Dora the server wears a black vest, bow-tie, thick eye-liner, doesn’t focus right with the one eye: she looks behind me, somewhere. She says how did you know I’m Greek, and I say because your name tag says THEODORA.
I see her from the bus shuttle after work, her head bobbing left and right as though there’s music in her head. She sits on the stool on the other side of our trade show booth checking the coffee supply and bussing the tables, and rocks her head like that, always smiling.
Outside on the sidewalks by the Starbucks, the ground is littered with pictures of call girls on playing cards with their phone numbers, the print running from the sprinklers, stuck to the concrete, stuck to the grass.
I’ve been here so long they’ve refreshed the content on the electronic billboards for the next acts, the next weekend: some guy in a suit talking to a dummy with a wax smile, people on trampolines in costumes, girls dressed like ostriches, like peacocks, hands on their hips.
Metal newspaper racks full of printed smut, promising first time girls. Trucks that circle the strip with banners and phone numbers promising FRESH. The “Paradise district.”
I get in the cab and there’s a tablet mounted to the ceiling: as soon as the cab starts, so does a voice behind me on the speakers, the owner of Wynn resorts, with his Alec Baldwin voice and his script, telling me I can scan the monitor with my cell phone to make reservations, telling me about the Wynn properties and the view of southern Nevada, something about “resonating with the human spirit.” A bit of poetry in there.
A credit card swiper extends off a black pole bolted to the neck of the passenger’s seat headrest, extends like a growth. I apologize to the cab driver he has to listen to that all day and he says yeah, and now it interferes with the reception so I can’t even listen to the radio anymore.
The elevator doors open to the lobby and there’s a couple caught dancing to Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting, it’s half past 6 in the morning.
I put my can of beer on Elton John’s smiling face, on the magazine in the hotel. I got hard-boiled eggs and celery at the Von’s, bought a bottle of Scotch and some beer at a sleazy discount store by the monorail station. Couldn’t fit it into the hotel refrigerator, had to take out some of the energy drinks to make room; they charged me a $25 restocking fee.
You can walk about the concourse with your beer, at the airport. They give you plastic cups and encourage it, with signs. I buy a couple stuffed geckos for the girls at a gift shop, some Las Vegas coffee cups for people who helped me get the furniture here for the booth, for the secretary who had to put up with me in the final days leading up to it.
When I first came here with my dad in the 80s we drove from Colorado, and took 12 hours doing it. We were delirious, and confused when we saw the soft orange glow in the distance: it looked like the sun coming up, but it couldn’t be, because we were going in the wrong direction.