In late ’70s New York City, kids forming underground bands often drew from the Ramones and their brethren. Punk rock rejected the sanitized mainstream music of the era, seeking to recapture the excitement of pre-Beatles rock n roll.

Long Island native Slim Jim Phantom took a different path when he formed Stray Cats with Brian Setzer and Lee Rocker in 1979. He had discovered rockabilly, a style of music that predated rock n roll. Rockabilly in 1979 seemed out of place, at least on the surface, but upon further examination, it made just as much sense as punk. “[Rockabilly is] the most American music,” says Phantom, who plays drums. “Gene Vincent wasn’t affected by the British. Eddie Cochran wasn’t affected by the British.”

Next Week: Scientology teaches you how to suck just a little bit less.

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.


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. 

My wife is pregnant.




Claire is fertilizing my seed, so to say, and supposedly on June 6th we’ll have a full grown zucchini ready for bucketing.*