Ronbo Hamlet Looks At The Great Abyss...
January 18, 2009
I made it to Vegas yesterday after an epic journey that began in Orlando, Florida and over 3,000 miles ago. All trips must have an end. I had planned to end my transcontinental road Odyssey in Salt Lake City, Utah, The City of Saints, but upon reflection, I've decided that I'm more of a sinner, and hence Las Vegas, The City of Sinners, is more my style and the theme is reflected in the motel I checked into with porno movies provided free on the television and mirrored walls so the guests can watch themselves in action.
This is a "Clean Family Establishment" on the Strip not far from Caesar's Palace. I can just imagine what you get at the "Adult Establishment" next door -- 24/7 hookers as room service? "This is Ronbo in room 101, I'll take your Swedish Orgy Special, however, three members of the Swedish Swim Team would be a bit much for this 60 year old timer with a heart condition -- two sounds fine and English speakers are not required. How you folks do this for $99.99 a day plus tax is beyond me? What? The girls do it for free? They are recruited at Pervert Dot Com?"
I guess things get boring in Sweden during the winter.
It is amazing how quick Las Vegas pops up when you're driving in from the desert: At the top of a hill about ten miles from the center of the city on I 15 South you see Sin City laid out at your feet. I couldn't help but think of the old Country & Western song where the cowboy stops at the hill overlooking El Paso and sees the saloon where he will die for the "love of a Mexican girl." My second thought was of the very dark movie, "Leaving Las Vegas" where the protagonists kills himself by way of drinking himself to death. This process takes a couple of weeks and the help of a "hooker with a heart of gold" and in the end of the movie the old boy comes as he goes. My observation was that drinking ones self to death took too much work and was very expensive. It was also very painful. If I'd been the director of the movie the leading man would have washed about 500 sleeping pills down with some good brandy and went at it until he passed with the Swedish Swim Team at the Adult Motel next to Caesar's Palace.
I have no doubt reading the paragraph above will see me gloomy Gus, what the doctors call it "clinical depression." I confess guilt to that charge. At a very early age I was introduced to Death and he always stood at my side waiting and looking. Death talks, did you know? He told me as a 12 year old boy, "Why try to be successful, happy, or produce children? At the end of your life I won't let you take any of it with you. And no matter who famous you become and how much loved in the matter of a hundred years the odds are you'll be forgotten." This little speech by Death, who looked just like Cromwell, my Southern Baptist Minister, he of the famous "hell fire sermons", turned me into a pew warmer for the next six months. My career as a Southern Baptist Ministry Recruit came to an end one Sunday morning when I was discovered in the "Prayer Room" tender embrace (not the first time either) of Kay, Cromwell's 14 year old lusty daughter, who couldn't resist adding another 12 year old male virgin to her already impressive middle school resume. Kay said the Gospel made her horny and wasn't Christianity all about being fruitful and multiplying? I think her take on the Gospel was different from Cromwell's who became very angry and told my dad to give me 12 licks of the leather belt well laid on in order to teach me the proper thing to do in church is strictly spiritual.
But I digress. I was talking about my pal Death whom I've been on speaking terms for almost half a century. I have to admit that I'm afraid of him, I should say my flesh is afraid of the pain necessary to get to the other shore, yet I have on many occasions done things to court entry into the dark regions where no reliable report comes. This expedition to Las Vegas is a case in point -- An individual who cared about his future and decided to relocate out West would have checked on things first like jobs and residence. I did none of these rational things, but hopped in a rental car, a Toyota 4Runner, and drove over 3,000 miles to Vegas with stops in Orlando, San Antonio, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Ely, Nevada. Thus this morning I sit alone in my underwear typing this article (maybe my last article?) into my Dell laptop in the Family Motel on The World Famous Strip in Sin City.
I think I pretty well burned my bridges behind me. Did you see the movie, "Kelly's Heroes?" I'll never forget the theme song, "Burning Bridges," this song is the story of my life for the last ten years. I blow into a place with hardly a penny to my name and no shelter. I find someone of some organization to take care of my physical needs while I look for a job. I find employment and work. I save money and make friends. I have a schedule and daily routine. I have a life, as they say. But then after months or years, my old friend Death talks to me and invites me to the dark shore. He's always makes good arguments in favor of giving up and dying -- The one I like best is giving up your conscious -- when the brain dies there are no more thoughts. Death says, "Don't be afraid of me. How can you be afraid of nothingness?"
So you see intellectually Death makes a pretty damn good argument! What person when he understands Death wants to go on living? I know the Baptist Church and all the others say that suicide is the ultimate sin. I think they say this to congregations full of old people (endlessly replaced by old people) to give them hope and meaning to lives soon forgotten when Death takes command. And Death always takes command in the end, no matter how well the soldier dodges the bullet. I had an uncle who survived until 95, the last ten years of that mostly in hospitals, before asking my cousin for the cup of hemlock to end it. My mother fought Death like a real trooper for her last five years spent in pain before begging me, her caregiver, to mix her the hemlock. Like I said before, Death makes good arguments, although for most people not until the endgame. I differ from most people because I have Death across from me on the chess board playing black. I've always been able to win or at least get a stalemate...
I don't think this game ends in my favor. I think this is trip out West may be the endgame for me. My alter ego, Rambo would figure a way out. If not that, he would at least plan and carry out some glorious exit that would give the crowd their price of admission and perhaps meaning to his life. Alas! I'm not a fictional character and action hero. I am only a tired old dog soldier come to the end of his warpath who wants no witnesses to his end, or even a body discovered.
"The desert is silent, dark and deep."
*AUTHOR NOTE: This short story is "factional" - A prose style that is a mixture of satire, polemics, fact and fiction designed to tell the truth.