While an Asian pro with a rhinestone ass wiggles next to a pot-bellied shooter sporting a runaway moustache at the Bellagio craps table, I wonder what the percentage of self-deluded people there are in the world.

Probably pretty fucking high, I think as I scan the room. At the video poker bar, a bachelorette pops a caplet of X into her mouth as her friends cheer her on. “Scooby Dooby Doo,” she howls at a passing geriatric, then preps a line of coke on her wrist to rev her high.

She catches me watching and smiles. “You wanna line, sugar?”

Mississippi. Maybe Alabama. “No thanks.”

“Delusion is the cornerstone of happiness,” she offers with a snort. “You sure you don’t need a little help? You look too grounded.”

“Thanks. Clean living,” I lie before turning my attention back to the Asian ass wiggler. She turns around and I can see her ridiculous tits falling out of her see-thru lace tank top. Her areolas are the size of eggplants, and I can’t stop staring.

If her tits were planets they’d have their own solar system. A universe of silicone leaching into her bloodstream and killing her that very moment.

“Long as you look good dying,” I imagine her saying between sucks off the pot-bellied shooter’s dick.

The shooter rolls the dice, and I turn away to chase a waitress for a drink. I order a bottle of Fiji water and then mosey over to the craps table to get a better look at those tits. If I can get a peek into that cleavage, maybe I can discern my fate. Like reading tea leaves or chicken bones.

Or crystal balls.

“Yo, yo, yo,” the shooter calls to the dice, but it’s a big zilch for him.

“That all right, Daddy. I fuck you good no how,” Tits says as she smacks him on the ass.

I inch closer to her as a Hadda Brooks song plays: “Need a Little Sugar in my Bowl.” One of my favorites. I squeeze up to the table and make a pass line bet, hoping for a seven or eleven. I had a lot riding on today. More than just a few chips. But it was six o’clock already and the call still hadn’t come.

“Now would be a good time for an eleven,” The Shooter begs as he hops from one foot to another, shaking the dice in his fist. He rolls a twelve. Craps. 

“Come on, baby. Let’s go fuck,” she says, as if she’s asking to go to the store or get an oil change. Well, maybe an oil change is indeed what she’s after.

The Shooter brushes her away. “I’m down 5 g’s, and I ain’t goin nowhere til I get it back.”

The Tits heave a sigh. She knows in the hierarchy of addictions, The Game trumps The Hump. She steps back. She knows her place.

“Mentos?” I ask taking my opportunity.

“Thank you, baby,” she replies as she pops it into her Restylane-riddled mouth.

“Maybe I bad luck,” she worries as she watches The Shooter lose another round.

“I don’t believe in luck,” I offer as I lay a few chips down for another pass line bet.

“Why you in Vegas if you no believe in luck?”

“Because I believe in strategy,” I reply.

“You a player?” she wonders, examining my shoes.

“Nah. I’m here to drive a car back to Texas.”

“You drive cars?” she asks, scratching a mole on her left tit.

She catches me watching again but doesn’t seem to mind.

“Not really.”

“What kind of cars you drive?”

I try to explain, but she cuts me off.

“Ooh,” she coos. “You take me for drive, I fuck you good.”

“Yo, yo, yo,” The Shooter calls as he rolls a two. I double my money.

“Ah, thanks, but I’m straight,” I say.

“Then why you look at my tits? They nice, yes?”

“Yeah. They are,” I reply as I place another bet. “Didn’t mean any disrespect. I just like looking at tits. And well, yours are kinda hard to miss.”

She tosses her head back and laughs, squealing like the first three or four seconds of a tornado siren.

“Long as he losing, no fuck for me. Come on. You buy me ice cream, I show you tits.”

I take my chips off the table. “Ok.”

Thirty minutes later we’re in the bathroom out by the pools and she’s got her shirt raised. A maid changes the garbage, paying us no mind. A drunk tourist washes her face.

“I pay top dollar, yet still small scars. See?” She heaves up her tits to expose two minute scars.Maybe fake tits are part of mankind’s evolutionary process. Maybe these scars become fins and we need the silicone for buoyancy, I wonder as I notice a long hair curling out of her nipple.

“Do you float any better?” I ask as she drops her tits.

They’re denser, I notice when they fail to bounce.

“I no swim,” she says. “Extensions,” she offers, curling a lock around her finger.

I examine her tits for a few minutes longer, but I can’t help feeling disappointed. Nothing had changed. I was the same person. With the same problems. And the same questions. And the phone call still hadn’t come.

“Thanks,” I say as I hand over her ice cream cone. She lowers her shirt and takes the cone. The Vegas wind blows hard, and it reminds me of my dog’s breath after a midday run.

“You wanna go for a ride?” I ask, not really knowing why. Maybe I thought if I preoccupied myself, I wouldn’t notice that the call hadn’t come.

“Ok. Daddy be in there all day.”

She grabs a paper towel and tucks it in her purse.

“We be back by 5?” she asks. “I dress for Noodles tonight.”

Noodles was my favorite restaurant in the hotel. I had planned to eat there tonight as well, but decided to nix that idea. I didn’t want her to think I was some kind of weirdo. Not that it mattered. So why did it?

“No problem,” I reply as we head towards the garage.

I hand the valet my card, and within a few minutes, he returns with my boss’s car, a yellow convertible Maserati Bora.

“Nice car,” she says, and it’s only then that I realize I don’t know her name. But I don’t ask. Somehow, I feel everything will be spoiled if I know her name.

“Where are you from?” I ask instead.

“Phnom Penh. You know?” She gets in the car. 

“Thailand?” I guess.

“Cambodia. But I grew up in Sa Kaew refugee camp.”

I don’t feel like getting heavy, so I just say, “Heavy.”

We make a left out of the garage onto Las Vegas Boulevard into a sea of tourists. I’d like to hit a few with my car, particularly the ones with the blinking margarita glasses, but I decide against it. Not in the mood. Not today. Plus my boss would kill me if I put a scratch on his car.

Tits fondles the radio and finds Usher. Dancing in her seat, she sings, “She said baby let’s go…”

…so I turbo charge the Maserati, almost hitting a Honda on my right.

“Yeah!” she sings over the purr of the engine.

We make our way out of the city and into the quiet of the desert. “Where we go, baby?” she asks, wiggling her ass in the seat, probably scratching the leather with those rhinestones.

“Ever been to Red Rock Canyon?” I ask.

“You sure you no wanna fuck instead?” she asks.

“Yeah. I’m sure.”

My phone rings.

It’s the call.

I smile and let it go to voicemail. Then I grab a celebratory CD from the visor and pop it in the stereo.

Ramones.

Singing, I blast the radio.

“She went away for a holiday

Said she’s going to L.A.

But she never got there

She never got there

She never got there

They say…”

Surprisingly, my Cambodian hooker joins in.

“The KKK took my baby away,

They took my baby away.”

 I turn into Red Rock, and while Joey Ramone laments about his girlfriend, an eagle shoots across the sky.

 “They good luck,” she says, pointing to the sky.

 “Yes. They are.”

As I look across the mojave, it twinkles like my future. 

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When she isn't making movies or music, DUCKY WILSON serves as a spy for the Bokonon Underground Army, living by the foma that makes her brave and kind and healthy and happy. Her poetry has been published in several literary magazines, none of which you've ever read, and her nonfiction work can be read exclusively on The Nervous Breakdown. Currently, she is in development on her next film, an offbeat musical about misfits looking to belong.

One response to “The Hooker from Phnom Penh”

  1. ducky says:

    Comment by J. Hova
    2009-08-08 18:22:28
    It is not possible to describe the smile on my face upon reading this. I loathe the gambling scene and eschew crowded places but the rest – the mood, the filter you put on it…. Shine on, brother.

    Point of note, though. We’re all self-deluded. Some of the delusions are just kinder to the soul and less obvious. And some of the deluded take heart from the lie.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Ducky
    2009-08-08 18:38:39
    Yes, I agree. I find even as an adult I’m discovering more and more layers to my self-delusion. It’s fascinating if you stand outside of yourself, which I often do.

    I hate crowds, too, though I’ve come to enjoy gambling, if for no other reason than to observe some of the most fascinating people.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by J. Hova
    2009-08-09 18:19:24
    Cheers, then, to your ability not only to observe but to appreciate and report as well. I’m a voracious lurker of various sites (I have a funky schedule – web surfing is about the only predictable constant) and generally move on quickly but I’m moving closer to the “groupie” column with each post I read here.

    Now… care to share about “the call”?

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Simon Smithson
    2009-08-08 19:57:50
    What is it about casinos and women showing their fake breasts? I had a similar experience myself once. Maybe I’ll blog about it. Then again, I don’t want to muscle in on your turf…

    And yeah, I’m with J. Hova up there. It put a smile on my dial too.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Ducky
    2009-08-09 10:52:49
    Hey, I have no corner on tits. Trust me. Blog away. More tit stories, the better.
    I spent many years bartending in a music club. I’ve seen a ton of silicone.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by David S Wills
    2009-08-10 01:10:52
    Casinos and fake breasts… The casino probably pays for them to lure in customers, and to distract them.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Ducky
    2009-08-10 12:52:54
    This is not far off.

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    Reply here

    Comment by Zara Potts
    2009-08-08 23:42:49
    Great work. Your words paint a horrifyingly real picture.
    Poor Tits. What a life. I’m glad she met you, even for a brief moment.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Ducky
    2009-08-09 10:56:57
    I’m far more honored to have met her. People like her keep me real.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Kimberly M. Wetherell
    2009-08-09 09:08:55
    Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.

    I’m so glad you’re here.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Ducky
    2009-08-09 10:58:22
    Thanks mamasita. And I am here because of you, so double thanks. Very happy to be here.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Jeremy Resnick
    2009-08-09 10:17:21
    So many great lines!

    “The Game trumps The Hump.”

    “I don’t feel like getting heavy, so I just say, “’Heavy.’”

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Ducky
    2009-08-09 10:53:31
    Thanks. I like those two lines, too.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Shya Scanlon
    2009-08-09 14:58:30
    Great writing. Great pacing. “The call,” you’re waiting for is perfectly fecund yet undefined. There’s desperation, sure, but the story is more about connection than it is about failure to do so, so it’s ultimately hopeful.

    One of my favs here so far.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Ducky
    2009-08-09 16:35:48
    Hey, thanks! Very cool.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Erika Rae
    2009-08-09 17:28:55
    Tits for an ice cream cone. Now that is a fair trade. You got anything for tats? nevermind…

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by J. Hova
    2009-08-09 18:27:39
    If enormous fake tits warrant an ice cream, I suppose fake tats – of superior quality, mind you – could fetch as much as a Perugina Baci. Of course, the price could be negotiated higher depending on the location of the aforementioned ink job.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Ducky
    2009-08-09 18:32:23
    Ass for tats.
    I like the assonance.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Kimberly M. Wetherell
    2009-08-09 18:35:04
    I like the atiteration.

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    Comment by J. Hova
    2009-08-09 18:54:19
    I tittered at that one….

    Reply here

    Comment by J. Hova
    2009-08-09 18:53:19
    If you deliberately get an ass tat, is that cognitive assonance?

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    Reply here

    Comment by Erika Rae
    2009-08-09 21:07:03
    If you get a fake tat on a fake tit, is that redundant atiteration…or is that just the start of a dirty nursery rhyme?

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by J. Hova
    2009-08-10 04:55:36
    I don’t know but I think it only earns you a kid-size frogurt.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Ducky
    2009-08-10 12:54:50
    Fuck it. Milkshakes for everyone!

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    Comment by Ducky
    2009-08-10 13:03:02
    And ass tats, too!

    Comment by J. Hova
    2009-08-10 13:14:58
    Hey, could I get two shakes? I’ve already got…. Um…. Never mind. Gotta go.

    Reply here

    Comment by Irwin
    2009-08-10 01:26:20
    Man, this was awesome.

    And these lines made me laugh hysterically:

    ”“Long as he losing, no fuck for me. Come on. You buy me ice cream, I show you tits.”

    I take my chips off the table. “Ok.””

    Brilliant.

    Oh, and cool as fuck.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Ducky
    2009-08-10 12:54:13
    Thanks. ‘Preciate that.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by oksana marafioti
    2009-08-11 14:06:56
    I live in Las Vegas. Casinos and tits are things I don’t even notice anymore, not even when I’m in a casino wearing a low cut blouse. I love your stuff Ducky!

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Megan
    2009-08-12 17:55:45
    Your writing twinkles. Especially that dialogue.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Ducky
    2009-08-12 19:32:26
    I love that: twinkles. That’s yummy. Thanks.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Marni Grossman
    2009-08-17 09:22:42
    Your writing makes it almost possible for me to forget about the sadness of the misogyny and racism and poverty lurking beneath Las Vegas’s shiny exterior.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Ducky
    2009-09-08 09:09:21
    Oh, what would Vegas be without those things. Just a junkyard of neon signs.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by sheree
    2009-09-05 12:46:29
    Brilliant writing. If you don’t have a book for purchase I hope you do in the near future. I never want an end to your posts but find each ending to be a work of art. Perfection. I could read you forever.

    Cheers to telling it the way it is. Life is most certainly for the living!

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Ducky
    2009-09-08 09:12:04
    No book for purchase as of yet, but I am working on it. And I think the nicest thing a person can say to a writer is…”I could read you forever.” Thanks for that. Sincerely.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by sheree
    2009-09-19 09:37:22
    I absolutely love this line “You a player?” she wonders, examining my shoes”.

    You truly understand how to use “less is more” as a writing tool. I understood tits whole life cycle as soon as I read that line. Brilliant instant understanding. It takes a strong writing hand to produce that kind of line. I’d pay a buck a word if I could just to read your work. Of course I could only afford twenty words a week at that rate. Heh!

    Cheers to living!

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    Reply here

    Comment by Erika Rae
    2009-09-08 05:12:57
    Hey Ducky – Could you email me directly (I assume you have my email with this comment)? I have a question for you “under the radar.”

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