3 min read

las vegas

las vegas has been my longest guest stay, something like six months, and it is a place where i’ve got a couple good friends and many more fair friends, but even so, it’s not home.
las vegas

Jen,

i got to las vegas from the recommendation of an athletic friend, Simon Ata. australian guy with an american girlfriend, he met her while performing at aussie heat, a male revenue on the strip. now, however, i stay in las vegas because of an unfinished christian duty to another friend, Quincy Constant. american guy with an ex-girlfriend, they split when he was living in syracuse right after his house was broken into and a man pointed a gun to his head, threatening his life.

i bought Quincy a plane ticket when he called me saying he needed to get out of the city. he didn’t say he needed me to buy a ticket, yet, i know what he does for a living doesn’t afford him the money to get a plane ticket. at the time he’s a furniture mover, all off the books, maybe eighty dollars per day.

my life changed when he got off that plane. up until then i had been out there quietly in a 1 bedroom apartment, undistracted, undisturbed, unattached. my routine was to get to my computer and write software for a customer i picked up from downtown las vegas then i’d go to the gym. that was it. i knew i was detaching from reality and in some ways it was good to get a kick in the ass by life which made a friend into a house guest.

i wasn’t comfortable sharing the space and pretty soon i got him a plane ticket back to syracuse to go deal with his problems. he said he didn’t want to go back. he’d rather be homeless. i had a hard time doing it and all the same i dropped him off at the local rescue mission where he spent weeks and months without anyone but the public servants and non-profit staffers looking after him.

i would come to realize after too long that there was no going back, i was not going to have peace and quiet in las vegas like i previously had ever again. even when he wasn’t sharing the apartment, i was constantly going around grabbing him to go on some errand or another with me. i was bringing him toiletries and necessities. even out of the house, he was in my orbit and that meant i was in his too. i’d get a call from him asking if he could use the shower at mine and of course he could. so before long he was back in my house.

i did everything i could to get him paid. i took him to job fairs and got online application listings. he got a job working in housekeeping at the flamingo, the longest standing casino on the strip. he hated it. i was hearing it every day. he got fired and it was no surprise that he did based on his comments. i didn’t like that he was out of an income for the selfish reasons that meant he was going to be dependent for longer and i also didn’t like that he hated his job either. all i could practically do was ask him what he thought could be done better at the next one. beyond that, i could only hope he found a job that was better for temperament. former boxer doing bedsheets? cmon. he’s going into his new job now, a dishwasher for mgm resorts. i’m happy he’s got the job.

i love having a place in las vegas. i get to meet circus freaks. i know more people that can do one arm handstands, put their body into all sorts of incredible and contorted positions, i know natural beauties and beasts with superhuman strength. i spend more time with those oddballs than i do with the club-going, hard-partying locals and tourists that the city is known to attract. i fit in with the freaks. i’m a freak. with them i don’t feel out of place, i feel like i’ve got to step my freak game up.

to fit in with the guy who got me out there, Simon Ata, is to be able to entertain and wow an audience with only the human body. it’s to do pushups without feet touching the ground, to walk on air, to make people wonder if there are invisible wires letting that body hold itself in those ways. Quincy’s normal, mostly. i mean, he has a job he hates. that’s normal. he loved high school and fit in well. that’s normal. he watches sports and enjoys it. normal again. i introduced the two, Quincy and Simon, and they didn’t say anything but hello for the hour they were hanging out.

i’m maybe freakishly normal or normally freaky. i’m sure i’m seen differently by different people, yet, for my part, i know myself best as a freak. las vegas has been my longest guest stay, something like six months, and it is a place where i’ve got a couple good friends and many more fair friends, but even so, it’s not home.

-Pete, 9/20/23