Morning breaks bright, mild, and brilliant across Las Vegas. Through hustle, Lewy turned what could’ve been a nothing night into a worthwhile one. An Italian couple he drove out into the city’s farther eastern precincts certainly boosted his bottom line. Unaware he understood their baroque conversation, that Lewy also found them entertaining further improved his mood.
Lewy’s just climbed back into his taxi after stretching. Coupled with a series of isometrics that gets blood pumping and clears his mind. Unlike too many other drivers he remains somewhat fit and retains a good deal of flexibility. Image and presentation are vital components to his job.
It’s a basic human response: looks matter. First impressions bear outsized weight. Continue reading Las Vegas Candy
Happy New Year!
Ancient Greeks would’ve most appreciated Bill Cosby’s contretemps. Mightn’t his plight have become their meat? From it a Greek playwright might’ve scribed then bequeathed us one tragedy which not only could’ve still informed us today, but presented a template to the sullied comedian’s fate.
Let there be no mistake. What has befallen Cosby is fate. Continue reading American Fly
Know a discriminating cabdriver in Las Vegas. He prefers avoiding collecting passengers on the Strip. Let me qualify that. He prefers not collecting certain kinds of Strip passengers.
Daytime fares are fine. It’s who emerges at night which dissuades him. Continue reading Drunken Mistress
Night improves Las Vegas.
Hot neon, sharp jumbo LEDs, and happy drunks loudly snaking along sidewalks and across the Strip present running tableaux of infectious merriment. This is a much preferable image to what morning reveals. Despite rosy fingers of dawn heralding the day, sunrise skies above the Strip are iron gray.
The vault above matches the streets below.
Crowds have vanished. Traffic has evaporated. Evening’s dazzling illuminations have faded into visual irritants.
Derelicts who’ve been shooed to Las Vegas’ darkest peripheries return to beg, maunder or impose their schizoid existences on daytime visitors strolling Las Vegas Boulevard. After the previous night’s glad-rag promenade and procession of gaiety, hollow-eyed, matted haired, filth encrusted, flesh and blood specters are the gaudy way’s jarring contrast.
During this transition from night into day, a less acknowledged though certainly more alluring segment of the Las Vegas mosaic begins crossing other thresholds. Continue reading Refined Painted Ladies
Our holidays were so desultory, all we lacked were a revolver and remorse to have made it a complete Camus Christmas. Being between jobs let me skip New Year’s Eve festivities. Just as well. I would’ve been ringing out 2011 anger and ringing in 2012 anxiety.
The whole stretch of cold-weather holidays from Thanksgiving until St. Valentine’s Day darkens my outlook. An extensive slough of despond.
If it were possible, I’d enter hibernation the day after Halloween and awake on St. Patrick’s Day. Early on St. Patrick’s Day. Was there ever a man less deserving of enduring the enforced spikes of autumnal and winter jollity?
Yes. The above is an exaggeration. Thanks to the American labor movement my present unemployment is bothersome, not troublesome. The safety net so many Republicans yearn to shred keeps the wolf at bay. Unlike GOP governors, each a mouthpiece for America’s Mr. Potters, I’m quite appreciative of past labor agitators who organized and fought for workplace dignity, be they have been Wobblies, Socialists, or — shudder! — even Commies. Continue reading Crossing Off the Crossroads of the World
One of those hoary proverbs came alive for me recently. “If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of your enemy float by.”
Alibi wasn’t an enemy. Just a mean piece of man.
A lifetime ago we’d known each other. Or to be apt circled one another. Among the few things we shared was mutual wariness. As well as his sister Kari.
Since our last brush Alibi’s condition had deteriorated severely. Good. We crossed paths inside the same rehabilitation center where mother underwent physical therapy. One cannot thwart old age. We may only develop methods to temporarily blunt its more debilitating effects. Continue reading Merciless
Oh man! Did I have a great time writing the three stories comprising Cool Brass, or what?
When I wrote for newspapers my first immediate chief was an editor who loved quoting Red Smith’s dictum. The late Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times sportswriter likened our craft to “opening a vein.”
Puh-lease. Continue reading No Atonement Kabuki
(Names changed to protect the innocent. And me. Others in this post enjoy the courtesy because they’re too stupid to be embarrassed.)
*Ruta died the next to last day of August 2011. Her illness was short but the final phase was acute. Whether deserved or not she suffered at the very end. Instead of palliative hospice care, she died at home surrounded by her things.
On the cusp of 80, Ruta is survived by a husband and my boss *Blowhard, their son *Skip, and two daughters, *Loca and *Fea. Another son and daughter, *Speedball and *Borracha, predecease her.
One imagines Ruta’s family will miss her.
Here respect for the dead and the bereaved ends. It’s more they would’ve extended and will extend themselves. In reality Ruta leaves behind the shell she married, their issue who either chose alienation or became pieces of human wreckage, while she herself wasted life experiences to promote positive contributions.
Like Palestinians, the Mugwump family never missed a chance to miss a chance. Continue reading Green Venom
(*Names changed to spare me yet trouble the wicked. This continues “Crazy Quilt.”)
The family line descends through the father.
*Blowhard, my boss and chief of *Mugwump, the family-held company for which I’ve toiled two dozen years, has rapidly deteriorated into decrepitude. A little under two years ago he was a sharp 80-year-old man. Today, enfeebled mentally and physically, he’s a ghostly figure peeking out from tired flesh.
He’s lost muscle mass. His acuity wanes more than waxes. Despite the obvious infirmities, no family member has yet summoned the compassion to tell him “enough.” Instead of compelling their father to see reason and retire, Blowhard’s surviving daughters *Loca and *Fea, whose management has sapped their patrimony, still let him commute to the office, and defer to him although his mind is shakier than theirs.
The Mugwumps are not a compassionate bunch. There’s plenty they aren’t and have never bothered being. The Turk needs to come around and collect all their playbooks. Continue reading Bad Biographies