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All Shook Up
The first time I went to Las Vegas, before I was even in the airport, while I was still in the passenger tube thingy, I saw a woman playing a slot machine while wearing a veil. In the airport.

Strange the things that can induce nostalgia.

I hadn't been conscious of having any ideas about Las Vegas the first time I went, but as I saw that bride playing the slots I thought only if Wayne Newton was standing next to her could I have had a more perfect Vegas moment.

I thought, until that moment, that all airports were the same. Of course, now I know the difference between Schiphol in Amsterdam and Charles de Gaulle in Paris. I hadn't been in the Vegas airport in six years. Still I recognized that slot machine, empty now.

The first time I landed Eric wasn't there to greet me. My plane was an hour early so I went down to baggage claim. I hoped he would have the good sense to find me. From the moment I got off the plane, I promised myself the one thing I wouldn't do was kiss him in the airport. From the moment I began to gather up my coat, I ran a continious loop through my mind "Do not kiss him in the airport. Do not kiss him in the airport." I didn't know how I would greet him, but it wouldn't be that way. I sat with my bag getting increasingly nervous. Neither one of us had cellphones ,and I didn't have a clue about cabs or where to go.

When he showed up, he ran for me and grabbed me and kissed me. I was suprised to find myself returning the kiss. The two of us standing there like some ridiculous hallmark card in suspension. There was an older couple a few feet away. They smiled. The one and only time I ever had sex in a car was that night. We couldn't wait to get home from the airport.

Of course we had sex again when we got back to his house.

The next time I landed there, my plane was on time. He was waiting for me with a single red rose.

No one waiting this time. I go down to baggage claim.

Normally, I travel light. Most places all I really need is a pair of panties in a paper bag. And if I'm going to Paris or Italy the panties are optional. Anything I might need can be purchased and as a small person it's just easier to be minimalist, but when one is going to Vegas and might get married by Elvis to a gay man, well if that doesn't justify checking a bag nothing will.

As I walked out of the airport, a group of older showgirls was walking in. I could see what they were thinking, even with the multiple face lifts, the pancake make-up, the fake lashes and artificial blonde. "Fucking specialty act" they sneered as they wheeled their luggage past me. I could only hope they were on their way to New York.

I took a cab to the casino/hotel-Texas Station. It's a "local's" casino and as such it means that it isn't on the strip or even in Old Vegas, but rather way the hell out there. No casual tripping out to the MGM Grand or the Luxor, not even the Excaliber. Exiled. The Vegas version of Castle Stalker(prison to Mary Queen of Scots if memory serves).

My reservations had been arranged by my host, who I had yet to meet. My room was on the ground floor, below even the casino floor, where I had a lovely view of the parking lot and the Orleans sign proudly announcing that ifI was willing to brave crossing the highway I could see Neil Sedaka.

I was on strict orders to take a bath upon arrival in my room. I took out a bar of dreamtime (lush) and drowsed in the tub for an hour before falling asleep in a bed big enough for three or four people trying not to feel in that vast expanse of clean linen how alone I was.

this is an audio post - click to play

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