Sunday, November 4, 2007

I'd like a place I can call my own

I met her at a bar. It was a hipster dive off of Charleston st. in Las Vegas. The bar, called the Noble, used to swarm with old men alcoholics. One of the bartenders who was young and with it started to have rockabilly shows. The music was tolerable. Most of the bands sounded like Tiger Army, or the Stray Cats.

The night we met the Bad Boys of Blue were playing. They were a spoof band mocking the blue man group. The band dressed in blue coveralls and painted their faces blue. Their music was messy, discordant. They played for ten minutes before the bartender cut them off. I was sitting next to a window when she came up to talk to me.

"Hey," she said.
"Hey," I replied.
"What are you doing?"
"Can I join you?"

We had a few cheap beers together, mainly in silence. When she wasn't looking in my direction I'd glance at her. I wondered why she'd sat down next to me. She was wearing blue jeans, white and black converse and a white shirt. Her hair was long and blonde. Her name was Jennifer. When we did talk, we chatted about our jobs. She worked as a waitress at a Irish pub in the downtown area of Vegas. Like all towns Vegas is divided spatially by class. The strip with its glamorous spectacles draws the middle to upper class while the downtown area with its cheap tinsel and budget prices brings in a lower class crowd. She talked about how the tourist clientele were awful tippers. Bad tippers are a constant topic amongst waiters around the world. It got later and at about twelve thirty I mustered up the courage to aske her back to my place.

"What are you doing tonight? You interested in watching a movie? I live a few blocks away from here." I said to her.
"Yeah that might be nice. Why don't we drive? I don't want to leave my car here."

She had a small four door car. She talked about it the entire three block drive to my house. I zoned the conversation out. I'd never been interested in cars. I had a small motorcycle that I used for transportation. The only times it became inconvenient was when it rained, or when I was drunk. Like most other Vegas residents I'd already had one DUI strike against me in the last two years.

My apartment was in a housing complex. It was indescribable from the outside. The only way to recognize it from all the others was to know the building number and letter on the apartment door. I lived alone in the one bedroom apartment. The rent was reasonable, five hundred dollars a month. It was a bit far from the grocery store but I usually ate at work anyways. I'd moved into this small apartment to focus on my writing. I'd been living in San Francisco for a while, happily, until I broke up with my girlfriend. It was her apartment so I had no place to go when the relationship ended. My decision to move out here was influenced by John O'Brien's "Leaving Las Vegas." The novel follows an alcoholic who loses his job. He takes his severance pay to Vegas and drinks himself to death. While in his stupor he meets a whore. They fall in love. I didn't expect of find love when I moved, but the image of decay grabbed me.

I thought that maybe the decadent ambiance would seep into my stories. Secretly I longed to be the next Bret Easton Ellis, Hubert Selby Jr. or Jean Genet. I had a bad case of writer's block by the time that I'd actually gotten settled enough to start writing regularly. Half of my stories were bad romantic love tales. They were fantastical visions of my time spent with my ex girlfriend, Amy. The other half of my stories were bad break up stories again about Amy. I decided that I wouldn't write one more story until my feelings for Amy were gone. Whenever I sat down at my desk to write images of Amy came to my mind. I'd sit and stare at the computer screen for a while. Eventually I'd get up and leave to the bar having little else to do.

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