My mission plan set, I marched down the hall, marched into the elevator, marched around the elevator for a spell, marched out of the elevator again, marched into the lobby, and marched out the door.
The objective - for the first time ever in almost 60 trips to The Meadows - to visit the iconic Welcome to Fabulous Flush Vegas sign.
Hard to believe, but its true, we'd driven by it a million times (I counted) but never stopped. Well, today was going to be the day.
Out in the pork cochon, where taxis waited and limos dropped off, I turned and walked toward daylight. Sunlight, actually. And within 90 seconds or so, found out that I was trapped in yet another tourist no-man's-land as the walkway at the side of the ramp dwindled to about 12". I passed signs saying that I shouldn't walk this way. But Las Vegas boulevard was in sight, so I pushed on, and got to the sidewalk without incident, or otherwise being run over or similar.
It was a bright gorgeous-looking day, but was a bit breezy and cold, so I crossed to the east side of LVB in order to stay in the sunshine.
I figured the sign couldn't be all that far away, and I could use the exercise after some 12 or 13 days of Vegasing.
I passed a few stores, a McDonald's (noted to self in case punishment dinner was required), and some places with cool looking weather-beaten signs that used to be something. I passed lots of chain link fence and at one point, came upon a formal party of four plus photographer.
The man with the camera thought it would be great to get the bride and bridesmaid to walk barefoot across the smashed-up asphalt, over gravel and broken glass, to a section of chain link fence. This way, you see, they could pretend to be all degenerate and shit and the wedding gown and formal dress would be in great contrast to the (now bloody) broken glass and sun-faded Big Gulp cups, and cigarette butts blown up against the fence like an urban archeologists someday treasure. Beyond the sparkle, glitz, and noise, there's a faded gloryville rusting away the windblown places where businesses have failed and motels have decayed, abandoned, and where nobody is welcome anymore.
"Congrats..." I said to the groom, as I walked past. Then "...dickhead..." a dozen or two steps down the sidewalk, under my breath. Why wasn't groom-boy picking up the bride and carrying her over all the rubble and used hypodermic needles? I wish them good luck.
Feeling snarky and superior, a nice change from how I felt during punishment breakfast, I continued on and sure enough, up in the distance, the sign showed itself.
My God what a bustling affair its become. There is a parking lot now. There are hordes of people. There is a line of tourist photographic fodder stretching down the boulevard, waiting for their moment to pose with 'the sign'.
I started simply, and took a selfie from across the street, putting an almost imperceptible smile on my pretty face.
I can tell by the way you are rolling your eyes that you don't believe I could ever put on lipstick like that.
OK. Busted. (As it were.)
That, is actually songstress Lindi Ortega, whose latest album, Faded Gloryville, I have been listening to lately. Her voice is red velvet, pure and pretty.
I crossed at the light to the area of... The Sign. The last thing I wanted was to stand in a line-up of mooks and ask the guy at the front (who professed to be working for free, but tips were appreciated) to take my picture.
No, I had a better idea.
I just stood off to one side, moved up next to the front of the line, and in between one subject and the next, I fired away. I didn't get one I liked right away, so I just kept shooting selfies. Somebody else was in there but I didn't care.
And here you have it. The official Royal Flusher Welcome to Fabulous Flush Vegas Sign Selfie:
I took another one of whoever along with her friend. And as they walked back to the line, I marched straight up (more damn marching again!) and walked square between the big blue posts of the fabled sign, giving the left one a whack with an open hand as I did.
Cross that one off the list.
I'd done my due diligence. And now I had another kind of diligence in mind. Which makes no sense, given that I'm referring to a very large, very cold iced vodka with three very Hindenberg olives in.
My game of choice was again the hundred play machines with the 'not as bad as they could be' paytables. I had yet another failed four-to-a-royal attempt (playing one line) just to remind me.
What it was supposed to remind me of, I've since forgotten.
Other readers who have had similarly bad trips wonder the same thing I was wondering - how can losing streak continue so fabulously for the majority of days on a long trip? How is it possible?
It just... is. And it does happen. And it was happening to me.
So I played an hour of quarters, often playing multiple lines. And I hit but that one quad. Obviously I was feeding twenties in.
I was down to $20 of my self-enforced stake left. And you know what?
I gave up.
I quit. I walked with $20 left because it seemed futile.
Many, many days in Vegas I've played for 5, 6, 7 hours on less money. Sometimes even more than that.
I'd managed 90 minutes of play on my stake.
And that 'what' is a good bowl of Hot and Sour Soup served by a mincing waiter. I headed for the Noodle Shop.
Picture this. I'm in a corner booth with my back to the wall. I've been losing and losing. I am probably on the worst trip EVER out of 50-whatever trips. I'm sunburned. I'm broke. I'm tired. And all I want is a nice quiet bowl of hot and fucking sour soup. So then Wade minces over and asks me this and that and takes my order just as the baby starts crying.
What baby, you ask? The Montreal Canadiens logo'd diaper fan-baby not 20 feet from me, the one that won't stop fucking crying, the one that grand-mere is parading around the room so that EVERYONE can enjoy the ear-piercing 1950s Pratt and Whitney J57 axial-flow turbofan jet engine developing 10,000 pounds of thrst and 10 billion pounds of waaaaaaaa decibels that are enough to split your molars so wide open that there would be room for the entire Wall of Fucking China between your shattered fragments of enamel.
Two things happened at this point. One, I realized There Is No Mercy For Flushy, and two, I thought of Jennifer, yes you, of iputmylifeonashelf.com. I felt that she could - err - relate. (If you haven't checked out Jennifer's blog, you should. She's a fearless traveler. She actually went to China. Without fear. Unlike me. Who hasn't been but would be afraid.)
Wade pirhouetted my soup onto the table. I'd got some tee from the mincing minion that helped Wade.
So, yeah, overall, pretty good hot and sour soup. If you look closely you can see a soup-nami of shock waves in there from Baby Mahovlich just a blue-line pass away.
|Wade and Minion Wade|
|Chicken with Black Bean sauce. I ate it all. Except 2 black beans, which I stuffed in my ears.|
Having given up on gambling for life, there was nought else left to do but slink to my room and kill time before bed.
In retrospect, this Wednesday in Vegas wasn't as bad, really, as I thought it was.
It was worse.
I see now, after putting this picture up, that I'd had a Freudian slip of the pen (which could have potential for injury) and marked down -4400 to this point. The number was much closer to $5,000.
But hey, that's the price for fun, and a good whinge in the blog, right?
The next day, thank goodness, I needed to be on the computer quite a bit. Then I'd head out. Back downtown. For my last stand of the trip. Back to the El Cortez, finishing it old school.
Has lost its shine
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