"What do you want to do?" I asked.
"Let's go find a place to eat," he answered. "Preferably a place with TVs so we can watch the Dallas game."
Corey and I were just checking out of the resort and we had ten hours to kill before we got on the plane. There was a sports bar a block away from us so we decided to go get some breakfast while we watch his favorite quarterback Drew Bledsoe.
We enter the place without incident. It was a small place with five television screens where you could sit at the bar and play video poker. Corey and I sat and ate while we awaited the game to start watching the screens to get an update on how other teams were doing around the NFL.
The Dallas game was to be one filled with high drama as prima donna Terrell Owens was facing his former teammates who he trash talked on a regular basis. We were excited to watch this grudge match.
Finally the opening kickoff came and the game was underway. We heard loud talking and cackling from the end of the bar, but we paid it little mind.
Then one of the cacklers decided it would be a great idea to move down and sit right next to me.
"Are you a Dallas fan?" she asked. She looked like a worn out version of the hot girl in high school. She was a small framed gal who was maybe in her mid thirties with a face that revealed hard living was her specialty.
"I'm a Drew Bledsoe fan," I replied. "But I could really care less. This should be a good game."
"My mother's from Dallas," she said. "We always rooted for the Cowboys."
"Really? That's cool."
"Yeah. Where are you from?"
"Cool. I hear it's nice."
The conversation halted as I watched the game. Corey and I discussed the play of the lineman and secondary as well as the scores from around the league.
Then hard living lady decided she needed to talk to me more.
"I just got off work a few hours ago," she said.
"That's nice," I replied showing minimal interest. "Where do you work?"
"I'm a bartender at the Excalibur."
"Cool. You like it there?"
You would think I would know better than to ask such questions instead of ignoring the person.
"Hell no," she said angrily. "I just got written up for going to the bathroom."
It was obvious to me by now the woman was drunk as hell as her speech became slurred and she would use her hands a lot when she talked. What's worse is that she was so animated in her intoxicated sign language that she would hit me in the arm constantly and then apologize for it.
She went on and on about how her work sucks, how her supervisors are corrupt, and how she's having a hell of a time holding down two jobs. I listened somewhat never taking my eyes off the TV and only responding when asked a question. She then got up to use the restroom.
"Who's your new friend Erik?" Corey asked.
"Smartass," I said.
I was hoping the woman would come back and head back to her original party. Luck was not with me that day for she sat down right next to me again and threw a twenty into the video poker machine.
She rambled more about her work until I heard something that floored me.
"My son is missing," she said in a rather nonchalant manner.
"Wha...what?" I said finally making eye contact with her. "Your son is missing?"
"Yeah," she said. "I guess he didn't come home last night. I've been trying to call him. He's fifteen and uncontrollable. I'm really worried though."
Yes her hands kept hitting me in the arm again.
"So you need to look for your son," I stated. "But you feel your solution is to sit at a bar and drink?"
"Yeah," she said sheepishly. "Maybe I should call the police...Hey I just won 500 dollars. Whoo hoo!"
Sure enough I look at her video poker screen and indeed she won that sum. She hooted and hollered as people around the bar cheered her. I congratulate her, shake my head, and look up at the screen only to find Drew Bledsoe throwing an interception, the first of three that day.
Times like these make me want to embrace atheism.
Corey decided that he wanted to leave as he couldn't handle seeing his beloved Bledsoe do so poorly, which is often. While the gal was occupied collecting her money we bolted out of there and found a cab.
"Man," Corey said. "That woman seemed like a crack whore."
"Yeah," I said. "I don't think life's been to pleasant for her."
As the cab drove down the strip I wondered about the gal and the many like her. Vegas promises everything. You can have a piece of the American dream. You can drink like there's no tomorrow, have beautiful women approach you and sit on your lap, and you can play cards with the best in the business. Sin is Vegas' business and business is good.
It is people like her that are the backbones of the facade. Behind the stucco and anamitronic playground there are thousands of working class folk that help deliver the dream. She serves alcohol and flirts with the tourists and constantly sells the idea that everyone on the strip loves you when in reality they just want your pocket book. She probably gets hit on all the time at her job. Now here she was at some bar way up the strip wanting nothing more than a little attention from two guys who were none too willing to give any back.
I feel sorry for her.
"Vegas is everything that's right with America. You can do whatever you want, 24 hours a day. They've effectively legalized everything there." - Drew Carey