Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lenore

Seen at the Freakin' Frog at about 6 p.m., September 26th, 2013

Instead of writing her reflection essay, Lenore creates fake profiles on OkCupid. She pretends to be men with overbearing mothers and terrible grammar. She pulls pathetic selfies from Google images.

HEY GRL I DUNNO WUT UR UP 2 TONITE BUT IM LOOKIN TO MEET UP. UR SO HOT LOL LEMME KNO WHATS UP.

im normally into asians but your so beautiful I just had to say hi :D

U look like a real women and Im a real man, no question...Ive got lots of big guns at home....Id be happy to show you, gorgeus. 

On her own OkCupid profile, under "I spend a lot of time thinking about," Lenore listed:

crushing dreams

I'm back on the ol' OKC. Thought it might be a fun way to meet people outside of the program, even just for friendship purposes. Not that I don't adore all my MFA-ers, but I don't see anything wrong with widening my circle of friends out here.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Brandon

Seen at the movies near Summerlin, September 28th, 2013

Is this what growing up is supposed to be? Maturity? With all the girls before Tess it was one night only, a happy conquest. Not even a phone call afterwards. I'd get what I wanted and she'd get over it. 

Eventually something changed. My single friends ceased to exist. Desperation coated my mother's throat when she asked if I'd met any nice girls at school. Even my older brothers started calling me a douchebag. 

I settled on Tess because she likes video games and has long, tangled stripper hair. She buys me sweater vests and drags me to Jane Austen movies. Jane Austen. Once in my high school English class I said I'd like to hate-fuck Jane Austen. I got a detention. 

Now I hate-fuck Tess, and she doesn't even notice. She thinks it's just bedroom talk. She likes it rough.

This week my classmates' workshop pieces were all about somewhat deranged sexual relationships. Can you tell I've been reading them? 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Homer & Phyllis

Seen outside the New York-New York casino at about 8 p.m., September 20th, 2013

With Homer's mind going the way it was, Phyllis knew they'd never travel around the world like they'd always planned. It was the only thing she'd been looking forward to about retirement; Phyllis liked to stay busy, so she dreaded the long days not spent in the classroom. She would go back, or at least substitute, but Homer's deteriorating health wouldn't allow for it. He needed someone there so that when he asked, "when are we going to take that trip?" she could reply, "next year, love." 

She did manage to drive him to Las Vegas one weekend, as it was only a few hours from their ugly, too-small home in an Arizona seniors' complex. They took a gondola ride in Venice, they kissed at the top of the Eiffel Tower, they explored the ancient wonders of a violence-free Egypt, they roamed the busy streets of New York. Phyllis drank a few cocktails so her mind would be fuzzy like his. Homer got down on one knee in front of the Coney Island arcade and proposed again, just like he did in 1953. The games flashed youth and rang excitement and Phyllis could almost believe that she was back there, or at least that he knew what he was doing.

Spent some time on the Strip this weekend, but didn't have enough time to just sit and do character sketches. Hopefully there will be enough for this week, though. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Alex

Seen during Zumba class at the UNLV Rec Center at 6 p.m., September 18th, 2013

I find your lack of enthusiasm disturbing. When you've spent the last five minutes doing squats, you deserve a pat on the back. Presumably, though, you don't want to move your arm, since you held it out straight in front of you for five minutes during the song before last. It seems to me, then, your best option is to cheer. How are you going to get through the whole hour with a scowl like that, licking your lips in concentration? I'd like to see you turn that frown upside down. After all, it's only cardio.

This guy was...enthused, to say the least. I didn't feel like jello after this Zumba class! Improvement.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Emil

Seen at the Aveda Institute on Eastern at about 9 a.m., September 18th, 2013

Emil moved to Vegas because he liked glitter, and he figured that Vegas did, too. Salt Lake City did not like glitter. It didn't like high heels, either. When he stole a pair from his mother's closet (navy patent leather) and wore them to school, he received a detention and a cruel nickname that still found its way onto his Facebook page from time to time.

His father--strict, Mormon, miserable--once described Emil as "debaucherous." That's another reason Emil moved to Vegas. If his father's description was indeed apt, why not move to the debauchery capital of the world? Sometimes his father sends him letters. Emil burns them when he lights his cigarettes.

When he boarded the Vegas-bound bus, Emil brought one bag of clothes with him, including the patent leather heels; his mother said she didn't want them anymore. Now he has a closet full of bedazzled jackets and he buys designer shoes for cheap at T.J. Maxx.

This guy was fabulous. I got another great hair cut at the Aveda Institute for soooo cheap. Love that place.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Shao

Seen on the eastern edge of the UNLV campus at about 3:45 p.m, September 16th, 2013

Shao darts across Maryland Parkway, oblivious to the honking horns and screeching tires. The unseasonable rain had him fooled for a while, had him thinking that Las Vegas was a healthy place, but the today the desert finally emerged in full force; Shao can feel its harsh, sandy breath all over his skin. The cacti, green like an infant's sickness, stretch out to trap him in their prickly bed. He knows his floppy cap cannot protect him from the sun forever. He runs towards the edge of the city, but he stops when he sees them looming over the buildings--mountains. Dry-blood-red, impenetrable--he turns the other way--endless. Shao is surrounded on all sides. He sits down and prepares for death.  

Still don't really know why this guy was running so fast. It is much hotter here now. I like it, though.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ariana

Seen at FreeZone at about 10 p.m., September 13th, 2013

A girl can't really turn thirty when her torso's covered in juvenile highlighter drawings straight out of a Hollywood frat party. Ariana wears her friends' pictures and words like armor, the glyphs glowing under the blacklights as though the ink were made from some sort of radioactive, anti-aging element. If a drag queen can hide her gender, a girl can hide her age. Anything's possible in a gay bar.

FreeZone was a pretty great gay bar, I have to say. There was a fun drag show, and their DJ was decent. He threw in some older jams that made me laugh. Plus, I finally learned the Cupid Shuffle. You know, three years too late.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ed & Sam

Seen at the Double Down Saloon at about 8:30 p.m., September 13th, 2013

Punk rock doesn't age well. Ed and Sam slouch behind a cheap folding table, broadcasting their radio show to an audience of eight. Radio hasn't aged well, either.

What was once passion has become pedantry. The pair spend too much time discussing punk rock memories and minutiae. They've lost sight of the point: to let bands scream raw rebellion. Have they succumbed to the mainstream? Perhaps not, but their puffy eyes and slopping guts indicate that they've lost some kind of battle. 

One too many glasses of ass juice and a false sense of importance is a recipe for the pathetic.

I've been wanting to go to the Double Down for a while, but we definitely went too early. It was pretty dead, except for these two dudes broadcasting their show. The music they played wasn't bad--when they actually played it. I'd like to go again when a band is playing. That would be better. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kelsey the Zumba Instructor

Seen at the UNLV Rec Center at 6 p.m., September 11th, 2013

"Don't you think we could still work out?"

"How can I still love you when you've become nothing but muscle and motivation? Encouraging platitudes don't solve real problems, and just because you can hold me tighter at night doesn't mean that you truly want to."

"I meant at the gym." 

An incredibly short one today! Exactly 50 words. A demi-drabble. Lulu and I have been going to Zumba once a week to get our asses kicked. I felt less like jello today than I did last week, though. I guess that's good.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sal

Seen on the way home from the Freakin' Frog at about 11 p.m., September 9th, 2013

I follow girls home from bars because I like the challenge. Will they pull out a taser? A gun? Do they know goddamn kung-fu? Girls are awful resourceful these days.

I follow girls home from bars because they deserve it. Look at all they have: youth, beauty--even money, or at least money enough for beer. Why do they get to lead such charmed lives? They're asking for a little unpleasantness. Besides, everyone should know fear. Builds character.

I follow girls home from bars because I'm bored. What else am I supposed to do on a Monday night? I got a place to sleep, sure, all cuddled up with the roaches. No TV--can't watch the game. Nothing in the fridge but some curdled milk. I'm even out of cigarettes, and the passersby aren't too fucking generous this evening. At least this way I get to see some pretty little asses bounce as the girls run on home.

Let me tell you, after last night I am quite happy that Lulu was considerate enough to buy  me some pepper spray. Are you reading my personal blog, Viva Las Becky? If not, you should. Just sayin'. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Old Jesse

Seen at the Pioneer Saloon at about 9 p.m., September 6th, 2013

Old Jesse had always been Old Jesse, even when he was a little boy. There was never any New Jesse or Young Jesse or Extra-Old Jesse--no other Jesses at all, to be precise. The town was too small for two of anyone, unless they were father and son.

Now Old Jesse's name fit his age, at least in looks. He was grizzled and dirty, wrinkled and worn. He was missing a few teeth, and his hearing wasn't as sharp as it used to be. Nevertheless, he was lean and strong, and his smile looked more like that of a mischievous teenager. 

Most people chose never to leave town, even with the big city not too far away. It wasn't that they didn't like strangers so much as they didn't like to be strangers. Old Jesse was never one of those people. After Martha died, tragic-young and childless, Old Jesse traveled to the big city and farther besides. He even saw some other countries--China, Australia. He went to Papua New Guinea, too, but nobody believed him; they thought he just made up a funny name.

Some people who traveled so far and saw so much might not have been accepted back into the fold, but Old Jesse was never hoity-toity about things. He never acted like his experiences made him better than anyone else. Mostly Old Jesse just entertained the local kids with what seemed like fairy tales, for reality outside town was just as harrowing and mysterious and magical.

The Pioneer Saloon was AMAZING. A 100-year-old cowboy bar in the middle of the desert. You should read about my evening there on Viva Las Becky

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mama Ada

Seen helping customers at Trader Joe's at about 5:30 p.m., September 5th, 2013

Mama Ada's here to help. Mama Ada knows it's been a rough day at work--Mama Ada's bones are older than yours. Mama Ada wants to keep the line moving. Mama Ada knows you need sustenance. Mama Ada wants you to eat right. Mama Ada don't want you to worry. Mama Ada knows better than you. Mama Ada's known better than you since before you was born, so don't try to tell her how to bag groceries. Mama Ada wants you to respect your elders. Mama Ada don't accept checks. Mama Ada won't take no for an answer. Mama Ada won't let you leave without a hug. Mama Ada's got you, always.

I changed her name slightly, but there's this amazing little old woman who works at the Trader Joe's near me and she is fabulous. All the customers talk to her, and I've seen her give them hugs before. She reminds me to have faith in the human race.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Of Shauna and Unrequited Love

Seen in the elevator at The Cosmopolitan at about 8:30 p.m., September 1st, 2013

The pattern of your pants is as labyrinthine as the path to removing them. You rebuff my every advance, and I've tried just about every route--that of the ardent suitor, that of the comedian, that of the silent admirer. I heard that casinos make their hallways maze-like on purpose. That way the tired and confused and drunk will find themselves back on the casino floor, left with no choice but to lose more money. I suspect that you and the casinos are in cahoots. Soon you'll disappear into the glitter and noise, and I'll have nowhere else to go.

Haven't written a drabble in a while. I need to come up with a more consistent way to write these here. Need to start making regular trips to the strip to jot down character sketches...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sister Bard and Sister Michaelene

Seen outside the UNLV campus at about 11:30 a.m.

Sister Bard and Sister Michaelene stand on a street corner selling God. Despite the heat, their skirts brush the ground and their blouses fully cover their sweating breasts. "Are you a religious person?" they ask the passersby. No, no, and no. No thanks. Not interested. Fuck off.

When they head home at night, exhausted and dejected, Sister Bard seeks solace in Sister Michaelene's hands, and, occasionally, in the crook of her neck. Sister Michaelene reads their favorite passages from the Book of Mormon aloud, interspersed with soft kisses on the cheek.

I was finally accosted by Mormons today! Apparently Meghan and I didn't look enough like we could be converted in Milwaukee, but I guess I looked kind and receptive today. I took one of their cards, just to be nice. Now I have songs from The Book of Mormon stuck in my head.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Val

Seen at the Little A'Le'Inn in Rachel, NV at about 1:30 p.m., August 31st, 2013

You grip the knife with your ever-dusty fingers as you do each time a customer walks in the door. They ain't from around here. You can't trust anybody from not around here. You can barely trust anybody from around here.

You can tell they ain't from around here because of their clothes. Bright colors, you see. Unfamiliar slogans. Fancy shoes. You can also tell they ain't from around here because you haven't seen 'em before. They've never come in for a six pack or smokes. You shouldn't trust people you haven't ever seen before.

Why should you trust them when they don't trust you? They always ask you about your experiences and then they smirk when you tell 'em the truth. No, you haven't ever been abducted. Yes, you've seen two UFOs, bigger than the mountains. Just because you were eleven don't make it wrong. And mind, you never said it was aliens. You're no dummy. You just said unidentified flying objects. We're near an Air Force base. It really ain't too far-fetched.

You grip the knife with your ever-dusty fingers until they order food. One forgets to grab his utensils at the buffet. You ain't unfeeling. You're small-town hospitable, just as you should be. You offer your knife to him.

Saw this nice lady when we explored Area 51 the other day. Read about it on my personal blog Viva Las Becky.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Arthur

Seen outside the Freakin' Frog at about 11 p.m., August 29th, 2013

White-haired and stooped, he confides the lyrics like they're some big secret: "you know, girls just wanna have fun." The group laughs at him, but if Arthur is not mistaken, the men take Cyndi's advice into serious consideration: perhaps their female companions want smiles and accidental touches and oldies and booze more than they want devotion. Devotion is heavy. 

It is not Arthur's most successful pop music intervention. Once he saw a woman rushing down the sidewalk in high heels, skirt straining against her thighs, sweat beading in the corners of her frowning mouth. He grabbed her arm and said, "you can't hurry love." The next day he saw her waiting for the bus. After watching a young man take five shots in rapid succession at the local bar, Arthur sidled up to him and whispered, "happiness is a warm gun." You can guess what happened later that evening.

Arthur considers himself to be life's disc jockey, a benevolent voice who helps you recognize your own soundtrack.

Went to the Freakin' Frog last night for a drink. Went again today to toast to the memory of Seamus Heaney. Probably going again tomorrow, since we befriended a waiter and the owner and they're going to let us come to their cask party at a steep discount. Adventures ensue.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rachael

Seen at Silver Sevens Casino, August 22nd, 2013

B-7 N-32 G-54 B-12 O-64 O-70 I-18 O-62 the numbers soothe her like a chant N-34 like counting sheep I-27 I-20 O-75 she slouches toward the table, cigarette B-9 I-22 slouching from her lips, daubing patterns in pale blue G-46 N-40 O-69 B-2 N-37 someone died G-60 on her shift today, baby wailing against I-16 N-39 N-45 mommy's cold O-61 bloody chest G-51 O-66 she can B-3 almost B-15 forget B-1

"BINGO!"

Rachael snaps straight, red-eyed, envious, fearful, exhausted, nauseous.

"Alright, folks, the next game will be played on page three, and this time we're looking for 'bottomless.'"

This one got a little bit prose-poemy, didn't it? I played with a bunch of people in my program last week. It was a far more fast-paced game than I anticipated, because they want you to miss numbers. I have my own dauber now. It's pink.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Al & Kyle

Seen at Mandalay Bay, August 25th, 2013

Why did I bring my son to Vegas? He's only five. He's not gonna notice any of the scum--just the lights and the colors and the smiles on people's faces. Yeah, maybe the casino itself isn't exactly kid-friendly (although he does seem to like the bleeps and bloops and ka-chings--thinks every slot machine is a robot!), but there's a wave pool for crying out loud. What five-year-old boy doesn't love a wave pool? He can only sort of swim, sure. But I'm there with him, and there are lifeguards and everything. They're probably really fucking good lifeguards, too, because there are so many drunk-off-their-asses people to watch out for.

Having Kyle here helps me, too. I can just lock him in the hotel room at night when I want to have some fun--I tuck him in first and make sure he's sleeping and all. But anyway, then I can have some fun while setting some limits that I think are pretty reasonable. I can drink, but not too much, since he's going to wake up so fucking early. I can flirt, but not too much--can't bring a lady back to the room if Kyle's there, can I? Keeps me from getting in trouble with his mother, too, since we're still trying to work things out.

Plus, on top of everything else, Kyle thinks I'm the best dad ever now. So don't act like I'm all crazy. I think the real question is why wouldn't I bring my son to Vegas?

Saw this fellow and his kid when Shaun and I went to Mandalay Bay to buy tickets to see Flight of the Conchords. So. Excited.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Shadow Man

Seen at a Starbucks in East Las Vegas at about 8 p.m., August 20th, 2013

He learned to hide in corners in the first grade, when Olive Jones laughed at his broken nose. Smashed by a soccer ball as he watched the older boys play, he initially thought it made him look tough. Olive's gap-toothed grin, however, slashed his confidence; his body faded into a dull gray. He huddled in a crevice near the art supplies, knees tucked to his chest, and despite the neon yellow bandage slapped across his face, people stopped looking his way.

He learned to appreciate the inconspicuous lifestyle when he realized that he inspired pity in women instead of fear. Who could fear a shadow? Women fear what lurks in the shadows, but not the shadows themselves.

When he desires to make himself known, he detaches his toes from the backs of others' ankles and steps into the light.

"What did you order?"

"Coffee."

"I like coffee."

"Um."

"You're more beautiful than this dancer I saw once on the strip. She had blue sparkles just like the ones in your eyes."

"Uh huh."

"You're more beautiful than Olive Jones."

"Oh."

"Can I sit with you?"

Sometimes they let him, when they recognize he's lonely. Sometimes they make an excuse, but it's okay. He learned to deal with rejection the day he realized that, whether you turn the lights on or off, shadows are inevitable.

Sorry again for the lack of posting; the transition to writing PTKY stories has been a bit rough because I've been spending lots of time getting used to my new life here. Things are going really well so far, though. Taught my first class today. I promise that the posts will be more regular in the future. PTKY isn't going anywhere. It's the little fiction blog that could.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Eugenia

Seen outside the parking lot of the Main Street Station Casino, August 18th, 2013

Eugenia screams at the other driver through the window of her car, her gray gums and false teeth fully exposed: "Watch where you're going!" The other driver is a young woman, pale. Doesn't she know that this part of town belongs to the old, the tired, the hoarse, the broken-down? To those who lost everything (even if they never gambled a day in their lives) and hung on anyway? To those whose sleep is dreamless but provides no rest? Little girl should go back to The Strip where she belongs, where they've demolished all the women like Eugenia.

This lady didn't seem to like the fact that I needed to pull out of a parking lot. I'm still feeling a bit like an out-of-place tourist here sometimes. Not on campus, but elsewhere. I'll get over it.