The Suburbs of Babylon Chapter 19 Part 1

Happy Friday, reader. I’m currently on a short vacation to Pattaya, and taking a break from the debauchery to slide a Frowback blog your way. It’s part 1 of the last chapter of my heretofore unseen semi-autobigraphical meh-moir titled The Suburbs of Babylon. If you’re bored today, this will hopefully provide a momentary distraction…

“Chapter Nineteen

I wish I was traveling on a freeway beneath this graveyard western sky.—Counting Crows


            Because of my depressed state, Art has taken it upon himself to cheer me up.  He’s decided the best way to do this is for me to drive him to Vegas this weekend.  I’m to accompany him on Friday, share a hotel with him and his brother, and come back alone, as he is staying for a slot tournament, and I have to get back because I can’t be away for too long, in case I actually get a call to sub.

At any rate, I’ve agreed to go, since I want Art to feel like he’s helping, and because I’m getting sick of staring at the same spot on the wall.  And my room has taken on a funny smell.  Like a dead bird or something.  I fear the smell might be coming from me, from inside me where something I can’t sense is decaying.  I’ve promised myself I won’t think about or look for Jane.

. . .The drive out was fairly uneventful.  Loretta purred along at about a hundred the whole way.  We made it into town in three and a half hours—pretty good time from L.A.  It’s myself, Art, and Art’s brother, Henry.  We were a quiet trio, watching the empty scenery rush by, getting unknowingly sunburned (Loretta’s top was down), everyone apparently anticipating the coming swath of deviant activity.  Storing up our energy, I guess we were.

We’re staying at the Imperial Palace, a conservative joint compared to it’s neighbors, Caesar’s and the Mirage.  The waitresses are fairly amazing, though, in their sky-blue mini-dresses with push-up bras.  Yet they’re strangely ineffective, like drawings or old photos.  Reminiscent of some long-lost feeling no longer applying to pleasure.

Maybe I’m becoming asexual.

The trip has had a faulty start.  After dropping off our bags we headed up to the sports book to meet our fourth team member, Art’s friend Gus, and to bet on some games.  I parlayed the Heat to cover the spread and the Lakers to hit the over-under, and lost my first fifty bucks.  Then we scooted across to the Mirage, where I scarfed down a greasy hotdog and suddenly felt very sleepy.  So the boys went to play craps and I crapped out for a nap back at the hotel.

About three hours later Art phoned to say they’d already eaten and would be back soon to get ready to go out to a club.  I called up room service and ordered a burger dinner for one.  “Just one lonely guy?” asked the girl on the phone.  “So far,” I replied, wondering if this was foreshadowing.

About twenty minutes later I heard a light tap-tapping from the hall, and though I didn’t think it was for me, I peeked out anyway.  At the end of the hall was a tall, leggy blond in a pair of faded cut-offs, sunglasses and a bright pink tank-top.  She was shuffling away from me along one wall, and when she stopped and briefly turned my way I could see a cane in her hand and knew she was blind.  She was stunningly beautiful; long straight hair, full lips, high cheeks—

“Could you tell me which one is 210?”

For a moment I just stood there like an idiot—as if there was any doubt she was talking to me.  Then I took a step closer to her.

*    *    *

“Uh, let’s see,” I walk past her, looking at the room numbers.  “Oh, they’re going down.  It’s the other way.”  And as I pass her again, she gracefully matches my step, slips her arm through mine and then we are walking, like old friends.

“You smell good.  What is it?” she’s asking me.

“L’eau D’Issey.”

“It’s good for you.  Very comforting.”


We’re walking.  I’m beginning to feel warm around the ears.  I have no idea whatsoever to say.

“My mom went chasing the valet.  I don’t normally need help, but this is my first time in this hotel.”

“Mine too,” I reply.  I’m stealing looks at her.  She is wondrous.  Even though she can’t see me staring, I’m afraid to look at her, she’s so gorgeous.  All I can think about, though, is getting out of this situation.  Finally we get to 210.

“Here it is.”

“Would you get the door for me?  The card keys are a pain in my ass.”  I’m staring.

“Oh, sure.”

She takes my hand, slips the key into it.  Her touch feels like it’s melting me.  I open the door for her and turn to go.

“K, there you go,” I manage as I’m practically sprinting back down the hall.


“No problem!”  Now I am running, because the room service guy is standing at the room with my dinner.

About five minutes later, as I’m in mid-bite, there’s a knock at the door.  It was the beautiful blind girl.  “Um, I just wanted to say thanks again.”

“Oh, no problem.  You’re very welcome.”

“Oh, am I interrupting dinner?”  I’m wondering how she knows.  “Smells like a hamburger.”  Oh.  Right.

“Oh, no.  No, well, yea, but it’s OK.  I’m all by myself anyway.”  Why did I say that?

“Oh, I’m just starving.  It took forever to get here.  We drove out from L.A. and didn’t stop for lunch.”

“Oh, really?  Me too.  Came from L.A. I mean—well, hey, you want some of my burger?”  Saying it to be polite.  No one ever accepts that kind of invita—

“Sure, thanks.  You got fries, too?”

“Uh, yeah.  Help yourself.”  I guide her around the furniture with a sweaty hand, and she sits in my chair, takes a bite of the burger.  I’m amazed at her ease.  I realize I’ve been tense because of her blindness, yet she’s completely without reservation.  I begin to relax, and then realize that I’m alone with a strange, breath-taking woman.  I’m so out of my element that I don’t know what to do.  So I just stand there like a doof.

“You can sit down.”  She smiles

“Huh?  Oh, yeah.”  I sit.  Her name is Lilith.

“Your name is as lovely as you,” I’m trying not to act like an ass.  She seems genuinely flattered.  She stuffs two fries into her perfect mouth.  I have a vision of kissing her and shake it away.

“Well, I’d better go.  My mom’ll freak if she can’t find me.  She’s such a mom.”


She gets up to leave.  I’m sitting on the bed.  For a moment I wonder if I should help her, but she’s up and moving before I can do anything.  As she passes she stops in front of me.  My eyes go to her arms.  Slender and tanned with dark brown freckles scattered like constellations around her elbow.

“Hey,” she says.

“Uh-huh?” is my reply, thinking she’s going to ask me to help her down the hall or something.

“Can I touch your face?  I want to know what you look like.”

I’m momentarily stunned.  What if I sneeze?  My skin’s too oily.  I have hamburger breath.  She’s too pretty.  But I can’t say no.

“Yeah, sure, why not?”

She has a little smile.  She moves to stand above me, between my knees as I’m sitting up trying to be accommodating, like she’s a doctor and I’m being checked for tonsillitis or something.  Her white hair falls on either side of my face, tickling.  I instinctively bow my head and gaze at her firm, wonderfully-shaped legs.  Her hands gently glide under my chin and lift my head.  I take her whole body in from the feet up.  She’s extraordinary.  She’s not wearing a bra.  One hand stays under my chin while the other lightly caresses the surface of my face from ear to ear, then over my eyes and down either cheek, then over my mouth, fingertips stopping on my bottom lip.  I have the vague impression that I’m being seduced, but the thought is lost in a heavy, hazy sea of sense-overload.  It feels like being kissed.  My breathing is hot and deep on her fingers.  Her smile broadens.

“Hmm.  Just as I thought.”

And she drops my face, which almost falls to the floor, and walks to the door.  I’m too hypnotized to speak.  She stops half in, half out.

“You’re pretty damn cute.”

And the door closes behind her.  I’m unable to move.  No thought in my head except the fast-forward re-running of the last thirty seconds over and over.  Finally I break out of it and begin jumping on the bed.  Just then Art comes in.

“What the hell are you doing?  Hey, I just saw the most amazing chick in the hall, but she was blind, man.  Kind of sad, you know?  Although I’d still hit it.  What the hell are you doing anyway?  I thought you’d be masturbating.”

*    *    *

I didn’t tell him about what happened.  The memory was too precious, too important to share with anyone.  Well, except with you now.  But at the time I felt that it was transcendent of life, like to acknowledge its occurrence would be to erase its impact, which I still haven’t fully realized, since we’re now careening by cab to Club Rio, a ways off the Strip.  But it lingers on me like an intoxicant.  I feel it was less an event in reality than it was some kind of treacle.  Like she was a manifestation—a karmic incarnation to right one or some of the many wrongs I’ve endured at the hands of (women) Fate over the years.  Because that kind of thing just doesn’t happen, you know, to people like me.  Maybe it was a dream. . .no, I’m not going to do that to myself.  I deserve the full implications of this event.  At any rate, it was wonderful.  Can I say I might love that blind girl?  As blind as my love is?  Or wait, I’ll say that the possibility to at some point have fallen in love with that girl over time was definitely there.  Though even as I say it, I doubt my own strength, even as I revel in hers.  If anything, it’s a reminder that there are many people on this Earth to connect with, and that alone gives me a shred of hope.  God, I’m still giddy.  Amazing little footnote, I must say.

But here we are at the Rio.

We are all dressed in black.  Button-down shirts and black leather jackets.  We look like a million bucks, and it shows on the faces of the women we pass.  I’m beginning to feel indestructible.  We weave through the casino to the club, where there’s already a long line to get in.  We’d split a 12-pack of hefeweizen between out hotel and here, and the conversation is becoming nonsensical.  As the inevitable feelings of recklessness and abandon wash over us, we are unable to wipe the silly smirks off our faces, so we do our best to affect an air of cool detachment, though the noise and darkness of the club are sucking us in, and the anticipation is mounting.

Usually I’m not in for this type of stupidity.  Clubs in L.A. are filled with brain-dead, heart-dead, pompous shit-heads and dirty whores.  I infinitely loathe that scene, preferring to stay at home rather than be subjected to such human waste.  But for some reason, the Rio doesn’t feel like that tonight.  Maybe it’s just a good crowd.  Maybe it’s because these young people are here from all over the world and the collective motivation is to let loose, meet people, and have fun.  Which is never the reason to be at an L.A. club.  In L.A., the women go to see how many men look at them, and the men go to try to talk one of the frigid beasts into coming home for bad drunken sex.  Not that that’s not what’s happening here.

Maybe it’s me.  Maybe I’m different.  Usually, a trip to a place like this sends me into throes of self-hate.  Every girl that passes me up reaffirms my ideal that I am unlovable.  But tonight I can’t get the thought out of my head of what a good lover I am, and the women are actually looking at me, and the ones who aren’t make no difference.  What the hell is wrong with me?  I’m having a good time.

Maybe it was the blind beauty.  The magic spell. . .

There is an amazing tattooed blond with a body like—like a brick house (the song is playing right now) who keeps glancing my way.  I’m debating whether to approach her, when she beats me to it.  Her name is Wendi, she’s a Gemini, and she loves Concrete Blonde.  She has amazing lips, huge perfect breasts barely covered by a low-cut halter top, and a great fake tan.  I buy her a Jaegermeister, which she shoots, spilling a bit on her chest and leaning forward for me to lick it off.  I decline, but place my hand against her bare back, and she leans into me, putting her arms around my shoulders.

She’s showing me her tattoos.  I’m beginning to feel lusty.  She gives me her hotel room number before Henry tears me away to go dance with some girls he’s met.  Wendi disappears into a sea of men.

Henry and I are surrounded by girls.  All but one are quite beautiful.  I strike up a conversation with the homely one.  She says I look like her neighbor.  I’m making her laugh, until I’m accosted by one of the other girls, who starts grinding her hips against me, her cool, sweaty chest just inches from my face, and slowly descends to the floor beneath me.  Before I know what’s happening she’s putting her hot mouth against my loins, and I leap back in shock.  Henry is laughing hysterically, as are the other girls.  They take us by the hands and lead us to their booth, where Kamikazes and beers are waiting.  I wonder fleetingly who’s paying for it all before the girls are forcing the alcohol into me while exchanging silent, hungry looks.  I’m wishing I’d put my money in my sock.

Henry is kissing one of the girls.  I have one on either side, their hands moving over me unashamed.  I’m beginning to feel like meat.  I make a quick exit, explaining that I have to find Art.  I lurch through the crowd, half looking for Art or Gus, half staring at a pair of girls who have taken off their tops and are kissing each other, all tongues and lips.  The scene is too much.  I lumber out to the casino and blow forty on the slots, all the while being ogled by a group of teenage girls in short dresses and high heels.  Amazingly, I am nonplussed.”

Aww, rereading this makes me miss Vegas. But not enough to go there. No, sir. Pattaya beats Vegas by a country mile. I’ll stay right here, thank you very much.

Swing by on Sunday for a breakdown of my Pattaya holiday. And speaking of, I need to get back to it. Cheers to another week above ground, and to all the bar girls I love between now and Suday. Peace.