Saturday, September 18, 2004

Reportedly, the 0.74 regular readers of this blog have evinced something akin to concern (though mild, fleeting curiosity has reputedly renounced its kinship after that ugly Easter dinner two years ago) as to be whereabouts and attendant well-being over the past several months. (For further reading, please refer to "whuts w/ u, man? :(" from The Collected Instant Messages of William Ham, Vol. I, 2 pp., 2004.) I can now break my self-imposed silence of several weeks to assure you that, apart from the simultaneous supernova-like collapse of several romantic assignations, the surreal performance review at my now-former retail job that climaxed with a hearty round of mutual biting, and the sudden change in temprament in my six-year-old son whereby his affections for me have come to be expressed in a manner reminiscent of Joe Don Baker in Walking Tall, all of which has necessitated an unannounced fleeing of the state that can be likened to a combination of the Kindertransport, the Underground Railroad, and Dick Clark's 1966 Caravan of Stars (minus the sociopolitical underpinnings of the first two and sharing only the bass player from Paul Revere and the Raiders with the latter), everything has been just fine.

As I write this, I am about to embark on the final, unshaved leg of my journey, sitting on the tarmac at MacGuffin International Airport in a known desert town and tourist mecca I can only, for legal reasons, refer to as "Vos Legos, Nongrata." (My attorney hasn't been well for some time.) For the past nine hours of my layover, I have gorged myself with the sumptuous repast of Vos Legos' cultural institutions, of which its world-famous Longest Off-Duty Taxi Queue In the World was merely the beginning.

For those whose experience with Vos Legos is restricted to the poetic paeans of the bards of the city (Presley, Eszterhas, Urich), the tone and character of that Shining City on a Flat, Low-Altitude Hill Comprised Solely of Sand have undergone more changes than my son can shake an enormous piece of oak at. It's no legally-actionable mistake that it's been hand-picked by the current administration as the location for the new Library of Congress, In-Flight Magazine Division (scheduled to open in the spring of 2007 and to burn down mysteriously in late August, 2009), as Vos Legos has become the epicenter of a new sophistication that makes the quotidian look utterly plebeian and vice-versa. The twice-daily show currently playing at the Stardirt, The Defenestration of Prague - NUDE!, has elevated the level of area entertainment single-handedly, if the way the gentlemen in the matinee audience were showing their appreciation is any indication. Forthcoming events, such as Siegfried and Freud: On Sequins and Their Relation to the Subconscious, The Trojan She-Males, or Helen IS Troy, and Bubbles McKagan and Some Artfully-Utilized Grapes Explain the Treaty of Versailles, are sure to to take Vos Legos' newfound commitment to the fine arts and find a safe place for it where the cat can't knock it over.

And even the other two activities synonymous with Vos Legos have undergone a major makeover. Wait here while I look up what they are.

Oh, yes.

On the surface, nothing has changed: slot machines still dot every inch of the landscape, blackjack dealers still wield more influence than most politicians, and the Great Chain of Being is still governed by the spin of the roulette wheel. (Just don't put all the chips of civilization on Red 23 this time, goddammit.) But gambling has taken a new turn in the last few years; while money remains the currency of choice in many of your more traditional wagering dens, a new breed of casino has been proliferating along the Vos Legos Strop. At the Gilded Collander, located in the palatial utility closet of the RKO Grand Motor Court, high rollers come from all corners of the world (editor's note: being round, the world does not have any actual corners) to lay down their sense of personal well-being to the whims of Lady Luck. During my brief stay, I witnessed an elderly couple from Montana parlay their mild fear of young minorities into a full-blown paranoia of Hispanic street gangs rampaging through their retirement community in just twenty minutes at the craps table. A wide-belted Texan of my brief acquaintance squandered all his self-esteem and sent a young podiatrist's assistant from Queens home with his family fortune in blustery bonhomie in a high-stakes game of Fish in the VIP Room. And to witness the desperation in the face of an out-of-his-element emigre from Switzerland, which was then confiscated by the floor manager, is to stare into the face of the abyss, or at least of a foreigner with his worry lines freshly stripped off by a casino employee.

There's more, of course - the story of my side trip to Nongrata's world-famous Quick Draw Ranch, where high-priced courtesans cater to the whims of extremely premature ejaculators by timing their faked orgasms to when you're still halfway down the walkway, deserves to be told as soon as I come up with a name that'll look good in quotes to avoid embarrassment - but it will have to wait for now. I'm being told to get the hell off the tarmac and into a plane and, frankly, I'd better split this town as soon as possible. I got a little carried away back at the Collander, and now I owe the mob a sizable debt of gratitude.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

'Bubbles McKagan '?

Is that a real person ? The name does have a ring of authenticity about it..

(BTW : Happy Belated Birthday - from the Phantom Ellipse.. )