Sitting on the deck at Cabo Wabo on the Vegas Strip was an exercise in curiosity for the Man. He’d been to, say, Mardi Gras several times in his younger days and loved it. Except for that last trip, crashing in sleeping bags on the sidewalks of New Orleans, dreaming about the girl who had broken his heart, waking up covered in early morning dew and sorrow, unable to escape the unmoored feeling he would much later identify as an underdeveloped sense of self.
“Man” the Woman said, “We’ve not spontaneously done something in some time.”
She was right, they hadn’t.
“What do you say you, me, Boy, Boy, and Boy go with Sue and Curtis to Vegas and pick up a truck?” she said.
“I don’t like Vegas” thought the Man. “Sure. Sounds good.”
She liked when they did random shit and liked it even more when the Man jumped in without pointing out the reasons they shouldn’t. Her favorite dream had always been to find a door in a house, and beyond the door were hidden rooms, rooms that should not exist at first blush, but nevertheless did, one leading to another, ever expanding into a secret wing. The Man had wondered if her willingness to do things most would dismiss, things he would dismiss, was a manifestation of deep seeded curiosity and hope. Or if that much thought was put into it at all. And was one necessarily more admirable than the other? After all, the fact that she was all about the yes was his favorite of her attributes. That and her laugh. She’d always had a great laugh. Even when he’d pulled away from her briefly, so many years ago, when he’d been someone he didn’t want to be, he still loved the Woman’s laugh.
The Man had been approached over the years about trips to Vegas, weekend getaways, but had never been so much as tempted. Of course, it was mostly presented as an opportunity to get away from the family, have some time with “the guys”. Had he been asked to go skiing with the guys, camping with the guys, maybe he would have considered it. Maybe. The fact was, he had never been a spend time with “the guys” type. Maybe it was being more comfortable on the periphery, observing but not truly joining. Maybe it was being raised by a strong woman who fought to make up for an often absent father. Whatever the reason, the Man was not one of the guys, had grown to appreciate not being one of the guys. Oh, he had tried, earnestly pretended, really, in the past. In his youth. But at some point in his mid twenties he’d subconsciously made peace with himself.
This trip, though, had been tempting. The last minute “why not” factor was strong, and shared by their company who’d followed a whim and bid on a ’72 Dodge pickup, subsequently named “The Bandit”, the night before at the Man and Woman’s house, won it, and now had to pick it up in Vegas. It made for an intriguing package. Even the thought of enduring an evening on the Strip was palatable given that the Boys would dig all the lights and dancing fountains, then get to go back and jump on hotel beds – always worth a trip thought the Man.
In an unexpected, though confusing, turn, he noticed throughout the evening a truck driving past, back and forth, back and forth, pulling a billboard announcing that there were women there who really wanted to meet him. Being a late bloomer, this took the man by surprise, but he found the gesture generous at the very least. Still, it was the Vegas Strip, and sooner rather than later the Man failed to see the point. The hour was late and there were, thankfully, Boys to put to bed. The following day would start at the hotel pool, segue out to Red Rock Canyon, and end with the drive home.
Red Rock. The man had had the thought on the drive to Vegas. He’d meant to make it out there on his last Vegas trip, but it had been a work trip and he never got around to it. This was the perfect opportunity, and the perfect local experience to actually catch his, and the Woman’s, imagination. Plus they had time to kill, as it would take Curtis 9 hours to drive The Bandit back home at a top speed of 40 mph.
A tip o’ the hat to random shit and whims.