A slice of Sin or the Urban Pizza
By Royal Hopper

SSShhh be very very quiet. I’m playing craps _ Photo by Royal Hopper

Someday you really try just staking out a busy part of a busy city and catalog what happens in that part of the city at a given time. Paint a portrait of the city in your mind based on a week of those slices of observations.

This week’s slice

In once slice of the Sin City Pizza a man with a rainbow Sombrero parades across the casino floor basking in the looks his fashion statement is drawing. He walks keeping time to the Funkadelic tune playing on the PA and plows right on through the angst filled Grunge Rock ballad then stumbles a both as the song ends and ancient disco dance tunes fill the air.
In another slice of urban pizza a couple from a small town quietly complains that the movies lied there isn’t anything in Vegas only to find out they were walking down  the wrong street and hadn’t actually been on Las Vegas Boulevard the infamous Las Vegas byway called “ The Strip,” They then discovered again that the movies hadn’t lied. Vegas was every bit as bizarre and over marketed as the movies portrayed.

All right everybody repeat after me _ Photo by Royal Hopper

In another section of the pizza a man well passed his prime bends over to pick up a prize tidbit or two and topples over the victim of Mr. Daniels and his friends Johnny Walker and the infamous Mr Seagram. In another a seven-year old stands obediently at arms length watching his father shovel dollar bills into a nearby machine because children aren’t allowed to gamble and keeping them at arms length while you do it is cool????

In another section two women are doing something that took even this Sin City Veteran a little by surprise. Thanking Jesus very loudly as they ply the one armed bandit with those pieces of green paper that dominate our lives.

“Thank You Jesus”

As the words “Thank You Jesus,” echoed across the dry, smoky, processed air of Sin City’s elder gambling houses patrons and employees alike seemed in shock.

I must admit that after 14 years off and on in the hedonist environs of the City of Sin the last I words I expected to hear echoing across a Las Vegas casino were “Thank you Jesus.”  Those words of praise and worship were belted out repeatedly and in unison by this mini chorus of believers with a passion normally reserved  for weddings, funerals and the occasional heavy metal reunion concert.
“Thank you Jesus,” said the pair of soccer Mom gamblers as they shoveled bill after bill into a gaudy, theme song spouting one armed bandits apparently not without some success. “Thank You Jesus,” they repeated as another ten bills rolled from their fingers to the bill opening of the slot machine.
“Thank You Jesus,” they sang as their protestations of faith were rewarded with enough credits to keep their game going for another two or three choruses of,  “Thank You Jesus.”

How do you like my shades _ Photo by Royal Hopper

You know there used to be churches in Vegas casinos not wedding chapels real churches and it was not uncommon for people to say prayers while rolling a dice or shoveling quarters into a slow machine or making a tired old pass at a cocktail waitress who was way out of their league. In the old days Vegas was a dangerous place run by dangerous men and seldom did you hear words of praise in a casino. These days, the days of sanitized  billion dollar corporate, adult Disney Land Vegas those words are apparently more common.
“Thank You Jesus,” the two churchy young women chimed as they cashed out what was left of their Vegas stake and headed for the urban neon wilderness that is Las Vegas boulevard.

uuhhuuh Thank You very much

Look around the the urban pizza. One man tries to reclaim his cocaine at a security podium in a casino and another swears someone swiped his gray duffle bag he had stuffed full of books to read while on vacation in Las Vegas. Three Elvi lounge on the sidewalk next to Darth Vader and from Idaho who looks lost.

That’s life in the City of Sin boys and girls

Take Care Fellow Sinners

Thank You Very Much

Sunset in Las Vegas _ Photo by Royal Hopper

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