The Las Vegas Strip Disappeared This Morning
By David S. Atkinson

The Las Vegas Strip disappeared this morning, leaving a large number of pasty white vacationing Midwesterners blinking bleary-eyed confused at the morning sun. It happened suddenly, monolithic towering casinos and flashy digital nickel slots evaporating like people's money normally did there. No lights, no bells, no 'thwacking' of stripper cards advertising girls that would come to your room but depicting girls who were young in the eighties.
No 'you bring the booze, we bring the girls.'
Apparently, that Joshua tree out on Interstate 15 that dreamed Las Vegas took a break for the first time since that Honeymooners debacle back in the fifties. Pulled up root and got itself a room at a motor lodge and pinewood derby car museum near Baker, closed all the blinds and watched countless hours of HBO original programming. Without its dreams, Vegas was nothing more than a single story collection of housing developments, gas stations, and Speed Racer themed massage parlors.
And a mass of bewildered tourists wandering around in the empty desert like Lawrence of Arabia that time he lost his GPS unit.
Fremont street was still there, of course. Binions and Golden Gate. Four Queens. That place was too ugly to be a dream, too greasy to disappear. It lingered, like herpes or DVD collections of Alf.
The casino conglomerates ran to the mayor. The mayor ran to the mob, which was a short trip. The mob sent Dean Martin and Robert DeNiro to knock on the Joshua tree's motor lodge room door with 1967 World Series commemorative softball bats, break a few kneecaps if they had to. Joshua trees don't have kneecaps, but Martin and DeNiro managed to be convincing anyway.
It would have been a terrible thing if the rains never came again, or if someone were to release the Joshua tree's credit card information online.
Regardless, the Joshua tree went back to its place on Interstate 15 and resumed dreaming. Put down desert roots again. Raised a family of adopted Belgian refugee children.
And the dream of Las Vegas bloomed from nothing again, like the resurgence of bell-bottoms. Neon and two hundred foot tall cement. Cocktail waitresses dressed like reflective genies. Cocaine and thalidomide in the bathrooms. A Cirque du Soleil version of the Gettysburg address with an all bonobo monkey cast. The tourists went back inside.
And they spent money. Sometimes their own.
Luck was a lady again, an eighty year old lady wearing a gold lame track suit covered in Faberge rhinestones and an LED tiara seventy feet tall filled with the blood of male atheist virgins. All was right and well once more.

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David S. Atkinson is the author of Bones Buried in the Dirt (2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist, first Novel less than 80K in length) and The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes (EAB Publishing, spring 2014). His writing appears in Bartleby Snopes, Grey Sparrow Journal, Interrobang?! Magazine, Atticus Review, and others. His writing website is http://davidsatkinsonwriting.com/ and he spends his non-literary time working as a patent attorney in Denver.

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