks in deep and buries itself underneath your skin. In the distance I see the skyline of New York City, but it's not New York. It's just the fuckin' casino off in the distance and sometimes I look up and see the collective fakeness of this place and it makes even more homesick. Depression looms especially when you let your guard down allow yourself to be swept away by the collective grief.

Las Vegas has a desperate side. It's the sad part of this bitter city that very few people live to tell you about. There are losers every where you look. Everywhere. In line at the buffet. Your cab driver. The old lady at the slot machine. The retarded frat boy wearing sunglasses at a micro limit poker table. And especially the hookers who work the bars at various sports books all over the city. These are the some of the lowest forms of life you will ever come across. It's like everyone's a crackhead but no one smokes crack. Instead of crack, you insert your vice of choice. Sports betting. Slot machines. Blackjack. Roulette. Craps. Poker. Every aspect of Las Vegas was built on loser's money. The bright lights on the Strip? Paid from your Grandma's losses at the slots. The gaudy facades of the megalithic hotels and casinos? Paid by your uncle's dice throws.

If you fly in one day and fly out three days later, you overlook the depravity. Folks like to say they love Vegas. Those are the same people who never ventured off the Strip. They never spent enough time to catch a real glimpse of this city. They don't get to see the look on the faces that a lot of the locals have after been haunted by gambling ghosts and demons for years. That hot waitress at the bar in the Bellagio, the one who kept flirting with you? She's not so hot after you realize she has two kids and goes down on Eurotrash businessmen twice a day to support her $200 a day cocaine habit. How about your favorite poker player, someone who might even aspire to be? He's not that cool after you realize he loses just as frequently as you do, except his loses are in the hundreds of thousands, not a couple of hundred and that the next tournament he wins was not motivated for his love of the game, rather he was motivated by the need to pay off his investors in a timely fashion and avoid getting his legs broken by Russian thugs named Boris and Ivan.

I am tortured by the distant buzzing of jackpot machines in my dreams. I hear the rednecks down the hall arguing about something peculiar. I can smell the urine soaked pants of a whino who passed out in my stairwell. I can sense my sanity leaving town on the next non-stop flight to JFK airport. Some nights I wonder if I will be able to survive another month of living here.

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