Discover more from Chronicles of a Barfly
In the desert…
…darkness means it’s play time.
Sun goes down, freaks come out.
Cases of alcohol poisoning and overdoses spike after sunset.
This time of night the calls never stop. The people that call you, do so because they don’t want to alert the authorities.
“He’s not breathing, man…”
Where are you located?
“…at the Bellagio.”
Need something closer.
Try an ambulance, asshole.
Some of them call because they are trying to save someone. But most of the time they are only calling to save themselves.
“Hello? Is this—”
Sometimes the person has a chance to make it. Other times they are nothing more than a mess that needs to be cleaned up.
Trash to be taken out.
“Katie! Please wake up. Please—”
Which property are you staying at?
Hang up and dial 911.
The affluent and well connected amongst us have people that contact Frank’s people.
People like you.
Tonight, you’re looking for a lead. Need the right type of fix.
"You gotta hurry man, she’s not breathing.”
Your location please?
“We’re at The D.”
The old Fitzgeralds.
Close, but no cigar.
These are the people that can pay to have their problems solved for them. The type that purchase favorable outcomes and preferential treatment.
Those who value their reputation more than their company’s life.
“…yea, hey. Shit… shit. Hello?”
“…I got referred to you by—”
“…the Golden Nugget.”
The private number suggests discretion is required. The hotel quality says upper middle class. The dying person screams rookies.
What did the person take?
“Some pills. Shit… uh, Oxys.”
From the details provided by the caller identifying himself as Kyle, we have a female caucasian, unresponsive.
Seems as if this lady friend of his ingested one too many of what she thought were two tiny tickets to a terrific time.
I have you at a Deluxe suite in the north tower, room 1704. Is that correct?
"Fuck. Fuck. Fuck,” from the phone.
Good. That means you have a kitchenette, which means you have a microwave. When I hang up, walk to that microwave, place your phone on the glass table inside, close the door and hit Quick Cook. This isn't a debate. I'm not asking.
Clock’s ticking, Kyle. Say it back to me.
“Walk to the microwave… shit! Walk to the microwave. Put the phone on the little glass stupid table!”
“And then push the fucking cook button!”
I'll see you in a few minutes… and Kyle?
That’s the average response time for a Priority-1 call for medical first responders in Clark county, whom you’ve alerted already.
Depending on the location, time of day and day of the week, this can prove to be a challenge, given the county is the size of New Jersey.
In the elevator beside you, two cowboys in assless chaps fondle each other with their free hands, while the other hands balance yard stick tubes of slushed sugary cocktails.
The smell of good weed and burnt plastic lingers in the air as you step off the elevator onto the seventeenth floor. Thumping house bass music and a muffled beeping echo throughout the corridor.
A mid twenty something male answers the door.
You know the type.
Designer clothes. Expensive watch. Better haircut than you.
“She’s back here,” he says, and disappears into another room.
The sound of the smoke detector is still ringing from somewhere inside, where thirty seconds of convection cooked a thousand dollar smartphone into a thousand dollar paperweight.
Close the door behind you.
Latch the security bolt.
Empty bottles are strewn across the entranceway leading to separated bedroom area, where a motionless body lays with nothing other than a pair of pink panties and a matching sunburn that helps to contrast the blue tinge of oxygen deprivation.
Fold the ironing board down from its locked placement.
Remove the iron from the wall and turn it to High Heat.
“What… what’s with the iron?”
You called us. Not EMS. Why Kyle?
“I can’t call the cops. My dad will find out…”
Remove the hedge pruners from the bag, along with the Nalaxone kit, and cut the cord to the land line.
Place the pruners next to the iron.
“What the fuck, man?”
Check the woman’s vitals and find zero signs of life. She’s ice cold. Been like this all night in all likelihood.
People like Kyle will never learn.
Participating got them trophies.
Whining got them attention.
They see people as disposable, just as they see themselves as invincible.
Life it what happens while you’re busy doing your best to fuck up the plans you made for it.
You go from getting engaged to getting embalmed in the blink of an eye.
Dance floors to death rattles, overnight.
It’s amazing how fast relationships can get redefined, isn’t it Kyle.
Once the novelty of a partner or a friend dissipates, or they are no longer entertained, a person becomes a perishable item to be discarded.
The cumulative impact of shared experiences and connection becomes dust in the wind quicker than you can get room service brought to your door.
Where are the pills Kyle?
Kyle takes out a small baggy of blue pills with M etched into them.
These aren’t total shit. Better than the well disguised fakes that the street level hustlers pawn off on tourists that don’t know any better and junkies who have zero recourse.
Out the window, 17 floors below, a battalion of lost souls wander through the streets on their trajectory of tragedy, broken, battered and disregarded. Their skin, the sun soaked bronze that's normally found at bodybuilding competitions and exclusive poolside day clubs.
They have learned to be indifferent to their surroundings just as we have learned to become indifferent to their sufferings.
Steam begins to hiss from behind you.
“Aren’t you gonna help her,” Kyle says.
He goes pale.
You let the news sink in while you place your left hand on his right hand, and pick up the pruners with your other hand.
“What now?” Kyle says.
This is the part where you normally tell them not to worry. That you’ll take care of everything.
Now you’re going to tell me where you bought these.
In for a penny. In for a pound, Kyle.
The tip of a pinky finger falls to the floor.
Grab the iron and push it to the fleshy void.
Give Kyle a warning.
Where did you get the pills?
“…fuck! What the fuck!”
People always assume they’ll get a chance at redemption. That they’ll have their repentance. Their day in court.
People like Kyle usually never have those days.
Focus Kyle. Who sold you the goods?
Who. Sold. You. The. Pills. Kyle.
A thin crimson worm trails from Kyles lips as a thick wet blot of urine inches down his pant leg.
“…the fucking bartender at Dino’s hooked us up.”
Thank you. Now. What’s her name Kyle?
Her name, Kyle? What. Is. Her. Name?
“Ashley. No… Alison. Alison!”
An earlobe is down for the count.
Say it Kyle.
“Say what?!” Kyle sobs.
Her name, Kyle. Say it.
“Alison! Alison. Fucking Alison! Ahh!”
The smell of burnt flesh combines with the lingering aroma of the toasted touchscreen in the microwave.
Think Hibachi grills on fiberglass tables.
Think singed hair after lighting propane bbqs.
The cold truth in life is that no one will ever have the ability to care about you the way that you care about yourself.
We can forgive those who’ve harmed us but that can’t take back the damage they caused.
Sometimes that’s like trying to heal your dead cat by putting it in a blender full of bandaids and hitting frappé.
See you around, Kyle.
“Fuck you, man. You’re fucking crazy,” he whimpers.
Exit left down the hall, leaving the door ajar.
Smile at EMS as they pass you in the hallway with thirty seconds to spare.
Good for them.