Photo Challenge: Fiction – “A Better Life” #fiction #amwriting #writing #vegas


This past week’s photo challenge was hosted by MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie

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Credit: Nekneeraj

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The lights assault my eyes, as they blur past me. Vegas is a beautiful city at night. I had had a table with my friends at the club with bottle service. Slowly, I remember us drinking the vodka shot by shot until the girls had enough.  

 “Were done, I’m already too drunk. I want to be able to shop tomorrow afternoon,” Megan said and her friend Kelly nodded in agreement. 

The other guys and I laughed and jeered, egging the girls on to do one more shot. They refused and went off to dance. After an hour or so passed, I saw them leave the club, removing their heels on the way. 

I noticed my good friend Ryan had passed-out on the cushioned bench around the table, parallel to me. I continued drinking, sipping my vodka shots, determined to finish the little vodka left in the bottom of the bottle. It was expensive after all to get bottle service. 

A concerned bouncer who had been watching me with deep dark eyes, set two glasses of water down in front of me. “Sir, you need to drink both these glasses,” he said. 

“Umm, no. I want more vodka. I’ll pay for another bottle,” I slurred. 

The bouncer shook his head, “You need to drink these glasses now sir. I don’t want you to get alcohol poisoning and die in my club.” 

I sighed grabbing both glasses, I downed them one at a time.”Gees, I was thirsty,” I told the bouncer.

 “I’m calling you and your friend a cab at the back door entrance,” he said nodding at Ryan. ” I don’t have to, I could just throw you out. But, I get this feeling you’re running from something, trying to drink it away. So tonight, I’ll be nice,” the bouncer said. “I get it man, but you’re a grown-up and even in Vegas, you have to have limits.” 

Another bouncer came to aid the first bouncer, guide us out to the cab. I leaned on the first bouncer’s shoulder and the other guy half-carried Ryan out the door. 

The cab driver looked nervous, “I don’t want anyone throwing-up in here,” he announced. But the bouncers ignored him. 

“Where is your hotel?” The first bouncer asked me.

I had to think a moment, everything was such a blur and it was difficult to think. I was so tired and mad at her. Why’d she cheat on me after ten-years marriage? Why’d she leave me for him?

“Um, we’re at Caesars,” I stammered, then reached into my pocket, pulling out a wad of bills; I tried my best to count out $100.00 exactly. I gave it the cab driver. He nodded, “okay where too?” The bouncers shut the cab doors and the driver took off down the Las Vegas strip.

The lights of Las Vegas were beautiful, brilliant, and blurred. But they also made me nauseous. I closed my heavy lids, and opened them as I tried not to sleep. But I couldn’t stop myself and I fell asleep quickly. 

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Ryan was shaking me. “Come on Blaine, wake up. You’re 6’4″ and two-hundred-some pounds, I can’t lift you alone. You need to help me.” 

I blinked in the bright lights at the entrance to Caesars guest reception. It would take us forever to find our rooms because the hotel was so huge and neither of us were well enough to remember where our room was specifically. 

Ryan’s hands shook and his face was pale white. He ran and threw-up in a garbage can. He apologized five-minutes later to a man near by helping guests at the front entrance and gave him a twenty, and thinking this man would have to clean the garbage can up. 

I was slowly, stepping out of the car, but my legs nearly collapsed and I groaned in frustration. I reached into my wallet and pulled out eighty-dollars. I could count money now at least, though my head felt like someone was hammering my temples. 

“Here,” I said to a couple of men upfront working for Caesars. I gave them my cash and asked,”Help us back to my room, please.” 

Two silent men grabbed the cash splitting it and they smiled at me now. “Of course sir, do you have your keycard?” I nodded, pulling it out of my pocket. I gave it to the men and they called for two other men, one whom I leaned heavily against as we made an endless journey to my room. Sometime in there, I fell asleep. 

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It was 3:00 pm when I awoke in my hotel room. Immediately, I went and threw-up in the bathroom several times before I felt better. I took a shower and washed away the smoke and putrid smell of vodka and vomit. I called room service to put some food in my stomach and help me recover. I ordered some French toast, coffee, and orange juice –two orders –one for Ryan as well, when he awoke. 

I saw him lying on the bed and I tried to shake him awake. I thought he only needed more sleep. He wasn’t a big guy, so perhaps the vodka hit him harder than me. 

A day later, Ryan still wasn’t up and I asked my friends what we should do.

“Well, sometimes you really need to sleep it off. We’re not so young anymore, hangovers can last two-days. He’s breathing so he must be fine,” Kyle reasoned and my other friend Maison seemed to agree. We went down to the casino to play poker. 

 On the third day we asked reception to call a doctor for us. It was expensive but my friends and I were worried about Ryan. He was cold and his chest barely moved, his breathing was so shallow. 

The Doctor was tense upon inspecting Ryan three-hours later. “I’m sorry gentlemen, your friend died earlier this morning, about the time I was called to your room. If only you’d called sooner and emphasized how badly he was doing,” the Doctor chided. 

“Ryan had alcohol poisoning so badly he went into a coma. He has no heart beat and isn’t breathing as you indicated earlier. It’s tragic but I guess you’ll understand me now when I say, watch your alcoholic intake; in Vegas especially.” 

I started to cry in front of the Doctor and my friends. I didn’t know how I could tell Ryan’s family he’d passed on. He’d been the one who said we needed a boys trip to help me get out the funk of my wife cheating and divorcing me. 

I remember him saying, “Blaine you need to get out and have some fun. Come to Las Vegas with me and the guys. Forget about your problems for a while. I’ll forget about mine too,” he said. He never told me what his problems were and I never asked, I thought regretfully. 

Now my good friend Ryan was gone. I closed my eyes imagining lights blurring past me. It wasn’t only how I felt when I was drunk. It was how I felt all the time these days. As if I had no control as all the pretty lights rushed by. 

When I did have time, I made the wrong choices. The lights were my escape, but I needed to pay attention now, to move on in my life as Ryan would have wanted. I couldn’t drink the pain away. 

I vowed for Ryan, I would live my life better. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

 

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Writing 101 – Loving Las Vegas


Vegas 2Some people may not agree with me when I say I love Las Vegas. They will point out the “fakeness” of the large hotels and the smoke in the casinos but I have many memories in Las Vegas and I do not think of these minuet details when I think of it.

When I think, of Las Vegas I think of majesty of these huge impressive and monumental hotels that can hold thousands of people enthused  to have a good time. I think of the warm spring temperatures and the dry heat that sweeps through my bones and makes me want to lie outside on a lounging chair for as long as my pale skin will allow, and enjoy the splash of the water in the pool. I think of the way palm trees and beautiful foliage surrounds me and captivates me in this desert paradise.I don’t think of the fakeness, rather I think of all the work and all the effort needed to create such massive and beautiful places for people to vacation in, the classy rooms in each hotel each with a unique yet concrete style, the shows, and the shopping.

My favorite place I ever stayed in Vegas was in the Venatian and anyone whose ever been in the Venatian knows the beauty of Las Vegas hotels, the frescos and paintings of italian masterpieces adorning the roof and walls of the hotel, the canal going through the hotel with bright blue water ways where tourists can take a gondola ride through the shopping and restaurants leading outside into the Vegas heat and sunshine. When I went to the Venatian our room was gaudy and fantastic, so luxurious. Beds with gold curtains, and massive red head boards; a sunken living room with a couch and chair that looked out on the balcony on the Vegas sites below; a large bathroom with a water closet, makeup table, double sink, large glass shower, and a big tub where one could sit back and relax after a taking in a show at a hotel.

You see, for me Vegas is a place that crackles with electricity, with energy, and vibrancy. It is a place that has become a part of me, an affordable getaway where as they say  ‘ what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.’

The first time I ever visited Las Vegas I was 22-years-old and Vegas was freedom for me after a long and difficult journey through my universityVegas 6 studies. It was a place I found independence. I went to Las Vegas with 6 friends, 5 girls and 1 guy. We went to Tony and Tina’s Wedding and since we were the only people all dressed up as if we were actually going to a wedding, we became part of the show, our entire table. We took pictures of everywhere and everything especially on a 1 day and 10 hour tour of the Grand Canyon a truly magnificent experience in itself.

I will never forget those dusty red gradiated cliffs that when you looked down made you dizzy and overwhelmed by the glory of nature, that a giant glacier and river had carved a path through these cliffs and now we looked upon the layers of sediments and glorious desert color scheme as if it was a giant quilt in the burning Arizona desert. We spent the night before the Grand Canyon playing Sociables, a card and drinking game, so that we all arrive hung over and in desperate need of sleep on that 5 am tour bus. We all passed out on the way to Arizona and I never sleep on tour buses.

Vegas 4We spent days shopping, at the Fashion Show Mall, through the Venatian and Caesar’s Palace, through Planet Hollywood, and at the outlet mall downtown. Roland, the only guy with us, was sick of shopping by the time the trip was coming to an end. We lounged by the pool and ate succulent and delicious food at many restaurants and we took a limo ride through the strip all dressed up to the nines and visited Old Vegas. We saw a colorful and energetic light show and walked through the old casino’s as some country singer who is now famous, put on a lively performance. We walked so much and my friends went on the rides on the Stratosphere, careening near the edge of this freakishly tall building and spinning around over a part of the strip in mid air. We made friends and took pictures at the Stratosphere and with male strippers at the Rio. We wore carnival beads down the strip and drank gigantic drinks mostly full of tequila or vodka.

Later, my friends and I would return to Las Vegas and later I would go with my parents a couple of times and each time in Las Vegas I have discovered something new about the Vegas strip that blows my mind. A club with an indoor waterfall at the Wynn called Tryst, free champagne all night at another club, and M&M factory, The Phantom of the Opera done Vegas style, Cirque de Soleil to the songs of the Beatles, the Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, the 25 cent slot machines at the Casino, how to play Black Jack, and so many memories of good times with friends and family it’s no wonder that this place is more real to me then the nature of many places. I don’t care what you say because baby, I love Las Vegas and if I could be somewhere now that is where I’d like to be.