The following is an excerpt from Cameron Lovejoy’s short story, Haggard Joe.
* * *
Vegas during the day is foul: somehow sleazier than the night preceding it. Perhaps because you can see its scars. It makes you want to bathe, to scrub yourself raw. But in its waters you’d only catch disease. It doesn’t feel like a real city. Instead, a terrible joke. A rancid theme park. Within it, time slows down until it has dissolved like your integrity. One night in Las Vegas is enough for ten lifetimes.
But the bus broke through the unusual absence of time and roared up the highway ramp and took off. The city shined sullenly in the sun, rolling by us like film. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the afternoon- the lights of the city stay on, glowing meekly, trying to be noticed like a child with pill addicted parents. Advertisement eyesores for magic shows and fake breasts lay plastered on the sides of towers; the mini mirage of the New York skyline stuck out as its own sad city in the sun; the black Luxor pyramid glimmered ominously like a sinister spacecraft, and the red and yellow symbol for In-N-Out passed by the windows of the bus, sadly out of Joe’s reach. He was irritated by the sight, chewing painfully on dry strings of jerky.
* * *