Tag Archives: drug/alcohol abuse


Let me give two examples of just how different life is here in Las Vegas.

Earlier in the month, a complete stranger sidled up to me. He asked where he could score some “H.” Some smack.

Drat! If only he’d sought hookers instead.

It wasn’t an integrity test because those involve straight-up cash for providing/procuring abnormal services and goods. Or swiping property from the premises or persons on them.

Facilitating the request or thieving is never the problem. Getting caught, as one in the hospitality sector does now and then, is the problem. For a destination marketing itself as a place where inhibitions can be left at home, at the airport, or abandoned inside hotel rooms, Las Vegas has contradictory notions about sinning.

Sorry. Vice.

Financial ruin through gambling and dissipation by assembly-line cocktail bingeing is accepted. In fact aren’t both encouraged?

Yet the sexual exchanges can only be so mercantile and deviant, while drug usage tests the full extent of schizophrenia. Several topless shows and male reviews render the artifice of naughtiness entertaining. However, the authorities cast cold eyes upon visitors and locals alike who seek to forsake life through vicarious distance for actual fleshly delights.

Nevadans who approved cannabis use laughed then dismissed the “medicinal purposes” nuisances in order to enjoy weed recreationally. But giving the people what they want and allowing it are two different things. Instead of standing aside, legislators established vindictive hurdles in regards to where marijuana may be consumed.

Happy to report that in libertarian Nevada, the rules are being ignored. The aroma of icky-sticky wafts around public places and in prohibited hotel areas. Fortunately for all involved, the authorities aren’t crusading to keep sidewalks and parks free of stoners. Also, hoteliers quickly understood an increasing percentage of their guests looked upon the restrictions as less reason to visit the Big Mayberry.

After all, what can’t happen in Vegas?

The hotel industry realizes much clearer than the soberest bureaucrat that a good percentage of Las Vegas visits are impulsive. No one here wants such trade to put much thought into a Las Vegas journey. The concerned enterprises want that first germ to sprout and overwhelm all other contemplation with its abundant blossoms.

Thought beyond the initial urge could call into question whether it would worthwhile paying Strip addresses’ exorbitant restaurant and cocktail prices, the high fees for amenities, sundries, and parking as well as shouldering a club’s table service expenses. Thinking about any or all of them may be enough to cast shade upon visiting Las Vegas.

Simpler is better for those in every facet of the industry. They don’t want prospective guests pondering. They want prospective guests looking eagerly to the journey and adventures once here.

Anyway, about the visitor seeking a deck to calm the monkey on his back I could do nothing. Thankfully for us both he wasn’t jonesing. Despite my inability to aid him directly, I suggested a few avenues he might pursue. Surely on one of them he’d find a hollowed-out figure who could help him score.

In February, the above encounter has not been the month’s most unusual. Nor its least unpleasant.

Driving home from work for the weekend, one of the city’s legion of wild-eyed homeless men accosted me at a red light. At least he wasn’t scabby, grime-encrusted. His hair wasn’t unkempt and matted.

After a shower, a shave, and detox he might’ve appeared presentable enough to have applied for a job. Bet that notion never pierced his voluntary haze.

A nice high desert day, I’d rolled down the car windows. Normally the beggars perched on the sidewalk curbs make quick pitches. Until relocating to Nevada I never gave “spare change” much thought. Employed throughout adult life, my money has been fairly rigidly apportioned.

Being unresponsive normally suffices to have the pavement wretch “bless” you then shuffle along to the next possible soft touch. Not this one, though. Not only was he anchored at my window, he was also insistent.

Hearing his rapid patter, why wasn’t this cat on some store floor persuading gullible customers to make unnecessary purchases? Isn’t there good money in that?

He reminded me of a salesman working on commission. One who had to close steep sales goals in order to receive his percentage.

Rough living had aged him. Subject to the elements and these exacerbated by whatever chemical compositions coursed through his system, the poor devil couldn’t have been far on either side of 30. Despite this he was still in better shape than me.

Seeing his target resistant to parting with any coins at all, he tried guilt-tripping me. Give him this, for a crazed piece of drug-addled, two-legged vermin he was observant. He spied my watch and driving glasses. Yes. Both carried prestige labels. Yes. Both were expensive. Neither were gifts. I bought the latter after earning the money through work; the former a reward from opportunity provided by industry.

About the glasses, I love the brand. In fact I own a pair of shades bearing the same mark. You bet they get workouts during Mojave summers. Besides, wearing them makes me look cooler. The watch? The watch has a background that has startled listeners.

Practicality and sentiment. Two attributes I knew my supplicant had lost any and all appreciation of if he’d ever possessed either.

The way he rattled on must’ve lengthened the time at the stop light. Or maybe it was another manifestation of Einstein’s theory of time. In a second’s duration, a kiss from a lovely girl lingers less than an instant; holding a red-hot poker lasts an eternity.

My tormentor had enough time to delve into personal insults.

Nice to know my withholding a contribution had driven him into further desperation. My refusing to donate, really barely acknowledging him actually, frustrated him further.

No. Us both knowing he lacked any outlet probably angered him more.

No. My taking satisfaction in us both knowing him stuck in futility when the light finally turned green and me moving on while he remained mired in whatever hell he’d created himself hopefully angered him the most.


Sidewalks Are Not for Sleeping

Middle of November 2019, the Las Vegas city council approved ordinances to corral the homeless. The legislation will ultimately frustrate all involved and prove meaningless. The only good which may come from them is a somewhat honest public debate regarding transient control and the funds taxpayers will wish to dedicate to such.

There should be no doubt that a good portion of residents will suggest loading vagrants onto Union Pacific freight cars then shipping and leaving them in the Mojave. Here in libertarian Nevada, the idea of an individual making him- or herself incapable of carrying his or her own water, of being an intentional public burden, will rankle. Continue reading Sidewalks Are Not for Sleeping

The Mohicans

Vernon is dying. He is a cousin who inquired about Edna Long three years ago. She was an unknown figure who appeared in one of our family branch’s turn-of-the-century census tracts. Turn of the 20th century.

The people who may’ve known about her, remembered her, they’ve been all good and dead way before curiosity aroused his present-day fascination with this stranger who’ll remain a mystery. Continue reading The Mohicans

Distressing Displacements

Was the summer heat so relentless in Southern Arizona, in the Sonoran Desert, as it is in a Las Vegas set amidst the Mojave? Just as likely. Possibly even more so. The Sonora sits at a lower altitude. Its desert classification aside, it’s also a less arid ecosystem than the Mojave.

Youth, accompanied by more involved living, frequent insobriety, and greater disregard of nuisances like heat and lack of sleep, probably registered those Arizona Augusts on some lower discomfort scale. The escapades immersed in then must’ve somewhat negated the arduous climate.

Almost five years living in Las Vegas and I’ve learned to evade a trap that snares too many willing natives and long-time residents. I’ve managed to look through the transients, deadbeats, and bums littering the street corners and raised medians. Continue reading Distressing Displacements

Legacies’ Laments

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” The preceding originates from the drama Julius Caesar. Cassius’ line impels what follows.

Our Trump Error presents Americans a litany of such failings they would’ve bowed the backs of ancient Greek dramatists as well as William Shakespeare’s. Nearly half of us have become comfortable with weakness and shame thanks to the disgraceful real estate fraud now soiling the Oval Office. Continue reading Legacies’ Laments

Sauce for the Goose

One of the Las Vegas newspapers has an editorial page which lurches right. So far right readers should ask why columns and letters to the editor aren’t printed in Fraktur.

Given the harmful effect of Twitter on political debate, the city’s broadsheet, an at times schizophrenic news source – news remains objectively presented while opinions often harken back to those of Der Stürmer and Völkischer Beobachter – offers American reactionaries a forum through which they can mock tweets veering from their less enlightened view of our society. Thanks to Donald Trump’s current soiling the Oval Office, malcontents once rightly embarrassed to publicly demonstrate their various intellectual deficiencies may now further poison open discourse with them.

Say this about the short-fingered vulgarian he sure has tipped over a lot of rocks. Continue reading Sauce for the Goose

Thoroughly Anonymous

My last image of Perdu was a mundane one. The drug-addled, alcoholic, brain-dead swine we worked for had just admitted the company was flat-broke.

For an enterprise best known through word of mouth, throughout the industry its new name became “mud.” So many bridges were burned, including ones on drawing boards, no hope existed of any lifelines.

Solvent on Friday, tapped out on Monday. Continue reading Thoroughly Anonymous

Untimely Torquemada

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has gotten pilloried for past statements spoken during the appropriate era. In accordance to these semantically correct times, she’s walked them back. Okay. She’s apologized for uttering them. There was absolutely zero need for her to have done so.

Dredged up from the 1990s, and haunting her in 2016, Clinton referred to a subset of criminals as “superpredators.” What was then so accurate now offends the ignorant and sensitive.

Actually by having called them “superpredators,” Clinton raised the lowest of low-slouching beasts on the evolutionary ladder. Continue reading Untimely Torquemada

Shoulder to the Wheel

Three Augusts ago I resided at ease in suburban splendor. So much so I took several vacation days to visit Kewpie in Miami. She’d been laboring on film shoot. Warren joined us.

When she wasn’t eye-rolling on-set shenanigans or prima dona outbursts, we treacherous three gamboled along South Beach. Had I known my carefree days were short, I would’ve behaved way more carelessly.

Hmmm. Just might suggest that as my epitaph.

Two years ago, Quarropas, the old hometown, remained somewhat recognizable. That was if a long-time resident squinted. By this time last year, it was less splendiferous since every soul making that loaded word “home” a desirable refuge had died away.

August 2014 marks my first year in Las Vegas. Continue reading Shoulder to the Wheel