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April 16, 2008

Las Vegas Bound

Tom McLaughlin

Viva Las Vegas! Viva Las Vegas! The Elvis Presley tune has not left my brain since I decided to visit that city in the desert.


In my mind’s eye, I imagine long tables of all you can eat food for $1.98. The buffet would include roast beef, thinly sliced medium rare. Lardsful of deserts winding a football field along down the horse shoe shaped table. And, of course the most beautiful girls in the world serving the mountains of delicacies heaped on my plate.


I also imagine free drinks of the most expensive label being served just as I put my first nickel in the slot machines. After I have spent my limit of $10 for the entire stay, a croupier will offer me a three-room presidential suite with everything “on the house,” including the finest of women to soak up my thoughts on world affairs, complimenting me on my astute knowledge in the field.


Being a history buff, I will tour the mafia museum and travel on a mafia ghost tour. This will include where Meyer Lansky was shot by Michael Corleone. There absolutely has to be the Fredo hospitality room where he was slapped in the face. And, of course, the Howard Hughes suite, where he grew into an ugly old crone while being interviewed by Clifford Irving. We all know it was a CIA plot to have his book squashed because of the secrets it held about the Kennedy assassination.


I would also like to sneak into the forbidden zone where the A-blasts occurred. Here I expect to see the remains of the mutated flying men who dropped into Roswell, New Mexico. This started the UFO thing, which was encouraged by the Atomic Energy Commission to hide the real facts.


And, of course the shows. I expect to pay about $25 to see Elvis, the Rat Pack and other rumored dead entertainers who have returned to life for their dying fans. The one I absolutely don’t want to see is Wayne Newton. No way.


In reality, I will be attending a writer’s conference attempting to sell my book and taking seminars. Being lazy, I don’t want to follow the path of sending hundreds of query letters to agents and publishers.


Rather, I will meet them in person and wow them with my expertise, salesmanship abilities and writing acumen. I will be attending the first lecture on how to sell my written word. One of the admonishments was not to follow the agent/publisher into the bathroom. This ditched my plan of hiding in one of the stalls. I had also planned to disguise myself as a towel man or shoe shine polisher while giving my pitch.


I will be flying out today and – with any luck – will get there on Saturday. The $49.95/per hotel is six miles from the strip, but there is a free shuttle bus. I plan to ask the desk clerks where the best places to visit; and I am sure they will steer me to the place where they get the best kickbacks.


My book? It’s the story of a guy who is very brilliant in languages, is recruited by a spy agency, and works in a building until he is sent out into the field. It is then discovered that when someone speaks to him in one language he replies in another. Best seller stuff. I just need to figure out how to add the sex.


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