Thursday, October 18, 2007


Friday night. 11:45 PM. Las Vegas. I walked down the strip; it was lit up like a crazy jewelry box. The streets were jammed with vans, jeeps, and pickup trucks. There were mean-faced girls with tight lips riding shotgun in the cars. There was a stench of pizza, beer, urine, and vomit that filled the air. Drivers and riders were all yelling and laughing form their cars. Some were even yelling at me.
“Get a car, asshole!”
“Hey faggot!”
“YOU are one UGLY son-of-a-bitch!”
The yells were accompanied by the nauseating dull thud of the bass frequencies going BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! roaring out of their stereos, all cranked up to deafening volume. The sidewalk shook and coiled like a snake.
“Heads up, queer!” A beercan sailed past my head.
“What the fuck?” I said, and turned to see a pickup full of teenage white trash with stringy long hair, peach fuzz mustaches, and concave chests covered by tank tops or T-shirts with “Whitesnake” or “Slayer” written on them.
“You want to try something, motherfucker?” one guy got up like he was going to jump off the truck to fight.
“Cool out, Randy”, his friend pushed him back, “Asshole’s got a problem”.
A pack of Marines on leave were walking up the street, big young bulls of varying colors with regulation crew cuts and serious expressions on their faces, all obviously out to have a good time.
I reached the ends of the strip. Less cars, less people on the sidewalk, the casino lights dwindling down to darkness. Next to an old keno parlor was a run down hotel, The Oasis Crest Hotel. I took the elevator to the tenth floor to room 1013 and knocked.
The door opened and it was my brother Paul. I hadn’t seen him in five years, and I had an envelope of papers to deliver to him.
“Tommy, you made it, man”, Paul said, smiling.
“Yeah”, I said, “in one piece, just the way I like it”. The lights in the room were very dim and there was a green neon light from outside his window that flooded the room with a strange glow.
“Have it your way, just like they say at Burger King”, he chuckled. “Did you bring the papers?”
“Yeah, now you won’t have a problem nailing Prince John. You finally have all the evidence you need to put him away for a long time”. I handed him the envelope, and noticed the green neon glowing on him as he scanned the contracts. I noticed something strange. I don’t know if it was him or what, but for a brief moment the word FUCK flashed on his face. It was gone as fast as it appeared.
“Great, just great”, he put down the papers. “You know, I was thinking...isn’t it time you buried the hatchet with Dad? He asks about you all the time”.
“I’m not talking to Dad. You don’t talk to him, He talks to you and you just sit there and listen. I haven’t got time for that kind of shit”, I said, looking him straight in the eye when I noticed an impish gleam there with the word SHIT in bold type.
“Well, my place is with my father. He needs me, and I owe so much to him”, he burbled, the green light still bathing him and the word SHIT still twinkling in his eye.
“You should consider doing the same thing”, he continued. “Your family is what comes first. I’ve thought this over very carefully and I know I’m right”. He fumbled around with a pack of cigarettes.
“You got a light?”
“No. I quit last year”.
Paul walked over to the patio and opened the sliding glass door. On the floor of the patio were dozens of crushed cigarette butts. He picked one up and lit up.
“Mmm...anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately. How successful the real estate company would be with you on the team helping me and Dad”. He no longer had the face of a human being any more. His face looked like the skull airbrushed on the ice cubes of a liquor ad. This was the boy I thought was my brother, the boy I played games with when I was a kid, the boy that shared my mother’s love with me, but I was wrong. He looked like a bad magazine advertisement. He took a deep pull on his butt in green neon, and like a fluorescent light turning on, DEATH and CANCER slowly materialized all over his body. Then FUCK came back on his face and RAPE was spelled out on his nose. I could see him for the very first time.
The phone rang. “Ah, excuse me”, he ran over to the patio, grabbed up another butt, and ran into the next room to get the phone. As he did this, he bumped into the coffee table and knocked over a magazine.
“Oh! Dad! We were just talking about you!” I heard from the next room. I grabbed up the magazine. The cover showed a pregnant woman with her legs spread, vagina exposed, squeezing her tits with milk seeping out, licking her lips seductively. Her face had the expression of a drugged toad. MILK SQUIRTIN’ MAMAS.
“Guess who’s here, Dad? Tommy! Yeah! He told me he’s coming back into the business. We’ll be coming back!”
The room swirled around me and I could hear the car horns blaring outside. Girls were laughing and screaming at the top of their lungs.
“Tommy! Dad’s on the phone! He wants to say hi! Tommy? Tommy?”
I quickly walked to the door and quietly shut it. I didn’t wait for the elevator. I took the stairs.

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