Going Back to Hell (3)

Poets have no business in Las Vegas unless they’re here to write horror stories, or die a drunken, messy death. I don’t gamble, don’t like musicals, don’t like paying a lot for dinner, and I’m married. So I’m holing up in my room with moody music, watching the sun set from the 27th floor.

I ask the guy at the front desk where’s the sky cab and he says he doesn’t know what I’m talking about; in the 30 years he’s worked here no one has asked for that. I walk out of the hotel and try to find the sidewalk, but everything is cordoned off: you’re forced to go along select routes, over sky bridges, and they all lead to casinos and bad music, bad smells, bad people. A guy in a Freddy Krueger costume, standing perfectly still, blades for finger tips, eyes rolling in his mask, with a tip can.

I follow signs to what looks like the monorail station. I walk long, circuitous hallways with others, in neon colors and plastic cups, with alcohol. I wind up in another casino, and have to turn around. I pull out my phone and map my location to the convention center: 2.3 miles. I’m hot, hungry, stubborn, decide to walk there. It’s not quite noon yet.

No one walks here. The only people out on the sidewalks once you get off the strip are homeless or insane. I find a bus stop but it only comes by once an hour. I keep going. I remember my VP, the look on his face when I say to him we’re close enough to the Convention Center, we could just walk. He looks confused and says, Yes, but why?

It’s the desert. I haven’t had water since yesterday, just coffee. Bad Mexican food at the airport, 6:20 AM. I mark my progress on my iPhone: I’m the blue, pulsating dot. The route has me on a half mile stretch, then .8 miles, and so on.

At the .8 mile leg, I stop for water at a 7-11. I drink half a quart. I’m carrying a backpack that has no hip-belt: it’s not a proper backpack, it’s a stylish backpack that looks cool but doesn’t function right. I’m carrying my work laptop, my personal laptop, and a 4″ binder that’s packed full of CAD drawings, budget information, lists of attendees and their hotel confirmation numbers. Just In Case.

I get to the Convention Center: these are my kind of people, the show people, moving crates and driving fork-lifts. The security guys in cheap suits with ties and walky-talkies. They messed up sending me my badge so I navigate to the North Hall, as I should, but they don’t have the equipment set up yet to issue me a new badge, I’m too early. I coax a guy to give me a sticker that says Installer and he lets me in.

I walk for 45 minutes in circles, on the concrete convention floor, looking for the coordinates of our booth. I give in and have to ask for directions at the security desk. She explains I’m in the Central Hall, need to go back outside to the South Hall. I knew that. It’s after 2 now. Haven’t eaten since 6 or so.

I find the booth. I say hi, I’m the Starbucks guy. They smile and give me good handshakes, but there’s no reason for me to be there. I’m not Union, so I can’t touch anything. I can only get in the way, get hurt. So I go, back to the monorail, looking for something to eat, time to check in.

2:30 at the bar, Caesar’s. It’s dark, the music is too loud. I figure I’ve earned a beer. My cell phone rings and it’s my boss’s boss. She’s asking how it’s going, says I need to do something. I can’t understand her over the music and she has a heavy accent: it looks bad, the loud music. Sounds like I’m in a bar, probably. Looks like I’m goofing off, but I’m not.

I hurry to my room, and begin the quest for an Internet connection. 20 minutes, and I’m out of tricks. I call the front desk. They trouble-shoot, then give up and send me to the third party help desk. He has me open a DOS screen and read him my IP address, then enter ‘ipconfig’ code. He assigns me a new address. It doesn’t work.

Perhaps I’m carrying this Karma with me. Anytime I touch a handrail I remind myself to wash my hands, good.


About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
This entry was posted in humor, travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Going Back to Hell (3)

  1. Vegas has never been on my list of places to visit. My husband has to go to conventions in Vegas every couple of years. Every time, it’s a quest for decent food or someplace to swim (half the time the hotel pool is out of commission). My daughter and I get our “tour” via Skype and that’s sufficient! Nice piece…now go wash your hands.


  2. rossmurray1 says:

    That was lyrically nightmarish. Loving this stuff.


  3. Your F’ng hell is worse than my F’ng hell. You win.


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