Tuesday, February 15, 2011

waiting for the light to change


it was night and the strip grew sparse, much more sparse then i ever thought it could get. i could walk freely on the sidewalk without even taking a small step to the side to avoid anyone oncoming. the sky was dark but the stars were hidden in the luminescent glow of all the signs and advertisements. it was just a deep blackness with no end. i was alone and wanted to be alone and i had decided to keep walking until i was too tired to walk anymore.

it had to be 3am by this point and my head was still buzzing from the events of just a few hours before. my skin still crawled with excitement. i had my hands in my pockets and shivered in the warm wind. the ringing of slot machines lifted out onto the street but here was no longer any romance in their jungle. there was just the cold metallic song and the promises that were never kept. there was just the faces left before them, waiting for the prize.

i walked into a casino and sat down at the bar and ordered a drink. the people around me were no longer tourist. the anxious air of vacationers had dulled into a faint scent. what was left was the simmering desperation of career gamblers and the perfume of hungry prostitutes. there were a few drunken out of towners at the craps table, flanked by hookers in short dresses and thick make up. the dealers stood with wary eyes, no doubt counting the seconds on their internal clock, waiting for the shift to be over.

i sipped my beer and then my whiskey. i didnt want to gamble, im not much of a gambler, but i still took a seat at one of the slot machines and put in a ten dollar bill and lit up a cigarette while i watched the night grow thin. a few young men walked in on rubbery legs and drunken grins and a man in a suit with salt and pepper hair counted a wad of money and then put it down on the table where the most action was.

i finished my beer and walked back out into the street. the whiskey and beer had warmed me up, i could feel it in my blood, moving through my veins, settling into my stomach. i had a light jacket on and the weather had dropped a few degrees. i couldnt tell how long id sat at the slot machine, but i didnt win any money and hadnt expected to. i looked out onto the horizon of the strip and saw where the lights ended and the dark endless desert began. i walked towards it. i wanted to be alone and i was alone and i was going to keep walking until i couldnt anymore.

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Creative Commons License
:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at downtownalleys.blogspot.com.