Tagged: Las Vegas

Greyhound Arriving : Chapter 8 0

las vegas story

Cranberry Juice

The emergency room at the county hospital seemed a bit too busy for a Tuesday morning. Tucked in every corner sat screaming babies with frantic mothers, homeless suffering from the heat, foreigners nursing hangovers, and Cindy with a gunshot in her arm.

She sat in the middle of a bed pushed into the hallway with her legs dangling over the edge. A gauze pad with a red circle of blood covered her arm. This part of the adventure she could have done without.

“All I found was cranberry juice,” Wallace said. He snuck up on Cindy as if she might hit him.

“Thanks.” Cindy refused to look at him. She put the bottle on her head and let the cold penetrate her headache. Wallace placed a towel on her neck.

Wallace felt sick. The shootout left a man dead, a hurt friend, and most of all, the end of a good place to stop for breakfast. Moreover, this girl almost died. So close to the age of his youngest daughter. What a mess.

“It will be just a moment more,” a nurse said. “Can I get you anything?”

Cindy opened the bottle and took a sip.

“Just let me go.”

“In due time, dear,” said the nurse.


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Greyhound Arriving : Chapter 7 0

las vegas story
Paramedics wheeled Charlie out of the club through the mess of wires, broken glass, and water. A medic taped gauze on Cindy’s arm where a bullet broke the skin leaving a bleeding gash. Cuts and scratches covered her legs.

“He’s going to make it,” Wallace said. “How he didn’t die is anybody’s guess.”

How they all survived, nobody could tell. A flash of gunpowder played again in Cindy’s mind as the bullet sent a cascade of water over Bill’s head. Then the bullet came toward her and she froze in fear. It threw up bits of cushion and wood behind her. It must have missed. However, a shock wave climbed her arm and she knew the bullet had hit her.

“You’ll need stitches,” a medic said. “I still can’t believe it happened,” Cindy said. “I could have died.” Cindy smoothed out her dress and tried to cover up her scratches.

“I’ll wrap those too.”

The medic squirted out some cream and moved his fingers over the cuts. His cold hands sent another shock through Cindy. She shivered. He paused. She waved him on and closed her eyes.

On this trip, she planned to find the man responsible for her dad’s death, kill him, and escape the desert. Instead, she landed in a shootout and a robbery.

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Greyhound Arriving : Chapter 6 0

las vegas story
Todd Loudin heard the shots below his office. They sounded close. He cocked his head to listen. Two more shots and screaming. He rushed to the window.

A man dressed in all black ran away from the Glitter Gulch. Behind him, a half-dressed girl flailed on the ground with a hole in her leg. Another girl wearing only a bikini tried to help her. Green bills blew out of a broken grocery bag. A couple bills stuck to the girl’s bloody leg.

A man in a Hawaiian shirt, a straw fedora, and blue slippers held up his hands. A woman screamed and covered her hair. Todd chuckled. Imagine the sensation back home if she lost both her money and her head in Las Vegas.

Behind the man in black, a revolver spun around in one hand as a small duffel bag followed behind in the other. Todd leaned out the window and watched the stranger run.

The man crossed into the alley with the duffel flying behind him. Thin orange neon roped down the outside of the Golden Gate Hotel pointing to the alley. Todd watched the commotion and fear.

He looked away from the spectacle across the varnished room. He locked eyes on his bodyguard standing watch near a large wooden door. The bodyguard nodded. He secured his gun, turned, and left the room.

“Well boys,” Todd laughed. “All in a day’s work.”

He plopped down behind a desk of polished marble and leather. Todd pulled out a cigar from his jacket, cut off the end, drew it up to his mouth, and licked the end. He reached into a drawer behind him for a match. Lighting the cigar, he settled in for a smoke.


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Greyhound Arriving : Chapter 5 0

las vegas story
A man dressed in black shifted his weight in the far booth with the girls. Feather hung on him like a white dishcloth and her breasts touched his shirt. She patted his arm when he laughed. The man chewed on a twizzle stick and a baseball hat hung low over his forehead. Cindy saw the corner of his eye when he smiled at Feather.

“They seem full of energy,” Cindy said.

Bill looked behind him. “The night always brings out the happy.” He turned around and eyed Cindy.

“Who’s the guy?” she asked. Cindy thought the stranger seemed out of place.

“Money can make you happy. Dreams can make you happy,” Bill said. “And we have enough of both to make you almost giddy.” He patted Cindy’s hand.

“You could use some happy, right?” Bill aimed to sign up the girl before the party started again.

He smiled a wide grin. Cindy looked behind him to the far corner of the bar. Wallace followed her gaze.

“Likely a guy who figures he might go home with Feather,” Wallace said. Bill twisted his head. “Why don’t you all go home now,” he shouted.

The laughter stopped and Feather fidgeted. The stranger leaned forward and Feather let go his arm.

“Go on. Go home,” Bill said.


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Greyhound Arriving : Chapter 4 0

las vegas story
Cindy counted the number of bubbles rising up from the bottom of the aquarium behind Bill’s head. A black and white fish floated through the bubbles followed by a yellow and blue. The black and white was missing an eye. Otherwise, each fish looked happy to be swimming in a strip club.

“You should add a clown fish.” Bill looked over at her. “Like Finding Nemo.”

“You are an odd,” Bill paused. “No, make that a pretty, odd girl.”

He decided to file away the question about Todd L. for the moment. It could wait. What he needed right now was a fresh dancer.

Bill leaned around the aquarium and looked down the length of the runway. He shouted at the girls finishing breakfast.

“Feather. Get up here and dance.” Bill pointed to the stage. “Charlie, drop the lights and turn on some music.”

Feather looked down the stage. A second girl slowly pointed with both hands toward where Bill was sitting with Cindy. Feather huffed and slowly slid across the padded seat.

“Move it!” shouted Bill. “Charlie. Lights and Music.” Bill pointed at the controls.


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Greyhound Arriving : Chapter 3 0

las vegas story
Bill DuPree watched Fremont Street for fresh beauty to keep the Glitter Gulch filled with long legs and shapely thighs. If they had a nice set of breasts, well, that was cream on the stick.

As the manager, he had seen them come and go. A girl was going to need a firm foundation to attract the John’s, Dick’s, and George Washington’s stuck in the G-strings of the eye candy. Too bad the candy tended to get sucked dry and spit back out. The girls came and the girls left. Beauty never lasted too long in the Gulch.

Bill watched as Cindy hesitantly walked across the street toward him.

“You have a nice sashay, girl.”

Cindy smiled and slowly walked toward him.

“You must be parched,” Bill said. He gazed at her open dress. Taking stock he slowly moved up to her green eyes. “Let ol’ Bill buy you a drink.”

Cindy smiled and shook her head no. She looked at his shoes; a nice pair of burgundy alligators.

Bill touched her arm and gave it a squeeze.

“Tell me your name.”

He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out an address book. He opened the worn book and retrieved a pen from behind the pages.

“You look like a Tammy.”


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Greyhound Arriving : Chapter 2 1

las vegas story
Cindy stood below the unlit neon of Fremont Street and thought about where to go next. Her list, while punctuated with a final stop, still required a place to start.

“I’m looking for an evil man,” Cindy said aloud to no one in particular. She looked up at Sally, kicking up a leg in glowing orange and purple.

The tall cowgirl smiled and rocked her outstretched leg. A glint of light flashed on her side pointing to the east. Cindy felt a warm glow. She followed the light until it revealed the full length of Fremont Street. Toward the end of her view, a janitor piled up plastic cups and paper. A few of the homeless pulled their shopping carts and panhandlers wandered across from one side of an alley to the other. Otherwise, the street was deserted and empty except for Cindy, Sally and Vegas Vic.

Cindy looked further down to the end of East Fremont.

“You think I will find him down there?” asked Cindy.

Sally only smiled.

The neon lining Sally’s skirt suddenly lit and erupted in a spark. A cascade of light rose up her dress and touched the video canopy overhead forming an arrow. The flashing arrow pointed to the southeast.

“Okay, I guess that’s a sign,” Cindy said surprised. She looked around to see if anyone had noticed. No one was around.

“Go toward the light,” she said in a deep-throated baritone.

“So your handsome boyfriend has the answers,” Cindy said. Sally refused to say, but the arrow began to move across the canopy confirming Cindy’s hunch.

The girl followed the arrow as it moved until it suddenly went out and immediately seemed to jump onto the shoulder of Vegas Vic. A single neon bulb fizzled on the tall man’s shoulder.


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Greyhound Arriving : Chapter 1 1

las vegas story
A ray of sunshine poked up over Sunrise Mountain, snaking its way through the canopy of Fremont Street, falling downward to pause a moment in a puddle of beer, then reflecting upwards to land on the shoulder of Vegas Vic.

“Quite a party last night Sally,” the large man beamed to his partner across the street. He attempted to adjust his cigarette.

“Yes, Vic. Quite a party.”

Sassy Sally tried to straighten out her leg.

A young couple bounced out of the Glitter Gulch, into the empty street, running past a uniformed man sweeping up the trash and litter of the overnight. The young man, barely old enough to drink, pulled the girl along as she pushed down her skirt. They laughed and skipped past the man with the broom. The janitor drew the clutter in faster.

“Still underway, it would seem,” said Vic.

“Yes, Vic,” Sassy replied as she tried to nod. Her neon eyes followed the couple down the canopy.

“They sure do look happy.”

Sassy’s skirt lit up and the neon tubing glowed bright pink around her hat.

“You can feel the love all around us Vic.”

His handkerchief glowed bright orange in reply.

Cindy Lash set down her suitcase and looked up at the tall man with the cowboy hat sporting a welcoming smile and a frozen wave. The neon around his hat sparkled. She felt a bit lost for a moment and the tall man seemed to say “Howdy.” She followed his eye to the cowgirl sitting atop the Glitter Gulch. Sally flickered and her neon eye seemed to wink back.

“I’ll bet you know a few secrets,” Cindy said as she picked up her bag. Hoping to find someone to talk to, she looked down Fremont Street. The last flickering lights and neon were extinguished and the sun had become more than just a yellow glow.


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Dallas 3 a.m. 0

On Oct 1, I woke in Dallas at 3 a.m. before my flight back to Las Vegas. Picking the morning flight over the red eye became a battle of trying to sleep in a too soft bed with a thin pillow. I might have slept better on the overnight. I should have just stayed awake and pretended I was 20 again.

I hit stop on the phone alarm and saw a long line of alerts. In the dark, the light of the phone let me know, “20 dead in Las Vegas. More than 200 wounded.”

It was 1 a.m. in Vegas; it had just happened.

For years, I feared hearing a mass shooting in my city. Too many tourists; too many opportunities. It seemed very real.

I spent the weekend with Katie in north Texas. A fan of country, she would have been at the concert. Thankfully, she was in bed in Denton.

Matthew tried to get tickets to the Route 91 Concert on Saturday. He texted to say he had couldn’t get tickets. That left my son Albert. My phone showed he walked into the house at 10:06 p.m.; two minutes before the mass murder.

I sat in the dark and thought how lucky we were. None of our kids were there. Relief and then horror as an alert put the death toll over 50.

We landed in Las Vegas after 7 a.m. Curtains flowed out of two windows at the Mandalay Bay. The Strip was closed so we took Maryland Parkway to work. It felt like the wind had taken the heart out of Las Vegas.

A Justice tried to give blood but the line was 3 hours deep and she had to come back to hear oral arguments. She never was able to give blood.

Albert woke up confused. He read my text, “Are you okay?” He looked out the window. A bus went by so he figured everything was okay. Then he Googled Las Vegas and saw the news. “Oh, that’s why they texted.”

He went out and bought six cases of water to take to the first responders. It seemed like all he could do. He talked to a few of them. Everyone was feeling grief. Not too many people wanted to talk about what had happened.

He kept pausing the news to ask us questions. “Why did he do it?” “I can’t believe he did it.” “Do you think he cared?”

I didn’t know what to say. I had the same questions.

I donated some money to the Vegas Shooting Fund. By the end of the week, it totaled more than $10 million.

Most of the victims were from California. Of my friends, at least 12 knew somebody shot or killed. A large number of people were from my hometown of Bishop. One little town of 4,000 people and so many people were at the concert.

Las Vegas gets a bad reputation as a place no one calls home. Nearly 50 million people visit every year.

But on the first day, United Blood Services collected more than 600 pints of blood; they are lucky to collect 100 pints a day. As people stood in line, businesses brought sandwiches, water, pizza, cake, umbrellas, and chairs. Everyone wanted to help. Our community showed through.

By the end of the week, you could find #VegasStrong on most of social media accounts and billboards around the city.

The mass murder stung us. But it didn’t stop us from being people who care.

I’m still numb to the whole event. I would give anything to wake up in Dallas at 3 a.m. to see nothing on my phone.

Scribble, June 07, 2017 1

Been off taking care of other things and not writing. I missed the keyboard! I thought it would be a good idea to sit down and type. Fair warning: none of this may interest you.


We take the idea of completing our chores, interests, obligations, and everyday tasks for granted. Like they will never end. And then they do. What have we accomplished? And does it matter? Just some of my thoughts this week.


The temperature reached 102 Tuesday, yet the weatherman said it only felt like 96. Meanwhile in west Texas, it reached 89 but felt like 91. A balance of humidity, I guess. It really can be a dry heat in Las Vegas.


Somehow through incompetence or brain death I managed to let one of my domains expire. I probably intended to walk away from it. So now, the new owner wants $5,000 to start the bidding on getting it back to me. I think I’ll pass. Hopefully, someone will find it useful.


By the airport someone has put up a billboard with only clouds on it. I wonder what the metaphor means? Cloud services? It’s better up here? Fly the cloudy skies? I suppose more information is forthcoming. And since I don’t plan a trip anytime soon, I probably will never know the answer.


The ancestry.com app works like a dream. I’ve been adding information like a wild man. Of course, just when you are on a roll, the company tries to sell you something it gave you minutes ago for a different ancestor. Pretty clever. I, of course, am not paying. I have ways of getting the information out of the app for free. I know nothing!


It’s easy to get sucked into ancestry.com and not write.


What would you do if all of the knowledge you needed to complete a complex task was on a flash drive, but you had no way to retrieve the files? Let’s assume you’re in space floating toward a new planet and there is no other way to fix the problem. Would you fix the flash drive or just sit around frustrated? I think this is how Daniels must have felt when David/Walter locked her in the hyperbolic chamber to sleep while he hatched the new aliens.


A BLT with avocado and and egg. Different.