Wandering past the pleasure cubicles and the hypno-ads for slippery green snake-women (available RIGHT NOW!), suddenly Nessus and I came upon giant posters for some kind of live-action show featuring stage stars from the distant past, re-animated for a new century's pleasure.
"I don't know about YOUR culture," I told my attorney, "but in my line of work it's important to be Hip!"
"Mine too," Nessus said dubiously. "But who are THESE creatures?"
On the hypno-displays before us was some unbelievably, ghostly-white ... woman(?), draped in a jerked-pork ... dress(?), looking as if she were crawling out of some sort of slimy, womb-like shell. Next to her was some slightly-shaggy-brown-haired, antiseptic, cleaner-than-clean Teen Idol, yet to even sprout facial hair -- about as threatening as a big, floppy puppy dog.
They were billed as "Lady Gaga" and "Justin Bieber" -- supposed Big Names from the early 21st Century, re-heated and jolted back to life for the amusement of a whole New Age....
"Hmmm," Nessus hmmed. "Something about these two is familiar.... What do ya think?"
"I think," I said, eyeing him impatiently, "Why should I pay-out my hard-earned stars to watch a fucking corpse?"
"Because that's what this place is ALL ABOUT," he said. "Pushing the limit! Look, why are we out here? To entertain ourselves or to DO THE JOB?"
"The job, of course," I replied. But maybe he was Right -- maybe it was time for A Break. Just forget the whole damned thing for awhile.
We'd been wandering in circles through Tweedle-Dee's casinos and tunnels. We'd weaved through the lower levels of the Mint, the Dunes, the Hacienda, the Circus-Circus, the Las Venus Venus.... All the while, Nessus combed through the pages of Tweedle-Dee's daily newssheet, THE DAILY 'DEE, looking for something Interesting, Something Different, to relieve the stress of the stupefyingly boring "race" we'd come here to cover. He turned the pages with one mouth while he held the fax with the other, occasionally regaling me with various "couldn't-miss" attractions....
"How 'bout Nickel Nick's Slot Arcade?" he asked. "Hot slots ... sounds heavy. Hmmm, 29-cent hot dogs...? Bey, what's a hot dog? It couldn't possibly be...."
Suddenly there were people screaming at us, something about how we couldn't just STAND there, we were blockin' the hypno-displays. And that's how we ended up in front of the Gaga/Bieber show.
Maybe it was the yelling, maybe it was the drugs, but that's when Nessus snapped.
He was up to the admission window in a flash, waving a bill. "I want in!" he shouted. "I'm an old friend of Gaga's! I used to ROMP with her!"
For a moment I thought he'd blown it.... Then one of the doormen reached out for the bill, saying: "OK, OK sir, I'll take care of it sir!"
"Holy shit!" I said as we stumbled through the lobby. "They almost had us there! That was quick thinking!"
"What did you expect?" Nessus said. "I AM your attorney. ...And by the way, you owe me five bucks, and I want it right now."
I shrugged and gave him a bill. This garish purple, deep-orlon-carpeted lobby seemed like the wrong place to be haggling over $5 bribes for doormen. The surroundings were evocative of those Old School entertainers of the past who wouldn't even bother CARRYING a bill as small as $5. This was Tiger Woods' territory. Kobe Bryant's. Richard Nixon's. The lobby fairly reeked of high-grade formica and plastic palm trees -- it was clearly a high-class refuge for Big Spenders.
We approached the Grand Ballroom full of confidence -- but they wouldn't let us in. No seats left. We were too late, said some sort of short, Italian-penguin hybrid creature in a wine-colored tuxedo. The house was already full -- no seats left at ANY price. Besides, if they let us in, they'd be breaking fire-safety regulations.
"Fuck seats," said my attorney. "We're old friends of Gaga's. We're damn well going in."
The tux-creature continued jabbering about fire regulations, but my attorney refused to listen. Finally, after a lot of noise, the tux-man let us in for nothing -- provided we would stand quietly in the back and not smoke.
We promised, but the moment we got inside we lost control. The tension had been too great.
Up on stage, the unbelievably white and skinny Gaga was prancing unsteadily, jerking spasmodically in front of a garish big band, while she yelped out some dimly-familiar Olde song....
"You could be my lucky star...."
"Jesus creeping shit!" shouted my attorney. "We've wandered into a fucking time capsule!"
That was it. Heavy hands grabbed our shoulders. I jammed the hash pipe back into my pocket just in time. We were dragged across the lobby and held against the front door by half a dozen goons. In the background, we could hear the ghostly-white singer continuing to squawk out that old song, which maybe somehow DID fit in to a new century....
"Shine your heavenly body tonight...."
"OK, get lost," croaked the tux-man. "We're giving you guys a break. If Gaga has friends like YOU, she's even worse off than I thought."
"Oh yeah? We'll see about this," my attorney shouted as we ran away. "I'll talk to Gaga! You'll be croaked, all of you! You paranoid scum!"