I had an itch. It was my car and it's refusal to play nice. I found out that in addition to the water pump repair, I needed to replace the head gasket. So, for those of you keeping track at home, I've spent about seven hundred dollars on this car that I still owe 800 on, is worth maybe 1500, and is gonna cost another rack to fix (thousand). So, I don't know how you are at math, but in my world, when you add all of that up it equals a trip to Reno and a whole box of bad decisions.
Let's be clear here. By the time I got back to Sac at six am and had sat on the porch for four hours without a wink of sleep and was wide awake, I made a pit stop at the nearest church. I brought a helmet too. Just in case. But let's get to it...
My boy from the eighties, going back like atari and parachute pants, was like "hey Watts, let's roll to Reno. On me." I was like I'll go, but I'm about to be on Reno. Now, this decision wasn't made with the same haste it sounds like. It percolated for a good couple minutes before I said screw it. And naturally an idea formed. Ten bucks on ten games. 850 to 1 odds. 8,500 dollars. Duh. Ya, well it didn't quite work out that way.
We hit the road and stopped for party favors. You know, hats and whistles and stuff. Then we had an energetic trip to Reno. About half way up the mountain, I was somewhat overcome. I saw the trees passing by on the side of the road in a blur against the lazy progress of the farther mountains. And this against the seemingly inert sky. I got to thinking about perspective and relative motion. I perceived mockery from the gods, who know so well the optimism of those who go up the hill. From the King, I felt something else. I still felt love. And even this depravity was no surprise.
So I bumped into something and couldn't think straight. It was looking like the bets were gonna have to wait. Walking through the casinos, I felt the anonymity of a thousand glances. Between checking my pulse and surveying, I noticed no one would engage me. I saw the story of these multitudes in quick glances, where a good looking guy would walk with his over weight girl with a pained expression. It was written all over his face. He didn't have to say a word.
And the girl who doesn't fit in with her friends that have seared their conscience to the point of being obstinate. She was worried about abstinence. And it was written all over her face.
The lonely men would bet when the hungry girls watched. Months of Social Security can buy a smile. These marionettes danced on their strings, but their wooden faces were painted on.
In the dark lights of a club, the girls would say hello. Depending on their profession, they would discuss their favorite topics. And their favorite topics revealed their profession. The professionals would ask what you did. They would ask if you were having a good time. They were asking if you could afford to pay for a good time. The others would share their preferences in popular music over drinks and lay backward across the bar. Or they would rest their chin in their hand with a look of concentration normally relegated to math problems, feigning interest in the facade that each character hid behind.
But let me tell you, the facade at the Orchard club was painted by Picasso. Though I resisted their charms outwardly, I found them uh...charming...and nice. A pretty girl who could have been a hundred pounds sat next to me.
She said her name was Harley. I said my name was Jenkins. She laughed and said we were both using aliases. I said something about the irony of being honest about lying about your name. I called her closer. She put her ear next to my mouth. I told her, "Listen Harley, you seem really nice, so I don't want to waste your time. You won't get a dime out of me. But the guy next to you is unhappily married and loaded with cash. And the guy next to him is completely unhinged, so don't push it over there." Welp, she must have the scent down or something, because even though I was completely full of shit in my scouting report, she couldn't have known that and went straight to homicide McGee and talked him out of like three dances. After all, they are professional.
One of them was more persistent. I gave her the run down that I wasn't gonna buy a dance et cetera. She asked if she didn't excite me. She asked this more explicitly than that. I told her good luck. Annie May must have been Dirty Harry or something cause she was feeling lucky. And I was appalled when she grabbed my junk. But if I was honest with myself and everyone else, it did appeal to my more base instincts.
And then one of the gang, who by the way was the class of like 92 Christian Brothers, said he had to go home. He needed a ride. Offered money that it would later turn out was already spent. I said I'd take him home. We got up and I was humming a tune to myself.
I fell in love with like 4 or 5 or 12 or 22 strippers. A good facade indeed.
I bumped into something again and had an energetic ride home. The scene below the red lights haunted me for the ride home. I was repulsed and intrigued. The expressionless expression of this exhibition felt like so many mannequins, advertising their coverings and accepting the implication of emptiness. I even caught Harley, when she wasn't talking to Unhinged, having a faraway look. It was written all over her face.
So I left with my companion. I bumped into something and had an energetic and reflective ride home. And even now I wonder if and when I'll go back.
If you're wondering about the bets, I left before I made the hail mary, but the night before, we lost 2500 because some no talent ass clown on ASU couldn't catch a touchdown pass and it bounced off him and into a defender's hands in the end zone. So, I don't want to talk about it. I didn't place a bet, but I had a ticket for a bill in my hand on it that my buddy gave me. I'll massacre everything.