Just There until they are not
by Royal Hopper
There is a guy who stands alone on the side of an isolated Vegas road where factory workers driving pick ups with shotguns racks in the cab enter their work place and asks for money.
The man stands unmoving at times as those who know him pass by without missing a beat. He has become almost part of the landscape _ some thing people expect to see.
The man wears a beard that looks almost fake it is so caked with sweat, dust, and oil. A pair of straight cut jeans hangs on his skinny legs almost painfully as if the pants themselves would jump off and run away if they could.
A straight cut brown jacket that reaches past his waist and looks like it came right out of a JC Pennies catalog in 1975 . He looks out of time like he has literally been standing there for 40 plus years and somehow forgot to leave his isolated little street corner.
Another man one with some money sits quietly in a corner lost in some memory until you talk to him. It turns out he has come to the City of Sin for more than 40-years. Everyone he know is gone so he just does his thing has lunch, plays his slots and mostly sits in a spot where no one notice shim and watches a world he no longer understands.
Another time I caught a woman a stranger staring at me. I asked her politle with my bet customer service smile if I could help her. She said politely no. Go ahead and do what you were doing and then she proceded to tell me everything I had done at work for six hours. I instantly felt like a dweeb because I hadnt noticed her watching me not even once..She was not loud or dangerous or needy enough I guess.
That is the thing in this city in most cities of any size. The whole city is large and bright _impossible to ignore. The images jump out of background and into your eye sight unbidden and unequaled. Huge neon signs 40 feet tall, video dancing girls doing burlesque on Main Street at lunch time from three blocks away and fake volcanoes blowing their tops for all to see. Out front there are pretend Elvi, Power Rangers, superheroes and fake pop stars dressed in bright yellows, reds and golds and silvers.
Then there are the people who are there but not there like Mr. Beard. They become part of the landscape until they ask you for money or you just in a giving mood give them some. They like the rocks and the neon and the hot dry dead desert air are just there _ until they aren’t any more…..
When I worked at the poor doomed Riviera there was this homeless guy who looked like he had just walked out of some science fiction death camp on the moon. He looked like a freaking zombie _ man for real. He was there every day in the background having learned to avoid the security guards like me . You barely noticed him unless he was causing trouble which was seldom because he was just to weak and sickly. The one day he wasn’t there. I still wonder what happened to the dude…..
Did he get help? Was it finally his time one day? After abusing his body for so many years did it finally give up or did he just fade away like most parts of the landscape whose time had come much like the poor old Riv herself….
Its not fairly tale or a disaster movie..Its life in he City of Sin….
Love you Sinners