Though we may dream in sleep, our minds aglow amidst the bright lights of the city, our feet remain aground, bound beneath the dark truth of the night sky. And so, as we live, and seek restitutions for the pain of reality, by variety of popular vice; I, for one, have found a case has come to stand:

It is within the vibrant heart of the city called Las Vegas that we find our true humanity.

There, a sign floats invisible above the minds of all who visit, and all who reside; emblazoned in gold, forged by the testament of dead billionaires.

CIVILIZATION FOR SALE  the words read absolute.

I have seen a man sit before a neon pool. Dressed in nines he is alone, surrounded by no-one and everything. Four thousand dollars cash is the price of his throne, a two-hour rental. His hair is coifed, the bristles on his chin precise. From beyond I wait, and judge the nature of his soul.

The soul, it is a frightful concept, a moment in an ocean.

In Alaska, when the ships go out to sea I have heard there is procession. A ritual performed by faithful wives and sons and sacred daughters. In the dark their superstitions guide them north upon the ice. Pilgrims to prayer, they climb, step by step, single file between the long and sifting dunes, in search of a church of snow and ancient stone. Inside this tomb, they do assemble, and when the time comes – call forth to Neptune’s fury.

“Let our men not be lost unto the storm!”

They cry, they weep, their cries fulfil an echo of the past.

“Oh Lord! We pray to thee those souls we give to you, may you return to us without abandon; that our men may once again cherish the company of blood and family bond!”

“Aye,” the ice beneath them shakes, “though the choice is theirs to wander, to cast the veil, to rejoice freely in this life, in all the realms of the ocean of time.”

And so the mariner takes himself the brides of men, one by one, each after the next, and thereupon the ice they give themselves to him. But it is not within his power to ordain their husbands to return. And so it is a lie.

Prior to the now, the night was young, and did I wander down the boulevard, to and fro between the wonders of the future.

In this desert oasis, all is a mirage. Awful and afraid, from desolation I do perceive magnificence, and so admit regret, I am guilty of pretension. How easy it is to dismiss such plastic paradise. This monument to man’s resplendent might. These martian mountains were not built for life. Dead rivers scar a fiery basin. I watched the desert breath through the window of the aircraft, before we made land beside the strip. Who knew a port could exist so close to terminus of destination.

The advertisements do not risk to wait. Outside, I find the heat unbearable. In afternoon, I swim, and drink beside the hotel pool.

The music never stops, and neither do the lights.

The girls, my holy god, the girls. Above the bar in cages go-gos dance and move their hips with strange vocabulary. The eye moves prone to skin with make-up for effect. What vocation; to live, and move in groups alone, yet not; such prostitution is in short perfect, a feat of true volition, their acceptance of it is persuasive fact. But, speak only with respect: to forsake ambition, and yet receive eternal glory, until discharge, acquittal and damnation…

If there is a God, I swear this is the chosen land.

Never before has a world been so conceived, so pure of sin and free of oath, so ripe with misplaced evolution.

Science be damned. The elysian fields do indeed exist. The dancefloor it is, a mighty temporal plane, where angels descend to feast on flesh in houses born by marble column, inherent of Zeus, Socrates and Caesar. Here, the women are Helen, Aphrodite and Eurydice.

I fell in love as she kissed the man beside the neon pool, my jealousy revealing strength and motivation. So many millions must surely wear him down. I turn away, my time has yet to come.

Back to the bar; two beers are better than a shot. I chug them both with Joe Connecticut. His fraternity cures cancer.

Later I re-approach and search for clues of sentiment… My enemy is a Texan, an oil man; who does not trust, nor believe in pure intention. Why should he? After all, I am here to steal his girl. But I refrain, to probe his business, and soon, I declare my northern nature. He offers a challenge:

“Never met a Canadian I didn’t like… I go up to there buy horses from time to time… The Indian breeds are elemental.”

Good for him. Now her. The word I use is radiant. From down under, her accent suggests the pride of a commonwealth. I thank Christ and Church, for it is in their honour that her pilgrimage has brought the promised land.

Quick as can, I steal her hand and pull my compass from its pouch.

As we traverse the crowd I reference similarity and difference, passion and congregation, conquest and devoted detriment.

Behind the waterfall, our party lies in wait. There together, we transcend abyss; this grotto sets the stage for karma, fortune, luck and future bliss. Above our heads, the buildings rise, where stars in patterned glass reflect one wish: Life. Music. Dance. Under moonlight, the contours of her skin are drawn sharp by the blaze of an objective sun, a wash that hides transgression and forsaken past. She turns her cheek; she sways, within the tempo of the sound; her form fitted, pressed against my own, her back arched, we kiss, her music derivative to the beat of a heart.

I must confess the forecast did not prepare me for the climate.

In the elevator: our thousandth kiss; soon, she undresses before my eyes, our love shining – a thousand moments, our touch a union – a connection between each and every species, an ode to all those who have come before, and all those who will come again soon after we are gone. Sex, these days they name it thus, in the time before it was a simpler thing; a nature of our polar planet, decreed since prehistoric era.  

As different creatures leading different lives, so when our union is complete we do depart, in holy matrimony; our marriage, however brief, a modern vestige ripe with primordial meaning.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, or so they say.

Again, once more, I find myself upon the floor, tie strung loose around the collar of my neck. I do not gamble, never have. Instead, I walk these lonely rows, these avenues of loss and victory, alleys of triumph and assassination. It feels a distant home, perhaps, to which I have not been before. But nonetheless, the atmosphere remains familiar: the joyful hum and endless pitch of so many vibrations ring within my ears, suggesting that I have been before, again, once more; forever bound to the ding-ding-ding of chance romance.

Now, I must suspect that I am drunk. I cannot tell, except one clue, the bouncer bars the doors unto the club. It’s 5:02 AM, perhaps that stands to reason. So again, I wander outside, and there within the breeze, I light my cigarette.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, or so they say.

It is a lie.

Writing from beyond I reminisce, and smoke Americana deep within my lungs.

The palms are most captivating in this dark hour before sunrise. Illuminated at the base they reach up, probing for absent but approaching light. The burning air postpones inevitable despair. In the east, beyond the mountains, the sky begins to turn. There, a red womb speaks of worlds lost and dreams found, achieved, and carried forth into oblivion. 

Written by Cameron Murton