A Broiling Pavement Tale

Met a woman who told me a Las Vegas story. It entwined her brother, a Big Mayberry resident. He once had a productive life here. During his living he got misled then completely lost himself. That happens in this city more frequently than autumn leaves falling off trees elsewhere.

Ran into Kathy Latter-Day Saints at a suitably dark place during a late September evening/early morning hour. She was in the Mojave to attend the Life Is Beautiful festival. At least she traveled to Las Vegas to hear music. Family complications transformed what ought have been joyful performances into joyless drama.

For the uninitiated Life Is Beautiful is an annual music convocation pretty much featuring techno acts. Its presence draws enthusiastic mobs. It also does a fantastic job of clogging downtown streets through nuisance closures. Just the thing to anger residents because of the inconvenience.

Although I live on the periphery of Downtown, I’m still close enough for this yearly event to trouble me too.

Whether rumor or not, it’s said the Downtown casino/hotel suffering the most disruption by these street closures receives a six-figure compensation for the trouble.

Let’s hope that’s true.

A little about Kathy LDS now. An early 20-something woman, she ventured down from Boise, Idaho. Tall, lanky, her hair tinted purple, she’d marred her simple attractiveness with enough tats and piercings to advertise a carnival without saying a thing. Her mother sees the decorations as distracting, if not outright ugly. Thankfully the gentleness and kindness upon the pages within Kathy LDS’s book belied its garish cover.

As she matured into adulthood, the visitor knew continuing her life in Idaho impossible. It seemed to Kathy LDS that the Gem State reduced women’s lives to this: marrying some man who needed constant affirmation of his manliness from his submissive woman; and producing then raising a minimum of his four towheads.

Not much in the way of aspiration, is it?

While her own mother happily fulfilled those requirements, Kathy LDS judged them unsuitable for herself.

In Boise, Kathy LDS performed at a jiggle joint. But it being Boise strippers’ jiggling is limited.

Unlike Nevada, Idaho maintains expansively strict rules when it comes to adult amusement. According to Kathy LDS, Idaho does a more thorough job of suppressing pleasure than Utah.

Say this for Utah – at least there’s Moab. And if that doesn’t fulfill, well, a flight or a steady 80 mph on I-15 will get pleasure seekers to Las Vegas in short enough order.

As Kathy LDS said, “Idaho is heavily Mormon.” And being one, okay, a “jack Mormon,” she should know. Maybe what she meant was “oppressively Mormon.”

Her place of employment is more of a bikini bar than strip club. Particularly when matched against Las Vegas, okay, Nevada establishments offering the same. More of the same. Stuff that’s not on the menu. Stuff that makes up a la carte menus between consenting adults.

So pervasive is the repression that Idaho strippers often feel obliged to glue their bikini bras upon their breasts lest a cup slip and flash a nipple. That’s the sort of “transgression” which will incur a heavy fine if observed then reported. And the entertainers can do nothing that might arouse the audience. Therefore, 86 any lap dances.

An Idaho friend of hers grinds in a Las Vegas pulchritude palace. Yes. The cliché “night and day” fits.

Kathy LDS and her Boise mates might perform before a throng of 35 at most. In Las Vegas the night she saw her friend in action, Kathy LDS estimated 200 horny heavy-breathers were present. This on a what her friend called “a slow night.”

Good a friend as the woman was, she tried convincing Kathy LDS to brush off Boise and move to Las Vegas. Here, her efforts would be rewarded. Yeah. They’d be rewarded all right. But so many of those topless and nude entertainers get so caught up in the city’s allures, the fortunes many such women compile disappear leaving them in worse or even dire straits.

Young and having whatever fun one can have in Boise as she does, Kathy LDS has a plan. In fact, her brother’s situation probably burnished it.

When we met, she verged on joining the forestry service. She derives satisfaction through communing in the woods. She also gained release as a hunter and angler. Living in Idaho as Kathy LDS does, it was no stretch seeing her pig in shit happy while gutting something four-pawed or winged she’d just brought down through lethal archery or rifle shot as well as having reeled in and netted.

Hearing her goal, I reflected on that scene in The Mummy (1999) when Evelyn announced she had reached professional zenith as a librarian. A job maintaining a wilderness preserve would suit Kathy LDS similarly.

The Idahoan wouldn’t be posted in the Tri-State region of Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho, or Western Montana, but on the Pacific Coast. Fewer Mormons there to judge her critically. That certainly heaped on further appeal.

In Las Vegas, at Life Is Beautiful, she was just counting down the days until being appointed to fill a forestry position in the Puget Sound area. So, until her presence was demanded, why not make her maiden visit to Las Vegas one consisting of raving at a music festival and rum cocktails all throughout?

Besides, her brother Zel lived in Las Vegas now and they hadn’t seen one another in ages. Funny thing, though. Throughout the summer he’d been incommunicado. His Idaho relations ascribed his silence to being too busy in the big city. But wouldn’t he be glad to see his sister Kathy LDS again?

Here’s where the reunion goes so sideways it stumbled, tumbled, and face-planted.

In the Big Mayberry, Zel was nondescript and non-distinct. An anonymous Rulon leading a straight and narrow life that concealed no secret habits. Late July he’d performed what had been expected to have been a routine customer call. Meeting with, mollifying the client was the last recognizable thing he did.

Between then and when Kathy LDS next saw Zel in the hospital, her brother had utterly become a ward of disaster.

His truck had gotten stolen. Whatever possessions it held were gone. He’d lost his housekeys and wallet. Doubtlessly since then he’d been dispossessed.

Forget any money or credit cards. The billfold held his license, the sort of government-issued ID that eases entries into all kinds of establishments and confirms one’s “being.” It is essential to have and maintain an ID in Las Vegas. At best, that permit is the “open sesame” and “abracadabra!” which can curtail or possibly shorten interactions with the police.

Homeless and crazed as Zel had become, and besides the filthy clothes on his grimy hide, the one article he retained was a skateboard. Never known as a skateboarder in Idaho, those wheels must’ve been a found item. A gift from an otherwise merciless Las Vegas.

Through it he landed in the hospital.

He’d been skating on a busy street. A vehicle steered by a typical distracted/indifferent/drunk Las Vegas driver smashed him – then in true locals’ fashion sped off. The impact severe enough to send Zel to the emergency room, the brother’s lack of ID, his inability to respond cogently, that is other than remembering where his people lived, prevented medical personnel from doing anything further than restraining him. And here is where Kathy LDS enters.

Fortuitously in town for Life Is Beautiful, their mother contacted her. Buzz killed, Kathy LDS raced to her brother’s side. The stranger strapped in bed proclaiming kinship left her aghast.

Shared bloodline notwithstanding, there was nothing Kathy LDS could do for him. For a myriad of reasons, oh, like his circumstances, the situation which brought him there, the possibility of litigation if the patient unable to comprehend treatment provided therefore unable to agree to those measures, all that forestalled handling him beyond palliative actions until he slipped back inside his own head.

An unknown and prolonged cocktail of who knew what, intensified by the torrid Mojave summer heat along with his rough living on the streets was going to delay Zel’s return to rationality. That arrival date unknown, Kathy LDS couldn’t wait around. She had her own life to resume and pursue.

But first there was a detour. A respite. One where she unburdened herself upon an inquisitive solicitous Las Vegas stranger. A man who kindly caught her bar tab.