A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis
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by Irene Woodbury
Description: Quirky jobs, wacky friends, hot crushes, and an unraveling marriage are all part of this darkly funny novel describing 45 year-old newlywed Wendy Sinclair's life in Las Vegas after she impulsively decides to stay following a bizarre girls' weekend in 2005.
eBook Publisher: SynergEbooks, 2011 SynergEbooks
eBookwise Release Date: September 2011
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [630 KB]
Reading time: 398-557 min.
An hour later, I was standing in yet another glitzy suite at the Venetian, surrounded by bags hauled up by the same bellman who'd taken them down earlier. "Don't ask, don't tell," I said, shaking my head, smiling Mona-Lisa-like, and handing him a 20.
The minute he left, I changed into shorts and a tee and started unpacking maniacally. The phone rang. And then it rang again. And again. And again. Roger, of course, but I wouldn't pick up. I wasn't ready for his grilling just yet. After throwing most of my stuff in the closet, I set off for a long walk down the Strip to clear my head and figure out how I would explain this to him.
On a Monday night, the level of excitement was high, and so was the temperature: 100 degrees in the shade. Outside the Venetian, the golden desert sun seemed strangely serene and ethereal as it sank below the far-off Sierra Nevadas. It soothed me to gaze across the Strip at fortress-like Treasure Island, with the giant Siren's Cove ship docked in its water-logged front yard. Next door at Mirage, Danny Gans' toothy grin beamed down from an electronic billboard. A block away, the Bellagio's dancing fountain show was in full swing. The sidewalk and overpasses were crammed with hundreds of onlookers, mesmerized by the water shooting skyward, like 1,200 aquatic orgasms simultaneously jacking off to Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon."
I trekked on, glancing upward at the soaring Eiffel Tower, perched atop the main casino of Paris. Hard to believe I'd had lunch there with Paula and the girls just three days ago. It seemed more like a million years. Standing guard outside the hotel's Hall-Of-Mirrors-inspired lobby, the broad-shouldered Arc de Triomphe never looked more stately or erect. Just beyond it were the spiraling Arabian fairy-tale towers of Aladdin, across from bold-as-brass Petticoat Palace.
Farther south, I took in the massive cream-colored facade of Monte Carlo, where a veiled bride and her flock of maids hoisted their long skirts as they glided up the cascading steps. Gold-and-green-hued MGM Grand then lurched into view, with its buffed, bronze lion in regal repose above a phalanx of rushing fountains. Across the palm-lined boulevard, New York New York's iconic skyline boasted scaled-down versions of the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, and Statue of Liberty. Still to come were the candy-colored cone-towers of Excalibur, Luxor's colossal pyramid, and golden-hued Mandalay Bay, like a gaudily wrapped Christmas present glaring in the desert sunset.
What a thrilling panorama! The Strip never looked more vibrant, irreverent, or majestic. Striding back to the Venetian, I felt tired but elated, as if I were somehow part of all the flash and dazzle surrounding me. I remember thinking: if loving Las Vegas is wrong, I don't wanna be right!
Back in my suite, the red light on my phone was throbbing menacingly, like a bulging vein about to burst. The messages were piling up. I couldn't put it off any longer. Bracing myself, I dialed Roger's cell.