Hey all, happy Frowback Friday. It’s your boy Seven, back with another segment of my half-inspired semi-autobigraphial novel, The Suburbs of Babylon. This is Part 2 of Chapter 19. If you missed Part 1, go back and scroll down my main page. You’ll find it. And now, on with the tale…
“An hour later (I’d been winning like crazy at Blackjack) Henry came out, said Art and Gus had taken off with some strange women, and suggested we get a burger and go to a strip joint. I agreed before he even finished speaking.
The cab ride seemed to take an hour, though I didn’t even finish my second beer, so it couldn’t have. Our driver engaged us in a deep conversation about women and happiness and divorce and forgetting the one that got away and focusing on your future happiness. I was just starting to get depressed when we pulled up at the Crazy Horse, and within minutes we were surrounded by the most lovely, soft, sweet-smelling naked women I’d ever seen. It made the Cat look like the city pound.
The beers were eight bucks. This was the only bad thing about the place. There was a stage with two girls stripping, and all around it were low, cushioned chairs where men were being caressed in a myriad of ways by forty or so bare goddesses. Two perfect blonds approached us and asked if we wanted to go to a private room with them. We asked about the price tag. They said a thousand dollars. I said I was holding out for a brunette. One kissed me anyway.
We found two empty chairs and were not in them for ten seconds before two outstanding girls were in our laps, and there they stayed for an eternity. I lost my sense of gravity as my cohort gently placed my face against her caramel breast. She told me I was adorable. We talked about nonsense. When she tried to caress my groin, I stopped her, said I didn’t know her well enough. She said I was a pretty upright guy. I told her she had no idea. She said yes, she did, she’s on my lap isn’t she? A pun. Very nice. She started planting soft kisses on my neck and cheeks, and asked if I wanted to see more of her in private. Before I let her do something I’d regret I gave her a twenty and pushed Henry out of the place as he pleaded to stay, insisting that his girl Zoe loved him as much as he loved her, and he had to get her number. But I was sobering, and thought it best to let the dream stand as it was.
Back at the Imperial Palace, we found Art, who was cleaning up at the craps table, even though he was drunk as a skunk and had no idea what he as doing. There was a giant pile of chips in front of him, and he kept rolling and rolling, and each time the crowd squealed with delight. Henry and I pulled up at a Blackjack table and went to town. It took us three hours to lose the few hundred dollars we had in our pockets. By then it was 5:20, and while I wanted to watch the sunrise as I had the first time I was here, there was less energy in my body than chips in my hand, so we went to bed.
I dreamt I was singing in a band at the Rio. The audience was entirely female, mostly naked. Cris was there (she had her clothes on) and someone that looked familiar, but I didn’t know her name. Whenever this person shows up I always believe it’s a manifestation of my soul mate, whoever and wherever she is. There was a feeling of assurance, like she was waiting for me, loving me already even though we hadn’t met, and was patiently watching my life, with all its stumblings and failures, and in her eyes I sensed that it was all alright, that everything would be worth it in the end, that her love would eventually eclipse it all. I woke with a sense of peace that lingered all day and into the night. Well actually, we slept most of the day. The sun was going down when we got up, and the only thing to do was eat, shower, and go out again.
We went back to the Rio, and had a much more subdued evening. Wendi was there again, and we chatted for a while. She seemed earnest, saying over and over that I should come back to her room with her. But I had an overwhelming feeling of homeostasis, of not needing anything from the outside world, of being at equal density with the universe. I was stable. I was content. I felt no need to rush into anyone’s arms, the dream image of my Future Love luminescent in my mind’s eye. It was enough. The belief that a person existed in the world who will in time complete me with a love greater than anything I’ve ever known. It made the carnal magnetism of Wendi’s tattooed perfect body innocuous. But we had an interesting chat.
Hollywood is her hometown, so we debated its significance in contrast to its ignorance. She said she had a boyfriend who she wasn’t attracted to anymore. Which was a quandary, since he had virtually saved her life, literally picking her up out of the gutter, getting her off heroine, and loving her more than anyone ever had. She kept saying, “If only he was a jerk, it would be so much easier to leave him.” Instead, she kept a parade of men on the side to validate her need to be wanted and to quench her insatiable lust. She said she respected me for not trying to get her into bed. She said I was the first guy she’d ever met who didn’t want to use her for sex. I began to think how little love there was in the world.
I once heard some sound advice: If you do not love in truth, you will lose control of it and end up giving it to the wrong person, and you’ll get burned. I heard this too late, as I’d spent my entire life pouring myself out over people who didn’t care, couldn’t care, and didn’t deserve it. But for the first time, there in the Rio with Wendi, I thought there was a ray of hope for me, that in spite of all that I’d lost in time and heart, there was something at the end of the ride that would make me glad I stuck it out.
I thanked Wendi for the company, told the boys I was heading back, and went walking.”
When I feel nostalgic for the West, it’s never for Los Angeles. I miss LA like a fish misses a bicycle. No, I miss the UK. And the California coast. And occasionally, Vegas. The above semi-fictional record is a fitting testament to the glory of that desert oasis. It doesn’t matter which parts are true and which aren’t. The best thing about Las Vegas is the dream it promises. Juxtapose that with the reality of Thailand, which is the embodiment of the phrase, “living the dream.” If you’re in TLOS, be grateful. It’s a kind of haven.
Tune in next week for another installment of The Suburbs of Babylon, and between now and then keep your balls warm, your beer cold, and cheers to another week above ground in this geographical wonderland.